Well, I started the Oxygen Magazine Challenge this week and I’m lovin’ it!
It’s basically just a 90 day health and fitness challenge that includes meal plans, recipes and workouts. It’s awesome. Oh, and there’s also an Oxygen Magazine cover model challenge! Woot! Apparently, at the end of the challenge, readers and Oxygen Magazine employee people vote on who should be on the cover of the magazine. I’m not thinkin’ I’ll win that 😉 , but it helps to keep me motivated nonetheless!
In order to officially enter the “cover model contest,” I had to take and submit a before picture and all of my measurements including body fat percentage. Oh joy. I actually like taking progress pictures, for better or worse, because I think they’re a great way to see progress! They can be humbling when I’m feelin’ chubby (like right now), but it’s also so rewarding when I see actual progress. It helps me to remember that my hard work actually does pay off!
I won’t share my before pictures just yet; I want to wait until I have some progress to compare it with. But, I promise I will share them….probably at the one month mark. Truthfully, I’ve been feeling quite poofy lately. This challenge actually came at the perfect time for me! I love health and fitness, I love pushing myself, I love seeing what my body can do…..but sometimes I suck at healthy living too. Ha ha!
The past few months I’ve been slackin’ quite a bit. Folks, I really enjoy crappy food! It makes life fun! However, sometimes I get a little too lax and start partaking of the crappy food waaaay more often than I should! The past couple months I’ve just been living a “meh” healthy lifestyle. I’ve been getting my workouts in and eating a lot of healthy food, but I’ve just been eating too much food in general and indulging too often. I also got a little off track the weekend of our relay race. I got right back on track for a few days after the race, but once I decided to officially sign up for this challenge, I decided to let loose for a few days and enjoy some more crappy food. It was fun, but MAN, I could feel and see the effects.
In fact, by Sunday night I was MORE than ready to get started with this challenge! It’s fun to relax sometimes and eat some of my favorite not-so-healthy foods, but I find so much more joy when I eat well and take care of my body. It is so much more rewarding! I’ve learned that eating crap is rewarding too, but it is very short lived. Healthy living, eating well and working the body is SO MUCH MORE fulfilling and it reaps much longer term rewards!
Truth be told, I’ve been gaining and losing the same 5 pounds for the past couple years! I’ve definitely gained more muscle, endurance and stamina since I joined my gym, F45 a year ago. However, my diet has kind of been all over the place. I eat well most of the time, but sometimes I just don’t. I just haven’t been as focused and committed as I need to be. It just goes to show how huge of a role a healthy diet plays in weight loss, overall health and actual results!
BUT, now I’m determined to get the results I’m looking for! I can be very, very stubborn when I want to be….and I’m feelin’ the stubborn vibe right now!
This challenge is only 90 days and I’ve already decided that I will not quit. We have a family vacation planned, a family reunion, my family coming into town, birthdays and our anniversary during the challenge, but I WILL NOT cave. I’m not seeking for 100% perfection, but I AM committed to staying focused, being consistent, working hard and not giving up!
I’m also not going to just go back to my “old ways” when I’m done. I know that if I want to see changes, then I have to change. What I’m doing right now yields how I look and feel right now AND I’m not lovin’ where I’m at right now, so I know it’s vital to make some permanent changes. Bottom line….I just have to be more consistent with my healthy efforts overall.
Anyway, I could ramble on and on and on, but I want to say that I was especially excited about the Oxygen Challenge this year because Jamie Eason Middleton is one of the coaches! I absolutely love Jamie Eason. She is such a kind-hearted, down-to-earth, inspirational person who is beautiful both inside and out. I’ve followed her for years and have actually done her LiveFit Trainer program a couple of times (it’s a great, FREE, 12 week program!)
This is the third year that Oxygen has done this challenge. I actually did the challenge two years ago and chose Erin Stern as my coach. You can read some of my posts about that challenge here, here, here, here, here and here if you so desire. However, I fizzled out about half way through. In my defense I still had a nursing baby (he was 10 months old when I started the challenge), I wasn’t sleeping much and there were just so many demands on me at the time. I actually made a conscious choice to quit the challenge half way through. I’m still glad I did it though and I learned so much!
I’m not gonna quit this time though! My life is still nuts and I’m sure it always will be. I still don’t get a ton of sleep, but now it’s usually by choice instead of because I have a baby. I still have a lot of demands on my time, but I know I’m in a lot better spot to be successful this time! Woot!
I’ve also been trying to share more on social media in an effort to keep myself motivated and keep y’all posted on my progress! If you follow me on Instagram, you probably know I’ve been having fun with the Instagram Stories thing. I have so many thoughts and things that I want to share ALL THE TIME and Instagram Stories is such an easy way for me to capture and share some of those thoughts. I really love it.
Well Geeesh, I’m sorry I’ve been such a rambler in this post! I want to share some of the deets about this challenge with y’all. The challenge does cost money. It’s about $80. I actually think it’s worth every penny though and I think it helps to keep me more motivated when I have some skin in the game.
So, $80 gets you a 90 day program that includes a meal plan, which is basically just a lot of good, easy recipes and a sample meal plan. They encourage you to make it your own and eat the foods you know you like to eat! I was happy to see that most of the recipes are very similar to a lot of the things I already eat. I know it’s so much easier for me to have success if I stick the foods I know I like an I know work for me! There are a lot of new recipes that I want to try too though.
The plan also includes an hour long video of Jamie talking all about nutrition. It was great! I love Jamie and I totally relate to her! She is my age too. Woot. I totally share her ideas about macro counting and calorie counting. I love macro counting and calorie counting and think it is SUCH A great way to learn about nutrition and educate yourself about the makeup of food, but I DO NOT want to flippin’ count macros and calories the rest of my life. No thank you. Jamie said the same thing.
She says she likes to use her hand as a guide for portion control. I’m sure you guys have heard of that concept…it’s not a new one. Basically your palm is a serving of protein, your thumb is a serving of fat, your cupped hand is a serving of carbs. It’s just a good, simple way to pay attention to macros, serving sizes and to eat sensibly!
Jamie also talked about how she usually doesn’t do official “meal prep.” She just doesn’t have the time. I feel the same way too! She just relies on easy to prepare foods and also freezes a lot of food. That’s exactly what I do too! She also said she’s not a big fan of protein bars…protein shakes, yes, but not protein bars. She says most of them are high in sugar, don’t have a lot of good things in them and they really don’t fill you up. I have felt that same way about protein bars for years! I still eat them sometimes and like to have one stashed in my purse, but I never feel satiated after eating a protein bar.
She shared a lot of other ideas in her nutrition video and I loved it. It was great.
The plan also includes a very detailed workout plan. Jamie has made a video demonstrating and talking about each move. It’s awesome. The plan gets progressively more intense as the challenge goes on, but the workouts all seem very doable. I anticipate that I’ll be able to complete each workout in under an hour.
I also love how the program is set up like a course. It shows your progress as you complete each part of the course. It’s really great. I’m also going to be added to a Facebook Group page with all of the other ladies who are doing the challenge. I haven’t been officially added yet, but I should be soon! I loooooved the Facebook group page when I did the challenge 2 years ago. It was such a great, positive support group!
Well, I thought I’d share some of the food I’ve been eating this week! Jamie’s plan is a little higher in carbs than I usually do, but it’s also lower in fat. So, I’ve been cutting out peanut butter and cheese a lot.
I’ve been loving either oatmeal and eggs or protein pancakes and eggs for breakfast! I looooove peanut butter in my oatmeal and on top of my pancakes, but I’ve learned it still tastes good without it too!
I really never get sick of this food. I could eat it every day!
I’ve been making simple salads and wraps for lunch a lot too…
This salad was a little weird; it’s romaine, pickles (so much flavor!), tomatoes, turkey, cottage cheese and peach mango salsa. It was so good!
One of the recipes in Jamie’s meal plan was for peach mango salsa. I decided to buy some at the store instead. This brand that I buy tastes just like homemade anyway! I also really love that Walmart Great Value turkey! It’s all natural (no nitrites/nitrates) and it tastes really good! Oh, and I love those low carb tortillas too. They taste great!
I took a few of the kids to lunch at Chick Fil-A one day. They love it when I take selfies with them in public places. Ha ha. Actually, they are good sports. 🙂
I decided to order me some grilled chicken nuggets and they were great. The picture isn’t perty, but they were good and it was nice to buy something to eat and not have to make it!
I also made this BBQ chicken and roasted sweet potatoes for dinner one night and had the leftovers for a couple days afterward…
It was so good! The chicken was actually a recipe of Jamie’s. She said it was one of her favorites and it was really good! It was very similar to my Baked chicken recipe, but instead of seasoning the chicken with seasoned salt and lemon pepper, it’s topped with a homemade BBQ sauce.
I can’t share the actual recipe, but I really think you could use any homemade BBQ sauce recipe and just reduce the sugar and use low sugar ketchup. Homemade BBQ sauce is very easy to make and this recipe was super simple. I just put my chicken in a glass 9 x 13 pan, covered it mostly with the BBQ sauce, covered the pan with foil and cooked it for about 40 minutes on 350. Super easy.
I made a big batch of that chicken and ate it for several days. I never got sick of it and I was grateful to have it in the fridge!
The roasted sweet potatoes are my own recipe and I love them! I basically just scrubbed and chopped the potatoes (I leave the skin on), put them in a single layer in a glass 9 x 13 pan sprayed with cooking spray, sprayed a little olive oil on top, sprinkled some seasoned salt on them, covered the pan with foil and then roasted them for about 35-45 minutes at 425 degrees. I then like to take the foil off and broil them for a few minutes until they are browned a little bit.
I actually forgot to broil the potatoes this time and although they were good, they are SO MUCH better when I remember to broil them. Just make sure to watch them closely because they can burn quickly.
Well, that’s all the food pictures I’ve taken this week. I’ve been having one of my protein shake concoctions most days. I’ve also enjoyed my Greek yogurt mixtures a couple times too. I usually just mix plain Greek yogurt, a dash of stevia, cocoa powder and a little unsweetened cashew milk together and then add various toppings like chia seeds, nuts, fruit or coconut. I love it.
If I’m craving something sweet I’ve allowed myself the occasional protein ball or a very small handful of trail mix. It’s just perfect, scratches the itch, yet keeps me on track!
I haven’t taken any pictures of any of my workouts! Gah. I’ve actually been going to my classes at F45 and then adding any of the moves from Jamie’s program that weren’t already included in my class. I’ve been happy that a lot of my classes at the gym have included some of the moves or very similar moves to the things I’m supposed to be doing with the challenge. It’s been great. AND F45 is freaking hard so it makes my workouts even more challenging. Love it!
It’s actually hard for me to take pictures or share stuff at my gym because there are no mirrors. I actually don’t like that because I think mirrors really help to show progress and help me make sure I have good form. However, I think the main reason F45 doesn’t have mirrors is because they are trying to focus on the kick butt workouts and get away from all of the “vanity issues” at typical gyms. I actually like that about it and I also think it helps people to not feel as self conscious at the gym.
Anyway, since there are no mirrors it makes it hard for me to easily snap pictures. Our workouts are also so intense and efficient….get in, work your butt off, go home…I really don’t have time to snap pictures! I will try to find ways to share some of my workouts and capture that part of my journey though!
Well, I think that pretty much sums up my first week! I’m loving this challenge and am so glad I’m doing it!!!