End of the No Sugar Challenge

Happy Hump Day!

Today marks three days that Cody and I have been done with our no sugar challenge. Before I get to the results, I wanted to recap some more yummy recipes we had that were added-sugar free!

We have been continuing with lots of smoothies and eggs for breakfast. Leftovers have been in abundance during week 2 so lunches were never without. And we tried a lot of new recipes for dinner.

In terms of snacks, I still kept with fruit and almonds and also got some Triscuits to snack on since they have no added sugar.

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Spaghetti squash spaghetti with turkey

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Grilled chicken and asparagus

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First attempt at overnight oats (recipe called for brown sugar but I left that out and put a little vanilla extract in) topped with apple and cinnamon

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Kale, apple, chicken salad – SO refreshing!

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Chicken enchilada

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Italian Hillside Garden Soup (from Crockpot cookbook) – ALL vegetarian!!

Things that we have transitioned back into our diet:
*Quest Bars (YES PLEASE!)
*Homemade treats (I’ve made protein balls, peanut butter finger bars, and sugar free brownies all this week… can you tell I’ve missed baking?)
*Whole wheat pasta
*Cereal (on occasion)
*Flavored Greek yogurt (not in excess since it is higher in sugar)
*Protein powders (flavored) oh how we’ve missed you!

Things we will keep sugar-free:
*Peanut butter – I baked with our old naturals PB to get rid of the rest but the Jif original is WAY too sweet now. Plus, the sugar-free PB we’ve been using is pretty comparable in price.
*Bread – We actually didn’t mind the Ezekiel bread, so why change it?
*Bars – Besides Quest bars, we are trying to keep our bars we eat more naturally sweetened like some Kind bars and Larabars
*Broth – I was surprised that every broth I looked at except at Whole Foods had some sort of sugar in it. This is something I use a lot so this is a small change to make a difference.
*Baking – I’m going to try to use more natural sweeteners for most of my baking/making but there are some true desserts that just don’t taste right without classic sugars.

All in all, our diet didn’t have to see much of a change and besides a little chocolate, I didn’t feel deprived of anything. I love how my smell and taste have learned to appreciate more natural flavors!

Now, for the results! In the two weeks of the sugar challenge I lost 6.3 pounds and 1% body fat. I was excited to see the weight loss because I wasn’t expecting that. But, I was more impressed with how my body looked and felt at the end of the challenge (Below: Left = Before, Right = After). Even now, three days into our new regular diet and I weigh another 2 pounds lighter and lost another .6% body fat… say what?!

I’m still putting my food into MyFitnessPal so I can see my macros and make sure I still stay under on my sugar and am getting enough food.

As for fitness, I am now planning to up my workouts a little bit. Still doing lifting three days a week and I am starting to incorporate running again in my regimen. Thanks to a co-worker (hey Hannah!) I have an accountability partner and someone who shares my mixed feelings about running to start up again. We are doing the C25K app and it’s great because it tells you exactly when you need to run and when you can walk, no counting minutes! I’m excited for these nights to have more light for our runs! We are also going to start bringing in a little yoga biweekly too.

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So, what do you think? Could you do a no sugar challenge? What would be your downfall?

 

No Sugar Week 1

Today was officially day 7 of our no added sugar diet, halfway through! It’s felt great changing our eating for the better. I definitely went through some withdrawal earlier in the week, having a couple headaches and some changes in my mood. Yes, I’ve still craved chocolate from time to time, but not as much as I thought I would. And this change hasn’t been as hard thanks to the support of my husband and my friends, especially at work.

I’ve noticed a change in my skin and my natural energy level. My taste buds have changed too; things that I used to be deterred from I now enjoy, like salads. I hadn’t really been looking for changes in my body since I planned to not weigh or anything until the end, but I glanced in the mirror the other day and noticed a decrease in body fat in my midsection!

During the week was easy as we had planned out all of our meals and were in a routine. We tried some new recipes and have had a TON of leftovers for lunches.

For breakfast, we’ve stuck to mostly smoothies and eggs/toast (Ezekiel bread) but also tried an oatmeal recipe that was pretty good. I’m getting a little tired of eggs though so if anyone has any ideas of how to spice them up or other breakfast ideas, that would be great!!

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Smoothie: 2 big handfuls spinach, 1 banana, 1 cup frozen strawberries, 1/2 cup frozen raspberries, unflavored protein powder, It Works Greens on the Go (berry), unsweetened almond milk – Serves 2

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I’ve been looking forward to the dinners we had planned. A lot of them required more prep than I was used to but it was worth it for the added veggies and flavor!

1 – Blue Apron Vegetable Farro Salad // 2 – Chicken Fajitas // 3 – Steak & Sweet Potato Bowl (without avocado-cilanto drizzle – didn’t turn out good) // 4 – Turkey Taco Salad // 5 – Chicken Caulifredo Bake with Sun-Dried Tomatoes (make cauliflower alfredo instead of using the jar stuff) // 6 – Slow Cooker Beef & Beans Chili

My biggest struggle was my snacks. I would forget to eat something small between breakfast and lunch and I’ve had to change my choice of snacks a little. We’ve been sticking to veggies and hummus, fruit, Larabars, popcorn, and cheese.

The weekend was also tough because it was our first time eating away from home. We were much more conscience about what contained sugar and made better choices. I even turned down dessert (and a delicious looking one too) for the first time probably in my entire life!

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Early on I realized I would be hungry not long after I would eat a meal. I decided to start tracking my food in MyFitnessPal to make sure I was eating enough and meeting my macros. The first day I tracked I was 350 calories short, not including my workout that burned some of what I already ate. My protein was also lower than desired. From that point on I made sure to eat my snacks and try to make them protein-packed. I was also checking my sugar intake since we were still incorporating sugars from nuts, fruits, and veggies. I was happy to see how significantly lower it was! MyFitnessPal had my sugar goal to be below 62 grams (that’s 15 1/2 teaspoons of sugar!!) and sad to say, there were a lot of times that I would go over that goal.

We are finding out so many new things about what sugar can do to your body and I am telling myself now and here on the blog for accountability that I will never let myself intake as much sugar as I used to. I won’t deprive myself of the occasional treat but I won’t go overboard like I used to. I will watch how much sugar is in foods and limit my intake, continuing to be conscience of the effects it has on our bodies.

God gave us one body and I want to start REALLY protecting and preserving it! I’m excited to see what week 2 has in store!

No Sugar Challenge

Hey y’all, it’s been a while!

I’ve been spending some time trying to decide the future of this blog, what it’s purpose is and my passion for it. I came to the conclusion that I still have a desire to post here but more as a journal and a place to help others instead of becoming a business, which is what I was striving towards when my passion for it diminished. I’ve also realized that I need to give myself specific days/times to blog otherwise I feel I can push it off and then it never happens. I have several things I want to talk about on here but I also know that my schedule doesn’t allow me to post all of the time and that’s okay!

Now, moving on to what this post is all about… our no sugar challenge! Cody brought up the idea last week and it sparked my interest right away. I know that I’ve had somewhat of a sugar addiction ever since I was younger. I’ve always chalked it up to having a sweet tooth, but I think that is just an excuse I’ve used to eat more sugar that appropriate. My addiction is also higher after big holidays like Christmas when I allow myself more flexibility with the amount of sugar I consume. Once we discussed this, I was all in. I wanted this to be a lifestyle change. We have become MUCH healthier in the past few years but this would take it to the next level.

Our no sugar challenge is for two weeks and eliminates all added sugar, including natural sugars like honey and maple syrup. It was crazy to see what all had sugar in it, like bread!!

First, we went through what was already in our cabinets and fridge and made note of things we used on a regular basis to find in without sugar. We threw away some things but put others away at the top of our kitchen closet in opaque bags so they were not in our visual.

Next, we made a list of what we would eat throughout the day, including our three main meals and snacks.

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**I will include or link to original recipes as I make these meals

Does anyone have any sugar free recipes they enjoy??

After we meal planned, we spent two hours doing grocery shopping, using our list and reading every label (both the nutrition label and ingredients list). It’s amazing how sneaky food labels can be!

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Day 1 has definitely been a challenge but it’s felt good and I love that I have Cody to do it with! Has anyone else done something like this before? Any advice?

Breakfast: High Protein Egg White Oatmeal with a scoop of peanut butter and half an apple

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Lunch: Romaine lettuce salad with sugar-free tomato basil dressing, rotisserie chicken, and colby jack cheese

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Snack: Almonds and Larabar

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Dinner: Vegetable Farro Salad from Blue Apron (modified to make it sugar free)

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Snack: Popcorn

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Weekend Recap + Food & Fitness #44

It’s crazy to think it is already 8 pm on Sunday. Where did the weekend go?!

The fun this weekend sort of started Thursday night when I had a girls painting night with a few girls from small group. We all met up at Fear No Easel and did one of those painting classes. I was a little nervous my painting wasn’t going to turn out because I’ve never felt very artistic. BUT, I love how they all turned out!

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Friday I started coming down with a cold. Nothing like getting sick week 2 of the school year. But that didn’t stop our plans for the night. I first went out and celebrating surviving the first 2 weeks of school with some of my coworkers. Then Cody and I took Cooper on his first social outing! We all went to Waterfront Park for another movie night, this time it was Star Wars (the new one).

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And Uncle James came out to hang with Cooper!

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Saturday I woke up really stuffed up and just kind of lousy. So I spent a lot of the day lounging around and I think Cooper knew I didn’t feel good because he was so good and cuddled more than he usually does these days. It was really nice! But we had to get up eventually and clean the apartment before our evening plans.

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Our friends Alexa and Mitch just moved to Augusta and came into town for the night. We went out to dinner with them at Home Team then took them on a tour of King Street, ending up on East Bay by the harbor. On our way back to the car we stopped for some dessert! It was nice to spend some time with them since our wedding was the last time we saw them.

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Today we got up and went to church. Today’s message was about parenting, shaping the arrow. And honestly, it applied so much to my life. No, we don’t have any kids yet (well, aside from Cooper); however, I have over 80 kids in my life right now that I teach this year or are still around from last year. As their teacher, it is my job to shape those arrows, especially when some of those kiddos don’t have that model at home. Check out the message from today (it’s Part 3) because it can apply to anyone’s life! (The whole series has been great!)

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Before we left church we also got signed up as the leaders of Financial Peace University for our small group, which starts in a couple of weeks. I’m really excited to learn a lot from this study and to grow even more as a small group!

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After church we stopped at Target to pick up some pieces for our gallery wall we are doing in our living room. When we got home we did some lunch and I worked on planning and school work. Tonight we took Cooper on a walk, getting rained on the last part of it.

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Speaking of Cooper, this is my weekly funny from him. He was just sitting on Cody’s leg like that for a good 5 minutes. We love him so much!

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Questions for You:
What do you like to do when you have friends come to visit?
How do you get rid of a cold quickly?

P.S. Be on the lookout Tuesday for a reader survey! I would love some feedback from my readers now that I’ve been talking to y’all for over a year!


So this week’s meal plan is going to be a little sparse. Cody is gone 2 nights this week and we are going out of town Friday for Labor Day weekend. For a full meal plan, check out some of my past ones on my Food & Fitness page!

Sunday – Chicken Parm Pasta

Monday – Crunchy Taco Hamburger Helper

Tuesday – Leftovers (on my own)

Wednesday – Quesadillas or Sloppy Joes (on my own)

Thursday – Spaghetti Squash Skillet or a Soup

Friday – Asheville!

Saturday – Asheville!

Last weekend we joined Planet Fitness and it’s been nice to have a lot more machines available for our use! 5:00 am comes really early but it’s great to already have my workout done before my day begins.

This week I still want to do some lifting but I’ll be listening to my body during my workouts. I’ll for sure be doing some cardio to at least be moving every day.

Monday – Cardio + Abs

Tuesday – Cardio + Legs

Wednesday – Off Day

Thursday – Cardio + Arms

Friday – Cardio + Full Body

What kinds of workouts do you do when you are sick with a cold??

Weekend Recap + Food & Fitness #43

My first weekend of the school year is officially coming to an end. I hope y’all had a great weekend! We had a nice mix of plans and down time.

Friday after work I met Cody at his work before we headed to the Riverdogs game with his company. We had some good picnic food and enjoyed hanging out!

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After we left the game, we headed over to our friends Chris and Katie’s place for a night swim and to hang out. The guys did a bourbon tasting while us ladies chilled on the couch.

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Saturday after feeding Cooper at his usual time, I was able to sleep in since we had a really late night Friday. We made omelettes for breakfast and laid around the house until we went to check out Planet Fitness. After the tour, we decided to officially become members.

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Saturday night was date night! We had supper at Lewis BBQ downtown, a new addition to the BBQ scene in Charleston. Their brisket is amazing! The sausage was good but a little spicy for my taste. Overall it was a good experience!

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After we filled our bellies, we went and played some mini golf at Charleston Fun Park. And as always, Cody beat me, but only by 2 strokes.

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We wrapped up our date night with frozen yogurt for dessert. I got a mix of white chocolate mousse and mountain blackberry with some Kit Kats and Oreos. YUM!

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Later Saturday night we invited our friends Chris, Katie, and James for a night swim at our pool. It was fun to finally be able to do that in our pool!

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Today started out with an amazing message about marriage at Seacoast! Everyone should go to their site and listen to it!

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The rest of the day was pretty typical. We played with Cooper, did a workout (at PF), meal planned, did some school work to get ready for this week, and relaxed.

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It was a really nice weekend and I’m now rejuvenated for another great week at school.

Here is another adorable pic of Cooper from this weekend to end our recap!

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Questions for You:
What did you do this weekend?
What is your go-to date night?


Here is our meal plan for this week. We decided not to go get groceries for the week, so I had to work with what we already had in our kitchen.

Sunday – Homemade Pizza

Monday – Turkey Walking Tacos

Tuesday – Crockpot Cheesy Chicken & Rice with Peas

Wednesday – Egg Burritos

Thursday – Burgers & Sweet Potato Fries

Friday – Chicken Parm Pasta

Saturday – Wine Bar Date

As for fitness this week, I am starting in full force at Planet Fitness. I’m planning on going with our friends Gracie and Trevor in the early mornings. Not sure what I’ll do for workouts, but I’m sure I’ll take ideas from my Being Fit Pinterest board. Check it out for ideas for yourself!

Weekend Recap + Food & Fitness #42

Sorry I was little MIA last week. It was a crazy week with getting ready for the school year to start back up tomorrow. As I sit down to write this post, I feel ready but still have those first day back jitters. Just leaving it up to God and planning on having a great day tomorrow 🙂

I wanted to make sure we had a great weekend before heading back to school!

Friday started off great with heading over to Home Team to celebrate a co-workers birthday. Then Cody and I went out to Waterfront Park under the Ravenel Bridge for a movie in the park. This week’s movie was Space Jam! Classic. We got there early to grab some grub and listen to some music. Our friends James and Allie also joined us for a nice night.

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Saturday started off early for me. I went into school to do all of my copies for the week and put my finishing touches on my classroom. Look out for a full classroom tour this week! Here’s a sneak peek for now.

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In the afternoon, Cody and I headed out to Isle of Palms for some jet ski fun. We hadn’t been out on jet skis in several years and we missed it. We were able to go crazy in the bay before riding 15 miles up the Intracoastal Waterway to Capers Island and hang out on the beach for a bit before heading back.

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Saturday night started out chill with some egg sausage casserole for supper (Cody’s favorite breakfast food!) and hanging with Cooper then we were invited out with some friends to watch some preseason football and Olympics at DIG in the Park, a great restaurant in North Charleston.

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Today we heard a great message at church about how each family is imperfect behind the picture perfection on social media, pulling examples from the Bible as reference.

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The remainder of the day was pretty typical with grocery shopping, lunch, and planning on my part.

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In the middle of all the usual business, I was able to get together with a few of my girls from small group for some pedicures. This pampering felt great right before a new school year begins! It’s easier to take care of your students when you take care of yourself first.

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I also want to give a shout-out to my amazing mom. It’s her birthday today!! I was able to chat with her earlier today and I hope she’s had a great day, she deserves it!

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And, here is your weekly dose of our cutie Cooper. He’s been in a biting phase lately. Any tips to help him learn to listen and to stop??

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Questions for You:
What did you for fun this weekend?
What is part of your typical routine on the weekends?


Here is our meal plan for the week. I’m planning on doing some Pinterest workouts this week, give myself a break from the bootcamp workouts.

Sunday – Hamburger and noodles

Monday – Vegetable beef and rice soup

Tuesday – Crockpot chicken, potatoes, and green beans

Wednesday – Turkey meatloaf and asparagus

Thursday – Turkey dogs and sweet potato fries

Friday – Riverdogs game

Saturday – Homemade pizza

Five Favorite Restaurants in Charleston

There are hundreds of restaurants in Charleston and the surrounding towns, and more being added all the time with the growing population. We have been in Charleston for a little over a year and have been to only a handful. However, there are places that have become some of our favorites and today I’m sharing about five of them.

Five Favorite Restaurants in Charleston

  1. Hall’s Chophouse – We have loved going to this restaurant for special occasions like my birthday and Cody’s birthday last year! Why we like it? The steaks are delicious (and from the Midwest), you can’t beat their sides, and the atmosphere they create is amazing!
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  2. 5Church – We have only been here once, a couple of weeks ago with some friends, but it left us speechless. The food on their menu is different but delicious. The drinks are excellent. And the fact that they’ve turned a historic church into a restaurant is super cool!
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  3. Page’s Okra Grill – This Mt. Pleasant restaurant is the #1 breakfast place on TripAdvisor and for good reason. We’ve been there a couple of times when our parents are in town and it always leaves us wanting to come back. Their flavors and mix of classics with trends are delectable. And their portions for the price do not disappoint!
    Page's Okra Grill
  4. Smoky Oak – There are SO many BBQ choices to pick from, and as much as I’ve talked about Jim n Nicks in the past, I let this one be husband’s choice. I’ve only been to Smoky Oak once last fall, but Cody has been back again and stands by their meat being the best! I especially love their smoked sausage and pork. There is a new BBQ place in town, so we’ll see if it gives Smoky Oak a run for its money.
    Smoky Oak
  5. Yamato – This Japanese restaurant has been enjoyable every time we go and never leaves us hungry! I love hibachi grills because they provide entertainment, give you multiple courses of yummy food, and usually leave you with leftovers. I really like this grill because they even include sherbet for dessert with their meals 🙂
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Bonus for Dessert… Carmella’s! I love their desserts for sure! It is comparable to Kaminsky’s but we’ve been here more. We’ve tried a few different desserts and they are all delicious!

Question for You:
If you live in or have visited Charleston, where is your favorite place to eat??