The Special Sauce

I believe Beachbody has figured out the missing piece to the fitness puzzle.  The thing you can’t get by just doing workouts at home, just running, or even just going to the gym.  I’ve seen coaches refer to this element as the “special sauce,”  That leads me to my weight loss tip #4: GET SOME ACCOUNTABILITY.  For me that was getting a coach when I purchased my PiYo challenge pack.  I got into a group that held me accountable every single day for the first 60 days.  I would get up in the morning and think, ugh I don’t want to work out, and then I would think, all the other ladies are getting up and working out I should too.

Every Saturday I posted a sweaty selfie after my workout.  Sunday I had to turn in my meal plan.  Then every Monday morning I had to send my coach my weight.  Weighing on Monday morning is GENIUS, it really motivated me to not blow my diet on the weekends.  We had fitness challenges that were fun and very challenging, like a weekend of two a days or 15 squats every time we went to the bathroom for a day.  Also had a water challenge day where we tracked how much we could drink in a day.  It really got me engaged in thinking about working out and eating well every single day.  I took a month off from a group which was good to show me in what ways I needed to have more accountability and then jumped back into a group the Monday after Thanksgiving that takes us right up to Christmas.  It looks like I’ll be flying solo come January, but I actually feel prepared to do so, I feel like the diet I began has turned into a lifestyle and I can do this.  The awesome thing is now that I’m in this Beachbody “system” I know I always have a way back on track if I ever lose my way.

Not only did it give me accountability, it also gave me a place to celebrate my victories.  When you first start out (or really anytime) you don’t want to go around “bragging” about your success, but as you lose weight you want to share it and want to celebrate all the “small victories.”  It gave me a space to post pictures when I got into my goal pants and then when I got way too small to wear my goal pants.  It gave me a group of girls that said “WHOO HOOO WAY TO GO” when I hit goals.  It made health and fitness fun.  It also gave me the courage to share all of this with you.  I cannot recommend getting an accountability partner or group enough, do it, you will not regret making this commitment!  Let me know if you want me to put you in touch with a coach (I am not a coach, nor do I plan to become one), I really believe in this program and want my friend’s who are looking for a change to adopt a new lifestyle in the new year!

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This MAY be the most important weight loss “secret” I can share.  Get your nutrition in line.  I follow the PiYo get lean plan which I like because it’s very much doable in real life, with eating out, and eating at people’s homes.  The basic premise of the diet is you get a certain amount of each food group based on your weight.  I believe when I started I got 2 carbs, 2 fruits, 4 proteins, 5 vegetables, and 4 fats.  I was able to continue eating much of what I was eating before, but the portions have changed DRASTICALLY.

1 fat serving = 4 cashews…. FOUR CASHEWS.  I was eating like a handful every time.  Another fat serving is a tablespoon of cheese, let’s just say I was eating more than that.  A fat serving of peanut butter is 1.5 teaspoons.  We were eating large spoonfuls of peanut butter without giving it a thought.  I really had to increase my vegetables to get 5 per day which is why I eat a lot of salads.  My greatest find for this weight loss journey has been Bolthouse Dressings.  We really like ranch, spicy ranch, Caesar and honey mustard.  We also really like the balsamic vinaigrette.  The taste is great, and the amount you can have for a small amount of calories is amazing!  I am not saying this meal plan is the end all, be all, but for me it has been the lifestyle change I really needed.  I feel like I could successfully eat this way forever.  It was basically training myself to eat the correct portions and correct amounts of each food group.

One rule I came up with for myself is the 3 bite rule.  If I go someplace that has desserts I allow myself 3 bites.  This way I don’t feel deprived, but I don’t over do it.  There have obviously been some days where I have let myself have more than 3 bites, but if it’s not a special holiday or event I try to adhere to this 3 bite rule.  One thing I tell myself is either I can be the garbage can or the bin can.  We live in a country that glorifies “finishing everything,” but honestly we don’t NEED that brownie or cupcake, or whatever junk we eat, so once I’ve eaten a few bites I just don’t feel bad tossing it.

One thing Autumn Calabrese (21 day fix creator) said that really put nutrition into perspective was something to the effect of, you can’t work off in a week one really bad meal.  Even working out 7 days a week I still couldn’t burn enough calories to work off one terrible meal (think over 1000 calories).  This has just been a really good mind shift for me, I don’t want to put in all the exercise work to blow it on a crazy cheat meal (I do take at least one cheat meal per week, but I cheat within reason, like a slice or two of pizza, or most of the time it’s honestly a juicy burger and some fries).

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Never Skip a Day

Weight Loss Secret #2.  Work out 7 days a week.  I RARELY miss a day.  I would say never, but occasionally I do have to skip.  The last time I remember skipping was when we were on our road trip and we got home late and had driven all day.  The first travel day I got up and worked out before we got in the car to leave, but I just didn’t have it in me to push play when I got home the next day.

I do PiYo which is a combination of pilates and yoga and I can’t tell you how much I LOVE it.  My favorite type of workout I have ever done.  One of the nice features of PiYo is it has varying length work outs.  Most are 25-35 minutes, but there is also a longer 45 minute one and a short upper body workout that lasts 18 minutes.  I like this because it takes away all my excuses.  I get up every morning and workout “before the girls get up.”  Usually my girls sleep until around 8 (I know, luckiest mom alive), so I get up at 6:30 workout, make my shake and get ready before they awake.  This week, however, they have been getting up before 7:00 which either means I have to workout with them or skip it.  I have been TEMPTED to just take a rest day, but instead I do one of the short 18-20 minute workouts and I have never regretted pushing myself to workout.  Sometimes I have two little ladies crawling on me while in down dog, but hey extra resistance right?  Ellery has started doing some of the parts with me and I’m reminded that I’m setting the example of health and fitness for this little one, I want her to want to work out and eat right as she grows up.

The calendar for the program accounts for a rest day, but I found that if I took a rest day I basically wasted two days.  I would take the rest day one day and then another day that week I would do the 18 minute video because I was crunched on time or just not feeling it and basically that was wasting two days of pushing myself hard.  Now I consider the short workout my “rest day.”  I still strengthened and stretched without really pushing myself too hard, so essentially I rested.

When I say every day that isn’t every day that it’s convenient, that’s every day like it or not.  I took my DVD’s on our trip to Illinois and worked out every morning even on the morning after I slept a total of 3 hours (after being up with a very sick 3 year old).  I got up Thanksgiving morning and did one of the longer DVD’s in anticipation of eating crummy that day.  It is doable, I’m working THREE jobs and staying home full time with my little girls.  I have never been into fitness or healthy eating, but as I turned 30 I realized it was time to prioritize myself and a healthy lifestyle.  I feel great, have tons of energy and I’m able to work 3 jobs and take care of my girls because I start my day with exercise which is the boost I need.

Vaughn joined me pretty much everyday this week and here we are post workout 🙂IMG_4065

Shake It Off

Here is my first weight loss “secret.”  I replace one meal with a protein shake every single day.  When I first started this journey I used the Vegan Chocolate Shakeology and IF YOU CAN AFFORD IT I highly recommend using Shakeology.  I don’t think it’s ok to bust your budget in order to purchase this and that is why I had to switch to another protein shake.  We have a very tight grocery budget and we don’t eat out a whole lot.  For us it wasn’t like I could replace my $4 a day fast food meal with a $4 a day shake, for some people I think you would actually save money by drinking Shakeology, but for us that was not at all the case.  The biggest benefit I saw with Shakeology over my other shake is it zapped my sweet craving.  It also has an amazing taste and texture- it actually felt like drinking dessert.  I would HOPE that it also has more health benefits to justify the price, and it pays for your coach so I understand that it would be more expensive than just a plain protein powder, we just simply don’t have room in our budget for it right now.

I switched to Raw Meal Vegan Chocolate which is grittier and not nearly as sweet, but it’s about $100 less per month so I deal with the grit and add a packet of stevia which Shakeology has in it anyway.  I am not saying this is the exact same as Shakeology, but we had to work with what our budget is currently and this saved us $100 a month.  I add PB2 and usually 1/2 of a frozen banana.  I’ve also tried making a Thin Mint and Snicker shake and they are both good too. I put a handful of spinach in whenever I have it and can’t tell it’s in there at all.  I love how easy a daily shake is, I can drink it while I get ready or drive Ellery to school.  I always started my day with carbs (an english muffin to be exact), and now I start it on a healthy note which I feel like sets the tone for my day.

I think there is a stigma that if you use shakes you are “cheating,” but honestly the healthy people I know drink a protein shake everyday even when they are not trying to lose weight.  There are tons of benefits to drinking a HEALTHY meal replacement.  This is not slim fast or some other fake filled junk drink, this is packed with healthy stuff, probiotics, vegetables, etc. Do your research, figure out what is right for you and SHAKE that weight off!!  If you need a Christmas gift idea for yourself, get a magic bullet, it’s so easy to clean compared to a big blender! (we just bought a back up at Target for $30 for when ours dies, it’s 7.5 years old so I can see it getting sluggish).

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I’ve Lost a Vaughn, Well Technically THREE!!!!!

No, I haven’t lost Vaughn three times, but I have lost more than 60 pounds this year, and it really hit me when we went to the doctor for Vaughn’s 12 month check up and she weighed 20 pounds that since her birth I have lost 3 of her.  When I carry her around the house I think MY GOODNESS you have gotten heavy, but I used to carry around 3 times that weight everyday, no wonder I was tired!  The first 20 I birthed, so really that was just two really hard days, the second 20 came off with nursing and eating what I regularly did, and the third 20 (or more accurately 23) came off with hard work!

The last 20 is what I’m going to write about over the next week or so.  You’ve probably seen people all over the internet praising Beachbody and all their programs and Shakeology, and now I am adding my name to the list of one of those people who has been transformed through it’s programs.  I AM NOT a coach, nor am I becoming one, I just have seen AMAZING results with PiYo and Shakeology and I wanted to share them with you.  Over the coming week (or month, knowing my full schedule) I am going to share with you some of my “secrets” for how I melted 23 pounds off in 3 months.

The ONE drawback of a healthy self-esteem is you have no idea what you REALLY look like.  Day one of my challenge group we took our before photos and I kinda freaked out.  I was so used to looking at myself in clothes that slimmed me down and disguised all my “problem” areas, that I hadn’t seen how unhealthy I had let myself become over the past 6 years.  And yes, you read that right, I had been the same weight for the past 6+ years.  This wasn’t a case of “losing the baby weight” it was a case of losing the complacency weight and my impending milestone birthday gave me the kick in the rear I desperately needed.

I had been thinking about doing a PiYo challenge group since Vaughn was born, but life got in the way and I just didn’t have the energy to pull the trigger.  Then I signed up for a group and we sold our house the same week so I decided it best to defer the group until September 1st.  Ellery started school the week before which forced our whole house to get on a schedule and it was the perfect time because I was in the process of restocking our pantry after the move, so anything that wasn’t on the meal plan wasn’t purchased (we lived here almost 6 weeks before I even bought sugar).

SO if you have people in your life who are asking what you want for Christmas I would highly recommend asking for a Beachbody program (it’s about a $160 investment).  I personally would get PiYo and Vegan Chocolate Shakeology, but I’ve heard great things about other programs too.  I will do my best over the next week to share my “secrets to success” in case this is a journey you are looking to embark on.  If you have any questions feel free to e-mail me at and I will answer them or get you in contact with my coach!

And here I am about to share some of the most vulnerable pictures of my life.  I have felt like maybe these are super inappropriate for the internet, and then I realized I’m more covered than a bikini.  It was these types of pictures that inspired be to get started, and I hope I can do the same for someone else!

Laura Back before and afters Laura Before and After 2 Laura Front Before and Afters Laura Before and After 1