Category Archives: Fitness

Advocare 24-Day Challenge: Before and After Stats!

Last week I finished Advocare’s 24-day challenge, and I can’t WAIT to share the results of this intensive health overhaul with you! (If you’re interested in what prompted me to do the challenge in the first place, you can read more about it HERE.)

In the days following the challenge, I’ve found that my new habits have really stuck. Yes, I’ve eaten a few small treats, but they don’t hold the same addictive power they had over me before the challenge. I truly crave healthy, clean foods and am feeling the rewards!

All right, so let’s get to the numbers. Here are my official results:

Over the course of the 24-day challenge, I lost a total of 4 pounds. That’s a little over one pound per week, so I was happy with my steady, healthy rate of weight loss!

Even more exciting was my loss in inches! In total (measuring waist, chest, thighs, and hips), I lost 7 inches of my body. But get this — 3 of those inches were in my waist alone! I went from my clothes feeling tight and uncomfortable to feeling like they fit perfectly again…maybe with a tiny bit of wiggle room. Hoo-rah! :)

24-Day Challenge Before and After | www.sarahforgrave.com

If you read my post about body composition, these stats are proof that I officially met my goals! Many people who do the challenge might see a higher rate of weight loss. My first couple challenges (trying to lose baby weight a few years ago) helped me lose 8-10 pounds. Since I started this challenge at a healthy body mass index (calculated HERE), I wasn’t expecting a drop in pounds, but I hoped for a drop in inches and overall improvement in muscle tone.

Accomplishment complete! :)

A little side note: The before and after pictures shown above are NOT meant to be a “Look at me!” kind of thing. I really hope that if you’ve been thinking about embarking on a new diet or fitness regimen, seeing the changes will serve as inspiration. Mine was only a four-pound change — If you’re facing a bigger weight-loss journey, just think what changes you’ll see by the end!

All right, that’s it for today. I’m looking forward to sharing new recipes and tips in future posts!


What’s the most surprising thing you learned from my results? Any lightbulb moments for your own health journey?

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Advocare 24-Day Challenge: DAY 24!!!

I’VE COMPLETED DAY 24!!! Can you tell I’m excited?! :)

While this has been a successful experiment in resetting my habits, I look forward to incorporating what I’ve learned into “normal life.” I know some people adopt a Paleo lifestyle long-term, but I’ve taken that approach in the past and found it to be detrimental to me. Attempting to follow an extreme or limiting diet forever just sets me up for intense cravings, which ultimately leads to an all-out binge.

Since I prefer to avoid the extremes–including the emotional highs and lows that come with them–I’ve adopted a more balanced approach. I let myself indulge once in a while (keeping the serving size to a minimum), which keeps the binges at bay.

All right, so let’s look at my final day of stats…

Breakfast: Meal replacement shake

Lunch: Scrambled eggs; Blueberries; Small helping of Apple Cherry Baked Oatmeal (Recipe found HERE – I’m a huge fan of this site! They have a ton of baked oatmeal variations.)

Supper: Green beans; Spaghetti squash with meatballs (Recipe found HERE – This was my first attempt at substituting spaghetti squash for pasta, and it turned out really good! It was SO easy to make too, so I’m putting this on my keeper shelf.) :)

Snacks: Banana; Grape tomatoes with hummus; Apple slices; Unsalted peanuts with raisins

Tea of Choice: Candy cane green tea

Exercise: Zumba

Okay, that’s it for Day 24! I’m taking a break to celebrate for a few days. I’ll be back next week with my overall before-and-after stats, as well as other observations that come to mind. See you next week!


How do you find a balance incorporating healthy habits into your life? What’s the latest habit change you’ve embarked on, and was it successful? Let’s celebrate together!

Celebrate every step of the journey

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Advocare 24-Day Challenge, Day 20: It’s About Much More Than the Scale

Only 4 days left on the challenge! It’s hard to believe, isn’t it?

For me, this challenge has been about so much more than the physical. Sure, I hope to transform my taste buds and reset my habits. But at the core of who I am, I long to take care of the body God has given me and do whatever I can to let it function at its best.

This affects my energy levels to be a good wife, mom, writer, fitness instructor, and daughter of the King. Whenever I face discouragement or temptation (and there’s been plenty of both!), I’ve found myself clinging to Philippians 4:13 — “I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” What can we NOT conquer when armed with that kind of power?! :)

Okay, let’s get to the stats for today…

Breakfast: Meal replacement shake

Lunch: Scrambled eggs; Diced pineapple

Supper: Grilled salmon; Kale salad; Fresh berries

Snacks: Banana; Unsalted peanuts with raisins; Cherries

Tea of Choice: Candy cane green tea

Exercise: Yoga

That’s it for Day 20! Enjoy your Sunday, and remember the WHY behind the WHAT.


What’s your favorite go-to verse when you need motivation?

Philippians 4:13 | www.sarahforgrave.com

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Advocare 24-Day Challenge, Day 14: Staying Motivated

It’s hard to believe I’m over halfway through the challenge! There’ve been times when my motivation has flagged (especially when I have to swallow horse-sized vitamin pills for the millionth time…blech!), but this is when I have to reconnect with my reasons for starting the challenge in the first place. No one ever claimed making huge lifestyle changes would be easy, but it’s always worth it in the end. So I keep plugging on and enjoying the results! :)

All right, let’s get to the stats for today.

Breakfast: Meal replacement shake with banana

Lunch: Out to eat with my family – I ate grilled shrimp, salad, and veggies.

Supper: Leftover turkey chili

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

Tea of Choice: Candy cane green tea

Exercise: Rest day

That’s it for Day 14! I’m still enjoying time with family, so I’m keeping it brief today. See you tomorrow!


When do you find your motivation flagging the most? What do you do to pick yourself back up again? 

Not easy but always worth it | www.sarahforgrave.com

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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 | www.sarahforgrave.com

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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. | www.sarahforgrave.com

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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: www.curvesforum.com

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. | www.sarahforgrave.com

 

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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 | www.sarahforgrave.com

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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. | www.sarahforgrave.com

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Why I’m Doing an “Extreme” Diet for 24 Days

Why I'm Doing an "Extreme" Diet for 24 Days | www.sarahforgrave.com

There are times in life when it’s clear we need to hit the Reset button.

I’ve come to one of those times.

My blog has been quiet. My life has been busy. And my health has taken another step backward in recent months. (Having two partial hysterectomies in three years will do that to a person.)

I’m happy to say I’ve finally gotten a clean bill of health from my doctor. (Woohoo!)

But as a fitness instructor who knows what it feels like to be in peak physical condition, eight weeks of surgery recovery have sent me off the wagon of good habits. I mean, way off. As in, “It’s perfectly healthy to eat cookies for breakfast, lunch, and supper, right?”

The sad thing is, even though I know in my head what I should and shouldn’t eat, sugar and processed foods have ways of sticking their addictive claws into a person.

I’d love to think my superwoman-sized will can help me overcome any obstacle, but there comes a time when we have to recognize we need more than good intentions. We need an overhaul of our habits and patterns.

Starting this week, I’m embarking on Advocare’s 24-Day Challenge. It’s an intense, transformative mind-and-body change–one I’ve been through in the past. Which means I also know it can be crazy-hard to stick with, especially on those days when my hubby comes home with Dunkin Donuts and I can’t partake. *sigh*

Since I’m an overachiever, I figured why not breathe life back into my blog and seek accountability from you, my amazing friends?

These next few weeks won’t be easy–and they won’t always be pretty–but will you walk through it with me? Maybe we can change our habits together.

(If you want to catch all the upcoming posts, there’s a handy-dandy blog subscription box on the right. It says “Don’t Miss a Blog Post.” Not the newsletter box. Farther down… Yep, you got it.)

Thanks for joining me, friends!


Have you ever embarked on an “extreme” diet or habits reset? How did it go for you? Is there a habit you want to work on breaking with me over the next 24 days? Please share in the comments below!

Overhauling Habits and Patterns | www.sarahforgrave.com

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