Quest Bar Faceoff


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**Please Note: this post is about WW POINTS PLUS, and NOT the new Smart Points, which is what most Weight Watchers are using now. Smart Points post coming soon**

When I started getting really serious about my weight loss and fitness I went on a nutritional mission to get a lot more protein in my diet.  I knew that it would be good for keeping me fuller longer, and it would help out my muscles in the gym, especially since I have CMT and need all the help I can get.  As I looked at protein bar after protein bar I discovered that they all seemed to be geared toward body builder types who required calories with the protein.  On average, the bars I found would range anywhere from 7-10 Points Plus or more!!  For a woman trying to eat a mere 26 Points Plus a day, I thought finding a protein bar that was right for me was impossible.

Then I found Quest Bars! ūüôā


 

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Teami Blends 30 Day Detox Review

 

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As you may recall, about a month ago I started the TeaMi Blends 30 Day Detox.  Happy day to me, I finished it. Overall, the experience was a positive one.  Let’s get into the details.

What is the TeaMi 30 Day Detox?

The TeaMi Blends 30 day detox is a program that runs over a 30 day period (duh..) and consists of two different teas: TeaMi Skinny and TeaMi Colon.

Teami Skinny is a unique blend of all natural ingredients that help boost metabolism and suppress appetite, reduce bloating, increase energy, and aid in the digestion process. You can drink as much as you want, as there is no laxative effect. For the cleanse, I drank this first thing in the morning.  In the bag there is enough for a 1tsp serving every morning.  It might not look like a lot, but in the Teami Infuser, the tea expands to fill the whole thing when it steeps.  It’s pretty cool. The taste is good, but isn’t very strong, which I’m okay with.  I was able to drink it without any additional sweeteners and it was enjoyable.

The ingredients in Teami Skinny are: Yerba Mate, Oolong tea, Jiao Gulam, Lotus leaf, Lime leaf extract, ginger root, and Rhubarb root.

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8 Ways to Drink More Water

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We all know that there are SO many reasons to drink more water, but sometimes that is much more easily said than done.  For one reason or another, we manage to let hours slip by without taking a sip of that cool, refreshing H2O because we are busy with diet sodas or our latest run to Starbucks.  While we all have our beverage preferences, it is super important to make sure we set them aside and get enough water in our bodies each and every day to keep them functioning properly.  Here are a few ways to get yourself to drink more water.

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5 Reasons to Drink More Water

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I know you have heard it a million times from a ton of different sources. ¬†Doctors, magazines, fitness trainers, and health bloggers talk about the importance of water and hydration all the time. ¬†I’m about to add myself to the list because it’s important enough for you to hear it one more time:¬†Drink more water!

Did you know that around 65% (I thought I learned 70% in school, but fact checking I found this number instead) of our body is water. ¬†Yeah, over half! ¬†That is a lot of water. There are many ways we end up using and losing water, so if we aren’t diligent about replenishing our supply, we end up dehydrated and could cause some pretty significant problems to our precious bodies. ¬†Here are just a few reasons why you should drink more water. Read more

Surviving Thanksgiving on a Diet

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I am a follower of the Popsugar fitness blog, Fitsugar, and when I stumbled across this post (or more specifically, the image above) I laughed and nodded, agreeing 100% with what that cute turkey poster says.

Thanksgiving is a holiday that strikes fear into the food journal of dieters (and people maintaining their goal) everywhere. With turkey, rich gravies, sweet potato casseroles and everything in between all looming above their heads, people really start stressing (myself included) about how they are going to diet this Thanksgiving.

Here’s my advice in one word:

DON’T!!

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Confessions of A Weight Watchers Lifetime Member: It’s STILL Tough

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A year ago on November 18th I went to my Weight Watchers center in Park Ridge, IL, weighed in, and much to my delight I hit my magic number, my goal weight that I had been striving for since I can’t remember when: 135!  There was a little celebration during the meeting where I was awarded my “goal” star charm to do with as I pleased (for a time I put it on a chain and wore it around my neck until it started to tarnish).  Now, I just had to maintain this weight within range (5 lbs under or 2 lbs above) for 6 weeks and then I would officially have accomplished my ultimate weight loss goal of becoming a Lifetime Member of Weight Watchers.

6 weeks later, I did.

Now, with a year’s worth of weight maintenance experience under my belt, after working for Weight Watchers for almost a year, and after several whirlwind life changes I am hear to tell you this: It does NOT get any easier!

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Bulu Box: October 2013

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Here’s this month’s Bulu Box. ¬†This is my second one and I am pleased with this one as well. ¬†Let’s see what’s inside, shall we?

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Simple Being Slimming Smoothie

This smoothie came in a conveniently portioned pack , so there was no measuring involved. ¬†The protein kick in this baby is awesome at 26 grams in one serving. ¬†With only 1 g of carbohydrates, the Points Plus value of my chocolate smoothie mix is only 2! ¬†That’s the same amount as the Weight Watchers smoothies, but with over twice as much protein in it. ¬†As usual, I prepared this smoothie with about a cup of frozen strawberries and a cup of water. ¬†The result is a chocolate covered strawberry smoothie packed with hunger fighting protein, making this an amazing snack that will, as the name says, slim you (or help keep you that way. ¬†There are two flavors available (chocolate truffle and vanilla bean) and you can get it in a 2 lb tub.

Full Size: $49.99 (on sale from $59.99) for 28 servings

Sample Size: 1 Serving

Sample Value: $1.78

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Natural Vitality Calm Anti-Stress Drink

This anti-stress drink is also known as a magnesium supplement, containing 235 mg per 15 teaspoons. ¬†There was also an informational brochure in the Bulu Box talking about how magnesium balances the amount of calcium in your body, and it explains why this balance is important. ¬†Basically, an abundance of calcium (aka magnesium depletion) in the body can cause many things: stress, low energy, muscle tension, spasms, and cramps, irritability, difficultly sleeping, and more serious things like calcification of organs. ¬†Seeing how 1/2 of the symptoms on that list pretty much described my life right now (click here for my most resent random breakdown) and knowing that I take a calcium and vitamin D supplement daily, I consulted my mom (who is a nurse and I consult with everything. ¬†She basically told me I don’t really have to worry about getting a magnesium supplement becuase too much magnesium in the body can cause sluggish muscles (hence the relaxing), and having Muscular Dystrophy (read more about that here) sluggish muscles are not something I want to encourage. ¬†I tried this drink yesterday late afternoon after I knew I was done with anything important for the day, and I didn’t notice anything terribly calming other than the fact there was no emotional break down last night. ¬†Now, that is an improvement, but I’m going to go with the hope that i have a enough¬†control over my emotions that I don’t need a drink to keep myself in an emotionally sane state (the occasional (once or twice a week, usually)¬†alcoholic beverage in the evening to wind down with Erik is of course exempt from that statement). ¬†This product comes in a variety of flavors and is available in tubs (8 oz or 16 oz) or in a set of 30 packets.

Full Size Product: $16.99 for 30 packets

Sample Size: 1 packet

Sample Value: $0.57

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Pocket Protein: Women’s Formula

You know those fruit puree pouches that little kids (or their parents) are carrying around all the time lately? ¬†This instantly reminded me of that. ¬†This gel is made with high grade, lactose free whey protein and has¬†no sugar, carbs, or lactose in it. ¬†Bonus: This 2oz pouch is only 1 Point Plus!!¬†I’m digging these stats for sure! ¬†I literally just consumed this in an effort to power up my workout which I will do as soon as I get this baby posted. ¬†It was a little weird at first, but it’s not at all bad tasting. ¬†Having it take less than 30 seconds to get a strong protein boost is worth it. ¬†I hope it fuels me up. ¬†You can buy these in 5 day, 15 day, and 30 day supplies, with the expectation being 2 packets per day.

Full Size Product: $26.99 for 5 day supply (10 pouches)

Sample Size: 1 pouch

Sample Value: $2.70

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Life Equals: Focus and Energy

This vitamin dishes out a dose of B vitamins, amino acids and natural caffeine to help keep you energized and focused without the crash that comes with other energy supplements. ¬†What I’m imagining here is a B-complex vitamin with a few added perks. ¬†I’m trying to remember how I felt after taking these. ¬†I think I’d need a few days to truly test it out to see if I notice an energy difference. ¬†The concept behind it is great though,

Full Size Product: $29.99 for 60 capsules

Sample Size: 2 capsules

Sample Value: $1

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Burn 360

Claiming to be an advanced fat burner and detoxifier, this supplement had raspberry keytones (hot product right now) and acai in it to help boost metabolism, curb cravings, and boost your antioxidants. ¬†I’ve seen mixed reviews on this product, and only took one of the two so far and was not able to detect a noticeable difference. ¬†Again, probably more noticeable after a few days (come on, Bulu Box, bring back the awesome sample size like last month, were we got a week’s worth to try!!).

Full Size Product: $34.95 for 72 capsules

Sample Size: 2 capsules

Sample Value: $0.97

They also threw in a $25 gift card to livewell360.com, which sells high end gym bags. ¬†Sadly, this is not something I will use because the starting price on these babies are $167, and it goes up from there, so even the $25 gift isn’t going to make me get one of those. ¬†Good try, but I’ll stick to my gym bag from Kohls

Total Box Value: $7.02 (without the $25 gift card, of course).

 

You’re a little shy of the $10 this month Bulu Box, but nonetheless, the products have proved to be worth a try. ¬†I still am living this box as much as my first one last month, and continue to be impressed with the products they are introducing me to.

Bulu Box is a monthly subscription service that costs $10 a month and allows you to try 4-5 samples of top of the line health and fitness supplements. ¬†There are two types of boxes you can subscribe to: a regular one and a weight loss one. I am subscribed to the weight loss one. ¬†Check out Bulu Box here and sign up for this great service delivering things to help you reach your health and fitness goals to your door every month ūüôā

My First Bulu Box (September 2013)

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Yesterday I was super excited to get my first Bulu Box in the mail. ¬†I am loving the trend of monthly subscription boxes. ¬†I’ve been a huge fan of Birchbox, one of the first beauty subscription boxes out there. ¬†If I had the money I’d be subscribed to many more, but thanks to a coupon I found on a fellow blogger’s site, I got an amazing deal on a year long Bulu Box subscription. Bulu Box is a monthly subscription service that sends you sample sizes of health and fitness related products every month. What’s really nice about Bulu Box is they have two diferent box options: general health and fitness or a weight loss specific box. ¬†I love that they give their customers a choice like that. ¬† Just like Birchbox, they have an awesome little points program, where every 100 points means $10 off a full size item in their shop, and you can earn points simply by taking surveys on the products they send you each month.

Time to dig in to what I found in my box this month. Surprise Surprise, I subscribed to the Weight Loss themed box, rather than the regular one.

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Naturade Total Soy

First up was a packet of a meal replacement smoothie mix. ¬†I enjoy taking smoothie mixes and blending them with frozen strawberries and unsweetened almond milk to get an ice creamy type treat, so this is right up my ally. The claims of Naturade is this product not only suppresses appetite, but lowers cholesterol as well. ¬†This mix has a nice balance of micronutrients (simply put: carbs, fat, protein and fiber) so I do consider this to be a pretty solid meal nutritionally, and at only 140 calories it will cost me 4 Points Plus, which is a little more than I’m used to, but it’s worth a try for breakfast one morning.

Full size: $14.49 for 19.05oz

Sample value: 1 packet = a little under $1

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Body Glove Surge Shot

A chocolate flavored energy shot?  Sign me up! PacificHealth designed this energy shot with green tea, honey, protein, carbs and some bonus antioxidants to give the body an extra boost when it needs it.  This shot is fat free and 2 Points Plus.  Added bonus: 150mg of caffeine. Yay! *caffeine addict in me dances happily*

Full size (12 shorts): $28.70

Sample Size: 1 shot= $2.40

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BSN AminoX

This is a workout recovery drink mix that contains Branched Chain Amino Acids, (BCAA) ¬†which help the body burn fat and aids in overall better body composition. ¬†It can be used as a recovery drink after a hard workout (I’ll probably use it on a day I do some good weight training) or as a supplement to help any weight loss routine. ¬†0 Points Plus. ¬†You can see the front of the packet on my picture at the top of the post.

Full Size: 30 servings for $22.99

Sample Size: 1 Serving= .$.76

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Shapeology Burn Blend

I’ll be honest, I cheated and looked online to get a quick glimpse at what was coming in my box before it got here (I was actually checking for shipping info and stumbled on this info accidentally) and so I saw I was getting a sample of this. ¬†My thought: “Oh, that’s great, except how is trying one dose really going to be helpful in even deciding if it’s a product I want to buy??” *insert annoyed face* ¬†Fast forward to opening my box. ¬†Instead of the little packet of 2 pills I expected, I got a bottle that contained a whole week’s worth of the Burn Blend capsules! ¬†This in and of itself made my opinion on Bulu Box go way up. ¬†Burn Blend is a thermogenic that mimics the effect of high metabolism so it enhances the body’s ability to burn calories and torch fat. ¬†The liquid capsule also ensures faster delivery to the body so it starts working sooner. ¬†I will say this: I took one (normal dosage is 2 pills twice daily if you can handle it. ¬†The sample is enough for 2 pills daily, so I’m sticking with one, twice a day for the week they’ll last me) pill this morning, went to the gym around an hour later and had¬†so much energy!¬†We’re talking energy I haven’t had in weeks. ¬†I worked out so hard and had a great sweat session, which made me feel amazing. ¬†If this little pill is the cause of that, I just might pick up a full size bottle (there’s sale going on now). ¬†I don’t need it to drop a bunch of weight (although the few lbs I put back on I would love to be gone by my wedding dress fitting in a month), but i felt incredible working out, which is reason enough for me. ¬†Now of course, maybe I happened to get a good night’s sleep last night and that is why I feel so good. ¬†Thanks to the generous sample from Bulu Box, I have a week to figure it out, rather than a single dosage.

Full Size (60 Capsules): $50 (although it’s on sale at the moment)

Sample size (14 Capsules): $11.62

**Please note that the subscription is normally $10 a month, and the Burn Blend sample all by itself is worth more than that. ¬†Total Box Value: $15.78 ¬†Way to go Bulu Box for giving me much more than my money’s worth!!**

Conclusion: I’m really impressed with what Bulu Box is offering. ¬†If you’re interested in getting a subscription of your own, just click here and the site will tell you the rest. ¬†Based on my first impression this is totally worth it for the health and weight loss crowd. I can’t wait to see what the rest of my year long subscription brings!

Weight Watchers Back to Basics: Good Health Guidelines

Have you ever wondered what the silly little things that you check off and earn smiley faces on your tracker for achieving actually mean? ¬†The Good Health Guidelines are there on your tracker to encourage you to to spend your Points Plus target in the healthiest way every day. ¬†Think of it as an eating “to do” list. ¬†Sure, you can (and I have) spend half of your Points on chocolate and chips and margaritas (or all 3, depleting your daily and weekly Points..), and if you stay in your Points range you would still lose weight on that not so healthy diet of sugar and greasy, but you would be hungry (because you couldn’t eat much of it) and feel miserable. ¬†Enter: GHGs to save the day, keeping you healthy and spending your Points wisely.

So, what are the Good Health Guidelines?  Lets discuss.

Water

You should be drinking at least 6-8 8oz glasses of water daily. ¬†Hydration is SO important for our bodies as we are made mostly of water. ¬†Bad things start to happen when we get even slightly dehydrated. ¬†I’ve also heard of taking your weight, divide by 2, and that’s how many oz of water you should drink daily. ¬†My favorite trainer, Ms Jillian Michaels, says that you’re good as long as your pee (sorry, I’m going there) looks like light lemonade, not dark amber apple juice. ¬†Which ever way you choose to track your hydration, set a little goal and check off those water marks.

Fruits and Veggies

Seriously a no brainer, especially for Weight Watchers members. ¬†Fruits and vegetables are the smartest way to spend your points because they don’t cost you any! ¬†Get at least 5 servings in every day. ¬†A banana at breakfast with a cup of berries in your cereal, two done before 8am! ¬†The WW routine “Have a fruit or vegetable with every meal or snack” is one of my favorites. ¬†When I do it, I feel so much fuller and get to eat a lot more food (healthy food!) with my meals and snacks. ¬†I know this one can sometimes be tough, but with a little extra planning and creativity (pumpkin in my oatmeal?! ¬†Yes!) you CAN do this.

Lean Protein

Non fatty fish (tilapia is my fave), lean turkey, chicken, or beef, eggs (or egg whites/beaters, etc), tofu, whey and soy are ALL wonderful options here.  Shoot for 1-2 a day, although I try to get a decent amount of protein in with every meal.  When in doubt, check for that little green Power Food triangle in your etools tracker (or in your Power start guide or other WW book) to see which protein is best.

Low/non Fat Dairy

2-3 servings daily.  Fat free Greek yogurt is my favorite here because of the tasty protein punch it gives as well.  Dairy is an excellent source of protein (sensing a theme here?).  Other good choices are skim milk, fat free cottage cheese and fat free (or low fat) cheeses.

Multivitamin

Take one. ¬†End of story. ¬†Can’t swallow those “big” pills? ¬†There’s a gummy option. ¬†You need vitamins to be healthy. ¬†Talk to a pharmacist or doctor, figure out which one is right for you, and suck it up and take one every morning with breakfast. ¬†The end.

Healthy Oils

I have a hard time with this one. ¬†You should get 2tsp of healthy oils daily. ¬†Flaxseed, Extra Virgin Olive, etc. ¬†I take a potent fish oil pill every morning and sometimes call it a day, but I use supplements like chia seeds and will use EVOO spray to cook with. ¬†If you’re better at this category than me, congratulations and keep ¬†it up. ¬†If not, then while you’re at Walgreens getting those multivitamins you no longer can make excuses about, pick up some fish oil too.

Activity

Ideally this means you get a workout in every day. ¬†If you’re not a very active person (something to work on) then get up and go for a walk after dinner (or first thing in the morning), or move for 5 minutes every hour. ¬†Do SOMETHING. ¬†If you’re like me, I won’t check off that silly box until I’ve worked up a sweat worthy enough of the silly smiley that accompanies it.

 

That’s it! ¬†Those guidelines aren’t so complicated, are they? ¬†Didn’t think so. ¬†Using these guidelines to help you determine what to eat will guarantee a happier, healthier body, and truthfully, if you make it your goal to fill these guidelines up every day, odds are there will be some Points leftover for you to do whatever you want with. ¬†Hello delicious cupcake!

Weight Watchers Back to Basics Week 2: Tracking

Tracking: The most integral part of the Weight Watchers plan (or any plan for that matter). yet sometimes the most neglected and/or cheated part of the program. ¬†I know that Weight Watchers has the Simply Filling plan (eat what you want as long as it’s a power food, rely on hunger signals, your 49 weeklies are then spent on non-power foods..that’s the really basic idea of it), and i know many have found success with it, however I was not one of them, and probably never will be one of them. ¬†I don’t have the self control to rely on hunger signals; I need sizes, portions, and numbers to live by. ¬†This is why tracking is so important.

Raise your hand if you have ever lied (lies of omission count) to your tracker since starting your healthier lifestyle…

**I know you all are mentally raising your hands at this very moment**

It is one of the self-sabotaging moves that we are guilty of when it comes to taking our healthy lifestyle seriously. ¬†Why is it that we think that if we don’t put it in the tracker it means we didn’t eat it? ¬†The tracker might not say “(enter guilty food here..half of a pizza, entire chocolate cake, box of cookies, etc)” but your body most certainly will. ¬†I sound a little rough about this topic simply because this is what I am most often guilty of. ¬†My mind tries to tell me, like the little devil sitting on my left shoulder, If I don’t write it down, it means it just didn’t happen, right? ¬†WRONG!

My back to basic goals with tracking are simple: Write down EVERY SINGLE THING that goes in my mouth. ¬†Weight Watchers makes it incredibly easy to do so, especially if you’re a smart phone user. ¬†My iPhone is always near me, and the Weight Watchers app is sitting there on my home page. ¬†I have absolutely no excuse to not track what eat. ¬† NO EXCUSE!

Let me tell you a little about the Weight Watchers app (free, with WW membership). ¬†You have access to the entire WW online database right from your phone. ¬†Access your tracker, Points Plus Calculator and even their information on restaurants’ values. ¬†Have something in front of you that you can’t track right at this moment, perhaps a plate of food while you’re out with a friend and you don’t want to spend 5 minutes tracking every item on it? Just snap a pic with the Snap and Track option and you can come back later! ¬†At the grocery store? ¬†Get the Weight Watchers Barcode Scanner (also free, with Weight Watchers membership). ¬†You can scan the items in the grocery store and a Points value will just appear. ¬†No muss, no fuss, 2 seconds. ¬†Item not in the database? Then the Points Plus calculator will appear so you can punch in the info yourself. ¬†Seriously guys, smartphones make it excuse proof.

 

There is also something to be said for the good old paper tracking route. ¬†THere is something nice and concrete about busting out my 3 month tracker book, which tends to sit neglected in a drawer thanks to my dependance on my iPhone. ¬†Research shows that people who write down what they eat consume 30% less calories in a day than someone who doesn’t. ¬†That being said, the awesome power of writing something down doesn’t just reign over our food. ¬†Goal setting, lists, motivational post-its, and things of the like all make us feel powerful and in control when we write things down. ¬†Thoughts in your head keeping you up at night? ¬†Experts say write your thoughts down to get them out of your head and into the world. ¬†The satisfaction you get from writing things down is incredible. ¬†When I take that pen to my tracker, I note that there are a limited number of lines on which to write foods. ¬†I can’t eat more than that (or so I tell myself). ¬†The 3 month tracker gives you a few pages to plan your week as well, so you can write down meal and exercise plans and track goals for the week. ¬†People who don’t use smart phones have a very reliable tool as well. ¬†The basic paper tracker is your friend!

Now, I am obviously speaking primarily in Weight Watchers terms because that’s the program I intend to use the rest of my life, however, the benefit of tracking goes well beyond the Weight Watchers program. ¬†Not on WW? No problem! ¬†Smartphone users, there are¬†tons ¬†of apps out there, many for free, that let you track your calories and your activity, and they usually have a nice database of information for you too. ¬†Websites like SparkPeople.com (the place I had success pre-WW) is a great place with all of your tracking tools and an insanely active and supportive community to boot. ¬†Not into the digital tracking? Get a notebook and one of the many books with calorie count information in them, utilize nutrition labels and restaurant nutrition guides and make your own tracker. ¬†The possibilities are endless and the rewards will be fruitful.

So, my friends, get yourself a new notebook and a pretty pen (I always get a new pen when I start something like a new journal…makes it feel special), or open up that app on your phone and keep the WW tracker pulled up on your computer and get tracking! ¬†Let no food that passes your lips go unregistered!

If you bite it, write it! ūüôā