The No More Excuses Diet: Controversy Sells More

No_More_Excuses_Diet_Banner

This post was inspired by The No More Excuses Diet by Maria Kang who shares her no excuses philosophy that motivated her to become more fit. Join From Left to Write on March 12th as we discuss The No More Excuses Diet. As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.

I remember the first time I saw Maria Kang’s photo on Facebook, posted by friends who are into fitness, posted by moms, posted by those whose careers are in the fitness and health field. If you went on any form of social media, I’m sure you saw the photo, and commentary. People who thought that it was a shaming moms who didn’t have six-pack abs, and those who agreed with her that no excuse is above your health and fitness.

The multiple times I have had to get back into the swing of things, when I first started living a healthy & active life and after my first pregnancy, I have appreciated the no BS attitude any fitness professional has had with me. This is what I need to make myself accountable and to make sure I succeed in whatever it is that I need to do to lose weight or kick the unhealthy habits I was partaking in. Logging my food, including the junk and treats, making a training schedule and following it. Having someone question when I don’t follow through with my plan, writing this blog and showing you all what I have or haven’t done. These are the things that keep me accountable.

However, I don’t believe that no excuses and an all or nothing attitude are beneficial for those who are starting out on the journey to healthy living. I have excuses just like everyone else, and I won’t hide the fact that they are excuses, but I also won’t feel bad for them either.

We don’t have any family nearby, if I want to get a workout in it has to be first thing in the morning, or for now the two times B is in school during the week. If it doesn’t happen then, then it won’t happen, end of story. Some times I wake up 5 times in the night and getting the extra 2 hours of sleep will make me a better mom that day then going to the gym, and sometimes it is the opposite. Nick’s disability also adds a layer of difficulty to things, not a complaint, but something I need to acknowledge. Leaving a 4-year-old and an infant with him alone just won’t be happening for a while, not an excuse, that is LIFE. Can I go for walks and try to get at-home workouts in? Of course. Will it be the same as getting my butt handed to me in a sweat-drenching workout at a local studio? No, and I don’t expect it to.

Maria Kang knew exactly what she was doing when she posted that photo, she stirred up controversy in the mom and fitness world. Controversy sells, hard work and honesty? Not so much. I am not saying that she hasn’t worked hard, she has. Her book is proof of that, and it is definitely tool I will be utilizing post-baby. Would she have gotten a book deal if she hadn’t posted that controversial photo? I don’t believe so. It reminds me of the saying “any PR is good PR”. The photo was posted, there was a ton of conversation regarding it, both good and bad. Then she received a book deal and her business picked up even more.

I think Maria Kang has a great approach to fitness and healthy living, she doesn’t belive in the all or nothing diet, fad diets,etc… she has a natural approach to dealing with treats and indulgences. Not something the average person would get from her initial photo.

What do you think? Does a controversial spark sell more than straightforward honesty?

The Opposite of Maybe: Lucky

Here’s hoping that I wake up to a UCONN win this morning!

Before we get to today’s post, make sure you head over to Friday’s post and see who won the giveaway!

This post was inspired by the novel The Opposite of Maybe by Maddie Dawson. At the age of 44, Rosie finds herself suddenly single and pregnant. She tries to hide in her grandmother’s home, but meets two men that will change her life forever. Join From Left to Write on April 8 we discuss The Opposite of Maybe. As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.

FYI this post does have some spoilers.

Opposite-of-Maybe-From-Left-to-Write-Book-Club-banner-1024x683

 

This book also brought up a subject that is extremely difficult for me, pregnancy. I am beyond lucky to have been able to bring one beautiful little boy in to this world and I am very aware of that.

At 44 Rosie got pregnant after unprotected sex once, once! She didn’t know and didn’t even take a pregnancy test until she was 9 weeks along, it seemed like every appointment was perfect, labor wasn’t a disaster or have any scary parts, and her child was healthy.

All of this makes so angry and so sad. After another month of tracking and testing and all of the stuff no one talks about when you are trying to conceive which is followed by another disappointing negative pregnancy test, it was so hard for me to read this entire book without hating Rosie.

She was so cavalier, at first, about the fact that she got pregnant by chance the one time they didn’t use protection, she even walked into a clinic for an abortion (this is not a political post). Eventually after the first trimester was over she got her shit together and started cleaning up her eating and reading about babies, but I just couldn’t get over her luck and her reaction.

I am not one of those people who can just listen to these stories about how someone beat the odds and got pregnant. It is so hard to hold on to the hope that things will miraculously get better. It sucks, that I have to wait a year from my miscarriage to even have the discussion with my doctor about seeing a specialist.

I, naively, though I would be pregnant by the time my due date from the miscarriage came, and I am not. That due date is 12 days away. I know that things happen for a reason, at least I need to believe that. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt when friends start posting on their blogs, FB, twitter, etc… that they are pregnant. That they weren’t even trying or that they got pregnant the first month. And on April Fools Day, the amount of people who posted fake pregnancy announcements, not only did it feel like a punch to the gut, but it seemed like people don’t understand how hard infertility or the struggle to get pregnant is. Or how long the emotion and mental parts of a miscarriage affect you.

I am LUCKY to have the support system that I do, I know that. I am LUCKY to have the most amazing husband and son. I am LUCKY that I live in a place where I might be able to have a baby when it feels like the odds are against me.

I am trying to believe in the LUCKY, but it is so damn hard.

The Idea of Him: Throwing Parties as Parents

This post was inspired by the novel The Idea of Him by Holly Peterson. Allie thought she had the perfect husband, until she finds him and another woman in a compromising position in their own apartment. Join From Left to Write on April we discuss The Idea of Him. Join us for a live chat with Holly on April 3.  As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.

ideaofhim

In my effort to keep my book club posts out of the depressing sector, I thought I would write about a topic that was touched briefly upon in the book.

Allie’s husband liked to entertain in their home and Allie was always on duty to put together the perfect party. Allie and Wade had 2 younger children and in the book the children stayed in their rooms, doing homework, reading, etc… while the party was hosted in the family’s New York City apartment.

Initially, I was floored by this, I couldn’t imagine throwing some sort of industry party while my kids are upstairs. Than I realized I was more like Allie than I thought. Nick and I don’t throw ragers like we used to (a post for another time) but we love entertaining and we don’t have family close by. Every year we have a Superbowl Party. I make a ton of food and order a few pizzas. Our friends bring delicious treats and beer and we all gather around the TV to watch the game and catch up. B has always been a part of this tradition, and this year he loved watching the game, eating pizza and desserts, and hanging out with our friends. I put him to bed at half time and was able to hang out with our friends after bed time.

IMG_4930

From 2013’s Superbowl Party

For those who want to just dabble in party throwing, I think a daytime event might help. I throw a ladies only cookie swap every December. The first year I was the only one with a child, now more of my friends have kids and it is a fun kids and moms event. It will also give you an idea of how your kids might handle large groups of people being in your home.

The more I think about it, the more I think having an upscale party, like a fancy NYE party, would be fine to do when our kid(s) are older.

What do you think? Have you had a party with your kids at home? Would you ever?

Reasons Mommy Drinks

I received this book to review through my relationship with From Left to Write.

We know that I love the Mom humor. I like to be on the side of there is something funny (eventually) in most frustrating parenting situations.

When I was pregnant all I could find was picture perfect stories about pregnancy and technical stories, boring. Then I found this book: The Girlfriends’ Guide to Pregnancy. It was full of satirical humor and sarcasm and posting the honest truth about what happens when you are pregnant.

I was recently given the chance to read and review Reasons Mommy Drinks by Lyranda Martin Evans and Fiona Stevenson.

Reasons Mommy Drinks

This book is very similar to the pregnancy book. It has an anecdote for every stage in motherhood, starting with pregnancy and your baby shower and moves into stages like baby wearing, mom groups, and dealing with visitors. Along with every passage there is a drink to go along with it. For the pregnancy bits there are non-alcoholic drink, but we quickly move into the alcoholic ones.

One of my favorites? Nap Thyme. First of all the anecdote of how you have to get ALL THE THINGS done during nap time, spot on. The drink is also creative, and something I need to try, and soon. Since B has been on a nap strike for a month.

Nap Thyme

Ingredients

Lemon Juice
Sugar
1 ounce gin
3 ounces club soda
Sprig of fresh thyme

Instructions

Rim a glass with lemon juice and then sugar. Fill the glass with ice, pour in the gin, club soda, a splash of lemon juice, and sugar to taste. Stir gently. Garnish with thyme.

While I was reading this book, I was practically nodding along with every single story, saying to myself, that’s exactly how I felt! This book would make a great gift for any mom-to-be, new mom, or even if you’ve been a mom for a while, and since we don’t always have a ton of time to sit down and read, it is a book that is easy to put down and pick back up, and reads very quickly.

These hilarious ladies have a blog, but you can also follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

What is the one moment in parenthood where you look back and laugh, but at the time you were a mess?

For me? It was the time that B hid all his toys and then got very upset that he couldn’t find them. We both practically had a meltdown, and then I found them in our wine rack. One for you, one for me, thanks kid.

Disclaimer: All book links are affiliate links. 

Diet-to-Go Meals & Review

In case you missed it, I moved this weeks Year of Baking post to Tuesday!

I grew up on microwave meals and frozen food, so I am no stranger to how bad frozen meals can be for you. When I first started losing weight, I used weight watchers and it was 100 times easier to get the microwave meals then to figure out the points for meals I made at home. So I stopped doing all of that. I started eating clean and I felt better about myself and I was noticing change.

I admit though, all those home delivery services for diet meals piqued my interest. Were they good? Were they bad just like the above-mentioned microwave meals? Recently, I got the opportunity to try and review Diet-to-Go meals, I jumped on it. The meals and foods are things that I make at home, it is not processed junk like the ones that have Weight Watchers points at the supermarket. Plus, we are always on the go, lots of traveling, even during the day. We have swim lessons, music classes, play dates, errands, etc… This was a great opportunity to try something different.

Stocked Fridge!

Stocked Fridge!

So how does Diet-to-Go work? Diet-to-Go has 3 unique menus (vegetarian, low-fat, and low-carb) and 20 plans to choose from. I was able to choose from one of the 3 unique menus, so I chose low-carb. Customers are able to log in to their account and make substations, change their plan, and pause & re-start their plan. Sounds pretty easy right? So lets take a look at the food!

A sampling of the breakfasts

A sampling of the breakfasts

From L-R: Tomato Mushroom Omelet, Spinach Quiche, Egg Patty

Other meals: Pork Chop Breakfast (with Green Beans, Egg Patty and Cheese) and Cheese Omelet

Tomato Mushroom Omelet: The Omelet was okay, I didn’t like that the cheese was a giant block so I took it out, otherwise the eggs were good. I don’t like mushrooms, so I tasted the sauce, but I didn’t like, it wasn’t heave though so if you like mushrooms you probably will! The broccoli were a bit watery but still nice and crunchy and the sausage patty tasted like the ones you buy in the freezer section and had a bit of a kick, I did enjoy that.

Spinach Quiche: The quiche tasted great, there was lots of flavor and the spinach was not watery. I didn’t eat the sausage because it is lent and I stupidly heated this one up before I realized. I did like the green beans too, they were nice and crisp.

Egg Patty: My meal plan said I was supposed to have scrambled eggs but this is what I got instead. The label said Egg Patty with Bacon and Vegetable, but it was actually canadian bacon and I am not usually a fan. The meal also came with creamed spinach and cauliflower. I put the canadian bacon on top of the patty and the spinach on top of that – like a little sandwich and it tasted great. I wish the spinach wasn’t creamed, it was tasty but too much dairy for my liking.

Lunches

Lunches

From L-R: Baked Cajun Salmon, Beef Short Ribs, Baked Chicken with Goat Cheese

Other meals: Chicken Roma (stuffed chicken, vegetables and cheese) and Veal Parmesan (veal leg with tomato sauce and mozzarella)

Cajun Salmon: Hands down my favorite meal! It came with asparagus and broccoli, both of which tasted great. The sauce was a creamy sauce, I think it would have been great as just a rub. I felt like a lot of the low carb meals had a creamy component, but considering these are diet meals I felt like all the creamed items were a bit much. Also, I can’t usually handle a ton of spice and this was fine for me.

Beef Short Ribs: Nick tried this one as I am not usually a ribs fan. It came with asparagus and sautéed peppers and a mushroom gravy. Nick said that the ribs tasted like a brisket, but they were very tender. The veggies were great, he couldn’t tell that they were microwaved veggies. The sauce was tasty and a good consistency.

Baked Chicken with Goat Cheese: The chicken was stuffed with goat cheese and a spicy rub. It was delicious, the chicken was juicy, the stuffing was flavorful, but there was a lot of it. Again, the veggies tasted like I had just steamed them not heated them up. This was my second favorite.

Dinners

Dinners

From L-R: Spicy Chicken with Fajita Veggies, Turkey Meatloaf in Tomato Sauce

Other meals: Chicken Marsala, Prime Rib with red wine sauce, and Roasted Half of Chicken with Cauliflower Puree

Spicy Chicken with Fajita Veggies: This included brussels, broccoli, guacamole. The chicken was in strips mixed with peppers and was delicious, again a bit of spice but not overpowering. I loved the broccoli, I love brussels usually but these ended up tasting a bit rubbery. My only issue really was the guacamole. There were no directions to remove it from the tray before heating, although I should have followed my gut instinct to take it off. I heated it and it was no good.

Turkey Meatloaf in Tomato Sauce: The meatloaf was tender and had great flavor. There was the creamed spinach and green beans as well. The spinach, again tasty but a bit too creamy and the green beans were nice and crisp.

Roasted Half Chicken with Cauliflower Puree: This was the only meal I had a big issue with. I put this meal in the microwave for longer than the allotted amount and it was still very pink in the middle, I felt very uncomfortable eating it. So I tasted the outside, and this one was very peppery. The cauliflower was not pureed mine was very chunky and grainy.

Diet-to-Go is the most inexpensive fresh diet delivery service on the market and was recently rated #1 on Epicurious. So what do I think after a week’s worth of Diet-to-Go?

This is a great program for someone who is very busy and wants to eat healthy but cannot find the time to get to the store or is in a place where ordering out/eating out is very commonplace. Diet-to-Go meals cost $17.02 per 1,000 calories where the average healthy food costs $18.16 per 1,000 calories. Each Diet-to-Go meal is about $6.81, that is a great price, comparable to take-out and fast food, and MUCH better for you.

I liked the majority of my meals, my only complaints are the creamy/cheesy components are a bit heavy and I wish all the packages had calorie counts. Some of mine did but not all. Again since these are diet meals, a lot of people track calories, sugar, sodium, etc… and I think that would be a useful tool. I was able to find some other meal information in Lose It! but I don’t have any way of making sure it is accurate. The last part is that I wish they had more veggies, I included a salad with every lunch & dinner since the veggies weren’t as plentiful as I would normally make for myself.

Would I buy this on my own? Definitely. It was convenient to use and the meals were delicious. I love making my own food, but as a mom, sometimes you just have those days and instead of ordering out I could just warm up one of these. You can heat them from frozen or let them thaw for 24 hours and heat them after they thaw out, super convenient. If you would like to try them yourself you can receive 20% off any meal plan with the code: fitfluential.

Fitfluential LLC compensated me for this Campaign. All opinions are my own.

For more weekly eats check out WIAW with Jenn!


What do you think? Have you tried Diet-to-Go?

FitnessGlo: Review & Giveaway!

Source: fitsugar.com via Laura on Pinterest

 

If there is ever a quote that is my daily mantra — this is it.

I haven’t been shy about the fact that for the past 3 years I have been using my home as my gym, although that is changing – I will address that in another post, today I am telling you all about your new at-home or on-the-road fitness tool, FitnessGlo.

Screen Shot 2013-02-20 at 1.56.51 PM

FitnessGlo states:

FitnessGlo was designed to change the way you feel about fitness. Many fitness programs get very complicated, very quickly and before you know it you’re tracking so many different factors, it’s easy to lose your way or decide to skip your workout altogether. Our goal is to keep it simple: find a workout, do the workout.

Our classes have been created to get you moving and feeling good about you. When you move, you begin to feel great and when you feel great, you can truly enjoy living.

FitnessGlo was created for women, by women and is designed for busy women; whether you are a mom, travel frequently for work, or just don’t live close to the gym, it was designed for you to get in a workout during your busy day. The classes are shorter, but can be combined with other classes if you have time for a longer workout. There is also a balance tracker to see if you are maintaing balance within the strength, cardio and stretch classes every week.

I have taken a plethora of classes from barre to cardio to stretch. Some classes have been easy and some have been extremely hard. I will be honest, the first class I took was level 3 Cardio Athletic (the hardest level) and I had to stop because it was so difficult, it was almost embarrassing. Then I realized that this program is not just for those who are new at fitness, it spans all fitness types and there are multiple ways to challenge yourself.

FitnessGlo makes it very easy to do a quick workout when B is sleeping or when I am having a crazy day.  It’s nice to know that when I am having one of those crazy mom days, I can take 10 minutes of my time and get in a workout, and I always feel better when I get a little sweaty.  The website is also very easy to use which is a huge plus, being short on time – the last thing I want to do is waste time on the website.

You can search for classes by style, teacher, duration or level.

Screen Shot 2013-02-20 at 1.57.04 PM

You can also schedule classes, I did this at first, to try out a bunch of different classes.

Scheduling a Class

Scheduling a Class

But you can schedule one class as a recurring schedule. I have my stretch session scheduled for every day that I am running.

Strrrrretch

Strrrrretch

I do not stretch enough, so I actually set a reminder in my phone to stretch immediately after my run. It’s easy I have my computer set up in our guest room, so I head upstairs and immediately open FitnessGlo and follow the stretch class. It is pretty simple and pretty easy, well the stretching isn’t easy but getting to the video is.

Is FitnessGlo affordable? It costs $12 a month to have access to this program. That is one or two lunches out from one week. You can totally swing that in your budget, right?

So how can it get better? I have one 90 day membership to giveaway, courtesy of FitnessGlo!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

FitFluential LLC compensated me for this Campaign. All opinions are my own

Kona Kase Review

I recently got the opportunity to try Kona Kase.

IMG 4131

Kona Kase is a monthly subscription service, similar to your Birchbox or Bulu Boxes, that delivers endurance nutrition samples to you!

This is a great service and not just if you are new to endurance sports. Lets face it, we have all forked over hard earned money for a type of fuel or recovery and hated it or the product wreaked havoc on our body. At least I hope I am not the only one. Kona Kase lets you try different products to see if they work with your body and if you like them.

Kona Kase is $15 per month and ship one the 15th of every month, and soon you will be able to go to the website and purchase the items you like. Shipping is free as well and you can cancel your membership any time WITHOUT penalty.

Each kase is a surprise, however you can see past kases to get an idea of products.

I tried the October Kase, lets break it down by product.

IMG 4132

Clif Builder’s Protein Bar – Chocolate Mint Flavor

Larabar – Blueberry Muffin Flavor

Powerbar Performance Energy – Banana Flavor

I’ll be honest, the only bar I liked was the Clif bar. I know from previous experience that the blueberry Larabar is not for me. I tried the Powerbar but I didn’t really love the flavor.

KonaKaseCollage

2nd Surge Gel – Chocolate tasted good very similar to a Gu.

3 FRS Drink Sticks – Orange similar to EBoost, not a flavor I would use frequently, but not too sweet.

Vega Drink Stick – Chocolate the one item I have yet to try, I will update this as soon as I do!

Sharkies – Berry I loved these, similar to any shot blok in consistency, although berry is not my favorite flavor, these weren’t bad.

Gatorade Prime – Berry This was VERY sweet and sat in my stomach a bit weird. I was always interested in trying this but I am glad this is how I was able too, since I don’t think I would go out and buy these on my own.

I would definitely buy the Clif bars, Sharkies and 2nd surge again on my own.

So would I try Kona Kase again? Yes! I loved the idea behind the product and ironically would use more of the items in this than in my birchboxes. How would I improve it?

It would be awesome if you could customize even more, perhaps make a “no list” in terms of flavors that you don’t like? Or even more specifics, like I know that I don’t like the blueberry larabar. Other than that I loved the box.

What items would you love to see in a Kona Kase? What is your favorite endurance sports item?

Disclaimer: I was provided one months box free of charge, as always opinions are my own.

El Potro Mexican Bar & Grill!

About a month ago one of our good friends came to visit us. We had tickets for the Patriots vs. Broncos game that Sunday, so we decided to start the weekend early with a nice dinner out.

Our friend, Tom, wanted a mexican restaurant and I had recently been to El Potro with my friend Casey for a weeknight dinner. The food was delicious and authentic and the drinks were strong, so I thought it would be a great place for our dinner.

When we got there the tiny dining room was PACKED, it was a bit surprising since the last time I was there, there was only one other table with guests. We took the last table and as soon as I sat down I noticed that there was a mariachi band playing, it was awesome. They took requests, and of course Nick (always the musician) asks about the different instruments and then requests something upbeat. It was pretty awesome, albeit a bit loud.

We started with a round of house margaritas, and they were strong, I was driving and could barely drink a 1/3 of it.

IMG 3975

We also had chips and salsa, the salsa came in these cute little carafes so that you could refill the ramekin on your table.

IMG 3976

note: the salsa was also delicious and tasted extremely fresh

We decided to get an appetizer, one to balance out the extremely strong margarita and two because I wanted to try a variety of things.

We started with the Nachos with shredded beef ($9.00)
IMG 3977

The also had lettuce, tomato, beans, shredded cheese and sour cream drizzle. Now I am not one to usually pass up nachos, but these were beyond your average nachos.

Whenever I usually get nachos the meat is usually dry and I will add salsa to make it taste better. The beef on these nachos was shredded and perfectly succulent and juicy. How you think nachos should be. I also really loved the sour cream drizzle, I hate when the sour cream (and salsa for that matter) are in a huge lump on top ant its hard to dig the chip in.

For my meal I decided to give the grilled chicken fajitas a try.

Elpotro

Um, holy cow, look at all that food. For $14.95 I got grilled chicken in the secret marinade over a huge bed of sautéed peppers and onions (I am pretty sure they were still cooking when they brought my plate to me). I also received, lettuce, pico de gallo, sour cream, rice, beans and guacamole on the side and obviously tortillas.

I made two fajitas while there, and had the leftovers for lunches for 2 more days.

Nick had the Tacos Chipotle with peppers & onions, I had that the first time I visited and it was so delicious but so spicy, and I can’t handle spicy that well, but I would get this 1000x over.

Tom had the Carne Asada and also raved about it.

Sorry for the no pictures, the boys dug in before I could get photos

Time is Love

Today’s post is most definitely inspired by this song.

It’s so hard sometimes to not get hurt by stupid things that have happened in my life, but I have to remember there are so many good things that are going on. I have had a lot of negativity regarding my Nike half, which is pretty disappointing. So in order to not let it get me down, I am making a list of things that are great lately.

I’ve been sort of MIA since we are packing up our condo and we are moving.

IMG 4100
1. Cabinets are empty so B has started hiding his toys in them. I love opening the cabinet and finding clifford, blocks, pacifiers and water cups.

IMG 4129
2. I’ve received a few new products to try, the first being this Uncle Sam cereal.

IMG 4131
I am really excited to test out this! The Kona Kase is such an awesome concept, I have been slowly testing out all the products, so I will have that up for you soon!

IMG 4008
Yurbuds, I have been testing these out, and so far, love them. I will have a review of these for you too!

IMG 4126
4. Family – B & Uncle Chris.

IMG 4069
Sister & I

IMG 3992
The husband & I at the Patriots game.

Love is what really matters, I need to forget about the hate.