If you’re tired of reading about how much I love my gym, I’m so sorry, I can’t help you. Core Values is a huge part of my healthy, positive, purpose-driven life and the people there are truly a community. It’s not every day that you sit down to a staff meeting at a brand new job and the winemaker who you have never spoken to before, says to you, “Hey! You know my dental hygienist!” AND IT’S SOMEONE YOU WORK OUT WITH! There is so much magic and community and lovely spirit in that one little moment that I can hardly stand it.
In addition to community building, butt kicking, muscle sculpting, athletic endurance strengthening and all that other good gym stuff, Core offers its members the chance to try 30 Day Challenges a few times a year. All of which I have carefully avoided because I love sugar and also my job requires me to drink wine. Until now, cuz I am one week into the 30 Day Smart & Kind Challenge.
Our challenge, should we choose to pay $50 and subject ourselves to it, involves both exercise goals, daily ab challenges, dietary goals (especially around protein and water), and yes – a few restrictions. But honestly, this is not a drink lemon water with cayenne cleanse. No sugar, no alcohol, no refined grains, no dairy, no packaged foods. What does that leave me with? Caffeine. Thank you, sweet baby Jesus. And real food.
With my consummate overachieving personality, I tackled this week with great gusto. I had a very busy work week ahead of me and I knew that I was going to work long hours and wouldn’t have time to cook when I came home, so I meal prepped for hours on Monday. Luckily, during the work week I truly don’t mind eating the same thing over and over again. So, here’s what I meal prepped and ate throughout the week.
- Coffee, almond milk, and vanilla protein powder smoothies
- Overnight Carrot Cake Oats --> Recipe HERE
- Mixed berries and cherries
- Quinoa, tofu, and broccolini --> Recipe HERE
- Carrots, Celery and Hummus
- Turkey burgers (recipe below) with kale and green bean salad --> Recipe HERE
- Grilled chicken (marinade recipe below) with grilled bell peppers and red onions and sliced avocado
I switched between turkey burgers and kale salad and the grilled chicken and veg for dinners.
The turkey burgers were modified from a great recipe for Greek Turkey Burgers from Women’s Health Magazine. They’re so easy and really delicious.
- 1 lb lean ground turkey
- 1 egg
- 4 ounces roasted red peppers, dried off with a paper towel and diced
- Salt & Pepper
Throw everything in a bowl and gently combine. Divide into four patties. Heat a pan on the stove with a little bit of EVOO to medium heat. Cook the patties covered for 7 minutes on one side. Flip the patties, cover them again, cook for 5 more minutes. DONE.
For the grilled chicken, I marinated two chicken breasts in a mix of:
- Juice of 1 lemon and 1 lime
- 1 tablespoon of EVOO
- 1 jalapeno, diced
- 2 cloves of garlic, diced
- Big splash of water
- Salt & Pepper
And then I asked my husband to grill it with skewers of bell peppers and onions tossed with EVOO, salt and pepper because I don’t know how to grill and didn’t intend to learn this past Monday.
The first few days were surprisingly easy to stay focused on the food and exercise. Though I did start getting headaches and felt weaker in my workouts (turns out I need more carbs). Thursday, however, I felt the impact of the challenge.
Thursday was D Day at work. I had been planning a video shoot for a promotional video and Thursday was filming day. Filming days are stressful, long, frustrating, and generally dreadful. This filming day had the added bonus of 95 degree heat, a really angry winemaking team, and some surprise winery guests who were not on the calendar show up when no one was available except for a sweaty, flustered, me. On my drive home, I was stinky, tired, and achy. Any other day like this, I’d reward myself by picking up a cheat meal, maybe some ice cream, and I would definitely have a glass of wine. This time, I drove home and had a naked turkey burger and kale salad.
But this is where the KIND part of the challenge kicked in. My “Why” for this 30 day challenge is to adopt self-soothing mechanisms outside of food and alcohol. No better time than Thursday to figure out what those can be. So, on my 45 minute drive home, I made a list. Take a bath with Epsom salt, roll out my back on the foam roller, stretch, read a book, declare the TV mine and watch Real Housewives of New York City, color in an adult coloring book.
Friday was the first day I felt the kind of hunger that can only be taken away with a cheat meal. Kevin and I kicked off the weekend with a trip to Norman Rose where I ordered a spinach salad with avocado, eggs, and chicken. I prepped some chia seed pudding before we left, so I even had “dessert” when I got home. It was exactly what I needed to get back on track. Though the meal was definitely on plan, it felt like a treat to get it at a restaurant and to enjoy it on a date night with my husband.
Oh – and my sweet tooth is a monster, so here are the two desserts I experimented with this week. Both are 100% on plan!
Chia Seed Pudding with Berries & Almonds (single serving)
- ½ cup of unsweetened almond milk
- 1 tablespoon of honey
- 2 tablespoons of chia seeds
- Fresh berries
- Slivered almonds
Mix the first 3 ingredients together and let sit for at least 4 hours. Top with berries and slivered almonds.
Also, honest to God, on plan, Peanut Butter Fudge. I can’t even tell you how good this is. Oh my god. Recipe online HERE.
And where do I stand at the end of week 1?
- 4 pounds lighter
- No slips all week on the diet plan
- Met water and protein goals every day
- Completed the ab challenge every day
- Exercised 90 minutes at Core on Monday, ran 4.7 miles on Tuesday, 50 minutes of TRX on Wednesday, 45 minutes of PiYo on Wednesday night, 50 minutes of PiYo on Thursday, 45 minutes of TRX on Saturday and a 4 mile run on Sunday.
HELL YES, I DID!