Plexus …What do I think?

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Have you all heard of Plexus?  Well, I had heard about it here and there, and honestly, two thoughts crossed my mind:  I had seen pictures on FB, and my first thought – “Is this another shake?  I’m sure that’s not healthy”, and my second thought – “Is this one of those temporary suck-all-the-water-out-of-you wraps or something like that?” haha.  I just really didn’t take the time to even give it much thought.  But then I saw posts by 2 of my friends on FB – both of them trainers with T-Tapp, one of the exercise programs I love.  I really respect these ladies, both for their life attitudes, their dedication to their family, and for their personal integrity.  So when I saw them posting things, I actually stopped and gave it more than a fleeting glance.  I learned that no, it is not a wrap, and no, it is not a shake (or unhealthy).

So… also at this time (about a month ago) my back pain was acting up, and I was sort of at an all-time low as far as feeling my health was out of control.  I am, in general, a healthy person except for my chronic pain, muscle tightness, some skin issues, and some possible hormonal/candida issues.  But because I was feeling so low, I decided to just try it…  I was still skeptical… but because of the 60-day money back guarantee, I decided I really didn’t have anything to lose.

So I started taking it (the “TriPlex” – Slim + Bio Cleanse + ProBio5).  I didn’t notice a huge surge in energy, a dramatic reduction in pain (gradual), or noticeable weight loss.  I was kind of bummed, actually, but so many success stories, so I decided to give it a longer chance.  But before I decided how to proceed, my Slim had run out.  Within a few days of running out, my back flared up worst than it’s been in a very long time.  I was in such pain, and nothing seemed to really help.

So I decided to order again, but wanting to also try out their Fast Relief pain line, decided signing up as an Ambassador would allow me to get the best prices.  I signed up and got my package a few days later.  I am not completely pain free by any means, but went from barely able to sit or stand for very much time at all to being able to attend the Sonrise service at my church yesterday plus the breakfast afterwards, plus made it about halfway through the main service before I was in too much pain to stay.  So definite improvement!  Oh, and remember how I said I didn’t have any noticeable weight loss?  Well, that’s true, I didn’t (about 1 lb, which 1 lb can easily just be normal fluctuations).  However, I remeasured myself, and found I had lost 7″ the first month of being on the TriPlex!

I am excited to share my progress with you all on my blog!  I love that their products are natural, easy to take, and that they address the root issues – they’re not a fad or an unhealthy lose-weight-quick product (although many do lose excess weight very quickly), but the stories I’ve heard of finding freedom from diabetes, ulcerative colitis, depression, uncontrollable cravings, chronic headaches and migraines, and countless other ailments, and the freedom that comes from the business side of Plexus as well, is so encouraging and amazing!

So that’s my beginning story!  I can’t wait to see where this will take me and my health! If you’d like to join me on this journey or if you have your own health issues you’d like to address, I am here for you to support and help you along the way!  Don’t just survive life, thrive!  I am so grateful that God led me to these products!

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*Editing to add this awesome video – This young woman addresses the fears we may have (relating to every area of your life, not just starting Plexus or a new venture).  I find her so inspiring and real, and I’m so incredibly honored to be partnering with Plexus and sharing with others just how incredible and life-changing these products are.

How To Deal with Stress

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Stress is something that is unavoidable.  Some people have a hardier anti-stress constitution, but even the most strong among us often feels the stress creep upon us.  So what can you do?  What *do* you do when you get stressed?  The first step, before figuring out how to handle stress is to realize when you are stressed.  This seems a little silly to mention, but stress can come on quickly or more gradually.  When it’s more gradual, sometimes we don’t even realize how stressed we’ve become.  Look for signs of stress by noticing how you interact with others- are you short with people?  Are you just one word away from blowing up or getting emotional?  Look for signs in your body as well – an area known for holding stress is the shoulders – notice if your shoulders are inching up or if you feel tightness in your shoulders and upper back.Once you realize you are stressed, make a plan on how to deal with the stress.  This is definitely not an exhaustive list, and I’d love to hear your feedback.

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  • Look at your priorities.  Sometimes life can get so busy.  Of course, there are necessary things that need to be done, but really take a look at your priorities so you can weed out the extra things that may be unnecessary and causing you undue stress.
  • Plan to relax.  Get out your to-do list and add something fun that you enjoy and that is relaxing.  Just remember not to make the scheduling process stressful 😉  Sometimes we think we are relaxed, but we’re not.  If you are like me and sit at a computer a lot, when you take a break to relax, try to do something different – not sitting or in front of the computer.
  • Take a hot shower.  Not much explaining needed for this.  Hot water feels really nice on sore and tight muscles, and at the same time can energize you if you’re feeling sluggish.
  • Exercise.  Do the exercise that works for you!  Some people like to pound out their stress on the pavement with running shoes and others like gentle stretches.  With my back pain, I’ve had to be really careful and limit a lot of my exercise, but one program I’ve always loved and continue to do is Oxycise.  Another side effect of stress is that we don’t get enough oxygen.  Test it out – even if you’re not stressed at the moment, just think of something that could cause anxiety. Notice that you probably tensed up a little and most likely you are holding your breathe or at the minimum not getting in full deep diaphragmatic breaths.
  • Sleep.  This is also very important.  Physical pain may make sleep hard (I’ve been reminded of this lately).  Or whatever stressful situation you’re dealing with can keep you awake and make it hard to shut off the thoughts.  Getting good quality sleep, though, improves all other functions.  If it’s physical pain keeping you up, try a hot shower before bedtime.  If it’s more your mind making it hard to get some zzz’s, try a mug of chamomile tea.  Either way, diffusing some lavender in the room can also help.
  • Eat healthy.  Another sort of “duh” answer, but one that is so so easy to neglect when you are stressed.  When stressed, we (or at least I know it comes natural to me) tend to go to the comfort foods, which of course *can* be healthy, but oftentimes are far from healthy.  Getting back to that plan, try to make a list of foods or recipes that are quick to make/prepare so you can just grab them or reheat them when you are stressed and don’t feel like doing anything.
  • Be thankful and Remember the good.  When stress has up in its grips, it can be a real challenge to be grateful, but focusing on the positive and good things in life will help brighten our mood and stress levels should decrease.
  • Give it to God.  In stressful situations or when in a state of chronic stress, it can be so freeing and can feel like a weight has been lifted off the shoulders when you give the stress over to God.  Of course, He knows you’re stressed, so it’s not like you have to let Him know, but pray and tell Him how you’re feeling and ask Him to give sustenance, strength, and peace.

These are just some of the things that have been swirling around in my head.  I deal with chronic pain/stress that manifests in my back and shoulders – very tight muscles, and is actually one of the reasons I’ve been MIA a bit around here.  It doesn’t take much to set it off (just did one of my favorite workouts the other day for the first time in a while – Bar Method Advanced Dancer’s Body – just the calf/leg portion of it, and within minutes, I was in pain and knew I can’t do that anymore until I can figure out why that’s apparently bad for me).  I also think physical pain, stress, depression – I think it can all go hand-in-hand, especially when dealing with chronic pain or chronic stress.  It’s very easy to start feeling depressed, which of course, just causes the physical pain and the stress levels to increase, so it can be a vicious cycle.  So this is something I am currently really trying to work on.

I’d love to hear how *you* combat stress or chronic pain in your life!  Do tell!

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Weekly Menu Planning

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I’ve been working on a menu and decided to share it with you all.  If things like this interest you…if not, oh well, haha 🙂  I have been following Trim Healthy Mama since January and loving it!  The freedom from food bondage is incredible.  Never realized how much of an issue I had, and how this is really helping to heal some of that.  Of course, I’m still a work in progress, and I know those tendencies I have creep back in every once in a while, but I just have more joy about food in general now, and that’s a good thing for sure!

On my weight loss progress, I started this journey at 181 pounds and have been plateauing at around the 168-171 range for a few months now.  I’m crazy happy about the pounds I’ve lost, but I’m nowhere near my goal yet.  So this past week I did what’s called a Fuel Cycle (technically it’s 2 weeks long, but I just did 1 week).  It is supposed to rev things back up if you find yourself stalling after a few months on the plan.  So basically, the first 3 days, you eat lots of Deep S meals (focus on the pure fats – coconut oil, butter, olive oil, salmon, eggs, non-starchy veggies, and keep your carbs to under 10 g each meal).  I thought this would be hard, but it was surprisingly not – I ate meals like baked salmon with lemon juice and coconut oil, mushrooms sauteed in butter, and asparagus; I had desserts like lemon curd and skinny chocolate.  Then the next 2 days, I ate FP (Fuel Pull) days, which basically means keeping the fat count to 5 or less and the carb count to 10 or less at each meal.  This is probably the hardest days of the week just because I had to eat a lot more little meals throughout the day to keep my energy up. But the actual food was still tasty!  Then the last 2 days, you eat only E meals (Energizing) and keep the fat count to 5 or less per meal.  So these meals looked like sweet potato black bean chili; overnight oatmeal with berries; Apple Cinnamon (a cut up apple mixed with a little stevia, cinnamon, and Greek yogurt); chicken, sweet potato, and sugar snaps; and 37 calorie brownies.   I lost about 4 pounds the first 3 days, then stayed the same the next 2 days, and then gained 1 pound the remaining 2 days.  So I’ve been holding at 164.4 the last 2 days.  Hopefully, I’ll be able to keep losing.  But I’m trying to focus more on just enjoying the food and getting plenty of water and exercise also.  I think the weight will just gradually come off.

So, anyway, here is my meal plan I just wrote up…I’m sure it’ll be tweaked along the way.   Oh, and I *can’t wait* to share a new skinny chocolate recipe I came up with/tinkered with last night!  It’s got HUGE promise/potential!! 🙂  (hope it’s readable – click to see larger… oh, and yes, I do eat at strange times, haha, if you caught that..6am/9am/12noon/3pm/6or7pm)

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I love that the weather is starting to get a bit chillier and that I can wear cardigans, sweatshirts, and boots again!  One of my favorite clothing lines is the Lauren Conrad line from Kohls.  I had seen this dress online, but it was more than I wanted to spend, plus some of the reviews weren’t very favorable in the way it fit.  Then, it just so happened that an online friend of mine had this dress and was selling it!  So I bought it from her and crossed my fingers the size she had would fit.  Well, it’s now one of my favorite dresses, and I think the colors work great as a dress to bridge the summer/fall season.

First worn with an off-white cardigan, which I think is okay, but when I later found a dusty orange cardigan, I liked that much better (the off-white cardigan is from Old Navy)  I find it so fun to see what works and how just changing the color of the cardigan pulled the outfit together more.

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DSC06268Details: Dress – Lauren Conrad; Peaches ‘n Cream Soft-T from DYT; Cardigan thrifted (Ann Taylor); earrings DYT; necklaces Zulily; floral hair clips Forever21.

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Hope you’re all having a great week!  Come back tomorrow because I’ll be having a giveaway (For what?  You’ll have to come back to see! 😉 )

Trim Healthy Mama Review and Giveaway

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trim healthy mama

I have alluded to this in posts, but wanted to do a little update about my diet (i.e. eating habits, not a set-in-stone or counting or depriving myself way of life).  I told you all I was having some internal struggles with the way I was eating, not because I don’t think it was healthy, but because I wasn’t effectively able to stick to what I told myself I could or could not have.  I still believe a plant-based diet full of leafy green vegetables is extremely healthy and I am still incorporating that in the way I eat.  I just know for me, it was the right time to broaden my palate and let go of some very rigid rules that in my head made me a better person.  I believe the grace of God extends to our food choices as well.  So while I still have some internal hang-ups every once in a while, I am so so so much happier right now with my choices, and it really is starting to feel natural.

So I started Trim Healthy Mama the end of January and now it’s May.  I’ve lost some pounds, my clothing is starting to fit a little better, and I’m happy.  Some things I personally want to work on a little more?  Incorporating more greens and veggies – because you can never have too many of those! 🙂

So if you’re considering this approach, what should you know?

  • The book is M A S S I V E!  At over 600 pages, I’m not even slightly kidding.  To be completely honest, there are some chapters I haven’t even read yet, and I’m constantly finding new recipes, even though I’ve read through them all at least once. You will most likely carry it with you everywhere for a while.  However, it is written in an extremely readable, relatable manner, so it really does go by supper fast.  Pearl and Serene are so down to earth that you just wish you could sip some coffee  (or Good Girl Moonshine) with them and chit chat away!
  • That at first, you may be overwhelmed.
  • You will be seeing a lot of capital letters –  with an E here and an S over there, here an FP, there an lightS, everywhere a FC.  🙂  Don’t let them scare you at all –  I found it pretty fun actually to fit food together to make my meals – kind of like a puzzle (an easy, doable one, not the kind you set up and have to take breaks from).  The general gist is that E stands for Energizing.  What macronutrient gives energy?  Carbs.  So E meals have (good sources) of carbs, like sweet potatoes, quinoa, beans,…).  S stands for Satisfying.  What macronutrient really gives that satiated feeling?  Fats.  So S meals have healthy fats, like coconut oil, butter, and yummy creamy sauces.  So the kicker is that when you have your E (carb) meals, you don’t want to mix it with fats.  And when you have your S meals, you don’t want to fix it with carbs.  So it may all sound confusing, but it’s really not.
  • You will not be counting calories.  You will not even be counting serving sizes.  Hardly any of the recipes really say how much a serving is, but I think the body kind of knows and I haven’t had any problem with that.  One of my favorite snacks or meals is the Fat-Stripping Frappe, and sometimes it’s just too much for me to drink!  So you definitely don’t deprive yourself.
  • That you may have just discovered a whole slew of new-to-you foods.  I thought I was quite versed on food products, but a completely new-to-me product was gluccomannon.  There are a few products that you really *will want* to have at your disposal, but nothing special is actually *required* to make this approach work for you.
  • Swanson and Vitacost just may become bookmarked sites!  That is where I get most of my “specialty items” because their prices are good and they often also have coupons floating around to help (Swanson just recently had a code for 20% off Swanson brand items plus 1 penny shipping, so I took advantage of that to restock a few items that I love – like their big tub of coconut oil).  *These are my affiliate/referral links.  If you click on them, you save some money on your first purchase, and I get a coupon to save on my next purchase*

I really have never felt this free about food for a long time, and I must say, it feels wonderful!  I’m not even sure how I got to the point where I was, it was so gradual, but I am thankful for God’s grace and forgiveness and that His mercy is new every morning!

 

Guess what?  I was sent the Trim Healthy Mama book to facilitate this review, and I’ve got an extra copy to send to one of you!!!  I was going to open this only to US, but I’ve decided if you don’t mind covering the shipping, I’ll open it up to all others too (so US it will be completely free, all else to cover shipping).

How to enter?  This one is going to be easy-peasy 1 way to enter:

Leave me a comment letting me know *why* you want to win the book.  That’s it.  I’ll draw a winner next Friday, the 16th. *following my blog is not required, but you might as well so you see if you win!  The links to my FB, Twitter, BlogLovin’, and more are at the top.

The Perception of Progress

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I wanted to take a minute and talk about progress and the perception of progress and introduce a link up!  I have always been one to advocate using the tape measure instead of the scale, or along with the scale if you must.  I belong to TOPS, and they use the scale there, which to be honest, was one of the reasons I waited a while to join – I wasn’t keen on the idea of being rewarded for loss of weight and punished for a gain, when sometimes the body does weird things with body weight like gain water, build muscles, and more oddities that sometimes baffle us and confuse and frustrate us.  But I’ve learned to just use the scale as ONE means of assessing my progress, and a lose one at that.

Something I think is even more powerful than the scale and even measurements are progress pictures.  Measurements are impressive, but really seeing a difference is so much better in my opinion.  It’s even more true when you are losing weight slowly, your clothing still overall fits the same, or maybe your goals are more of tightening up or strength or flexibility – something that isn’t quite as easily measured or weighed.

What about you?  Do you take progress pictures?  I challenge each of you to start if you haven’t been.  It really motivates!  I had plans to take monthly progress pictures, and let it slide for a few months, but now I’m back and excited to see the small changes that really add up month after month.

So my updated progress pics:

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I wanted to also share some fellow fitness/healthy-living bloggers’ progress pictures, because who doesn’t like to be inspired (and they are all very inspiring!)?

Lindsay from Neon Princesses:

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Michelle from BabyBluesToRunningShoes

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Zaneta from Runner’s Luck – progression of flexibility

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Julie from Half a Julie

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Jessica from Fit Mama 4 Life

10150839_10103669027201959_133229786_nAren’t they all amazing?  I am super motivated and inspired by each of these women – they all have slightly different goals and they all started at a different place.  Please please PLEASE don’t ever say to yourself, “I can’t bear to take pictures because I can’t stand to see myself in a picture”.  You know what?  That is fear talking!  I had this little realization this past week when I shared my progress pics on my personal facebook page and someone commented that it was so brave of me to post my weight.  I know what they meant, but you know what?  I don’t think it’s brave to post my weight – I *honestly* could care very little what I actually weigh (within a healthy boundary of course).  If my body ends up feeling great and looking great and I’m 120, that’s fine; if I’m 140, that’s still fine; 150, sure.  Because our bodies are so complex with muscles, bones, and our frames are all different, a height/weight body chart just doesn’t really work for a lot of people.  So, all that to say that sharing your number isn’t that scary to me (I know to many, it is, though, because we’ve been so wrapped up in the numbers and told that’s what matters for our whole lives).  What is scary?  Being accountable.  Sharing your progress pictures.  But it’s also so rewarding – – – SEEING the change when you don’t feel it.  Being motivated when you want to give up.  Looking back months and saying, “Oh, wow, yes, I can see a change!”

Where you are now is just perfect.  Don’t berate yourself, and in doing, never start your progress.  That happens to all of us at times, I’m sure (I know it’s happened to me).  No, where you are *right at this moment* is where you are.  It just is, and don’t dwell on the negatives of it – just accept it and thank it for the good things it does for you.  But it doesn’t have to be where you’ll be next month.  Just keep making healthy decisions, be more active, and remember that you can do this!

So be brave!  Start your own progress! 

I’ve decided to start a monthly Link Up, and I really hope you’ll consider joining in!  Each month, I will select a few to showcase the following month.  Let’s start a Progression Revolution!  🙂

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To join the linkup

1. Add the link to your specific post, not your main blog page.
2. Grab the button above and add it to your post (a text link is fine too) linking back to www.leafynotbeefy.com.
3. Comment on this post and someone else’s post…the whole point is to encourage and cheer on each other.
4. Follow my blog to be reminded when next month rolls around!
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