Challenge Groups – What Are They & Why You Need Them

why bother

Lately I’ve had a lot of people asking me what the point of a challenge group is and why they’re so popular all of a sudden. I figured I would take a minute to break it down for anyone who wanted to know.

A challenge group is usually a Facebook Group dedicated to a group of challengers who are all participating with the same fitness program, for example: 21 Day Fix, 21 Day Fix Extreme, CIZE, or Hammer & Chisel. When you purchase these programs through a Team Beachbody Coach they will usually come in a Challenge Pack that includes Shakeology and also feature the awesome clean eating meal plan and portion control containers developed by trainer Autumn Calabrese.  That’s a fitness training program, a nutrient dense meal replacement (when combined with fruits & veggies), and a complete meal plan with portion control and a grocery list – any one who has ever worked with a personal trainer knows how freaking expensive that would be if you were purchase that kind of plan through them. Oh, and of course you can’t forget that you have a personal coach at your disposal on a daily basis!

So back to the group – the most important aspects of a challenge group are:

  1. Accountability – coaches and challengers checking in with each other to make sure that no one is falling behind, lost, or confused
  2. Motivation – daily posts to give you a little kick in the butt, a remind why you started, what your goals are, and that your dedication is what is gonna get you there in the long run!
  3. Support – Having a bad day? Post about it, guaranteed someone will help pull you out of that rough patch. Craving that donut that is taunting you from the break room? Post about it, someone will remind you of how sometimes we gotta give up what we want right now, so you can have what you want for the rest of your life.

One of the hardest parts of decided to start a fitness journey is getting past the fear of being a beginner, if that’s something you have a hard time with then a challenge group is the perfect place for you to start. Its a place for learning and seasoned challengers are more than happy to help you learn the right way to get started. Maybe you’ve never meal prepped before or you want a new dinner recipe because grilled chicken and steamed veggies just isn’t cutting it for you anymore -just ask and you’ll get more than enough recipes to keep you from getting bored. Most beginners also have a fear of looking like a beginner in a gym full of people who have been going there for years – this saves you from that and gives you the opportunity to work out at home for just 30 minutes a day (varies by program) with a minimal amount of equipment.

Studies have shown that participants with a support group have higher rates of self-control as well as self-confidence which provides them with motivation to keep up with their program.

Check out this article for some more info: You Can’t Lose Weight Alone: Why a Fitness Support System Works

If you’re interested in joining a challenge group – please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Coconut Oil Latte – Yum!

“Large Carmel iced coffee light with half and half and 3 sugars.” This is how I used to order my coffee every morning at Dunkin, lets just take a second to break that down.

Large French Vanilla Iced Coffee with Half and Half – 340 calories, 12g fat, 54g carbs, 49g sugars

Plus another 3 packets of sugar which is another 45 calories, 12g carbs, and 12g sugar!

Holy Crap!

I recently did some research on healthier ways to make coffee and found a really awesome recipe involving coconut oil which has so many great benefits and uses (I’ll make a separate post for all that info lol)

Coconut Oil Latte

  • 1 cup coffee
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil

Put both in a blender and pulse once or twice – all done! Sometimes I get fancy and froth 4 oz of almond milk to add and sprinkle some cinnamon on top – and if you need to add some sweetness a dash of organic stevia will do the trick but I think its awesome plain!

Would you stick to your New Year’s Resolution if it PAID you?

 Okay guys, I’m actually really excited about this. We all know the new year comes with a resolution, that 95% of us will keep until March (if you’re lucky), my team & I have decided to put together a Biggest Loser Challenge for January 2016, which will feature some pretty awesome cash and prize incentives! The person with the largest % weight loss wins the cash pot!

The top 2 reasons I have found that people give up on their fitness goals are a lack of accountability and a lack of support. Joining our challenge will connect you to a plethora of people doing the  meal program consisting of clean eating and portion control, 30 minute home workouts, and an amazing nutrient dense shake. AND you get to have me as a coach to help guide you and push you to reaching your goals.

What you get when you do a program with a bunch of people and a coach:

  • Accountability – your coach will check in with you regularly and you get some real 1-on-1 attention
  • Support – so you’re feeling pretty lazy today and are thinking about skipping your workout or indulging in some not so great food – you log into your group and see someone posted their progress pictures and is down 5lbs more than you – you can bet your butt you’re gonna get that workout done and put down that donut.
  • It’s a safe place for you to vent, ask questions, find praise, find recipes of other food that people love, and most of all POSITIVITY!
  • Judgment free zone! Okay, okay, so you were human and you ate the donut. I’ll tell you about that cookie I snuck in, now lets get you back on track for a cheat-free day tomorrow – complete with meal plan approved snacks that taste just as sinful (but don’t feel like sin coming out!)

Lets talk about it! Let me tell you a little bit about myself:

  • I’m on the same fitness journey as you – I just have a little more time under my belt. I’m in the process if losing a goal weight of 65lbs and I’m already 10 lbs in.
  • I work a full time job.
  • I’m building my side business every day.
  • I’m a full time Momma & Wife.
  • Up until last year
    • I had never eaten broccoli
    • The closest I had ever gotten to working out was walking on a treadmil
  • This year
    • My favorite veggies are all green: green beans, broccoli, snap peas, and asparagus
    • I ran (and completed) my first 5k

I hear the excuse “I don’t have time,” way more often than I should. I work 24/7 (if you don’t consider being a parent a full time job then you can just go ahead and exit this page) and I find  the time. HELL, sometimes I use my daughter as my weights!

If you’re interested in joining our AWESOME group, please fill out the form below so I can reach out and we can talk about your goals! There is nothing more satisfying than helping out someone who is ready to make a positive change in their life!

APPLY HERE!

I hope to hear from you!

xoxo, Kate

2 – Ingredient Pancakes!

The biggest reason I decided to lead a healthier life is because I wanted to set a good example for my daughter to follow. Can I make pancakes with white sugar, flour, and loads of butter, topped with chemical filled syrup? Sure, I can. Am I going to choose to do that? Heck no!

A healthy-minded momma, good friend of mine offered me this recipe and at first I figured these were going to be pretty gross, but they actually turned our really well, and my daughter LOVES them. She is about to be a year old so we can just hand her a plain pancake to nom on and she eats the whole thing – nothing more satisfying to a momma than seeing your little one LOVE the healthy food you give them. I figure if she grows up eating the healthy version, she wont feel like she’s “missing out” on something. These do come out thinner than a pancake but thicker than a crepe. Top however you please, I usually us some plain greek yogurt, a drizzle of honey, and some fresh berries!

Enjoy the recipe!


 

2-Ingredient Pancakes

Ingredients: 2 eggs, 1/2 banana

  1. Peel and cut banana in half. Mash the banana in a bowl   
  2. Separately whisk the 2 eggs. Combine with the banana and mix together. *you can add an 1/8 tsp of baking powder here  to make them a little bit fluffier    
  3. Each pancake should be about 2 tbsp (Don’t mind my 1/4 cup scoop)      
  4. Cook each pancake over medium heat until golden brown and then flip. This usually yields 5 silver dollar pancakes for me.   
  5. Add your toppings and enjoy!

The best time to start was yesterday, the second best time to start is right now

If I gave you access to 30 minute home workouts and color-coded food containers – would you be willing to try it?

You can put off taking the first step until you’re “ready” a million times, but it is never going to take you to the place you want to be in your life until you say “Enough. My time is NOW.”

I can’t tell you how many times someone brought me an opportunity to lose weight, even if it was just by the means of advice, and I wouldn’t take it, I just wasn’t ready yet. In April 2015 a good friend introduced me to the opportunity of being an online health & fitness coach, I signed up and bought a program and then did absolutely nothing with it – as I sit here now I promise that I wish I had started sooner.

Finally, in November 2015 I got tired of feeling awful, I wanted to be better for my daughter, I needed to pull myself out of debt, I had all these goals and zero positive outlooks on my life. So I took the plunge and made small goals for myself both physically and financially – and even if I didn’t lose the weight or I didn’t make any money, the positive outlook I have made on life through the personal development I have been enough to make my investment worth while.

There is never the perfect time to start, but as soon as you have that “ah-ha” moment and you realize that you need to make a change in your life you wont wait until the new year to better yourself, you wont wait until Monday to change your diet, you will start at that very moment.

If you’re looking for a motivation to get yourself moving, PLEASE contact me, the most fulfilling thing of all is helping others achieve their highest potential. If you’re looking help others better themselves, live healthy lives, and to make some extra money doing it, PLEASE don’t hesitate to contact me.

There’s an opportunity knocking on your door – are you going to answer it?

To IUD or Not to IUD? That is the question.

As some of you may have noticed, I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl 8 months ago (almost to the day) – and I chose the recently more popular IUD as my post-partum birth control. I’m horrible with remembering a pill every day and I’m really not into the idea of that birth control they imbed in your arm (way too syfy for me!), so I chose an IUD (Mirena) – have it put in and don’t think about it again for 5 years when I have it taken out (or when we wanna have baby #2 – whichever comes first). GREAT! I was thrilled, untilllllllll I’ve been busting my booty to lose this baby weight and it. will. not. budge. AT ALL. In fact, I keep gaining.

Now I’m no fool, as you can see in my last post, I’m well aware that I don’t eat perfectly – but I do go to the gym and eat 2 scrambled eggs with sprinkle of cheese for breakfast, grilled chicken and broccoli for lunch, and usually some form of meat and veggies for dinner, all properly portioned out, so my snacks here and there should really not be preventing me from total weight loss. I hold myself entirely accountable, every cheat goes right into My Fitness Pal, so does my fitness (connected via Apple Watch) so I see what my weekly calorie deficit is and it is almost always over 3500. So, WHY have I fluctuated by only a pound on rare occasion?

So one day my husband sees me getting super frustrated that I cant find the problem and says “hun, do you think it could be your IUD?” and after all it really is the only thing different from my pre-pregnancy life (other than me eating way better and exercising more which does not = weight gain). So I dove into some research and believe me when I say there are HUNDREDS of message boards about women who experience extreme weight gain or the inability to lose weight, I mean we’re talking women who have gained 30 lbs in under a year, all the way to 65 lbs over the length of 5. I swear to you if I didn’t need a doctor to do it I would have taken the damn thing out right then and there.

I wanted to lose weight long before I had a baby, so now instead of  30 lbs I want to lose 55 lbs. Believe it or not I’m not afraid of the journey but, I am terrified of not finding the right combination of fitness and nutrition to succeed. I get discouraged pretty quickly – the gym was way outside of my comfort zone and to put myself out there and still feel like a failure makes me really upset.

I’m having this sucker removed next Thursday – here’s to hoping that it’s the answer to my prayers!

Food Addiciton is Very, Very, Real

Today I came to a pretty startling realization. I have spent a lot of time and money on attempting to live a healthier lifestyle, to eat better, be more active, and truly nourish my body. I recently began a rigorous workout trainer (Pipehitter) designed by fitness star Ashley Horner, and it is by far no joke and contains a pretty strict meal plan. And I’ve been kidding myself into thinking that just because I’m not following the meal plan verbatim, that I am still watching closely what I eat.

This past weekend was a pretty big wake up call for me. I had finished the first week of my trainer and was just starting to get back use of my legs (seriously, leg day is not something for the faint of heart), and despite the agony I had put myself through at the gym and soreness in my legs, I was still eating crap. It was late and I was helping family prep for a wedding to take place in that back yard on Saturday and I intended on running to the supermarket to get a rotisserie chicken and frozen veggies to eat for dinner but, the store was closed. So, with a lack of truly healthy options at my disposal, I grabbed pizza. Normally, I wouldn’t really shun myself for this – one bad meal won’t make you unhealthy the same way eating one salad won’t make healthy – but it had more to do with what I ordered and the manner in which I ate it. I ordered two plain slices, a rice ball, and 3 squares of pepperoni bread. To make it worse, I was so embarrassed by the size of my order (and that fact that my cousin-in-law who was helping me with my trainer at the gym was inside the house) that I proceeded to eat half of my food in the car before entering the house. I was officially sneak-eating. That was when it hit me, I sneak eat all the time. Somewhere along the way I was introduced to potato salad at a BBQ and fell in love. Sometimes when I go to the grocery store I buy a small container, eat it, and then hide it under other garbage in my trash can so my husband doesn’t say anything to me. Or I’ll buy my husband snacks that he can eat (cookies/chips) since he has an incredibly fast metabolism, and then when he’s napping or not home, I’ll indulge. And then, like I have no idea what is happening, I will freak out when the scale doesn’t budge – or worse – it goes up.

I don’t know exactly what it is that triggers it, boredom, stress or laziness. But whatever it is, it is 100% the reason why I can’t lose the weight I’ve been dying to see melt off. I’ve been reading the book It Starts With Food by Dallas Hartwig and Melissa Hartwig, not necessarily with the intent of starting the Whole 30 diet, but because the book discusses the mechanics and psychology of eating. In a brief two page excerpt, Dallas & Melissa Hartwig explain the psychology of stress eating and suddenly it made all the sense in the world why I can’t seem to walk past that potato salad without taking some home. There’s nothing wrong with me and it is extremely common: my brain has a chemical addiction to food.

With a little bit of online research I found that food can be as addictive as heroin or cocaine. Highly palatable foods: those rich in salt, fat, and sugar, can make the brain release the same feel-good hormones (like dopamine) as addictive drugs. So, potato salad which is high in both fat and salt is a prime example of a food that could release a potential “high” for someone addicted to food.

Deciding to use the word “addict” to describe myself is a pretty big deal, but it also helps me understand why eating something so horrible for me can somehow make me feel so good, but that first step of eating something bad is the trigger of a very unhealthy cycle. Gives into bad food -> creates feelings of stress and guilt -> bad food releases feel good hormones -> therefore eats bad food all over again. What is the very first step of the 12-step program used to help drug addicts become sober? Admitting you are powerless to your addiction and that it has become unmanageable.

In an attempt to regain some control of my relationship with food, I purchased the book Food Junkies: The Truth About Food Addiction by Vera Tarman, MD with Philip Werdell. I can only hope that having a better understanding of my unhealthy relationship with food will eventually allow me to live a healthier life.