beachbody · Exercise · Meal Prep · Recipes · self care · Ultimate Portion Fix

Ultimate Portion Fix (UPF) Week 2

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And just like that we’re in the second week! Getting my nutrition and fitness on track has a funny way of becoming addictive, but in a good way. Once I’ve built up a nice streak of working out every day I tend to feed off that, and do whatever I can to make sure I get that workout in! However, I need to be fair to myself, and be patient with myself. I missed a workout at the end of Week 1 (Saturday). We had family over that day, family that was in town and hadn’t met our little bean yet, and between getting the house into a ‘presentable’ state, making a dessert (I made a healthy-ish strawberry shortcake, see below) and just generally enjoying some time with the family – the workout didn’t happen. Oh well, right? But I was bummed! Luckily I have a great Beachbody coach who reminded me just how much I’m doing! She centered me, reminded me I just had a baby barely over a month ago, and that I was actually doing more than I knew with all the healthy eating and workouts all week before Saturday. After hearing her perspective and getting her support, I reset, I should take it easy on myself. So take this as a reminder to do the same for yourself!

You are doing amazing, you are doing more than you know, and the important thing is to just keep going!

My eating plan for Week 2 took advantage of some of the ingredients bought for Week 1, and will use up my last 2 freezer meals I made before the baby arrived. Doing that prep was such a good investment and I am so thankful I put in the time, I’ve been enjoying them for 6 weeks! I also wanted to use up some frozen shrimp I had leftover from Easter.

You might notice I’m doing the same meal plan 3 days in a row this time around (vs. 2 days last week) – this is just another way to simplify, and makes my prep easier!

Let me take a minute to talk about the fixate Broccoli Salad, I had it twice last week and three times this week, so you might think I’m sick of it – but no! This salad is so delicious I think I could eat it every day! Its also easy to prep, and I made a batch of the dressing last week that I’m still using this week. Its just broccoli, red onion, celery, dates, almonds and turkey bacon – so good!

This week I’ve added spinach to my Banana Protein Smoothies, it doesn’t change the taste but does add a great Green Container to my snack – win!

So far today the little lady hasn’t wanted to sleep much, so I haven’t gotten to do my workout yet (Yoga Fix Extreme Real Time today!). So instead I’m doing some Mommy and Baby workout moves, I can still get some form of a workout in even while keeping her close. Important to remember to support her head and keep your balance, but there are a lot of great moves to work your body that you can still do while holding your baby.

  • Sumo Squat
  • Lunges
  • Leg raises
  • 1-Arm Bicep Curls
  • 1-Arm Tricep Dips

I recommend one minute per exercise (for exercises on each side I recommend 1 minute per side).

Another meal that worked out really well was the roasted shrimp and zucchini – its so quick and easy to make, healthy and tasty! One sliced zucchini, 6 shrimp, a little EVOO and seasonings. Cook at 400 for 15-20mins and enjoy!

A new find I have to share is this Lemon Ginger Seltzer from Trader Joe’s. I like the Lemon-Ginger combo for infused water because there are tons of health benefits (immune system boost, good for skin, etc) and a sparkling version is even better.

Snuck in with all this healthy eating was a treat, of course! The weather has been so nice, Ice Cream season has returned! There is nothing better than a kid’s pure joy and enjoyment of ice cream, don’t you think?

Chocolate Ice Cream Monster!

Healthy-ish Strawberry Shortcake

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


SHORTCAKE INGREDIENTS
6 Eggs
1/2 Honey (or Pure Maple Syrup)
1/2 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract
1/2 Cup Melted Coconut Oil
1/2 Cup coconut flour
1/2 Teaspoon salt
1/4 Teaspoon baking soda

TOPPING INGREDIENTS
1.5lbs strawberries, quartered
3 Tablespoon Sugar in the Raw (or plain sugar)
Whip Cream or Cool Whip

INSTRUCTIONS
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Mix Strawberries and sugar in a bowl and refrigerate to allow juices to develop, at least 30 minutes
To make shortcake, mix wet ingredients until smooth
Add in dry ingredients and mix until combined
Pour into greased 8 X 11 baking dish.
Bake for 35 minutes or until golden
Remove from Oven and allow to cool completely – store at room temperature

When ready to serve, slice cake into six pieces, then cut each in half horizontally.
Layer dish with cake, strawberries, cake, strawberries and top with Whipped Cream!

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beachbody · Exercise · Meal Prep · postpartum · Recipes · Ultimate Portion Fix

Prepping for Ultimate Portion Fix

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As mentioned in my last post Ultimate Portion Fix! I am planning to start this program this coming Monday. One of the most important things when it comes to eating clean is preparation, and that is especially true for a Portion Fix (container based) program.

I know I am much more likely to stick to the healthy eating 100% if the food is prepped and ready to go. If too much work is required at the end of a hard day (and with an infant, aren’t they all challenging in some way?) then I am waaaay more likely to choose fast food, or make a quick grilled cheese or something that doesn’t contain a vegetable. So my main focus this week is to make a plan, and prep for that plan – that will help me be successful next week.

Due to the fact that I am breastfeeding, I fall under calorie Bracket C (1800-2199 calories) in the Ultimate Portion Fix Program. Now let me say when you are eating clean without any processed food, 1800 calories goes a long way! Here is my meal plan for next week.

My first thought when I finished laying this out was Holy Moly that’s a lot of food! This is a good thing, since I’ll also be incorporating daily workouts for the first time in quite some time (modified as appropriate). However my second thought was – wait this is going to require a LOT of prep! A few notes on that – first, I have 4 of the items already done and frozen from my Freezer Meal Prep I did in late February. Without these completed, I would not attempt this meal plan, because it would just be too much. Second, there are ways to simplify if you don’t find yourself with meals already prepped (and I will utilize these in coming weeks).

  1. Instead of targeting too many complete meals/recipes (like Taco Bake or Balsamic Chicken Salad) just go for basics – cook a bunch of chicken with just olive oil and seasonings and add this to salads, wraps, pasta or with veggies on the side all week long per your containers.
  2. Just roast a huge batch of veggies on Sunday and use them all week to pair with chicken or other protein.
  3. Make a big batch of quinoa and/or brown rice on Sunday and have it on hand to pair with veggies and chicken.

In this way, instead of worrying about creating specific recipes you are stocking your fridge with healthy bulk items (easy to prepare) and then you can throw together a meal easily day of.

I would still 100% advise you to create your meal plan ahead of time though so that you can be sure you’ve cooked enough staples to get you through and to eat all your containers!

It’s also very common for people to eat the same thing for all 5 weekdays. I myself will probably do this once I return to work. This also cuts way down on the complexity.

Once I’ve determined my meal plan, I list out my ingredients (this list pictured above doesn’t include any ingredients for the freezer meals that are already done) and then I make a plan of attack for prepping. Normally, I would do all the prep in one day, typically Sunday – but with two kids under 3 I’m going to try to spread it out since I’m not sure if I’ll be able to get a 3hr block of time to dedicate to prepping.

With all this planning for next week, I didn’t make a meal plan for this week. I had a bunch of leftover Easter food we’ve been eating, I also used my Chicken Teriyaki freezer meal paired with brown rice and asparagus for dinner Tuesday and Wednesday, and I’ve just been keeping it simple. Today for lunch I whipped up a healthy broccoli slaw salad – it took less than 5 mins and was delicious!

Quick Slaw Salad

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


INGREDIENTS
1/2 bag Broccoli Slaw Mix
1 cup cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup sliced cucumber
1 stalk celery, sliced
1/4 cup walnuts
4 Tbs Primal Kitchen Greek Vinaigrette (or similar)
Squeeze of fresh lemon juice (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS
In a small bowl mix the tomatoes, cucumber, celery, walnuts, dressing and lemon juice.
In a serving/storage bowl place the broccoli slaw and pour the tomato mixture over the slaw.
Stir to coat
Enjoy!

The other prep I’m doing this week is physically. I won’t be fully cleared for exercise until next week, but I have been doing the post-natal workout on beachbody on demand (which is especially designed to start easing postpartum women into workouts) and have been making a special effort to get a full 1mile+ walk in each day. This will help me hit the ground running next week!

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beachbody · Exercise · Meal Prep · postpartum · self care · Ultimate Portion Fix

Ultimate Portion Fix!

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The time has come – time to get serious about getting back in shape and just getting healthy again! My path to a balanced, healthy lifestyle of exercise and clean eating is the Ultimate Portion Fix program. This is the latest Beachbody program, and I must admit I’m a full-blown Beachbody believer! For full disclosure, I am also a Beachbody coach (although this was on hold during my pregnancy). I’ve completed various Beachbody programs over the years, 21 Day Fix and Extreme, 80 Day Obsession and Shift Shop. I’ve loved them all and had results each and every time. I first tried 21 Day Fix when I was preparing for my wedding, and was able to lose those pesky 10lbs before my big day!

The largest transformation I’ve ever had (so far!) was after the birth of my first child. For some reason, I expected to be one of those women who is just magically skinny weeks after giving birth. I don’t know why I had that expectation (because I was clueless about what it’s really like to have a baby, most likely ;)) but I did. I was WRONG. Instead of being magically skinny I was exhausted, out of shape, and eating tons of junk because I had no time or energy to eat healthy. After about 2 months of this I decided something had to change and started the Shift Shop program. The results started almost immediately – within 2 weeks I felt better, energized and confident. By 1 month I was starting to feel progress physically – exercises that I could barely finish at the start were now too easy, I was increasing my weights, etc. By 2 months I was seeing the results – not just fitting into pre-pregnancy clothes but actually liking the way I looked in them. By the time my son was 6 moths old, I had not only lost all the baby weight but had actually hit my goal weight, which I don’t think I had been at for a decade!

July 2017

For each program I’ve completed, I’ve used some version of the portion-controlled meal plan. I believe it is the best way to eat because it is :

  • Balanced
  • Easy to follow
  • Sustainable
  • Largely Plant-based
  • No deprivation!

I don’t believe in crazy fad diets that may be effective short-term but then you can’t keep it up and you end up gaining back all the weight (and then some). So, when I was looking into what program I’m might try after this pregnancy, I was psyched to see a new Portion Control program available. If you’ve ever tried 21 Day Fix (or 21 Day Fix Extreme), the Ultimate Portion Fix is very similar. Essentially it is an update to the meal planning guidelines and containers that were developed for those programs, incorporating all the learnings over the last 5 years and including 100+ new recipes. They are also updating the 21DF and 21DFX workouts.

The version of the program I ordered (there are different options in terms of the supplements) pictured above came with:

  • Ultimate Portion Fix Kit:
  • 30+ Step-by-Step Videos
  • Workbook
  • Daily Logbook
  • Set of 7 Portion-Control Containers
  • FIXATE® Vol. 2 Cookbook
  • FIXATE Cooking Show
  • 75 Healthy Lunch Ideas For Kids (Digital PDF)
  • Access to nutrition tracking and the Ultimate Portion Fix program through the Beachbody App
  • 21 Day Fix & 21 Day Fix EXTREME workouts shot in real time, updated for faster progress
  • 30-day supply of Beachbody Performance Stack
    • It includes two supplements —Energize and Recover— designed to help give you a blast of energy, sharpen your focus, improve your performance, and speed recovery.*
    • I LOVE the Energize to take before workouts, I’ve actually missed it during my pregnancy and can’t wait to start it up again!
  • Performance Shaker Cup
  • Free Access to my own Personal Coach
    • This is one of the greatest benefits of Beachbody programs – you gain an entire community of people who are going through the program alongside you – they help offer support, but it also keeps you accountable as you want to check in with your team every day!

I am planning to start the program next Monday, as this is when the new live versions of the 21DF Extreme workouts will start to stream. I’ll be 5 weeks postpartum and ready to start exercising again (although I will need to modify some exercises) and ready to start eating a bit more healthy (although still consume at least 1800 calories a day to support breastfeeding). For the rest of this week I’ll be getting ready, making my meal plan, shopping and prepping food, and reading up on all the program materials and videos!

If you are interested in taking this journey with me, or learning more about Ultimate Portion Fix (or any Beachbody program) please let me know in the comments section!

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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diastasis recti · Exercise · parenting · postpartum · self care

Make the Most of your Postpartum Time : Week 3

Diastasis Recti and Baby Tummy Time

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This week I started thinking about getting active again, and about getting my body back. It’s not the priority – my priority is having this special time with my little lady, making sure I take time to just hold her, just stare at her beautiful teeny tiny face (corny but true), nurse her, sing to her, keep her alive 😉 you get the idea…

However, self-care for mom is important too, and for me that includes getting back in shape. Prior to pregnancy I was very active – I typically work out at least 4 days a week (often more). I try to eat healthy, but balanced – I love food and wine (in moderation).

So over the last three weeks, even though I was mostly ignoring these thoughts until this week, I did measure myself – because the truth is a lot of progress has already been made without taking any action – just by letting nature run its course (the human body is amazing, and knows what it’s doing!).

When my daughter was 1 week old – the largest part of my belly measured : 39″ (99cm)

At 2 weeks old : 34.5″ (87.5cm)

Today, at 3 weeks old :

At the 1 week mark, I started wearing my belly bandit. I’m not sure if I believe in this product yet. I didn’t use it with my first child, and did (eventually) get my belly back to its pre-pregnancy size – even though I don’t believe the stomach muscles ever fully returned. This time, I’m older, its my second child, and I just thought it might be worth it to try the product out – it certainly can’t hurt.

Wearing my Belly Bandit

This week (PP week 3) I started dealing with my diastasis recti. Keep in mind I am not a health care professional and am only sharing my personal experience.

  • What is diastasis recti?
    • Short answer – diastasis recti is separation of the abdominal muscles during pregnancy
    • It is officially defined as a distance between the two sides of the rectus abdominis muscle of two centimeters or more
    • It affects at least 60 percent of women six weeks after birth and 30 percent of women have it a year after birth
    • It is caused by pressure on the rectus abdominis muscles leading to overstretching, which is why it occurs so commonly during pregnancy
  • Do I have it?
    • Technically, we should wait at least 6 weeks to check manually for DR – the reason being that before 6 weeks the uterus is still working/shrinking and your body is still recovering in general (for many women the separation will correct itself by 6 weeks)
    • My midwife checked me in the hospital before I left, and the early check indicated that I do have a significant separation
    • To perform a manual check –
      • Lie on your back with your knees bent, and the soles of your feet on the floor.
      • Place your fingertips just above your bellybutton
      • With your abdominal wall relaxed, gently press your fingertips into your abdomen.
      • Roll your upper body off the floor into a very small ‘crunch’ – lifting your head off the ground but keeping shoulders on the ground
      • Check how many fingers can fit in the ‘opening’ created by the cruch
      • Repeat and test for separation a few inches higher above your belly button and below your belly button.
      • Two fingers of separation would indicate possible DR (to check again at 6 weeks PP) – Three fingers could indicate a more serious separation and you should consult with your doctor or a physical therapist (this is always a good idea).
    • Truthfully – the actions to correct diastasis recti are beneficial for anyone, so there is no harm is proceeding with an assumption of DR
  • How do I fix it?
    • There are some specific exercises that can help you, and some that can really hurt you (make your diastasis worse)
    • Avoid:
      • abdominal sit-ups
      • crunches
      • oblique curls
      • double leg lifts
      • upper body twisting exercises
      • exercises that include backbends over an exercise ball
      • yoga postures that stretch the abs, such as “cow” pose and “up-dog” pose
      • pilates exercises that require the head to be lifted off the floor
      • lifting and carrying heavy objects
    • Make sure you consult with a doctor before starting any exercise postpartum.
    • For me, I started with these exercises this week. I kept a close eye for any bleeding or other signs that I might be overdoing it, and especially focused on the Alternating Heel Drops, Seated Tummy Flex and Hip Bridges as these were specific exercises stressed by my midwife.
Alternating Heel Drops
Hip Bridges

This graphic below is from https://www.pinterest.com/pin/426223552234538866/

Now, speaking of tummies – I also started daily tummy time with my daughter this week. This is time the baby spends on her stomach while awake and supervised.

Why is tummy time important?

  • Helps baby develop head control
  • Promotes motor skills
  • Prevents conditions such as flat head syndrome (given that our babes always go to sleep on their backs, tummy time offers them a different position to spend some time).
  • Tummy time helps your baby build strength needed for sitting up, rolling over, crawling and walking

When should I start?

  • Your baby can start tummy time right away after coming home from hospital
  • Each session should last about three to five minutes at first.
  • My first week or so at home I tried tummy time with my little one periodically, but this week we completed two to three times a day.
  • Don’t be surprised if your baby doesn’t enjoy tummy time at first – it can be uncomfortable for them compared to the position in which they regularly spend their time. Just take a break and try again later. Tummy time is easy to skip especially if you have a baby that doesn’t enjoy it, but stay committed mama!
  • As your baby gets used to tummy time, place your baby on his or her stomach more frequently or for longer periods of time. Aim for around 30 minutes a day of baby tummy time by the time he is 2-3 months old.
  • You can even arrange age-appropriate toys within his or her reach once they show interest in toys – mirrors also work really well!
  • Your baby should work up to an hour of Tummy Time per day by 4 months of age.
  • Eventually we want to see baby pushing up on her arms and picking her head up on her own
  • Then keep the practice up until baby can roll over on his own, a feat many babies accomplish around 6 or 7 months of age.

How do I do it?

  • There are a few options, I try to incorporate all of them throughout the day:
    • Lay your infant facedown on your stomach or chest or across your lap (this is perfect after feeding assuming babe stays awake) – I also think this is the best method when starting out as it keeps baby calm.
    •  A blanket or a tummy time mat on a firm, flat surface (floor). Here we would lay right next to her so we are in her line of sight. As a bonus, I could do some of my DR exercises while laying on the ground with her!
    • Boppy Nursing pillow – I use this for breastfeeding (I actually have 2, one upstairs and one that stays downstairs) but it is great as a tummy time pillow as well – it creates a slight elevation.
  • The purpose is for baby to try lifting her head, so if she doesn’t do this just as a result of the positioning, try to engage her! Put your face close, or a rattle, etc. 
Its hard to see, but she is lifting her head here – we start small!

Remember – every bit of Tummy Time with your baby makes a difference and adds up, so keep going!

If you have done plenty of Tummy Time with baby, but are concerned they are not meeting their milestones, bring your concerns to baby’s pediatrician or healthcare provider.