Clean Beauty

I have been focusing on my diet a lot over the past year.  Cleaning up what I eat – less processed foods, more clean real foods – and I have noticed all the good changes I have mentioned here.  Less indigestion, less gas, better sleep, weight loss, better skin.

So the next natural step for me was to clean up what I put ON my body.  If chemicals are bad to eat, it seems it’s a natural continuation to the fact that they are bad to slather on every day.  I struggled with this one a lot because a quick inventory told me that all of my favorite beauty products were all very very unclean.  I’ve tried a few things and pictured here is my current lineup that I’m loving:

1. Crystal Deodorant – This stuff is aluminum free, which is why I tried it.  I was terrified but it works just fine  and lasts through a workout so it gets a thumbs up from me.  I have been using this for about 6 months and have never had a problem.  I get this one at the grocery store or CVS, but you can get it from Amazon as well.  
2. 100% Pure Body Scrub and Body Wash – Everything this company makes is vegan or vegetarian.  There isn’t anything in it at all that isn’t natural.  I LOVE the scrub.  Whenever I use it my skin feels so soft and amazing and I don’t need any lotion.  The wash smells great but as will all natural washes, there is very minimal suds that happen when you use it.  It’s a foam so it’s a bit more than some others I have tried, but the lack of bubbles is something I dislike in general with natural cleansers.  I actually purchased these at SFO in January when I was on my travels.  I have seen it at Ulta recently as well.  
3. Vitamin Code Raw Prenatal Vitamins – I have taken a prenatal for a while because it does amazing things for my hair – making it stronger and growing longer.  I switched to this one because it seemed to have the least amount of junk in it.  I haven’t had any side effects and I like the fact it doesn’t make me nauseous like some other vitamins have.  You can find this at some health stores and on Amazon.  
4. Jason Cocoa Butter Lotion – I love cocoa butter and ran across this at the grocery store when on travel and out of lotion and really like it.  I do have a 100% pure brand lotion that I will try after this one is complete, but for the price, this one works just great.  Leaves my skin soft and smooth.  I see this brand in lots of drugstores and grocery stores and usually with a discount attached.
5. Earthpaste Toothpaste – Okay if you asked me to pick one of these products to buy today – this is the one.  I started using this after researching dental care.  My husband and I both had a lot of random dental issues which really made no sense to me.  I brushed at least once a day, usually twice a day.  And I flossed daily.  I wasn’t drinking pop and I still had a lot of problems that I just couldn’t figure out.  So after reading a bunch of reviews I ended up purchasing this on Amazon.  That was 3 dental visits ago and I have not had a single cavity since.  My diet has slowly improved over the same time frame, but I only made my bit change last September.  The 2 visits before I still had no problems with my cleaner but not clean diet.  This stuff is pretty awesome to me and yes it’s pricey (around $7/tube) but not having any cavities is totally worth the cost.  I just got my new 3 pack in the mail last week, lol!  I have only gotten this from Amazon.  A friend of mine told me she found it in her local store, but I have never seen it in a brick and mortar store.
The links I’ve included go to the product websites so you can learn more about them.  I slowly change out items.  I try to find a better choice whenever something runs out.  As far as makeup goes – that is a totally different story.  I have some Tarte products, which I love, but I also LOVE my smashbox.  I don’t wear makeup daily anyway, so I don’t worry too much about it right now, but it’s on my to research list.
So you tell me – what natural or cleaner products do you love?  I’m always ready to try something new 🙂

I’m sooo not getting sick…

Back home and back on the grind.  I am REALLY run down right now between the travel and work and our move and everything else – but I’m desperately trying to keep myself on the straight and narrow.  I was struggling when I first got back because I didn’t have time to cook on Sunday so that lead to ordering dinner a few more days then I should.  And I had a lot of fried chicken at home.  Probably not as much as I think I did – but considering I can’t even remember the last time I had fried chicken before Saturday, it just feels like a LOT.  I also had a lot of dessert.  See this is the thing right – I should have made a plate, sat down, and eaten.  Instead I nibbled while I was helping my mom host – putting food out, taking coats, ect.  There was a lot going on and I fell into my usual “take care of everything but me” personality.  Which is ok.  Seriously.  It is.  Because I’m out of it now.  I didn’t let it turn into a 2 week thing like I usually do where I eat everything under the sun and cry about how fat I’m getting.  I had a few off days and just like that I’m back.  I got back on exercise immediately and I got back on eating hardcore today.

In general though, I just really needed the last few nights to myself, and I took them.  I read and slept early and fought off this stupid sinus infection to the best of my ability.  I didn’t blog, although I did do some videos for Femistry – which I should do a whole post about soon actually, but I did catch up on sleep and do some serious thinking about life.  Trying to figure out can I quit my job and just workout for 4-6 months, then come back to the real world…but I think that isn’t going to happen.  Not unless someone orders about 1000 copies of INSANITY from me right quick, lol.   But seriously – after having to deal with the memorial and the family (Seriously if ONE more person asks me when I’m having a kid again I’m going to start swinging.  What exactly is the answer to that question?  tomorrow?  On November 18th 2014?  What is it?) and the travel and the go-go schedule once I got home with helping my mom cook and clean and then cooking breakfast and all that….I just was totally wiped out.  I still wish I could have taken some time off this week, but I had work things that I had to be here for.  I make no promises for Friday though…I’m really considering taking a day off to woosah a little bit.

I also should say – I started trying the Les Mills Combat workouts.  Oh my freaking god.  Okay so remember how I was desperate to do this program in January?  Well my order got completely screwed up so I didn’t get it until last week.  Anyway, I wasn’t going to even try it until I finished my hybrid…but um I totally gave in and tried it yesterday because of my total lack of motivation and I get giddy with new stuff.  And I did it again today.  It’s soooo good.  Like I’m already a super fan and now wanting to jump into 2 months of it.  I love this stuff…new workouts just make me excited.  Some of them end up a bust and some of them are awesome.  I need to make a page with my reviews of all the DVD programs I have tried and rate them somehow.  I’ve tried about all of them.  Some girls collect purses – I collect workouts.

Anyway, just wanted to touch base and share what’s going on with me.  I am still feeling under the weather a bit, but I’m hoping my Shakeology + exercise + gallons of water + sleep will all fix me soon.

Shakeology Cleanse Complete!

I completed my modified Shakeology cleanse yesterday.  I have to tell you – I feel so good!  I don’t eat a lot of junk food, but we had started eating out a lot and I started eating way too much dairy.  Cleansing all of that out of my body for a few days was exactly what the doctor ordered.  I slept so well last night and I woke up this morning feeling really good and my stomach wasn’t pissed off at me like it had been the end of last week.  I did lose 3 lbs, which surprised me because I didn’t really think I’d lose anything considering my normal diet is very similar to the cleanse (well take away 2 shakes and replace that with lunch).

It took me back to how good I felt when I finished the reset after 2 weeks of eating vegan.  I go back and forth with should I go vegan.  I don’t really want to…but I always feel so GOOD when I eat vegan for a few days or more that I feel like I should give it a good college try to see if anything longer than 2 weeks would be good for me.
The hubby wants to do the reset again very soon and obviously I’m so on board to do that.  I’m not sure when we will do it, perhaps something for March after we move.  I think if I do decide to go vegan for an extended period of time I can’t think of a better way to transition into it then the reset.  The hubs wants to do it again because he is not feeling very good.  He has not gone back to his old pre-reset eating ways at all, but I think he wants to do it again to push his habits more towards the good.  He and I went in different ways after the last reset.  I tried to maintain a similar to the reset but more food so I could support my exercise diet and he worked on replacing the foods he was eating with healthier options.  Organic granola instead of Captain Crunch cereal.  Organic cookies instead of oreos.  Now – yes this is better than his old diet.  He is eating healthier foods and I’m cooking healthier foods.  But at the end of the day, organic junk food is still junk food.  He knows he needs to make some changes and figures doing the reset again will help him break these habits.  
I am running around like crazy today, as usual, so a short post today.  If you have any questions about the cleanse or the Ultimate Reset, drop me a comment 🙂
Also – Team Beachbody has Hip Hop Abs on sale for a crazy low price – $19.95 for the base and $39.90 for the deluxe (plus 25% off that price for coaches).  I definitely ordered mine today…if you are interested check it out on my site 🙂

Operation Size 16 – Entering the Home Stretch

It’s already February 21st – how did that happen??  Either way, I’ve been trying my hardest to get to my goal – of fitting into these pants – by the 28th.  I have 7 days left, so I’m in the home stretch of this challenge.  I didn’t feel like I made much progress this month at all, but that’s why I take pictures instead of listening to my inner voice.

I’m so close.  Like thisclose to these being wearable.  I could probably wear them now out if I really wanted to…I’m sure I’ve worn tighter and more ill fitting jeans, lol.  But I am just going to keep working until they fit RIGHT, especially in the back.  I’m going to really be pushing this week to see how much better I can get these to fit 🙂
I’ll be at home for my Saturday and Sunday workouts, so I will probably bring a DVD to do while there.  It’s going to be a hard weekend – lots of emotions, lots of family, and lots of out of my control meals – and I would like to not compound all the feelings I will have by doing lots of emotional eating and feeling out of control that will just make me feel worse in a different way and at the end just feeling horrible physically and mentally which isn’t the point.  I just want to keep something feeling “normal.”

Giveaway Winner!

Thank you everyone for participating in my first giveaway on my blog 🙂  I hope to do more of these as I go forward to share some of my favorite healthy and fun things with you guys.  Let me know in the comments what kinds of things you would like to read about or learn more about to help me figure out what kinds of things I can focus on to give you guys more info that you actually want.

So enough of that, nobody cares, you all just really want to know who won the giveaway, lol.

The winner is: Kelsey S.!

Please shoot me an email at with Shakeology Giveaway Winner as the subject and I’ll get these in the mail to you 🙂

Also for anyone who still wants to try Shakeology and didn’t win today, you can still get a bag with a 30 day refund guarantee if you don’t like it (even if the bag is empty) from my site.  I hope to do more giveaways in the future for Shakeology because I do believe it is an awesome product 🙂

I’ll be back a little later with my post on my Operation Size 16 update 🙂

Cleansing Breaths

Today, on a whim, I decided to do my own version of the shakeology cleanse.  I felt the need to modify the original cleanse because I still want to workout, so I did not want to drop my calories that low.  My goal here isn’t crazy fast weight loss, it’s just to kind of re-baseline from the Ultimate Reset.  In my ongoing processing of the changes to my life since the husband came back from working in TN, I realize that I need to kind of re-baseline.  Prior to shakeology and the reset I have done lots of short 2-3 day cleanses where you buy some kind of pre-mixed concentrate and have that every X hours for a few days.  That was my way to kind of reset when life was a little crazy and I need to get it together mentally.  Stop obsessing on food and start focusing on my diet du jour or just take a step back to get my brain together.  So this isn’t a new habit for me – just a new form.

The original Shakeology cleanse is pretty basic:
For three days eat the following:
Upon waking: 1 cup green tea
Breakfast: 1 serving shakeology with ice and water, no more than 1 cup of water
Snack: 1 piece of fruit
Lunch: 1 serving shakeology with ice and water, no more than 1 cup of water + 1 cup green tea
Snack: 1 serving shakeology with ice and water, no more than 1 cup of water
Dinner: Salad of 3 serving of greens and veggies, 4 oz protein (fish or poulry), and no more than 2 TBSP low fat dressing

I have never done this cleanse but people have really seen good results from it if you are looking for the basic cleanse recipe.  Mine looks just slightly different.  The main difference is that I am adding a lot more to my Shakeology blend and because of my schedule I’m moving things around a bit.

Breakfast: 1 serving vegan shakeology w/ almond milk, fruit, 1/3 packet vegan vanilla protein powder
Lunch: 1 serving vegan shakeology w/ almond milk, fruit, 1/3 packet vegan vanilla protein powder
Snack: 1 serving vegan shakeology w/ almond milk, fruit
Dinner: Vegan meal of my choice that is veggie based
Snack: Fruit bowl (I bought grapes, strawberries, and mangos)

I drink tea all the time anyway, so I’m drinking green tea and water and probably some other teas as well all day as I usually do.  I have a few teas that are very strong in flavor and don’t need honey for flavor so I will be drinking those this week.  I just need a little reset and I’m hoping this will give me that.  And if you wanted to try Shakeology, you might want to check out my giveaway…one day left to enter and you still have a good shot at winning!

My super hybrid is doing pretty great.  I was feeling really run down yesterday and missed a day, so tonight I’m planning on getting caught up since yesterday + today’s workouts total are only around an hour.  Then I get an off day tomorrow, which I need.  My grandma passed this weekend and I’m going home for the memorial services this weekend.  She has had Alzheimer’s for many many years, 15,  so I am happy that she is at peace now.  I’m doing ok, just ready to get home and give my mom and dad a huge hug.

Size 16 Mission and More

Today is the 3rd day of my new hybrid program. So far – I’m in love with it AND I’m already feeling awesome from it. I am glad I found it and took the steps to see if something else would work better for me. I have done 2 days of Chalean Extreme and I am sorry I thought it wouldn’t be that great before. I bought it at least 4 years ago after falling in love with Turbo Jam. Then I got it and didn’t have the weights and just never got into it. I’ve had it forever and just never picked it up again. If not for one of my fellow Beachbody coaches posting amazing progress on instagram I may have never actually picked it up. Anyway, what I am learning to appreciate about the program are the compound movements. The weight exercises are very different from P90x and the sessions are full body instead of very focused on a certain area. So it’s just totally different. I didn’t really appreciate that before trying them out. I’m thinking that this is better for me while losing just based on a few sessions and the way I feel afterwards. I think P90x is going to be amazing for me once I am closer to the end of this weight loss journey.

It was also fun to do INSANITY again!  I did plyo intervals yesterday and it’s JUST as hard as it used to be, which is the nice thing about INSANITY – it can’t get easier, ever.  I was able to do so much more than I could when I was in month 1 in November.  It’s kind of amazing how much more to me, because I felt like I was rocking it before, ha.  I didn’t really realize how much room I had to grow.  I want to do the fit test again one of these days to see how I do on that.

Now I’m heading off to the city to meet my friend for lunch.  We are going to a vegan restaurant so I’m excited about that!  But before I go, this week’s pictures from my size 16 mission.

This is week 1 to this week, so quite the difference.  I started doing more cardio and I can tell.  All the cardio programs I do are very ab focused, so I think that is why my stomach is shrinking so much.  I took these on Wednesday, and I’m pretty pumped for next week’s picture.  I can already see a difference in my stomach from the last few days, so I am really excited to see if I can pull this off in the next few weeks!

Valentine’s Day Chocolates for You

It’s Valentine’s Day and while I am trying to stay away from chocolates in abundance, I’m hoping to share a little chocolate (and strawberry!) love with you 🙂

Today I’m hosting my first giveaway, vegan chocolate and tropical strawberry shakeology from my personal stash.  I use the bags mostly, but I keep the packets for travel.  I am giving away 6 packets total, 3 of each flavor.  I drink the vegan tropical strawberry about 5 out of 7 days a week on average.  It’s a good quick breakfast that keeps  me from craving junk which is everywhere in my office most days.  I know a lot of people are kind of sketch on it because of how it’s sold.  I was as well for a long time.  But I’m glad I took the leap because it really is a good product for me and I love the benefits of better digestion, reducing cravings, keeping me full, and my hair has never been healthier. I also haven’t gotten sick while everyone else around me has and I usually am the first woman down.  I know some other people don’t like it though and respect that fully.  I’m actually not the biggest fan of the chocolate, that’s my husband’s flavor of choice.  It’s too chocolatey to me, if that makes any sense lol.  I drink it for breakfast, so it’s just too much.  I did find a recipe on instagram for a thicker ice cream style chocolate shakeology and I’m going to try that to see if I like it as dessert.

Anyway, the prize!  It will last you 6 days at one a day, so you can go almost a week.

Enter using one of the options below and good luck!  You have a week and I’ll get these out right after a winner is determined 🙂 US and Canada only please 🙂

Good luck 🙂

Time for a Change

Okay, so if you read my blog regularly or follow me on instagram (@healthyengineer) you know that I haven’t really been all that excited about my P90x journey so far.  I LOVE the workouts…but I am not getting the results I should be getting 30 days in.  Maybe I’m not lifting heavy enough.  I don’t honestly know.  I have really no clue since I have seen people shrink with this program. The only thing I do know is that me +P90x right now aren’t working out so fantastically.  

For a while I was determined to push through it.  I thought that since I made this commitment that I would be a failure if I quit the program.  I thought that I wouldn’t be giving it the good old college try and it would be unfair to not give it the full 90 days.  But then I started realizing that honestly – who gives a damn.  Really.  My goal here isn’t to best any program but to get in the best shape and health I can get in.  And if a program isn’t giving me what I need, then I need to stop and re-assess.  
I realized that it was this thinking – that I’m quitting or I’m failing – that has been something I have struggled with for YEARS with weight loss.  I have the wrong mentality.  It’s not quitting, it’s fixing or re-adjusting, or just doing something new because I want to do something new.  This isn’t a 90 day mission to lose weight, it’s a rest of my life mission to be better for myself.  So that means that if it’s broke I need to fix it.  Because if I don’t fix it, this P90x feeling, then will I be able to give my all for the next 60 days?  Did I miss an opportunity?  Exactly.  
So with all that said – it’s time for a change.  I scoured the internet and found a basis for a new program – a INSANITY ChaLEAN Extreme TurboFire hybrid.  What?  Yes.  I have owned ChaLEAN Extreme for years and never actually done the program because I never had the weights for it.  Then once I did I was just kind meh on the program.  Recently I’ve seen some amazing results from my teammates that have been awesome and have me re-thinking it.  What I didn’t realize was that those workouts are shorter – most under 45 minutes, which is also a plus because I would get to sleep in just a little more than I do now.  I already adore INSANITY and TurboFire as you know, so I feel like this is an opportunity to add in the weights but still get the cardio I think I need right now.  I never thought of combining these programs like this at all.  
So the plan is to take this schedule and stick it on the wall and start this tomorrow.  I’m going to do this like P90x – give it 30 days and see.  I believe that I will know relatively quickly – I did with every program so far – if it’s going to be right for me or not.  I’m excited for this but a little nervous since it’s got some hard hard cardio days.  I will keep a log here of course and let you guys know how I like it!!

Dieting vs. Healthy Living

Dieting to lose weight.  Start creating a healthy diet.
These two things are completely different from each other.  Completely.  I want to share that with you we go forward in our February challenge and our efforts.  It’s something we all need to remember, even when we feel like we aren’t getting anywhere.
Let’s start by defining dieting.  A diet is the food that is consumed for sustenance   The word diet has nothing to do with weight loss or health or anything else.  But the word dieting, which is to attempt to control your food/intake through specific food choices or dietary changes.  The motivation of the dieter is only on the scale and how the scale changes dictates if the diet is working.  The entire goal is weight reduction or body change.  Okay.  Now that we have defined dieting, let’s really look at what dieting entails for the typical diet for weight loss.  The typical diet for weight loss from my personal experience, my friends, and what I see on the interwebs is centered around trying to maximize (quantity and satiety) the food you can eat while staying within certain calorie or macronutrient restrictions.  So essentially, that the goal for weight loss is set to be achieved by reducing or eliminating excess calories or certain macronutrients.  The food selections are typically based on what is the most I can get and stay within my program.  Lots of diet foods may be consumed, the quality of food may not be a consideration, and exercise is seen as a way to lose weight quicker, by creating a larger calorie deficit or for some programs a way to allow the dieter to eat more food. Guilt plays a big role in this strategy because the dieter believes that any shift from the rigid plan will cause weight loss to cease.  People may push harder than necessary in the gym to burn off excess calories or eat less than necessary to make up for splurges.
Now let’s look at what it means to create a healthy diet as the goal instead of dieting to lose weight.  When you are creating a healthy diet, the focus shifts.  Instead of focusing on outcomes – weight reduction or body change the focus shifts to the inputs – the creating of a healthy diet and healthy habits.  The foods that are selected are chosen because of their health benefits and the focus is on quality, not quantity.  Typically people looking at this option are focusing on eating a clean diet focused on eating mostly clean fresh produce, lean meats, healthy grains, home cooking, and not a lot of foods in boxes or packages.  Exercise is considered an essential part of this diet because of the health benefits and to maximize the results of the healthy diet.  The scale may be used to track progress, however lack of weight loss isn’t considered a failure because it’s not the ultimate goal.  The goal is to improve your health via improving your lifestyle (diet and exercise) and by reducing weight.  Non ideal foods aka unhealthy foods are typically included in moderation.  The diet consists 95% of healthy choices and the remaining 5% may be used for splurges.  The person typically in this camp naturally eats for health most of the time and sets them self up for success.
Do you see a difference between the two?  No? That makes sense because the difference between the two is very small.  The difference is motivation, which trickles down to what you will do without inducing stress.  Dieting is typically hard on the body because it’s restrictive and the motivation is only to change the number.  Healthy eating is easier once you have accepted that as your plan because it’s a more natural way to live and the motivation includes many non-scale victories as well as weight loss for some people.  Also dieting has an end point – when you reach your goal weight.  Healthy eating has no end point.

 Is that clearer?  Now let’s be honest – most of us do not fall strictly into one camp or the other.  I certainly don’t.  I was a dieter.  I spent many years dieting, mostly yo-yo dieting, and feeling like the only thing that mattered was the scale.  I am getting better and realizing that there is more to a healthy life than the scale and for me I cannot maintain a dieting lifestyle.  I get burned out.  I do fall into it a lot, diet thinking, and I think that as I’ve felt very stressed lately I have started to think diet not health.  I need to stop…because dieting for me has always lead to failure while lately my healthy focus has lead to much success.  I also think some of this is from my P90x feelings as of late and realizing that you can change your body shape/lose inches and the scale not drop dramatically.  I needed a reminder of this fact and I hope it helped you too.