Sunday, January 26, 2014

P90X3 Week 4 Progress Update and Meal Planning/Prepping Tips

I just finished week 4 of P90X3 already!  It's hard to believe I've already been through 4 weeks!  Week 4 was called Transition Week. Most of the workouts (I am following the Lean Schedule) consisted of some sort of Yoga / Stretch Workout.  

Day 1 Workout was Isometrix.  I have really learned to enjoy this workout.  It gives my body a great stretch, yet it also challenges me to hold poses for longer than a typical Yoga class would require.

Day 2 Workout was Dynamix. In P90X3, you always have this as an optional workout on rest day; however, I take full advantage of my rest days, so I've never actually done this one. I pressed play and completed it last Tuesday for the first time.   It was all about slow stretching.  I wasn't a huge fan of it because it was pretty slowed paced, but I muddled through it! 

Day 3 Workout was Accelerator.  This workout stepped it up a notch and incorporated more cardio than the other transition week workouts.  It was a perfect mid-week workout to get my muscles working and the sweat coming. 

Day 4 was Pilates X.  In my younger years I did Pilates and loved it!  I didn't stick with it because the workouts were so long.  This 30 minute Pilates workout was perfect! It incorporated the Pilates moves that I remembered from the past and I really enjoyed learning the new moves and pushing myself to accomplish them. My daughter even joined in a bit while I was working out!  I was super sore the next morning after this workout!

Day 5 was Agility X.  This is another sweat building type workout.  It really tests your balance and strength, which is great.  Like the Accelerator workout, Agility X was a nice change of pace for transition week.

Day 6 was X3 Yoga.  LOVE THIS! Although this Yoga workout slows things down a bit, I absolutely love it!  This is my first experience with a true Yoga workout and my only regret is not trying a Yoga workout sooner.  X3 Yoga is part of the schedule each week.  It is amazing to see how far I have come since Week 1!

Today, Day 7, is rest day.  Like I said before, I take full advantage of my rest days and typically use it for meal planning and prepping.

As for my meal choices throughout the week, I have to say, I did a pretty good job!  I had a couple of slip-ups because my husband decided to bring home some double stuffed Oreo cookies.  Needless to say, they are gone.  BUT, they aren't gone because I ate them, they are gone because he had a "guys" weekend and I made him take them!  He did end up keeping some for himself but I made him hide them :)  Sometimes when you know you have something in your house that will really test your willpower, you need to take the necessary measures.

I am anxious to start Block 2 tomorrow.  There are some new workouts that I  have yet to try.  That is one of the many features I love about P90X3.  You can't get bored with the workouts because there are so many!  I'm ready for the change and ready to continue seeing great results! So here's what's on my agenda this week:
Monday: Triometrics
Tuesday: The Warrior
Wednesday: X3 Yoga
Thursday: MMX
Friday: Incinerator (I'm a little nervous for  this one.  The name intimidates me a bit!)
Saturday: CVX
Sunday: Rest Day

So I always like to share my meal plans with you in hopes of giving you some new snack / meal ideas.  This is my meal plan for the upcoming week.  

I was able to get my meal prep done yesterday.  I got all of my veggies washed, cut, and portioned out.  My lettuce and spinach is washed and ready to go, and my berries for my yogurt are cut up. I also have a washed bag of grapes and an extra gallon baggie of veggies in the refrigerator to that my girls have healthy snacks to choose from throughout the week. By putting in about a half hour of meal prepping yesterday, I will save time throughout the week because I can just grab and go!  The only prep that I did not do was cook my chicken.  If you plan to have chicken salad or wraps throughout the week, it saves a lot of time if you cook it on Sunday and have it ready to go for the week.  For me, it's not a big deal to throw a few pieces of chicken in the skillet or on the grill pan during the week.

This week I decided to give you a sneak peek into my refrigerator!  I know, it's not the cleanest looking fridge, but it works for us. In the past I always just threw my fruits and veggies in the drawers at the bottom.  What would always happen?  They would end up going bad because I either forgot they were there, or I picked other foods out of my fridge when I would get something to eat. A VERY HELPFUL tip that I want to pass on to you is if you keep your healthy snacks at eye level, you WILL eat them!  They are the first thing you you will see when you open that fridge so you aren't giving your mind a choice.  There is still plenty of room for some other food and drinks that are not part of my meal plan that other family members enjoy.  Although you can't see this, my drawers contain my meat, cheese sticks, extra fruits (apples, grapes, clementines) and veggies (carrots, celery, green/red peppers, and extra lettuce) for the rest of my family.  Eye level to my 2 and almost 4 year old is at the bottom drawers, so, that's where I keep their snacks!  That way when we open the fridge I can tell them they can open any of the drawers and choose something.  In their minds they are excited because THEY get to choose their snacks and in my mind, I'm excited because all of their choices are healthy! I think that's called a "win-win" situation! 

So there you have it! My Week 4 P90X3 progress and upcoming week plans are here for you to read! Being that I live in Pennsylvania, the Winter season is in full swing.  It has been anywhere from 5 to 25 degrees out this week (and below zero at night).  It has been cold and snowy all weekend and will be even worse this week as the wind chill will be as low as -30 degrees during the night!  Since I stay home with my girls and also work from home, it would be so easy to pig out all day on unhealthy foods.  I have found it easier to just not have those options in my house, especially at this time of year.   By having my meal plan, which you can see on my kitchen counter above, I have a plan and can stick to it.  There is no guesswork on what I will be eating this week and no excuses because almost everything is prepped and ready to go.

If you find my tips and progress updates to be helpful, contact me at lisamariedecker@yahoo.com about joining one of my February accountability groups. I run closed Facebook groups that will provide you with the support, motivation, and accountability to help you be successful in your health and fitness journey.  I am always looking for people who are ready to make the commitment to live a healthier life.  My next group is going to be based on the NEW Beachbody program, the 21 Day Fix.  You can read about it HERE.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

What is the 21 Day Fix?

SO many people are looking to get healthy and in shape but just don't know where to start.  It's easy to go to the gym and/or do a home fitness program but what happens when you don't get the results you were hoping for?  How is it possible that you can constantly workout, yet see zero results?  The answer is.....nutrition!  There is a false belief that if you eat less, then you will lose weight.  Or better yet, if you eat whatever you want but exercise daily, then you will also lose weight.  The truth is, neither of those beliefs are true.  Sometimes all it takes it altering your portion sizes to get the results you are wanting.  I am excited to announce the newest program of the Beachbody family, the 21 DAY FIX!

What is the 21 Day Fix?
The 21 Day Fix program takes the guesswork out of weight loss.  It's a unique portion-control system combined with easy-to-follow workouts that fit into anyone's busy schedule.  The trainer, Autumn Calabrese shares her passion for food and fitness as she shows you how to make simple choices that add up to life-changing results. This fitness AND nutrition program can help you lose up to 15 pounds in 21 days.  Each workout is approximately 30 minutes a day, 7 days a week.  There are modifications within the workouts so even a beginning can do this!  The unique nutrition plan uses specifically portioned food storage containers that eliminate the guesswork from portion control.  There is no weighing, measuring, or counting calories, carbs, or points.  If it fits in the container, you can eat it!

What does the program include?

The 21 Day Fix basic kit comes with 7 work outs:
* Dirty 30 workout
* Total Body Cardio Fix
* Upper Fix
* Lower Fix
* Pilates Fix
* Cardio Fix
* Yoga Fix
**Some of the workouts do use light weights or a resistance band, which is not included in the base kit.

Also Included:
* 7 color-coded portion-control containers
* Shakeology Shaker Cup
* One month supply of Shakeology

FREE Gifts Include:
* Start Here Guide with Workout Calendar
* 3-Day Quick Fix
* Eating Plan

* You also will have access to my exclusive 21 day test group beginning February 10, 2014.  The group will be a select group of individuals who are ready to commit to 21 days of focus and intensity.  I will help walk you through the nutrition plan, teach you how to plan it out, how to make it work for your lifestyle and to keep you accountable.  All of this will be done through a closed Facebook group which means only the people within the group will be able to post and see what is being posted.   The only cost is the purchase of the 21 Day Fix Challenge pack. It will include everything you need to get started. You can get it at a discounted price through me as your coach, along with the support, accountability and guidance!  Once the purchase is made, the group itself is free.  If you invest in me, I will invest in you!  

Why not start now looking your best for Spring and Summer?  Did you know that it only takes 21 days to create a habit?  Once you go through this program you can not only repeat it as often as you'd like, but you will gain a great understanding of portion control, which will lead you to living a healthy lifestyle!

The 21 Day Fix will be available through me as your Coach on February 3, 2014!
Let's make this happen!

Fill out my online form.
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Thursday, January 23, 2014

Maple-Lemon Glaze Salmon

I've got another great recipe for you to try!  

  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp Pure Maple Syrup
  • 1 Tbsp cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 4 (6 ounce) skinless salmon fillets
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • Cooking Spray

(If broiling, preheat broiler)
1. Combine lemon juice, maple syrup, cider vinegar, and olive oil in a large zip-lock bag.  Add the salmon to the bag and seal.  Refrigerator for about 10 minutes, turning bag once.
2. Remove fish from bag, reserving marinade.  Place marinade in a microwave-sake bowl.  Microwave at high for 1 minute.
3. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Sprinkle fish with salt and pepper.  Coat the pan with cooking spray and add salmon. Cook for approximately 3-4 minutes then turn over.  Brush the marinade evenly over the fish and continue to cook for another 4-5 minutes or until the salmon flakes easily when tested with a fork.
**For best recipes, after you brush the marinade on, BROIL for about 3 minutes so that the glaze caramelizes into a tasty brown crust.


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Cooler Plan #2 - Eating for Best Long-Term Results and Year-Round Maintenance

I know I've said this before, but I love reading author Tosca Reno's Clean Eating books.  The first book I read was The Eat Clean Diet, Recharged.  It really gave me the basic knowledge that I was looking for in learning how to eat clean. As I post about my family's clean eating transition, I get a lot of questions about what exactly it means to "eat clean." When I explain about pairing complex carbs with lean proteins I get the obvious question of, what foods are considered to be complex carbs and lean proteins? So, I decided to plan it all out for you!  Tosca Reno calls her meal plans, cooler plans, and there are different types of cooler plans based on the results that you want. Within my health and fitness groups, I like to focus on Cooler Plan #2.  This will give you a great idea as to what I eat and when, which should answer a lot of questions!

Note:  This information came from The Eat Clean Diet, Recharged, by Tosca Reno.  

What it is and what it's for:
When following Cooler Plan #2, you are either looking for steady weight loss, or basic maintenance once you have reached your goal.  The reason why is because when your body begins approaching its set point (it's genetically predetermined healthy weight) you will find weight loss will slow down or even stop.  

So, the occasional treat like a glass of wine or piece of chocolate is permitted, but in limited amounts.  It is not recommended to eat unhealthy sugars and fats.

How it Works: 
Follow the Eat-Clean Principles
To Do:
  • Eat more - eat six small meals each day.
  • Eat breakfast every day, within an hour of rising.
  • Eat a combination of lean protein and complex carbs at each meal.
  • Eat sufficient (two to three servings) of healthy fats every day.
  • Carry a cooler packed with clean foods each day.
  • Depend on fresh fruits and vegetables for fiber, vitamins, nutrients and enzymes.
  • Adhere to proper portion sizes. 
  • Avoid all over-processed foods, particularly white flour and sugar.
  • Avoid all chemically charge foods.
  • Avoid foods containing preservatives.
  • Avoid artificial sugars.
  • Avoid artificial foods such as processed cheese slices.
  • Avoid saturated and trans fats.
  • Avoid sugar loaded beverages (including soda and juice)
  • Avoid, or do your best, to limit alcohol intake.
  • Avoid all calorie dense foods containing little or not nutritional value.  
  • Avoid super sizing your meals.

Complex Carbohydrates from Fruit and Vegetables:
6 portions each day.  A portion is:
* 1 cupped handful of piece of fruit, such as berries, grapefruit, melon, apples and mangoes
* 2 cupped handfuls of vegetables including broth-based/vegetable puree soups. 

Complex Carbohydrates from Whole Grains and Starchy Carbohydrates:
2-4 portions each day.  A portion is:
* 1 scant handful of high-protein, sugar free cold cereals
* 1 handful of cooked cereal
* 1 piece of whole-grain bread (or seven inch wrap)
* 1 handful-sized serving of sweet potato, yam, banana, corn, carrots or squash

Lean Protein:
6 portions each day.  A portion is:
* 1 cup / 1 handful of dairy products (low-fat soy, almond, hemp, rice or skim milk, cottage cheese, yogurt cheese or plain, fat free, sugar free yogurt)
* 1 scant handful of raw, unsalted nuts (this is also a healthy fat)
* 2 Tablespoons of all-natural nut butters (this is also a healthy fat)
* 1 palm-sized portion of lean meats
* Good-quality, sugar and chemical free protein powder (hemp, soy, or whey)

* 2-3 liters per day of fresh water with no sodium
* Clear herbal tea (unsweetened)
* Black coffee (in moderation)
* Green / Black Tea

Sweeteners: Be sure to use these in moderation!  Avoid artificial sweeteners!
* Honey
* Maple sugar flakes
* Sucanat
* Rapadura Sugar

I have found that simply by pairing the correct foods together, along with eating more frequently and incorporating Shakeology, I have been able to lose, and continue to lose weight. If you would like help with meal planning and prep, as well as support, motivation, and accountability, head over to my site to create a free account so that I am YOUR coach!  You can also contact me to join in on my next health and fitness group! I would be glad to discuss your health and fitness goals and how I can help you reach them.  Have a great day! 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

It's Time for a Kitchen Makeover!

As you begin your journey to a healthier lifestyle, you have to keep in mind that the rest of your family may need a bit longer to adjust.  That means you may still have some food in your kitchen that is not for your mouth!  A great example of this happened in my house last night.  My husband brought home a small 5 pack of those Chewy Chips Ahoy cookies.  They were even brownie filled!  Ahh!!! Although they weren't a very healthy surprise, he brought them home for my daughters.  They each got one, which left 3 more.  The "out of site out of mind rule" works pretty well for me.  So, I ended up having my husband hide them somewhere!  Why?  Well, I really like those cooki
es and they should not be in my house!  I have come a long way with my will power, but it's not quite where I want it to be.  So, if I don't know where they are, I won't worry about them.  If they were sitting on the pantry shelf where I would see them every time I open the door then guess what?  They'd be gone in a heartbeat! If this sounds anything like you then it's definitely time for a kitchen make over!

Within my challenge groups, I promote meal planning and meal prepping.  I do so because I know what would happen to me if I didn't have a plan.  I would eat foods that were simply for instant gratification.  For starters, in order to get the body you want, you have to surround yourself with good stuff and get rid of the the stuff that is holding you back!  In addition, you have to get rid of those self-justifying excuses.  What do I mean?  Have you ever eaten everything on your plate just because you don't want to waste food?  Have you ever bought things at the grocery store, that you know are very unhealthy, because someone in your house likes them? Do you ever reward yourself with food?  Maybe you had a bad day or an extra special day. If you answered yes to any of those questions then THAT is what I call self-justifying excuses.  

So here we go!  Let's get those kitchens ready!

First thing first!

Get those tools ready!
When organizing your kitchen, it is much easier and quicker to have your "go-to" utensils together and ready to go.  I use these tools frequently and they are together in an accessible place.
1. Paring Knife
2. Vegetable Peeler
3. Food Scale
4. Measuring Cup / Spoons
5. Plastic baggies
6. Blender
7. Cutting Board

You may be thinking, what do you use all of those tools on a regular basis for?  Well, we all know that if you were to grab a bag of chips and begin eating them, you'd eat a lot more, if not the whole bag, as opposed to getting a small bowl and measuring out a portion.  So, what I do on Sundays is I pre-portion all of my snacks for the week.  For me, I eat a lot of unsalted roasted almonds which means I count 14 of them out and place them in a baggie.  The same goes for vegetables.  I wash, peel/cut up my veggies and make individual baggies with about 2 cups of veggies each.  Any pre-portioned snacks that I make are placed at eye-level in the refrigerator or in the pantry.  By keeping them at eye-level, they are always in reach and are ready to "grab-and-go" at snack time.

So here is my suggestion...go through your pantry, cupboards, refrigerator, freezer and ditch the bad foods!  If it is something that you don't think you will have the will-power to pass up, then your family members probably shouldn't be eating it anyways.  It is important that you explain to your family that you are trying to better yourself by creating a healthier lifestyle.  If that means not buying that bag of chips each week then so be it!  My husband was extremely supportive in what I was doing but he still wanted to be able to eat what he wanted, whether it was clean or not.  So, I know it sounds silly, but, like the cookies, I asked him to hide his chips!  If it was going to be in the house then I didn't want to know where it was at. 

Now that you are ready to do some cleaning, what exactly SHOULD you throw away or get rid of?  Definitely get rid of the obvious junk foods (chips, soda/sweetened drinks, instant food, most frozen dinners, margarine and other processed fats, candy, etc).  There are also a lot of "trick" foods that you should get rid of.  This is what got me at the beginning!  When I first started, I had no idea that these foods weren't really "healthy" for you! (crackers-even whole grain ones, breakfast cereals that have more than a few grams of sugar per serving, granola bars, fruit juice, regular peanut butter, breads and bagels that are not exclusively made from whole grains). 

A good rule to get in the habit of is looking at the labels.  Stay away from forms of sugar such as high fructose corn syrup as well as hydrogenated oil, fractioned oil, and preservatives.  
Are you thinking that your kitchen is going to be empty yet?!  Don't worry! Everything will be all right!

Now that you got rid of the junk, let's talk about where exactly you should place your healthy food.  This may have to wait until you go to the grocery store :)  As I briefly mentioned above, you should have your healthy snacks at eye level.  Did you ever notice that in refrigerators all of the fruits and veggies are typically in a closed drawer?  Do you ever get to eat them all before they go bad?  Let's pull out those fruits and veggies and put them in the middle of your fridge so that you can see them every day!  You could cut them up and place them in clear containers, or I like to portion them out into baggies.  The same goes with your fruits and yogurt. If you plan to have berries in your yogurt throughout the week, cut them up and place them in small snack baggies and keep them together.  More often than not, as consumers at the grocery store, as well as in our own home, we tend to grab things that are at eye level, so, having whole, healthy foods at eye level will help to prevent you from reaching for those potato chips!  

Let's talk about healthy swaps!  Take a look in your pantry and refrigerator.  Is there anything in there that you would be willing to swap out for a healthier alternative?  Do you eat peanut butter?  Would you considering swapping it out for an all natural peanut butter?  Keep in mind, you still have to look at the labels!  All all-natural peanut butter is not created equal. You want to stick with the only ingredient being peanuts.  Another great swap can happen with yogurt.  I prefer to eat yogurt for lunch; however, I used to eat a light, flavored yogurt.  It was recommended to me to switch to plain Greek yogurt and the first time I tried it I thought I was going to be sick!  So, what I did was I sweetened it with natural sweeteners.  I use a handful of berries and a drizzle of honey or Agave Nectar.  It does the trick perfectly!  I will warn that it does take a little getting used to.  Greek yogurt is thicker and you need to figure out what kind of sweetness you are looking for when adding the toppings.  Often times I use 1/4 cup of homemade granola for an extra crunch as well. This makes for a great lunch or a nice complete snack because it includes a complex carb and a lean protein. In most recipes, you can even swap out the sour creme for Greek yogurt so there are multiple purposes!  Cheese is another easy swap.  String cheese is already portioned out and easy to grab.  Pair it with a serving of 20 grapes and you've got yourself a complete snack!

Also think about your regular condiments.  Most condiments, including ketchup and Dijon mustard come in a cleaner version that do not include high fructose corn syrup (for the ketchup) and no added sugar (for the mustard).  Another big, yet easy, change that I made was using butter.  I actually can't tell you the last time I bought butter at the store! When cooking, I use cooking spray or olive oil.  

If you  have the phone capability, there is a great free app that you should download.  It is called Fooducate. It will allow you to scan bar codes of products and do comparisons of two products or by itself.  Each item is given a grade based on its nutritional content, as well as healthier alternatives!  It is convenient for quick decisions.

Keep in mind that the healthiest foods are kept in the refrigerator.  If you are running to the pantry for something, it is most likely processed.  Realistically, I know that it would be next to impossible for me (and my family) to completely eliminate processed foods.  While I do still have snacks for my girls in the pantry (that I stay clear of), you will find other things like Brown Rice (unsalted) Rice Cakes, instant Rolled Oats, raw unsalted almonds, Shakeology, instant brown rice, Quinoa, and whole wheat tortillas.  Although this is in the freezer, you would also find that I eat Ezekiel bread rather than a whole wheat bread as well.  In any case, the key for me  when it comes to the pantry is to keep those rather unhealthy choices hidden in the back! 

So now what?! Here are some things that you can do RIGHT NOW to help you get started:
1. Check out your refrigerator and pantry to see if there are foods that you frequently consume that you are willing to swap out by a lower fat, lower, sugar, or reduced calorie alternative. Once you do that, go add those to your grocery list NOW so you don't forget!
2. Remove high fat, high sugar, and any other temptations that you have in your kitchen and make room on the shelves for the fresh food that you will be getting soon!
3. Be sure that you have the basic tools you will need (noted above) so that this process truly is easier than what you do now.  
4. Stock up on plastic baggies or containers that you can store in your refrigerator, so that you are ready to portion everything out come prep day. 

If you are looking for snack or main meal ideas that have worked for me, check out the Clean Eating Recipes tab above. 

Good luck and don't hesitate to contact me if you need help with your kitchen makeover! 

Monday, January 20, 2014

Garlic & Lemon Chicken with Red Potatoes and Green Beans

This recipe is very similar to the Chicken Bake recipe but with less veggies and the addition of lemon. This was definitely a hit, especially because pretty much the only veggie that my 4 year old likes to eat is green beans! It's actually pretty simple and didn't take very long to put together. It makes for great leftovers too!

* 3 Tbsp. olive oil
* 2 lemons, 1 thinly sliced, 1 juiced
* 4 cloves garlic, minced
* 1 tsp salt
* 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
* 3/4 pound trimmed green beans
* 8 small red potatoes, quartered
* 4 chicken breasts

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Coat a large backing dish with 1 Tbsp olive oil.  Arrange lemon slices in a single layer in the bottom of the dish.
2. In a large bowl, combine 2 Tbsp olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper.  Add the chicken, green beans, and potatoes and toss to coat. 
3. Pour the mix into the baking dish and spread around evenly.  
4. Roast for 55 minutes or until cooked through.  

Simple as that!  Enjoy! 

Saturday, January 18, 2014

P90X3 Progress Update and Meal Plan

Good Morning! My family has had a rough week.  I've got a 2 and 3 year old with pneumonia!  It's terrible!  Needless to say, I have been stuck in my house all week and had some time to do early meal planning.  Better yet, the grocery shopping is even done!

So here is the scoop on my meal plan....

Like usual, I am sticking to my "go-to" snacks with a slight addition.  In order to get some protein, as well as veggies, I've been incorporating egg white omelets into my meal plan about every other day.  I recently read about the health benefits of spinach and figured I'd give it a try on my omelet.  I used to turn my nose up at spinach (which my husband still does) so I wasn't sure how it would go.  To my surprise, it was delicious!  I have now included that as part of my omelets throughout the week.  And as usual, since this Italian has GREATLY cut out her bread intake, I always enjoy my piece of cinnamon raisin Ezekiel Bread. On a side note, last week we had fish tacos.  I usually have a small bowl of chopped lettuce as a topping but this time I made it spinach.  I was curious to see if the hubby would notice.  And guess what?!  Unless he reads this blog, he still doesn't know that he ate it! Hehe  He even took leftovers (including the spinach topping) in his lunch the following day!  Another favorite snack of mine is a peanut butter banana roll up.  It really hits the spot for me and it so simple to make!  It is my number one snack choice if I am going to be eating in the car.  All it is is a tablespoon of All Natural Peanut Butter, 1/2 banana (sometime I do a full banana), and a 100% whole wheat/whole grain tortilla.  Simply delicious!

And we can't forget my typical lunch: Plain Greek yogurt, drizzle of honey, and occasionally 1/4 cup of homemade granola. I paired it with an apple the other day too!  After I took the picture I decided to chop up the apple and mix it in. Again, delicious!

So here you have it....this week's P90X3 workout and meal plan schedule!  I'm trying out a new garlic and lemon chicken recipe on Monday, as well as a new salmon recipe on Tuesday!  I don't like to post recipes until I've tried them first. Last night I tried out a cod recipe, which I was super excited about, and it was a complete bust.  I couldn't even finish it, that's how bad it was!  Needless to say, I didn't add it to my blog.  With the exception of new recipes that I still need to try, all of my snack ideas, Shakeology recipes, and dinner recipes can be found under the Clean Eating Recipes tab at the top of the page. 

As you can see, I am still incorporating my daily dose of Chocolate Shakeology for breakfast each day.  I seriously can not go a day without it!  I have been drinking it every single day for about 7 months now.  I truly feel like it gets me going in the mornings and I LOVE that I have the perfect back up meal when I need it.  My  next shipment of Shakeology will be shipped out next week and I seriously CAN NOT wait!  I sampled the new whey protein Strawberry Shakeology last week and loved it!  I ended up switching my next order to the triple combo box (chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry) but have a feeling that I am going to be purchasing a 30 day supply bag of just strawberry as well.  If you are thinking about giving Shakeology a try or would like some more information, feel free to contact me at lisamariedecker@yahoo.com.

Now on to my workout schedule....

I have just about finished Week 3 of P90X3.  I am following the Lean schedule and the first 3 weeks consisted of the same workouts.  With my little ones being sick, I slacked a bit and took that time to cuddle and comfort.  Getting up early wasn't an option because I had at least one sick kid in bed with me each night/morning and you better believe that they know as soon as I move and try to get up!  I'm human and it happens.  So my first thought was that I would just re-do this week starting on Monday but then I decided that needed, and wanted to push harder.  Monday was too far away!  So, I started to get back on track today!  Since I missed the last 3 days of workouts, I decided to do a double workout yesterday, a double workout today, and then one workout on Sunday (which is usually my rest day).  I think I've had enough rest days!  That will put me right back on track for Week 4 on Monday.

According to the P90X3 schedule, Week 4 is Transition week. My workouts are as follows:
                                               Monday: Isometrix
Tueday: Dynamix
Wednesday: Accelerator
Thursday: Pilates X (super excited for this one!)
Friday: CVX (favorite workout so far!)
Saturday: X3 Yoga
Sunday: Rest of Dynamix

I have to say that I am absolutely LOVING P90X3!  As for the physical progress and results that I am getting....

I definitely feel stronger and am noticing a difference in my arms.  Another area where I am seeing progress, which is super exciting for me, is my abs!  While I was pretty thin when I was younger, I've never truly had defined abs.  In fact, a goal of mine is to get those abs by March!  It has only been 3 weeks of P90X3 and I am already seeing them peek through!

If you are thinking about giving P90X3 a try, January is the month to do so!  P90X3, as well as Shaun T's Focus T25 are the two January Challenge Pack promotions!  A Challenge Pack includes a fitness program of your choice, a month supply of Shakeology, a free 30 day trial of Club Membership where you can customize meal plans and grocery lists, me as your coach, and access to my exclusive upcoming Challenge Group!  Whew!  What a deal!  Nutrition+Fitness+Support = Success!

Does support, motivation, and accountability sound like something that would help you stay on track to creating a healthy lifestyle?  If so, you can create a Free Account and have me as your coach!  We can discuss your health and fitness goals and how I can help you reach them!

I am starting a 30 Day Clean Eating and Shakeology Group beginning MONDAY, JANUARY 20, 2014! It's not too late! I still have 1 SPOT LEFT!  Message or email me ASAP if you are interested in joining! 

Friday, January 17, 2014

Broccoli-Quinoa Pilaf

I do prefer Brown Rice over Quinoa; however, I found this recipe and thought I'd give it a try.  It was delicious and was a nice change.

* 1/2 small chopped onion
* 1 tsp olive oil
* 1 cup Quinoa
* 2 cups chopped broccoli
* 1/4 cup raisins
* 1/4 cup roasted almond, coarsely chopped
* salt and pepper

1. Heat 1 tsp of oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.  
2. Add the onion and season with 3/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper.
3. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and starting to brown (about 4 minutes)
4. Add the Quinoa and 1 1/2 cups of water to the saucepan and bring to a boil; reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer gently until almost all the water has evaporated (about 10-12 minutes).  
5. Add the broccoli and raisins into the Quinoa, cover and cook until the Quinoa and broccoli are tender (about another 8-10 minutes).
6. Remove from heat and add the almonds and 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper.


Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Philly Cheese Steak Stuffed Bell Peppers

This is a healthier take on the classic Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich.  It was definitely a hit at this house!  This isn't a dinner that I would make weekly, but it's a nice change every once in a while. I made a couple extra for my husband to take to work the next day. 

(Makes 4 servings)

* 8 oz. thinly sliced roast beef
* 4 slices of Provolone cheese
* 2 large green bell peppers
* 1 medium sweet onion
* 6 oz Baby Bella mushrooms
* 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
* 1 Tbsp garlic - minced
* Salt and Pepper to taste

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
2. Slice the peppers in half lengthwise and remove the ribs and seeds.
3. Slice the onion and saute it, as well as the mushrooms on medium heat with olive oil, minced garlic, and a little salt and pepper.
4. Slice the roast beef into thin strips and add to the onion/mushroom mixture.  Allow to cook for about 5 to 10 minutes.
5. Place each pepper half in a baking dish, open side up.  Spoon the meat/onion/mushroom mixture evenly into each pepper.  It will be nearly overflowing.
6. Top each pepper with a slice of cheese.
7. Bake for 15-20 minutes until the cheese on top is golden brown.

Serve and Enjoy!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Chicken Stir Fry

In the past, my  idea of making Chicken Stir Fry was going to the freezer aisle and buying some pre-made bag that I would dump into a skillet and pour on some mystery sauce that came with it.  My husband would always say that he wanted homemade stir fry but I always felt like it was too much work. Well, I decided to give it a try!  I searched for some good looking recipes and found one, but put my spin on it.  When my 3 year old daughter and I went to the grocery store yesterday, she helped me pick out all of the veggies to be included.  The once thing that I did mean to buy (it's included in the ingredients list but isn't shown in the pictures) is edamame, but I totally skipped it on my list!  

So I made this Chicken Stir Fry tonight and it was AMAZING!  Everyone loved it!  Although I had, and took, the time to cut everything up right before dinner, this would be a great meal to prep either on Sunday or the night before you plan to make it.  You could just have everything cut up in baggie's, or in one big baggie and you'd be ready to go come dinner time.  By that point it would only take about 15 minutes to make!  

I used the following ingredients; however, you could add whatever veggies you like!  This makes approximately 6 servings.

* 1 Green Bell Pepper
* 1 Red Bell Pepper
* 1 Yellow Bell Pepper
* 1 Cup Mushrooms
* 2 Celery Sticks
* 1 Cup Baby Carrots 
* 1/2 diced white onion
* About 20 edamame 
* 1 cup baby cob corn (my girls like these so I added them; however, I stayed away from eating them).
* 1 head of broccoli
* 4 chicken breasts (chopped into 1 inch pieces) 
* 2 Tbsp Low Sodium Soy Sauce
* 3 Tbsp Lemon Juice
* 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
* Dash of Pepper

1. Wash all of the veggies. Pre-dice the peppers, onion, celery, and carrots. Chop the head of broccoli and remove the beans out of the pods of the edamame. 
2. Pour olive oil in skillet and place on medium heat. Place veggies into the skillet and cook for approximately 3-4 minutes before adding the raw chicken followed by the Soy Sauce and lemon juice. 
3. Cook for about 15 minutes, stirring frequently.  I covered my skillet; however it is not necessary.

It is a very satisfying meal and makes for great leftovers!  I served it on brown rice.  


Friday, January 10, 2014

Fight those Winter Blues with a Clean Eating Group and a Special Gift!

We are almost to mid January and those New Year Resolutions to lose weight and get healthy are in full swing! How is it going?  Are you still "all about" it or are you starting to fall off the bandwagon?  For me, exercising was always easy and I never necessarily minded it, it was finding the time that was difficult.  Eating healthy, on the other hand, was a different story.  I totally fell for those "low fat" or 100 calorie pack foods.  While I'm sure a 100 calorie pack food is better So once I decided to join a stress free clean eating challenge group, I really learned how to eat.  It wasn't until I joined the group that I came to realize that I truly didn't know what it meant to eat healthy. In fact, I was apparently clueless!  The best part, for me, was that I was able to slowly get my husband and 2 and 3 year old daughters (for the most part) eating clean and healthy with me.
than a big greasy bag of chips, neither are a good choice.  I was also guilty of buying tons of Lean Cuisine meals to heat up at lunch.  Did you ever really look at the nutritional value in those?! And come on, do they REALLY keep you feeling full?! I was sick of yo-yo dieting and trying the latest fad diets!

 I know there are boat loads of people in the same situation.  Maybe you are one of them!  So, what I have decided to do is open up a 30 day Clean Eating group.

What DOES it mean to eat clean?

You might be thinking, what IS clean eating?  If you do a Google search for clean eating, you will find many different versions. What I did was purchased a book called The Eat Clean Diet, Recharged! by Tosca Reno.  She is a fantastic author and has several clean eating books out.  The Recharged book is great because it gives the basics of clean eating, which is what I follow and use in my challenge groups. 

Without going in to great detail, I have learned how to eat every 2 1/2 to 3 hours, which means 5 to 6 meals per day. Now you may be thinking, "I don't have time to eat that much!"  You are not eating 5 to 6 large meals, or even meals that require silverware!  A great snack that I used to eat as a teacher is 20 grapes and a string cheese.  I wasn't chomping on it in front of my students, but I kept it on my desk and any chance I would get to grab a few grapes while monitoring an activity worked for me.  By eating frequent meals and snacks, you are not only fueling your body, but you are increasing your metabolism and keeping your body satisfied so that you don't reach that "I'M STARVING!" point throughout the day.  

In addition to the frequent meals, I try to stay away from as much processed food as possible.  I did not eliminate it completely, but have greatly reduced what I, as well as my family, eats. And to eliminate a thought that may be going through your mind, NO, I do not have to travel the world, or internet, to find my food!  In fact, I do my weekly grocery shopping at Walmart and Martins / Giant Eagle.  

Is clean eating just another Fad Diet?

A question that I first got from my husband when I started into this transition was, Isn't this just the next fad diet?  The answer to that is no and let me explain why.  We (my family), have made a lifestyle change.  We aren't eliminating certain foods for a month or two to lose weight and then go back to eating them.  We aren't doing some 7 day miracle diet where we eat weird foods (that we won't eat when it's over) just to lose weight. What we have done, is incorporate some different foods into our diet and "clean up" some dinners that we enjoy, and make it part of our life.  We don't have an ending date to how we eat.

Yes,  I cheat!  When I first started I followed the 80/20 rule.  Eat clean 80 percent of the day and then make reasonable choices the other 20.  Slowly but surely, I feel that I am up to about 95/5. I do still  incorporate a cheat meal, usually a weekend dinner, into my weekly meal plan and will continue to do so.  

So why am I telling you so much about how I eat?  Simple.  Because the basis of my group is based off of my research and personal experience.  In this group 30 day group, I am going to share meal plans like the one posted below on a weekly basis.  I am going to help customize your meal plans so that you are getting the servings that you need.  I am going to show you how to prep as much as possible at the beginning of the week, so that the rest of the week runs quick and smooth!  You won't be coming home from work wondering what you are making for dinner.  You will not be making "on the spot" decisions throughout the week either.  I will help you figure out what you are eating and when so that when the time comes each day, you are prepared! 

Something that has GREATLY helped me not only lose weight, but get healthy, is the incorporation of Shakeology.  Shakeology is a nutritious drink that can be used as a meal replacement.  I drink my chocolate Shakeology for breakfast every single morning!  Shakeology is NOT a protein drink.  It is packed with your daily dose of vitamins and minerals.  It gives you energy, improves your digestion and regulation, helps you lose weight, and the best part (for me) is it helps curb your cravings!  Shakeology is a complete meal and will keep you full for 2 1/2 to 3 hours. You do not need to eat any other snacks when drinking it.  It is a fantastic on the go meal too!  If I am shopping or traveling for the day, I just take a packet, a water bottle, and a bottle of water and I am set!  There are tons of recipes for every flavor so you don't have to drink the same old boring shake every day.  In addition, on Monday, January 13, 2014, Beachbody is releasing a new flavors!  Strawberry!  I can honestly say that it wasn't until I started drinking  Shakeology that I felt my absolute best.  It is worth every single penny and is now part of my DAILY diet.

Sum up the details already!!!

Ok so if you want to get your spot, you don't have much time!  Here are the specifics:

* The group begins on Monday, January 20, 2014.
* In joining the group, you are committing to replacing one meal per day with Shakeology.  You only need to purchase a 30 day supply (which comes with a money back guarantee)!  If I didn't feel so strong about the product, I wouldn't make it a requirement!
* I will provide weekly meal plans that you can follow, or you can create your own for me to check out and help customize. 
* We will follow the 80/20 rule.  Eat clean for 80% of your day and the other 20 within reason.  
* I will provide you with daily tips, support, and motivation. 
* I will be available 24/7 to help you!
* The group is online through a closed Facebook group so only the members of the group will see what is being posted.
* I ask that you check in each daily for a few minutes to see the daily tip as well as give a short rating of your day.  
* I will help you deal with temptations, emotional eating, eating out, packing your work meals, recipes, travel, and more! 
* While exercising is encouraged, it is not required.
* Oh, and did I mention there is a FREE GIFT!!! Since I follow the rules of Tosca Reno's The Eat Clean Diet, Recharged, I thought it was only fair for YOU to have a copy as well!  Once you purchase your Shakeology, I will mail you the book!

 So what are you waiting for?! Email me at lisamariedecker@yahoo.com or message me to reserve YOUR spot!  It's time for a change and I am going to help you make that happen!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Looking for a new homemade salad dressing? Look no further!

Growing up in an Italian family, a side salad was a part of every meal.  Although I don't have a salad for every meal, A weekly staple dinner in my house is grilled chicken salad.  I'm pretty sure my husband and I have had it once a week since we've been married (we've been married for 8 years!).  It's easy and simple to make and has always been a quick go-to dinner for busy nights.  Before I started eating clean, I have to admit that my chicken salads were not exactly "healthy."  While I would load my salads with veggies, I also made it "Pittsburgh Style" with french fries topped with a pile of shredded provolone cheese.  Add the store bought salad dressing and there you have it, a high calorie not-so-good-for-you salad!  I am also guilty of just mindlessly pouring the dressing on, not thinking twice about portion size!  Now that I am in check with eating healthy, my salads have changed.  No more french fries and no more cheese, for me at least. I also try to use homemade salad dressing.  While there are some store bought dressings that seem pretty reasonable (nutritional wise), the serving size is very small
and those calories can really add up.

So when I started reading the P90X3 nutritional guide there were a few pages full of homemade salad dressing!  It just so happens that I am making chicken salad for dinner tonight, so I pulled out my guide to check out some of the recipes.  In doing so, I figured I'd share them with you! I haven't tried all of them, but plan to use the Balsamic Vinaigrette one tonight.

Note:  All of these recipes make approximately 16 servings.  One serving is 1 Tbsp)

Balsamic Vinaigrette 
6 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. raw honey (or pure maple syrup)
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
5 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

**Whisk vinegar, lemon juice, and honey.  Stir in mustard until well mixed.  Slowly add oil while whisking.

Citrus Vinaigrette
6 Tbsp 100% orange juice
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. raw honey (or pure maple syrup)
1 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
6 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

**Whisk orange juice, lemon juice, and honey.  Stir in mustard, Slowly add oil while whisking.

Asian Ginger Vinaigrette
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 (2-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled, finely chopped
1 tsp. raw honey (or pure maple syrup)
1 tsp. sesame oil
5 Tbsp. rice vinegar
1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
5 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

**Whisk garlic, ginger, honey, sesame oil, vinegar, and soy sauce.  Slowly add olive oil while whisking.

Basil Vinaigrette
3 Tbsp raw honey (or pure maple syrup)
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
5 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup packed fresh basil leaves

**BLEND honey, vinegar, oil, and basil until smooth. 

Sweet Chipotle Vinaigrette
2 Tbsp raw honey (or pure maple syrup)
6 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
5 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 Tbsp chipotle chili powder
2 tsp. ground paprika
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. ground white pepper

**BLEND all ingredients until smooth.

Creamy Herbed Salad Dressing
1/4 cup buttermilk 
1/4 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
6 Tbsp mayonnaise
2 Tbsp finely chopped herbs (like chives, parsley, basil, marjoram, or thyme)
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1 dash ground white pepper

** BLEND all ingredients until smooth.

Cumin Vinaigrette
6 Tbsp fresh lime juice
2 Tbsp 100% orange juice
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
6 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

**Whisk all ingredients in small bowl until mixed well.  

All dressings should be stored in a covered container in the refrigerator. Keep in mind, they don't HAVE to be used on salads.  They could also be used as dipping sauces!

Enjoy!  Feel free to post below which one you tried and your thoughts! 

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