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 #41

Hope everyone has had an enjoyable weekend! We certainly have had some good times this weekend.

Friday my weekend started earlier in the day with some tax free weekend shopping with my friend Gracie. We headed to Old Navy for some good deals and some new Pixie Pants (my fave!).

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We also stopped into Target to pick up a couple of things, including some lounge chairs to add to my classroom.

Friday night Cody met up with some of the guys from small group to visit a couple of breweries in town while us ladies got together at our apartment for some wine, snacks, and girl chat while we watched the Olympic opening ceremony.

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Saturday morning I started my day with a coffee date with a fellow blogger and Iowan turned Charlestonian, Rachel from The Latte Budget. After that I headed to Walmart to pick up school supplies I needed for this school year and also checked out some pillows and rugs to add to the lounge area of my classroom with the chairs from Target. I still have a few things to pick up but I’m pretty much set on supplies for the start of the school year.

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The rest of Saturday was pretty chill with a workout and some usual planning every weekend has.

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We ate some yummy crispy cheddar chicken and green beans for supper then took Cooper for a nice long walk. (Made a little too much sauce and needed to use it lol)

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After our family walk, Cooper was worn out and cuddled with us while we watched some HIMYM. Officially into Season 8!

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Today we decided to watch the early church service online so we could head to Sullivan’s Island for some beach time before it got really hot.

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We came home in time to make some lunch then this afternoon has been nice to hang out, watch some Olympics, and work on the blog. Remember to check out and like Passionately Southern’s Facebook page!

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Tonight we are going to video chat with both sets of parents, which is awesome! And I’m hoping to head to bed at a decent time since tomorrow I head back to school for our week of inservice before the kiddos come back to school.

To wrap up, here is your weekly dose of Cooper! I took this Friday night when he was hanging out with the ladies. How cute is he?!

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Questions for You:
How do you spend the last part of the summer?
What is your favorite thing to watch at the Olympics?
If you are a teacher, how do you prepare for the upcoming school year?


Here is our meal plan for the week:

Sunday – Spaghetti

Monday – Gnocchi and Chicken Sausage Vegetable Skillet

Tuesday – Slow Cooker Pulled BBQ Chicken with Sweet Potato Fries

Wednesday – Crunchy Taco Homemade Hamburger Helper

Thursday – On our own (I have freshmen orientation at night) … maybe pizza??

Friday – Egg Sausage Casserole (my mother-in-law’s recipe)

Saturday – Vegetable Beef and Rice Soup

I think I’m going to give my bootcamp workouts a break for a bit and for my workouts I will do a mix of cardio, TurboJam, Zumba, and weight lifting. Cody and I are going to do a trial at 9 Round Kickbox Fitness to see if we like it. We are also considering becoming members at Planet Fitness to have a place away from home to work out.

I’m also going to go back to tracking my food and macronutrients with MyFitnessPal (friend me if you use the program!) to get back into a healthy lifestyle as school starts back up.

Any meals on your plan you are excited about this week?

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Hope everyone has had a great weekend! The weather here was too good to pass up being outside for part of it.

Friday night Cody and I went to buy the rest of Cooper’s supplies! We stopped into Target to try and get as many things as we could since we had a gift card. We also checked out Petco to compare for a crate but we ended up buying one on Amazon for cheaper.

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Saturday we decided was going to be a beach day, so we packed everything up into our new beach cart and headed out to Sullivan’s Island, our favorite beach.

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Some of our friends came out to enjoy the weather and water with us. We played some smashball, snacked on some watermelon, and played in the waves.

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Some got more sun than others (uh, me…) I always seem to forget to reapply sunscreen the first time I’m out in the sun for a long period of time. We were out there for most of the day yesterday and that was more sun than my skin was used to anyways. Anyone have any tricks for helping with a sunburn?

We ended the night with some good grilling then going to say goodbye to one of my coworkers and good friends. She’s moving and I’m sad to see her go but she is going to be amazing no matter where she is 🙂

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Sunday we got ready and went to church to hear a great message about how we distort God’s image and what he is really like according to the Bible. Amazing lesson!

After church we went to pick up some groceries, which we were in desperate need since we did a no-grocery week last week to save some $$$. Looking into our fridge now, I’m really happy with the purchases we made! Our grocery load was mostly produce! And after snacking on some watermelon yesterday, we just had to get one too.

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The rest of the day has been laying around and resting as my sunburn has been hurting all day. I even took a nap, which I haven’t done in awhile, since I didn’t sleep well last night.

For supper, we attempted a new recipe: cauliflower crust pizza. The verdict: it’s really good! The crust isn’t crispy like regular pizza but the texture was good and flavor was yummy. We will definitely be making this again.

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This coming week is my first full week off for the summer AND our last week without our puppy! I’ll be spending the week doing some things around the apartment and running some errands. We’re also going to get together with some friends mid-week and I’m excited for that.

Questions for you:
Did you do anything exciting this weekend?
Any big plans for the week?


This week is also my last week of the Bikini Bootcamp. I am really excited to compare where I was to start and to review/recap the experience. Hopefully my sunburn feels a little better tomorrow so I can put 100% effort into my last week of workouts.

Meals for the week:

I’m hoping this week for breakfast I can try and do an overnight oats recipe since I have more time.

Any overnight oats recipes that you like?

Spring Break: Inflatable 5K, Celebrations, and Easter

So I am officially FINALLY on spring break and this first day off has been amazing! I got a lot accomplished and was even able to have lunch with Cody today. We visited Jersey Mike’s and it was yummy.

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But wait, I still need to catch y’all up on the weekend, so let’s backtrack.

Friday we had a pep rally at school to launch us into spring break.

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Friday night was a much needed low-key night with supper at home and Netflix.

Saturday we woke up bright and early to head out for our Insane Inflatables 5K. Boy, was that an adventure! We arrived an hour ahead of time to check-in and as we were lined up reading to start our wave, they radioed over saying there was a storm coming and we were to take cover.

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The rain drops had already started to fall so we headed back to our cars when the rain came down heavily. We took cover under a shelter until it stopped, soaking wet. We walked back towards the race entrance and got ready to go again when they delayed us again. However, after a short delay, we were able to go.

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The obstacles had gotten really wet from the rain so they were extra slippery and got us a little (lot) dirty but it was so much fun! I was really proud of myself as I ran almost all of the 5K. I am not a big runner and all the training we did prior to the 5K was in about half-mile spurts. I’m also thankful for Cody sticking with me throughout the entire thing. There were times when anxiety was about to take over but then he encouraged me to keep going. Love that man! In the end, I was so happy we did this together and we look forward to doing it again.

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After the race, we came home to get washed up before heading out to lunch with some friends from small group. It was good to spend some time with them and to get to know them more.

We came home and worked on some wedding details, like picking our first dance song. I’m telling you, that is NOT an easy decision to make when there are so many songs that are great and speak to your relationship.

Saturday night we went out to celebrate Cody’s co-worker’s birthday. We first went to Royal for food and drinks. They have a pretty tasty burger!

We ended the night at Home Team where they have delicious wings and tots.

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Sunday we heard a fantastic Easter message from Pastor Greg! He taught us about the signs we can receive from the resurrection. This is a graphic Seacoast sent out on Instagram and I wanted to share it with you.

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We then decided to stop by Walmart to pick up some Easter treats.

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While Cody played Xbox in the afternoon, I watched more Netflix while I caught up on reading blogs and more wedding stuff.

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We sat down that evening to a delicious Easter supper. This was the first one on our own, so I wanted to make something nice: meatloaf muffins, mashed potatoes, corn, and biscuits.

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We had a great weekend and we’re getting one step closer to becoming husband and wife!!

What do you love about Easter?


As I said last Sunday, we were planning on doing a more healthy-focused week to get ready for the race and to jump start more conscious healthy eating.

Sunday – Cheesy Chicken & Rice Casserole (Mexican-style) [Thanks Courtney!]

Monday – Omelettes

Tuesday – Turkey sandwich, crackers & cheese (parent open house then small group)

Wednesday – Grilled chicken sandwiches & sweet potato fries (little burnt) // Run

Thursday – Out with friends before Phantom of the Opera!

Friday – Spaghetti (squash-style) with ground turkey

Saturday – Burger at Royal // 5K

We are carrying the healthy eating into this week, which I’m really excited about!

What is your favorite “healthy” food/dish?