Advocare 24-Day Challenge: Day 12

Day 12 of the challenge is complete! It’s amazing how progress can inspire more progress. I’m feeling good and motivation remains high.

Here are today’s stats.

Breakfast: Meal replacement shake with banana

Lunch: Grapes; Leftover turkey chili

Supper: Mexican bowl with lettuce and diced tomato (same as Wednesday night; recipe found HERE)

Snacks: Apple slices with crunchy peanut butter on top; Veggies and hummus; Unsalted peanuts with raisins

Tea of Choice: Mint melange tea from Trader Joe’s

Exercise: Yoga using my Yoga Studio app

Energy Level: Feeling good and running with it.

That’s it for Day 12! I’m keeping it short and sweet so I can enjoy the holiday with my family. See you tomorrow!

Progress inspires more progress |

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Advocare 24-Day Challenge, Day 11: Start of the Max Phase

Day 11 of the 24-day challenge has arrived! I’ve finished the cleanse phase and now enter what’s called the “Max” phase. This means I’m done with the fiber supplement and herbal cleanse pills and now move on to vitamin supplements. My diet remains primarily the same, but now I have a meal replacement shake to enjoy for breakfast.

Here are today’s stats.

Breakfast: Meal replacement shake with a banana mixed in (Yum!)

Lunch: Leftover breakfast casserole + an orange

Supper: Salad with chicken, dried cranberries, oranges, and vinaigrette

Snacks: Apple slices with crunchy peanut butter on top; Veggies and hummus; Unsalted peanuts with raisins

Tea of Choice: Candy cane green tea

Exercise: Interval training

Energy Level: Great! I got to sleep in this morning, which gave me a boost, and the healthy food and supplements have boosted me even more.

Other Observations:

– I forgot from past challenges that the supplements in the max phase can cause a little bit of a nauseous feeling. For some reason, my body is really sensitive to vitamins. I counteract this by taking them with a meal rather than the times suggested by Advocare. They settle much better when taken with something in my stomach. :)

– Since my family isn’t doing the challenge with me, it’s been a big help to make meals that don’t require a lot of extra work to modify for both ends of the spectrum. For the Mexican bowls last night, I doubled the chicken, then took half of it and made enchiladas for my family. We got to enjoy a meal with the same theme, but mine was a clean version without too much more work.

That’s it for Day 11! See you tomorrow…

What’s your favorite theme for dinner? Any ideas sparked from today’s post?

Healthy Eating Tip: Planning a dinner theme |

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Advocare 24-Day Challenge, Day 10: The Cleanse Phase Is Over!

Day 10 of the challenge means I’ve reached the end of the cleanse phase! Let me tell you, I can feel the difference. It’s amazing how junk food acts like sludge in our bodies. Cars can’t run on junk, and neither can we. :)

All right, on to the stats…

Breakfast: Leftover breakfast casserole and a banana

Lunch: Hard-boiled egg; Grape tomatoes; Clementine (I was on the run for lunch today, so I packed some quick and easy foods in a small cooler to take along.)

Supper: Mexican bowl topped with lettuce and diced tomato (Recipe found HERE – I used diced chicken instead of ground turkey)

Snacks: Unsalted peanuts with raisins; Apple; Spoonful of peanut butter; Cherries

Tea of Choice: Mint mélange tea from Trader Joe’s

Exercise: Walking with my family

Energy Level: Really good! Getting out in nature with my family was so much fun, and it felt good to be a couple pounds lighter too. :)

Other Observations:

I’ve noticed a big difference in the effectiveness of my workouts the farther I get into the challenge. As I lose the extra fat and toxins, my body functions at a higher level, which makes the workouts really count. Like I said above, what we fuel our bodies with makes a big difference!

That’s it for Day 10! Thanks for hanging in this with me. It’s not easy, but so worth it in the end.

When’s the last time you had a workout that made you feel your absolute best? Any observations from today’s post? 

Choose your fuel wisely. |


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Advocare 24-Day Challenge: Day 9

Day nine is complete! Each day adds another layer of new habits, and it’s such a great feeling.

Here are today’s stats.

Breakfast: Hard-boiled egg and an orange

Lunch: Leftover pork chop and green beans from last night

Supper: Roasted chicken breast; Veggies with hummus

Snacks: Banana; Unsalted peanuts with raisins; Apple

Tea of Choice: Teavana green tea – jade citrus mint

Exercise: Elliptical

Energy Level: Really good! I only got 6 hours of sleep last night, and I was amazed how much energy I had in spite of that. I still hit an afternoon lull but nothing like it would have been before the challenge.

Other Observations:

This cleanse phase of the challenge has reminded me just how filling fiber is. After taking the fiber supplement in the morning, I haven’t really been hungry for breakfast until an hour or so later. It’s like the fiber expands in my stomach and acts like a scrub brush, scouring away all the junk in there. A lovely analogy, isn’t it? :) I plan to make fiber-rich foods a regular staple in my diet after the challenge is over.

That’s it for Day 9! Short and sweet today. See you back here tomorrow…

What’s a new habit you’d like to work toward? What can you do TODAY to make it happen?

One day at a time |

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Advocare 24-Day Challenge, Day 8: A Lesson in Body Composition

Day 8 is done! I’m nearing the end of the cleanse portion of the challenge and have started to feel and see some changes in my body. More on that below.

First, let’s look at today’s stats.

Breakfast: Scrambled egg and an orange

Lunch: Leftover breakfast casserole; Salad

Supper: Grilled lemon herb pork chop (Recipe found HERE); Baked potato; Green beans tossed with olive oil and garlic

Snacks: Spoonful of peanut butter; Banana; Apple

Tea of Choice: Teavana green tea – jade citrus mint

Exercise: Zumba

Energy Level: Pretty good. Tired in the afternoon, but my Spark drink picked me back up.

Other Observations:

After 8 days on the challenge, I’m down 2-1/2 pounds–a good, healthy loss for this amount of time. In past challenges, my weight loss was more extreme early on, but I also started at a higher weight. This time around, I started close to my goal weight, but my focus is more on changing my body composition than reaching a certain number on the scale.

Let me explain…

Before my surgery two months ago, I felt good about where I was at healthwise. I took care of myself with proper diet and exercise. But after the surgery, I was under doctor’s orders to not exercise or lift. This was extremely hard for someone who’s used to a healthy lifestyle. Combine the lack of exercise with a higher intake of junk food (sometimes you just need a little comfort food, right?), and the result was a loss of muscle and a gain of fat.

As illustrated in this picture, one pound of muscle takes up less space than one pound of fat.

photo source:

At the end of my surgery recovery, I’d gained only three pounds, but those three pounds took up much more space in my body (not to mention my clothes). :) Now that I’m back in the gym, I knew I would be adding muscle to fat if I didn’t clean up my diet, which would result in higher weight and inches.

That’s where the 24-day challenge came in.

My goal with this challenge is to drop the excess fat while my muscles are building back up. This will hopefully keep my pounds steady (with the chance for a small drop), while allowing me a little more comfort in the waistline of my jeans. So far, I can already feel a difference on both counts!

The takeaway for someone embarking on a healthy lifestyle: Don’t put all your stock in what the scale says. Instead, remember the delicate balance of muscle and fat. If you’re going to the gym for the first time, you might actually see an increase in pounds at the beginning. But the goal is to get the overall composition of your weight to a healthier level. If you add a cleaner diet to your gym routine, you’ll have greater success on the scale AND in fitting into that dream size.

That’s it for Day 8! I’ll be back tomorrow with more takeaways and tips.

Have you ever been surprised by weight gain after heading to the gym? What other takeaways have you learned through working toward a health goal? 

The results will come. |



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Advocare 24-Day Challenge: Day 7

I’ve made it through the first full week! I have to say the challenge hasn’t been as traumatic this time around as my first-ever experience with it. Let’s just say the first 24-day challenge rocked my world because it was a complete change in the way I approached food. This time I’ve been more prepared.

Now, that doesn’t mean I don’t hit low moments. (Just ask my husband!) But it does mean knowledge is power. And expectations are sooo important whenever we embark on a major life change.

All right, soapbox moment is over. :) Let’s look at today’s stats:

Breakfast: Oatmeal with cinnamon and banana

Lunch: Turkey burger; Baked potato; Cucumber with hummus

Supper: Leftover turkey chili; Pear slices (Sunday is pizza night in my house, so I grabbed one of my pre-prepped bags of chili while my family munched on yummy crust, sauce, cheese…Okay, clearly I was a little jealous.) :)

Snacks: Spoonful of peanut butter; Apple; Unsalted peanuts with raisins; Cherries

Tea of Choice: Peppermint green tea

Exercise: Rest day

Energy Level: Pretty good. I hit a tired stretch in the afternoon, but isn’t that what Sunday afternoons are for? :)

Other Observations:

– It was realllly hard to watch my family eat pizza when I couldn’t partake. I felt myself slipping into “Poor me” mode, but then remembered that my mentality is crucial in a moment like this. I could choose to feel sorry for myself, or I could choose a positive focus. I reminded myself that I’m making these choices to better my life, and if I caved to the pressure and snuck a piece of pizza, I would be disappointed that I couldn’t stick with it. Thankfully I made it through, and I’ve gotta say, the feeling of accomplishment after avoiding the temptation was amazing!

That’s it for Day 7! See you tomorrow…

What meal makes you most tempted to cheat on your diet? Any lightbulb moments as you’ve read today’s post? 

The power of a positive mindset |


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Advocare 24-Day Challenge, Day 6: The Power of REST!

Day 6 is finished!

My biggest lesson today is the importance of rest. Last night, I hit a major wall of exhaustion and just shut everything down, watched a movie, and went to bed early. What a difference a good night of sleep makes! Not only did it give me physical energy, but it also boosted my emotional and mental energy to stick with this thing. Today was my most productive day so far this week! More on that below.

First, here are the stats:

Breakfast: Banana with crunchy peanut butter

Lunch: Salad topped with leftover tilapia from last night

Supper: Paleo breakfast casserole (Recipe found HERE – I used lean ground turkey instead of sausage.)

Snacks: Spoonful of peanut butter; Small apple; Unsalted peanuts with raisins; Cherries

Tea of Choice: No tea today; I was too busy to think about it.

Exercise: Deep cleaning my house (I think no one will argue that this is a workout all in itself.) :)

Energy Level: My energy was awesome today! After a full night of sleep, I just felt all-around good. I took advantage and got a TON of cleaning done around the house, paid bills, and did laundry. Plus I prepped a couple meals to enjoy next week. Woohoo for that! Now I can rest and enjoy my Sunday.

That’s it for Day 6 — See you tomorrow!

What’s the most productive thing you’ve done this weekend? Any rest in your plans? 

The power of rest |

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Advocare 24-Day Challenge: Day 5

Day 5 is done, which means I’m halfway through the cleanse! I’ve already noticed my taste buds adjusting. The big test was giving my kids animal crackers (which were a slight–okay, BIG–addiction for me before), and I didn’t feel the need to grab any for myself. You’ve gotta celebrate the little victories, right? :)

Here’s today’s rundown:

Breakfast: Scrambled eggs and an orange

Lunch: Salad with leftover chicken from last night

Supper: Blackened tilapia (One of my all-time favorite fish recipes found HERE. I used olive oil instead of butter.); Pan-roasted tomatoes with herbs (Recipe found HERE) — I just have to go on record and say this meal seriously made my taste buds do a happy dance. Who says no salt and no sugar have to mean no flavor?! :)

Snacks: Cherries; Cucumber slices with hummus; Apple slices with crunchy peanut butter on top; Baked cinnamon banana slices

Tea of Choice: Apricot & peach green tea from a local roaster

Exercise: Elliptical machine

Energy Level: Pretty good! I took both kids to the grocery store with me–including a mad dash through the rain. All of this after doing the elliptical in the morning, so I’d say that’s a good energy day. :)

Since it’s the weekend, I’m keeping it short and sweet. See you tomorrow!

What’s the last meal that made your taste buds do the happy dance? Any healthy plans for your weekend? 

Celebrate the little victories, because someday they'll add up to a BIG victory. |


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Advocare 24-Day Challenge, Day 4: Freezer-Friendly Meals

Day 4 is complete, and I’m learning that freezer-friendly recipes are my friends! Before I get to that, let’s look at today’s stats:

Breakfast: Spoonful of crunchy peanut butter and an apple (I had to eat breakfast on the run this morning, so this was quick and easy.)

Lunch: BLT salad (Same as last night’s supper since I had an extra slice of bacon left over); Pear slices

Supper: Edamame; Baked chicken (I made Italian Ranch Chicken Strips for my family and set aside a few plain pieces for myself, sprinkled with a little paprika and black pepper.); Mashed cauliflower (Recipe found HERE–This was my first attempt at mashed cauliflower and will probably be my last. Just not a huge fan of the smell or the flavor.)

Snacks: Veggies and hummus; Unsalted peanuts with raisins; Cherries

Tea of Choice: Rooibos

Exercise: Interval training

Energy Level: Not terrible but not great. I had a little bit of a headache throughout the day, which could be from the diet changes or from sleep factors. (I’ve been getting to bed way too late this week, thanks to our lazy summer schedule. Need to work on that.)

Other Observations:

Another sleep factor to consider is that I’ve been getting up at least once or twice in the night to empty my bladder, thanks to taking the herbal cleanse pills before bedtime. I try to limit how much I drink with them, but frequent trips to the restroom are a natural part of detoxification. Even though it can be frustrating, it does seem to get better the farther I get into the cleanse. And ultimately I know my body will thank me because of all the junk that’s getting flushed out. If I were doing this the right way, I would adjust by going to bed earlier so the midnight wake-ups don’t hinder my overall sleep so much. :)

– It’s been a big help to make full recipes of my cleanse-friendly meals early on. Since my family isn’t following the diet with me, it gives me lots of leftovers for quick and easy meals later. The turkey chili I made on Monday gave me 8 individual portions to refrigerate/freeze. I cooked an extra piece of chicken tonight to use in a salad tomorrow. And I plan to make a paleo egg casserole this weekend that will give me several easy meals as well.

Planning ahead really is the key to making the challenge a success!

So that’s Day 4 in a nutshell. Off to bed I go…

Do you have any freezer-friendly meals you like to prepare and save for later? Any surprises or takeaways from my observations today?

Healthy Tip: Make a large batch of your favorite healthy meal and pack it in freezer-friendly servings for quick lunches. |

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Advocare 24-Day Challenge, Day 3: Healthy Snacking

Welcome to the Day 3 rundown of my 24-day challenge! I’m still in the cleanse phase and am already feeling some of the effects of my old junk-food habits slipping away. Woohoo!

Here are the facts from Day 3:

Breakfast: Hard-boiled egg and a banana

Lunch: Leftover turkey chili from Monday (Recipe found HERE.) + a small bunch of grapes

Supper: I made BLTs for my husband and kids, so I put a clean twist on it and made a BLT salad for myself. Bacon isn’t technically a clean food, but I typically buy my bacon from Trader Joe’s, which means it doesn’t have any nitrates and has less sugar and sodium. It was a little “cheat treat” for me. I’ll share the official recipe in a future post, but the main ingredients were lettuce, tomato, hard-boiled egg, apple cider vinegar, olive oil, and bacon bits (A little side tip: I love making my bacon using the oven method found HERE. It turns out crispy every time!)

Snacks: Apple slices with crunchy peanut butter on top; Veggies and hummus; Unsalted peanuts with raisins; Cherries

Tea of Choice: Teavana jade/citrus/mint-flavored green tea

Exercise: Zumba (My first time back since surgery. It was a challenge, but it felt good to be back!)

Energy Level: A little higher than yesterday. I felt tired in the morning (after another short night of sleep), but the Spark drink helped get rid of the groggy feeling. I also didn’t hit a major energy dip in the afternoon, which is a huge deal for me!

Other Observations:

– As you might have noticed, unsalted peanuts and raisins have been a staple snack for me every day. I’m discovering that I need at least one grab-and-go snack handy for when I need a quick energy boost. This morning I took my kids to the park and could feel my blood sugar dropping, so having a bag of nuts and raisins in my purse was a lifesaver!

That’s it for Day 3. Thanks for following this journey with me! Hopefully you’re picking up some ideas and tips for your everyday life through this process. I’ll be back here tomorrow with more…

What’s your favorite on-the-go snack? Any tips you’ve picked up from the challenge so far?

Advocare 24-Day Challenge Tip: Stock up on easy, cleanse-friendly snacks for on-the-go energy boosts. |

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