Review of 21 Day Fix Extreme

I recently completed the 21 Day Fix Extreme program, developed and taught by Autumn Calabrese, sold by Beachbody.  It’s a very popular program right now, so I thought I’d give my own review of it.

Basics: 21 days of workouts and a nutrition plan to go along with it.  It comes with DVDs that have the workouts on them, a book about the nutrition program, a month’s supply of the recommended superfood shake (your choice of flavors), and colored tupperware that you use to make sure you’re eating according to the plan.  Note:  There is a regular 21 day fix and an “extreme” version.  The extreme has slightly harder workouts and a stricter nutrition plan.

Workouts: There are 7 different workouts, 30 minutes each.  You follow the calendar that the program gives you, doing one workout everyday, repeating the 7 workouts three times over the course of the 21 days.  There is also an ab-specific workout (10 minutes) that you do twice per week in addition to the normal 30 minute workout.  You need a couple of sets of dumbbells – one lighter, one heavier, and a resistance band. (For my weights, I did 8 lbs and 10 lbs – 8 was sometimes a little heavy as the “light” weight and 10 was sometimes a little too light as the “heavy” weight, but they did the trick.)

Nutrition: Based on your current weight, you calculate a daily calorie goal for yourself at the start of the program.  Based on that number, the nutrition book tells you how many servings of fruits, vegetables, protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats you should have.  The colored tupperware allows you to measure your foods so you know what a “serving” really looks like.  It’s helpful and they’re kind of fun!  The superfood shake that comes with the program is one of your protein servings each day.  They do have vegan flavors for anyone that can’t have dairy.  You can add fruits, veg, and other ingredients to the shake when you blend it – my favorite is a vegan chocolate shake with frozen berries.

My Experience: Using free weights in the workouts was great.  I had gotten away from weights, but they really can make your body change faster.  Autumn Calabrese LOVES leg workouts :)  Legs are worked in every single workout in one way or another.  Your legs/buns have some major muscle groups, so this is a good thing!  More muscle = more calories burned all day long.  There were a couple of days where I did some additional cardio on top of the 30 minute workout.  I felt like I needed it, so I did it.  Depending on your fitness level, you may or may not experience the same.

I was seriously concerned that I would starve.  When the colored tupperware arrived, my heart dropped…”that’s all I’m allowed to eat” was my immediate thought.  I’m pleased to say I was never, ever hungry.  In order to stay in the parameters of the program, I had to cut back on my snacking, but that was more of a mental challenge than a physical challenge.  I love snacking, even if I’m not hungry.  Within the first week, I was feeling fuller faster.  I also wasn’t craving salty/sugary snacks.  Pretty awesome, right??  The superfood shake, Shakeology, gives your body so many nutrients that you stop craving crap.

My Results:  Overall, I lost 6 lbs.  That takes me to a weight I haven’t seen since junior high (a long time ago…).  My core muscles are showing more.  I feel energetic and in control of my eating.  No matter your current goals, you can gain something from it.  I’m actually doing it a second time!  Check it out – here’s a link:

http://teambeachbody.com/shop/-/shopping/BCP21E160?referringRepId=696145

I’m sure I’ve missed something that you might be curious about.  Leave a comment and I’ll happily get back to you :)

To your health,

Kimberly

Free Health Goodies!

For today only – if you purchase  Sally Shield’s new book “Is She Naturally Thin, or Disciplined? Insider Secrets of the Sexy and Slim!” on www.amazon.com, you are eligible for a bunch of free health-related stuff.

It’s only for today, so check it out quickly!

Buy through this link to be eligible for free stuff:  http://www.sallyshields.com/thinbooklaunch/

To your health,

Kimberly

New Cigarette Labels in the US!

I had heard this was coming, but I finally saw the new cigarette labels online today.

Check them out here:  http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2011/06/21/137316580/be-warned-fda-unveils-graphic-cigarette-labels?ps=sh_sthdl

Pretty graphic, huh?!?!  I like them!  They are debuting in 2012.

To your health,

Kimberly

Win tickets to the Real Food Festival in London

Hi everyone,

I’m on the email list for the Vitality Show that happens in London every year, therefore I get great offers like the one I’m sharing with you today.  If I were still in the UK, I would try for the tickets!!

Here is the link for the competition – Good Luck!

http://www.vitalitylive.co.uk/competitions/competition/win_one_of_three_pairs_of_vip_tickets_to_the_real_food_festival_worth_100

It includes 2 tickets to the show, access to the VIP tent, which includes a free cocktail for each guest, and more!!  The prize is worth £100, so get moving.  The Festival is May 5-8 at Earl’s Court in London.

Enjoy!

To your health,

Kimberly

The Blue Zones – #2

If you didn’t see my first post about this topic, here is a tiny bit of background:

A book called The Blue Zones was written by Dan Buettner.  He visited four places that had a high percentage of centenarians and the book outlines some of the reasons for this higher than average longevity.

Here is a synopsis of location #2 – Okinawa, Japan:

Reasons for the long lives of Okinawans, as written in “The Blue Zones”:

1. Have a “Reason to get up” in the morning.  In Japanese, the word for this is ikigai.  The Okinawans seem to have a strong sense of purpose, responsibility, and feel they are needed, no matter what age they are.

2. Eat a primarily plant-based diet.  The centenarians in Okinawa have eaten plant-based food for most of their lives.  This consists of lots of stir-fried vegetables, sweet potatoes, tofu, and a type of melon called Goya.  Pork is eaten occasionally but only for ceremonial reasons and always in small portions.  (This sounds like Sardinia, yes?)

3. Tend your Garden. Most of the Okinawans either still gardened in their 90’s and 100’s or at least had a garden for a long time in their younger years.  This is a superb way to get daily exercise and get fresh food to cook!

4. Eat Soy.  There is a lot of tofu and miso soup in the Okinawan diet.  Tofu has flavonoids, which are great for the body.  Miso, which is fermented soy, helps keep the intestines healthy and has essential enzymes.  It’s important not to boil miso though, when using it in recipes.  This kills the enzymes.  With soy, it’s also important to have the most pure sources of it that you can.  Various soy products are added to lots of foods these days, but it’s not the same as having, say, tofu, and can actually be dangerous.

5. Maintain a Moai. This word infers a kind of social group.  It’s something common in Okinawa and essentially a group of people decide informally to form a moai.  These people then can count on each other in times of stress, sadness, emotional difficulties, or even during financial hardship.

6. Enjoy the Sunshine. When the body is exposed to sunlight on a regular basis, the body produces Vitamin D, which is an essential vitamin and one that is harder to get strictly through diet.  This promotes stronger bones and generally healthier bodies.  This is not giving you free reign to sun bathe all hours of the day, by the way, but a little bit of sunshine each day does a great thing for your body!

7. Stay active. Okinawans walk a lot, garden, and actually have very little furniture in the house.  They often sit on mats on the floor to eat or read.  This keeps lower body strength good (getting up and down off the floor) and maintains good balance.  Many elderly people end up being incapacitated by falls, so both strength and balance are important to practice each and every day.

8. Plant a Medicinal Garden.  Okinawans consume a few things on a daily basis that are known for their medicinal qualities.  These are ginger, turmeric, and mugwort.

9. Have the right Attitude. Many of the people Dan Buettner spoke to in Okinawa had significant hardships while growing up and even into their middle aged years.  The great thing is that they seem to leave the feelings about these hardships in the past (but not forget them) and enjoy the great pleasures life has to offer them now. They have personalities that make people want to be around them and they make sure to keep younger people around them, no matter how old they get.

There is one other thing I took from reading the book that wasn’t listed as one of the main factors for longevity – it is a phrase that goes like this “Hara Hachi Bu”. This is something said before each meal and it means “Eat until you are 80% full.”  That is probably something we could all do.

The third blue zone is Loma Linda, California.  I’ll post about this soon.

To your health,

Kimberly

 

A Story to Make you Smile

I just came across this truly heart warming story, so wanted to share it with you.  If you’re not a huge animal lover, you may not think it’s as cool as I do, but have a look anyway.  It’s about Cassie (the kitten) and Moses (the crow) and how they met each other.

No, this isn’t a traditional “health” post, but I think anything that makes you smile or feel good inside is good for your whole being.  Enjoy!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-fAGzY9rnaA&feature=youtu.be

To your health,

Kimberly

The Keys to Living Longer

I am currently reading a fascinating book, “The Blue Zones” by Dan Buettner.  The book is about 4 specific places in the world where there is a higher concentration of centenarians (people who live to at least 100) than in other places.  The author travelled to these places to interview some of the locals who were in their 90’s and 100’s, most of whom were still self-sufficient.

The four places travelled to were (1) Sardinia, Italy, (2) Okinawa, Japan, (3) Loma Linda, California, and (4) Costa Rica.

I’d like to highlight what the author’s perception is about why each of these places supports a longer than average, healthy life.  Today, I’ll give you the Sardinian lifestyle summary:

From “The Blue Zones“, by Dan Buettner:

  • Eat a lean, plant-based diet accented with meat.  The main staples of the Sardinian diet are whole-grain bread, beans, garden vegetables, and fruits.   Also traditional is pecorino cheese made from grass-fed sheep.  This cheese is high in omega-3 fatty acids.  Meat is a Sunday/holiday treat only.
  • Put family first.  Sardinia has strong family values.  This helps with lower rates of depression, suicide, and stress.
  • Drink Goat’s milk.  Goat’s milk may protect against inflammatory diseases such as heart disease and Alzheimer’s.
  • Celebrate elders.  Grandparents play a huge role in the lives of their grandchildren.  This may mean kids grow up to be healthier and better adjusted.
  • Take a walk.  Sardinian men traditionally are shepherds.  In order to carry out their work, they walk at least 5 miles a day.  This is great cardiovascular activity and keeps bones, joints, and muscles working, but it isn’t really strenuous.
  • Drink a glass or two of red wine daily.  All of the centenarians Dan Buettner spoke to in Sardinia drank red wine moderately.  Cannonau wine, which is traditional in Sardinia has 2-3 times the level of flavonoids as other wines.  This part of their lifestyle may also help with stress.
  • Laugh with friends.  The men in Sardinia would often end their work day by gathering with other men and laughing at and with each other.   This can be great for stress and just for general well-being.

Based on the above, it shouldn’t be that hard to take up some of these practices.  There is nothing written above that is very complicated, expensive, or hard to achieve no matter what climate you live in.  In fact, some of them are simply social practices!

I’ll give you the tips from the other three places over the coming weeks.   Stay tuned!

To your health,

Kimberly

 

Sickness is not an Accident

The title of this post was something I read in my macrobiotics course, as written by Michio Kushi, one of the most well-known people in modern day macrobiotics.

The sentence, ‘Sickness is not an accident’, really struck me.  Why?

Well, I think because after reading the explanation around this statement, it made so much sense!

The material that I was reading, by Kushi, was explaining the theory around Ki (or Qi or Chi), the meridians of the body, and how it is all related and connected.  (By the way, this is all kind of new to me and I’m pretty much an analytical thinker, not a spiritualist by nature, so if you’re like me, don’t run away yet!)

Anyway, Kushi went on to discuss how the opposing forces in the world (Earth’s force, being the force coming from within earth out towards infinity (yin), and Heaven’s force, being the force coming from infinity into the center of the earth (yang)) help form all of our organs and determine how the body is supposed to operate.  When we overload our bodies with the wrong kinds of food, drinks, stimulants, medicine, and even external influences, the body gets out of balance.  This is when illnesses start to inhabit our bodies.  It may just be some tiredness, or a little cold, but even those things are signs that something is off in your body.

I’m sure I’m not explaining this as succinctly as Kushi did, but this just made so much sense to me.  Sickness is not an accident.  Western medicine can lead us to believe that sickness is ‘random’ or ‘unpreventable’ but Eastern medicine definitely doesn’t support that.

Learning about this is actually really comforting.  It makes me feel confident that my health, my longevity, my future is something that I have control over.  Now, I know s**t happens, as they say – accidents happen and genes do play a part in the constitution of each of us.  But, by understanding what strengths and weaknesses we were born with, and understanding how we can support our bodies in the best way possible, we are all capable of achieving health.  I love that!

To your health,

Kimberly

Nina Bagnall – Women’s Health

I have become friends with a fellow health blogger, Nina Bagnall, of http://www.ninabagnallsthoughts.com.  She has a site specific to Women’s Health.  There is some great information on there relating to all sorts of topics: general health, menopause, vegetarianism, home remedies, super-foods, etc.

She has written quite a few articles and ebooks about the different subjects, some free and some with a small cost, so check out her site and see if there is anything that peaks your interest.

http://www.ninabagnallsthoughts.com/

I really like Nina’s outlook on “Optimal Health” which is based on nutrition, exercise, and having a clear mind.

To your health,

Kimberly

40% off Susan Nichole Vegan handbags!

Susan Nichole, who makes GORGEOUS handbags has an amazing offer on right now. Not only are they pretty bags, but they are all VEGAN, which makes me love them even more.

The first time I ordered one, I was worried about the durability of it, but it has lasted very well, and I’ve had several compliments on it.   Nobody ever believes me when I say that it isn’t made of leather!  I actually have two of her bags, one of them being the Tara in Cream, and I love them both.

Susan Nichole is giving 40% off your entire order, but only until this Friday, January 14th.   If you’ve never heard of this brand, this is a great time to try it out.

To shop, go to http://susannichole.com/ and use the coupon code FORTY when you check out.

To your health,

Kimberly

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