Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The 21-Day Sugar Detox Diet, Day SEVENTEEN

The last time I posted, I was only on day five of the 21-Day Sugar Detox Diet, and I was terrified about slipping for the third time on day eight.

Well, it's day seventeen, and I feel pretty damn good about it!

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I still have a handful of days left to go, and can't wait to drink one of the Evolution Fresh juices that's been waiting for me in my fridge since just before I started the detox. I'm also really looking forward to eating berries, watermelon, cantaloupe, and really, anything other than green-tipped bananas and green apples - although these have seriously grown on me in seventeen days!

Over the course of the past seventeen days, I've learned a lot about myself and have added several new cooking techniques and recipes to my repertoire, and I have to say, I really believe in this program. With just tiny changes to my intake, and a whole lot of discipline, I've felt and seen big changes.

I don't think I'll ever be 100% happy or in love with my body, and that's just a personal thing I have to work on, but I know I'm making major strides on the journey to the best version of me, whatever that means.

Since the program is more about curbing sugar and carb dependence than weight loss, I haven't hopped on the scale (and probably won't for a few months because I just don't like bad news), but this program, combined with adding running, Fitbit-fueled steps, and City Surf Fitness into the mix have helped reshape my body and my mind.

I'm getting more sleep.
I'm drinking more water.
I feel and look less bloated on the daily.
I've completely turned around my attitude and I'm a lot more upbeat and positive during the workday.
I used to be so exhausted and drained from either teaching or taking 6A workout classes that the rest of the day was a downhill from the workout endorphin high. Not anymore! (Positive thoughts. Positive outcomes.)

In case you're interested in taking the plunge yourself, Diane Sanfilippo, creator of the 21-Day Sugar Detox Diet, just revamped the program in a major way. There's now a subscription-only online version of the program for people needing an extra push aside from what's available in the online or print books and on the website.

I already owned the print version of the cookbook, so I jumped at the discounted price for the premium package. Check out the package options here.

I'm following Level 3, the strictest of the three levels of the #21DSD, which is a choice I made based on answering a series of questions in the book (I provided those questions here on the blog a while back). It's the closest to the Paleo diet, which I have been more or less following since January. Levels 1 and 2 are still no picnic, but there a little less restrictive than what I'm following.

Confession time: I'll admit that there were a few days when I ate more than the one daily-allotted green-tipped banana, and I've also had a few cans of La Croix sparkling water, which Diane says is off limits because of the "natural flavors." But if those indiscretions mean I can keep on the detox for the full 21 days, I'm 100% okay with those choices.

Here's what went down, intake and output-wise, the first six days of the detox:

DAY 0 (Sunday, July 13: the day before the detox started)
Exercise: Taught RPM at 1030A, walked around Stella house while my dad made a cake for his office to celebrate Bastille Day to get in my remaining steps

A crafty cake Papa Stel made (I held down the cardboard cutout my dad made so he could do his homemade icing flag)

Steps: 10,430 (goal is 10K daily steps)

Breakfast: Evolution Fresh Pineapple Coconut Water, Iced Venti Unsweetened Americano, and a green-tipped banana at Starbucks, 1/4 of a 70% dark chocolate/coffee bar from Whole Foods at home

Lunch: Cantaloupe cubes, strawberries (I had to finish up a box I bought because they're off limits for the detox, and I didn't want them to go to waste!), 2 tablespoons Creamy Sunbutter + 1/2 tbsp. Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips and a drizzling of Local Texas honey

Dinner: Urban Taco Chicken Tinga rice bowl and some yucca fries (they came on the side, and I couldn't resist), unsweetened iced tea, and 2 Against All Grain Real Deal Chocolate Chip Cookies (I made these to rid the pantry of non-21DSD-compliant ingredients, and to get a final taste of sweets)

Snack: Another 1/4 of the Whole Foods 70% dark chocolate/coffee chocolate bar

DAY 1 (Monday, July 14)
Exercise: 6A City Surf Circuits with an ab focus, taught RPM at 7PM, and walked to meet Fitbit goal

Steps: 10,602

Breakfast: 1 serving 21DSD Moo-less Chocolate Mousse, 1 paleo egg cup (spinach, mushroom, bacon), Iced Venti Unsweetened Americano

Paleo egg cups

Lunch: PaleOMG Spaghetti Squash Casserole (THE BOMB) topped with a 100-calorie pack of Wholly Guacamole, and a container of unsweetened applesauce (this was a mistake on my part because I wasn't thinking when I packed my lunch at 7AM)

You gotttttta make this. Italian Sausage, Spaghetti Squash,  and 21-DSD-compliant pizza sauce, finished with whisked eggs. Most recent variations = addition of chopped mushrooms and quartered artichoke hearts.

Dinner: 2 paleo Egg Cups, steamed vegetables (mix of Carrots, Broccoli, Snap Peas, and Squash from Sprouts) with a drizzle of Coconut Aminos (soy-free soy sauce replacement), 1 serving of spiralized Zucchini Noodles in Avocado Cream ( easy and delicious) with Smoked Salmon, other serving of  21DSD Moo-less Chocolate Mousse

Snack: 1/8 c raw almonds (I can't get myself to eat them anymore), 1 tbsp. Trader Joe's unsweetened creamy almond butter

DAY 2 (Tuesday, July 15)
Exercise: 6P launch (team teach) of RPM 63

Steps: 10,854

Breakfast: 1 paleo egg cup, 1 container unsweetened applesauce (again, oops on poor planning here), unsweetened iced coffee, and 1 tablespoon Trader Joe's unsweetened almond butter

Lunch: 2 paleo egg cups, and a Build-your-own smoothie from Whole Foods: banana, spinach, a little bit of coconut water, kale, unsweetened almond milk, and a packet of Artisana unsweetened almond butter

Dinner: leftover Zucchini Noodle/Avocado cream sauce/Smoked Salmon, 2 pickle spears, 1 tablespoon unsweetened Sunbutter (Read the ingredients carefully. You want "Ingredients: Sunflower Seeds"), 1 green-tipped banana (second of the day, and letting it slide), 1 La Croix can (again, letting this slide), some 21DSD Sunbutter "Brownies"

DAY 3 (Wednesday, July 16)
Exercise: RPM 63 launch: taught it at 6A (and barely made it to class - I overslept!!) and team taught it at 7P

Steps: 12,259

Breakfast: green-tipped banana (sliced, with cinnamon sprinkled on top) with 1 tbsp. Unsweetened Sunbutter, a few small 21DSD Sunbutter "Brownies", unsweetened iced coffee (homemade)

Lunch: Snappy Salads 1/2 snap with vegetables, avocado (they were out of ham, and chicken didn't sound good to me at the time), and salsa for the dressing

Dinner: cauliflower "rice" (my method: food process cauliflower florets, season, heat, and eat, and there are countless other ways to prepare cauli "rice" if you search Pinterest) with some 21-DSD-compliant pizza sauce, leftover PaleOMG Spaghetti Squash Casserole, Sunbutter "Brownies"

Snack: Iced Venti Americano at lunch (I was SLEEPY today, considering I nearly overslept for teaching class!), and a little bit of a homemade smoothie after dinner to keep my insatiable hunger at bay (increased hunger is very common on day three of the detox)

DAY 4 (Thursday, July 17)
Exercise: 6A City Surf Big Kahuna (resistance bands training) and taught RPM at 7P

Steps: 11,511

Breakfast: green-tipped banana with cinnamon and organic unsweetened Sunbutter and 2 paleo egg cups

Lunch: steamed green beans, 2 paleo egg cups and a little bit of cauliflower "rice"

From another day, but this is what cauliflower "rice" looks like. It's orange because you can get orange-colored cauliflower at Whole Foods, and I think that's fun.

I was really hungry, so I also got a Whole Foods Build-Your-Own Smoothie: Banana (letting it slide), unsweetened almond milk, a little coconut water, spinach, and kale

Dinner: leftover PaleOMG spaghetti squash casserole, 3 pickle spears, steamed green beans, a few small Sunbutter Detox "Brownies"

Snack: green-tipped banana + unsweetened sunbutter (oops number 2)

DAY 5 (Friday, July 18)
Exercise: 6A City Surf

Steps: 10,409 (most of this was from walking in circles around my apartment for about half an hour)

Breakfast: green-tipped banana with cinnamon + spoonful unsweetened Sunbutter and an Iced Venti Unsweetened Americano

Lunch: BYO Smoothie from Whole Foods (unsweetened almond milk, a little coconut water, banana - oops!, spinach, and kale. Unsweetened almond butter is available to mix in, and I've started doing that the past few weeks for a tasty, healthy-fat smoothie).

The official STELeb smoothie, which tastes INCREDIBLE

Dinner: HORRIBLE chicken fajitas from Taco Diner (I just ate the grilled chicken, peppers, jalapeno, cilantro, guac, and salsa, and the chicken was just awful. Felt like a Saint for abstaining from the rice and chips and salsa!), followed by Sunbutter "brownies" and a spoonful of unsweetened Sunbutter at home

Snack: packet of Artisana unsweetened almond butter, 2 Detox Sunbutter "Brownies"

DAY 6 (Saturday, July 19)
Exercise: Taught RPM at 9A, ran to City Surf and had an awesome running pace, and saw major improvement in my performance at 11A City Surf Circuits (specifically, on tough planks on the board where your hands are on the ground, your feet are on the board, and you're doing things like a side plank and holding it for 30 seconds, or a 30-second straight plank and picking up a sandbell with one hand and doing a "row" with it. I couldn't nail these a few weeks ago, so I was feeling pretty damn good about myself. Improvement is key! And 30 seconds in this class feel like 3 hours. It's TOUGH, but that's where results live!)

That's me in the front row, ass in the air, 2nd board from the left, in the middle of a "half burpee"

Steps: 14,279

Breakfast: 2 paleo egg cups, leftover steamed green beans (I don't get home until after noon on Saturdays, and I don't eat before teaching, so I just log what I eat in the BFast and Lunch categories, regardless of what or when I ate).

Lunch: 1 serving 21-DSD Moo-less chocolate mousse

Dinner: Village Burger Bar bunless burger with pickles, lettuce, and tomato, and a side of sweet potato fries (Sweet potato is allowed in moderation when you're doing Level 3 and very active, doing HIIT exercises for more than 30 minutes a day, and I do HIIT exercise at least once daily. Homemade sweet potato fries, which are baked, are definitely OK, but this might be a gray area that we're going to let slide), 1 green-tipped banana (oops) and a spoonful of Sunbutter, and leftover Moo-less Mousse

Snack: Iced Venti Unsweetened Americano, 2 tbsp. Organic Unsweetened Sunbutter

Not too terrible, right?

Tonight, I'm making this recipe from Ali at Inspiralized, because I've got a head of cauliflower, eggs, pizza sauce, and 4 zucchini in my fridge that I want to use up. This recipe ties all of those up in a beautiful bow, and I'm excited to give this a try!

The detox doesn't have to temporary and seen as something you just can't wait to be done with, but rather, I think it's a time to do a lot of self-reflection and change deeply ingrained habits.

It's not over yet, and I plan to continue eating pretty close to what I've done over the course of the detox, even on day 22 and beyond. The only difference is that I'll be able to have a little more flexibility here and there, but I have to say, I don't even want some of the things I'd let myself eat before, like self-serve frozen yogurt (my downfall).

Here's to a successful end to the detox, and to making good food and exercise choices that make me feel and look my best, from now until my final days.


Friday, July 18, 2014

Third time's a charm: 21-day sugar detox diet, take 3

I'm determined to finish this year fitter, healthier, happier, and leaner than I started it. What have I been doing differently to accomplish that goal?

1) I'm on round 3 of the 21-day sugar detox diet, and determined to make it through all 21 days (hell or high water).

I'm determined to make it through the full 21 days this time. I've been knocked down dead in my tracks at the day 8 mark my previous 2 tries, so I'm a little scared about the days to come, but I'm armed with prepped foods and fresh ingredients in my fridge to keep the momentum going.


Today marks day five. I'll admit, It hasn't been easy. I'm doing level 3, admittedly the strictest of the 3 levels, but it's not a far departure from my typical eating habits. It's just a box that I have to navigate for about 3 weeks. Refer to the 21DSD website for more information, or check out the book which you can get on the iBooks store or Amazon, for example!

I really, really, really miss banana + Creamy Sunbutter (the kind with sugar in it). And fruit. I've got a few things in my fridge and pantry that are off-limits, like cantaloupe cubes and Evolution Fresh juices, and I plan on giving the fruit to my dad this weekend, and I'll save the juices for August 4 (Day 22).

If you're interested in starting this up, sign up here and you'll get daily emails, including videos, recipes, and motivation, and a few words about things you might expect on that given day. You pick which day you're going to start your detox, and the emails are completely tailored to your schedule.

Here's part of the Day 5 email. I needed these words today.

There's a treasure trove of information on the 21DSD website and a lot of printer-friendly shopping lists, guides, and most important, the daily success log.

Here's a glimpse into what's gone on this week in the kitchen:

Avocado Cream Zucchini Noodles with Smoked Salmon (salmon not pictured). INCREDIBLE and incredibly easy to make! Recipe here.

From Whole Foods. Ingredients: Raw almonds. THAT'S IT.

PaleOMG Almost 5-ingredient Spaghetti Squash Casserole (Spaghetti Squash, No-sugar pizza sauce, Italian Sausage, and 3 eggs - I omit the onions and basil called for in the recipe). The hardest part is prepping the squash (removing the seeds, and slicing it in half to bake), but other than that, this is one of my favorite #21DSD (and otherwise) go-tos!

Whole Foods Build-your-own smoothie: unsweetened vanilla almond milk, banana (green-tipped is my assumption), kale, spinach, and a little bit of coconut water. INCREDIBLE. The greener, the better.

My take on the standard Paleo Egg Muffin. It's 12 eggs, whisked, with salt and pepper, chopped mushroom, spinach, and bacon bits, poured into a greased or papered/silicone cupped muffin tin. Bake in a 400F oven for 15-20 minutes. Refrigerate and eat throughout the week. Good cold, or reheated, microwaved for 1 minute.

2) I've dramatically changed the how/where/what component of my workouts.

I'm one day short of my three-month City Surf Fitness anniversary, and when I take off my funhouse mirror lenses, and take a cold, hard look in the mirror, I see change, and change for the better. I still don't love what I see, but I know that I'm constantly taking steps (literally) to get myself to where I need and want to be, and that's the most important thing right now.

City Surf classes almost always have something new. There's always a new move or a new challenge, and it's the type of complete ass kick I crave, day after day.

100% true. Last Saturday's class was my first with the incomparable David Case. 4 rounds of circuits, 30-45 seconds per move, including Battle Rope Jump Squats, 25-lb dumbbell squat-to-presses, Medicine Ball burpees, 25-lb sandbell slams, among other high-intensity moves. LOVED IT and was absolutely drenched, even just a few minutes in.

A typical week for me looks like this now:
M: 6A City Surf Circuits, 7P teach spin, run/walk to get remaining steps of my 10K daily fitbit goal

T: 730P City Surf Buddha Board yoga, run/walk to get remaining steps of my 10K daily fitbit goal

W: 6A teach RPM, run/walk to get remaining steps of my 10K daily fitbit goal (weather-permitting, I hit the Katy Trail)

R: 6A City Surf Big Kahuna (strength training class with 10-lb sandbells and resistance bands), 7P teach spin

F: 6A City Surf, run/walk to get remaining steps of my 10K daily fitbit goal

Sa: 9A teach RPM, run to City Surf (I limit the run to make sure I'm not a sweaty, exhausted mess before the next class starts), 11A City Surf Circuits, run/walk back to my car (I typically get an Iced Venti Americano at Starbucks on the way to my car)

Shameless #selfie after teaching RPM on Saturday, and right before strapping on my shoes to run to City Surf

Su: 1030A teach RPM, run/walk to get remaining steps of my 10K daily fitbit goal
(I use the rest of the day to food shop and prep for the week, and if I'm being good, I log time on the gigantic presentation looming over my head that I have to give in September)

This week, we launched RPM 63. On Tuesday night, I had the honor of team teaching the Preston Center launch with 2 of my favorite teammates who I've never gotten to teach with before. 63 is no joke!

3) New gear. New look. New life.
As I mentioned in my last post, fitbit and running are new. 
Getting faster and faster every time! Trying to work in at least one to two runs a week.

The SPI Belt (Small Personal Item belt) has changed the game for me because I finally have somewhere to put my keys and wallet, and whatever else I need for wherever I start and finish my run. I have my good friend Brittani to thank for this find (she's also the one who got me into group fitness in the first place, AND into City Surf, so I owe her my life)!

It's essentially Hermione's expandable bag. It fits SO MUCH, and it's so little. It's a little on the fanny pack side, so you can certainly tuck it under your shirt if you don't want to show it off. Available on the SPI site and on Amazon. It comes in several colors and styles, and mine is just like the one pictured above.

I have a new pair of Nike running shoes set to arrive today, and hope that those are more comfortable than the 4- and 3-year-old pairs of shoes I've been running in lately. Achilles pain two seconds into a run is no joke.

And, I have a new pair of spinning shoes coming in the mail next week. This will be my FIFTH pair since getting my first pair in October 2013. The bikes I ride on are pretty...rough, to put it lightly, and both shoes in my latest pair are half-cracked on the bottom, and they don't clip into the pedals securely at one of the gyms I teach at, so they're just basically dead to me right now.

Fingers crossed that these ones work 10000 x better so I don't have to teach in sneaks on Sunday mornings anymore, which is infinitely harder than teaching in cycling shoes, which allow you to more efficiently (and safely, when the clips work right) climb and race. I've ridden in these exact shoes at BEYOND Pedaling, so I'd have to think that they're legit...

I've still got a long road ahead of me, and it's a never-ending one...but at least I've got a new pair of shoes (or two) to carry me along the way.

Cheers to the freaking weekend, and to August 4, day 22 of my Detox, and my parents' 35th wedding annivesary, concidentally...

XO, Stel

Thursday, July 10, 2014

My primer for health and happiness

I just came across this post that was saved in my drafts, and decided to finish it and post it here.

According to Lorna Jane, this is all you need to do to find your happy and have a good day. I agree with their list, and I add on to that list in this post:

Here's the STELebrity Fit Club primer for health and happiness:

Stop complaining.
Just do it. I actually get physically ill hearing other people complain (when it's incessant). There's a difference between complaining (and doing it all the time) and venting. 

If you find yourself regularly doing the former to family and friends, I advise you to check yourself before you wreck yourself. 

Apparently, when you have IBS, it doesn't have to be your own stress that sends your digestive tract into a frenzy. Over the past few years, I've had to run to the restroom a few times while out at dinner with friends or coworkers because hearing stories of other people's stresses caused me to have an immediate digestive reaction, to put it lightly.

Stay in your lane. Focus on where you are, and who you're with, rather than letting your thoughts trail off to negative places.

Control what's in your jurisdiction.
I recently told my RPMers that the amount of resistance on their bikes is the one thing in their day that they can control.

So much in our day-to-day is out of our control. Life is chaotic, and we constantly have to make choices. Control what you can, and learn to cope with what you can't.

If you hate your job, and talk about your hatred of it to anyone who will listen, spend that energy searching for another opportunity. I promise you, a job change, while scary and risky and time-consuming, can completely turn your life around for the better. We have one life to live on this planet, and limited years to do it, so you might as well spend as much time as you can doing something you love - or at least, not wasting time doing something you absolutely hate.

Stop comparing yourself to other people, or even to yourself.
Comparison is the thief of joy.

There's always going to be someone who's richer, fitter, skinnier, better looking, etc. than you.

But should that matter?

You are you.
And to quote Seuss, "...that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You."

So why do we do it? Why do we beat ourselves up and get so upset when we encounter someone who seems to be doing so much better than us, on whatever metric we've chosen (wealth, looks, happiness, etc.)?

It's human nature, and I dare you to push those feelings aside in order to break through the barriers keeping you from the straight and narrow path to success.

Take measurements of things that matter most.

I don't let a number on the scale define me or derail me, but from time to time, I like to have a gauge and remind myself of where I've been, what I've done, and what I can do.

Unfortunately, it typically takes less time to gain than it does to lose.

You made the choices that got you to where you are, and you can either accept or challenge that, but there's no use in getting defeated over it all.

Today, I weigh more than I did a year ago, and it's something I'm working on in the kitchen and in the gym to change, day in and day out. To say that it's a struggle is an understatement, but I know what I need to do, and I'm taking the necessary steps to get there.

I am constantly changing things up, like:

  • Developing a full-on addiction to City Surf Fitness and constantly getting pushed beyond my limits there, 5 days a week 

That's me in the black tank in the middle at Buddha Board Yoga (Tuesdays at 730P)

  • Adding running into my routine, which is due to me recently getting a Fitbit to con me into meeting and exceeding my daily 10K step goal, and changing my intake quite a bit, to get closer to where I want to be. City Surf also nudged me into running, thanks to me having a free Wednesday night to try a new class, the City Surf Run Club. It's now a FREE class (sign up online) on Wednesdays at 6A, which sadly coincides with my RPM teaching timeslot.

GET THE GEAR. SPI Belt is a game-changer, as is the iPhone arm band and the Fit Bit Flex. No more logistic excuses keeping me from running!

3rd workout of the day on Monday to get my last remaining steps in

Getting faster every time! If only my left Achilles wouldn't hurt so much the second I start running...

  • On Monday, I'm going to get back on the 21-Day Sugar Detox. Third time's a charm, I hope, since I've failed around day eight (read: got VIOLENTLY ill) the first two tries.

We're more than halfway through 2014, and there's plenty of time to finish this year where you want to be.

PS I went to New York, and it was amazing, and everything I hoped it could be. I didn't get close enough to the Stage Door mob to get a selfie WITH Daniel Radcliffe, but I did get some solid close-up pix from standing on my tip-toes. Until we meet again, Dan...

The view from my hotel room. Thank you.

With love and solidarity,