The Digest Diet – Phase 1 Begins

Today’s the day – The Digest Diet Blog It Off Challenge is on!

I have tubs of 0% Greek Yogurt PLAIN yogurt** in the fridge, bananas and strawberries at the ready. I even made a big pot of Kale and Chickpea soup:

The Digest Diet Phase I – Fast Release

Phase I of the Digest Diet is called “Fast Release“. Its designed to get you losing quickly, and to help your body flush out all the junk, like McDonald’s…and Oreos…and marshmallows with animal crackers and Hershey’s chocolate…not that I ate any of that, you know…those are just examples. Really.

Okay, moving on…

These first four days are mostly shakes and soups, with a crunchy snack thrown in.

The shakes sound pretty tasty. Besides yogurt, they have honey, coconut milk, fruit and you can add cocoa powder to them, too.

The soup? Well, I’ve never had Kale before, so it will be an adventure for me. The soup I made has chickpeas in it (yum), and I get to sprinkle some low fat Feta cheese on top before I eat it (YUM).

All in all, not bad.

Here’s today’s menu:

Breakfast – Shake (I’m going to make a banana and peanut butter one.)

COFFEE – just one cup (waaa!)

Snack – 1 bell pepper with 2 tbsp of fat-free Ricotta cheese and some black pepper

Lunch – Shake (Might stick with the ‘nana & PB, or might change it up – I’m crazy like that.)

Dinner – 2 cups of soup

Alright, on to the good stuff – my official “before” picture and stats. I’m putting all this out there so I can really show you if this plan works or not. I’m not exactly thrilled to be showing all my extra “padding”, but hey – what we’ll do for a good blog post, right?

 

Weight: 210

Waist: 39.25″

Hips: 45.25″

Thigh: 25.25″

Arms: 14.75″

On October 2nd I’ll take another picture and new measurements – hopefully we’ll see a big improvement!

You Got To Move It, Move It

The other part of the plan is exercise. For the first phase, the plan suggests walking for 45 – 60 minutes, plus 3 1-minute activity bursts each day.

I am starting my hip-hop and Zumba classes today, so I’ll be doing those instead of walking.

Buh-Bye, Sweetie!

Since I’ve been doing Weight Watchers since May, switching to the Digest Diet isn’t as painful for me as for someone starting from scratch.

Still, I have to give up my Splenda-sweetened iced tea in exchange for water, which in all honesty is the hardest thing for me to give up. I will also miss my nightly Weight Watchers Dark Chocolate Dulce De Leche ice cream bars (only 3 Points!).

But – I have a choice. I can either be under 200 pounds in a few weeks OR I can have an ice cream bar at night.

Seems like a no-brainer to me.

(The one thing I’m not giving up is my 2 Tbsp of Half & Half in my coffee. A girl’s got to live a little!)

Okay – I’m off to throw my shake in to my Magic Bullet! Check in with me on my Facebook page or Twitter, I’ll be posting pics of my “meals”, and status reports of my progress.

The Digest Diet – My Kick In The Pants

If you’ve been following my Weight Watchers updates, then you know that I’ve been struggling a bit lately. (And if you haven’t been following, well – now you know!)

I’ve been kicking around the same 3 pounds for over a month now. I start the week off strong, but then I have some pizza, or a trip to the drive-thru (SO BAD, I KNOW)…and erase all the good I did in the beginning of the week.

Then last Saturday I aggravated what I’m pretty sure is a heel spur and effectively benched myself from most physical activity for a while.

So when I got the email from Reader’s Digest about participating in their new diet plan, The Digest Diet, I jumped at the chance.

I heard a bit about it at BlogHer’12 and knew it would work for me. I knew I could work it in with Weight Watchers.

What I didn’t know what that it seems to be a very effective plan, it is healthy, and it is for only 3 weeks!

So What’s The Digest Diet About?

I’m not a fan of the word “diet”, and while the book is a three week plan, this is something I think I can do for the rest of my life.

The plan is based on a list of what the author calls “Fat Releaser” foods:

Notice: NUTS, DARK CHOCOLATE, WINE – this is not a bland diet! This is not a fat free diet!

The Digest Diet is 3 Phases:

Phase 1 (Days 1 through 4): Fat Release

Phase 2 (Days 5 through 14): Fade Away

Phase 3 (Days 15 through 21): Finish Strong

By the time I’m through, I’ll be eating a well balanced, whole food-filled diet. I can even have a glass of red wine every night (after the first 4 days)!

How Do You Spend The First Hour of Your Day?

One of the blogs I regularly read is called Spin Sucks. They publish great articles about PR and Marketing, and I get a lot of useful info from them. If you run your own business I highly recommend that you check them out.

A while back I read an interesting article by Gini Dietrich called, “How Successful People Spend the First Hour Of Their Day“. She was commenting on another article, first published in Fast Company, about what successful people do first at the start of their days.

These articles got me thinking – I thought it would be neat to see what WE all do during our first hour of our days. I don’t care so much about the successful people, but YOU people, you I care about!

The First Hour of My Day

I normally wake up around 6:45AM for good. I say “for good” because my girls are usually up around 6, I can hear them talking in their room, but I try desperately to go back to sleep.) My husband is nice enough to wake me up each morning, then he takes the kids downstairs for breakfast while I jump in the shower.

I am clean and dressed by 7:20AM, then I go downstairs and make a beeline for my Keurig. After prepping my coffee, I make sure the kids are on track, then I fill their lunch bags and get them ready to go.

My husband leaves for work around 7:30AM, and by then the girls are upstairs getting dressed for school. I take my little guy upstairs and get him dressed, and we’re on our way.

We’re out the door to go to school by 8:15 every morning.

Now that I write it down it doesn’t look like much, does it? lol But if you have kids you know just how loooong it takes to do everything.

On the weekends, I go to Weight Watchers on Saturday and church on Sunday, so our mornings are pretty much the same every day.

When Honesty is NOT the Best Policy

I’m the type of mom that lays awake at night with terrible thoughts running through my head. Worries about my kids, mostly – scenes of them falling down stairs, running in front of cars.

I know – too much coffee, I’m sure.

I’m also not the biggest fan of doctors. I found a group practice of four pediatricians when my first daughter was born, and over time I whittled down my list of doctors I like at the practice to ONE.

Then in November of last year that doctor decided to retire. And I actually cried, right there in the exam room, when she told me.

So, the practice got a new doctor to fill in for her, and I met her a couple of times, and she seemed okay. Not great, but okay. She is very brusque and short, but in a pinch, she would do. Let’s call her Dr. Sour Puss.

This past Thursday my middle daughter was sick. She wasn’t breathing well, and she has a history of pneumonia, allergies and I’m pretty sure she has asthma. So off to the doctor we went.

On Thursday she saw one of the nurse practitioners who said her lungs were so tight she couldn’t hear much. So they gave her a few nebulizer treatments, and tried to give her an oral steriod.

My daughter promptly threw it up. I tasted it and that stuff is simply vile – how do they expect any kid to take that??

Anyway, after 1 1/2 hours in the exam room (with my toddler in tow, mind you), I left with a prescription for more steriods (and a “good luck with that” attitude), and a follow-up visit for the following day.

The next day we saw Dr. Sour Puss. After another 1 1/2 hours in the exam room, she gave my daughter another nebulizer treatment, and then pronounced that she would need a chest x-ray because she heard “crackling” in her lungs. The x-ray was to determine if my daughter had pneumonia.

“If she does have pneumonia, we’ll have to run tests to determine why she keeps getting it.” Dr. Sour Puss stated.

“Well, what could be the possible causes? If she’s asthmatic, isn’t that enough reason?” I said.

“She’ll have to see a specialist, and they may want to test for Cystic Fibrosis,” she replied.

BAM.

She rambled on about how even though they test babies for CF there are rare strains that they don’t test for, blah, blah, blah.

Now, if you don’t know, Cystic Fibrosis is a debilitating, life threatening disease. Most patients live to an average age of 37. That’s it.

So here I am, in this closet of an exam room with my sick daughter and toddler son who’s trying to rearrange the furniture, and all I can think of is that my child might have Cystic Fibrosis??

We had a few hours before the chest x-ray, so I went home and proceeded to have a panic attack. I called my mother. I cried, and then I got a grip.

We went to the imaging place, had the x-ray done, and after having to find Dr. Sour Puss since she’d already left the office for the day, they told me that is was NOT pneumonia, it was just bronchitis, treatable with antibiotics.

I’ve never been so happy to hear the word bronchitis in my life! But it made me so upset – why would this woman even mention CF to me? Why couldn’t she have said, “Let’s just wait and see what the x-ray shows.”

I’m all for honesty, but where’s the compassion? Where’s the restraint that I would assume doctors are taught to have? Especially a pediatrician, who should be aware that moms (especially moms like me) only hear the bad stuff?

Fall European Charm Beads

Ahhh…the air turned this past weekend here in NJ, and Fall is starting to creep in. Inspired by the colors of the season, I have some really pretty new European charm beads available in my store that I wanted to share with all of you.

katie’s charms European charm beads

I have some beautiful new sterling beads with Cubic Zirconia stones in them. Right now I have a green one and a pink – but more are coming! You can see the green one in the picture above. Here it is close up:

August large European charm beads with CZs

Peridot Green European charm beads with CZs

October large European charm beads with CZs

October Pink Tourmaline European charm beads with CZs

The two CZ beads are great for birthdays – the green one is for August, and the pink is for October.

I also added some fun new beads for specific interests:

dragon European charm bead katie’s charms

Friendly Dragon European charm beads

Isn’t this little guy cute?

All my charm beads are sterling silver and feature Murano glass, swarovski crystals and other high quality materials. When you order from my store, first class shipping is always free to all US residents, and I offer a forever guarantee on every item I sell.

Digest Diet Shake Recipe

Hi guys! I’m on Day 4 of the first phase, and I’ve had requests to share some recipes with you all. Here is the Digest Diet Shake Recipe from the Fast Release phase. This is the flavor that I made – banana peanut butter. It is delicious!

Digest Diet Shake Recipe – Fast Release Phase, Banana Peanut Butter

Reprinted from The Digest Diet with permission from Reader’s Digest Association.  

Ingredients

• ¾ cup (6 oz.) nonfat yogurt NOT greek

• ¼ cup light coconut milk

• 3 tbs. nonfat milk powder

• 2 tsp. honey

• ½ tsp. vanilla extract

• 4 ice cubes

• 1 banana

• 1 tbs. natural unsweetened peanut butter

• 1/4 tsp. unsweetened cocoa powder

Put all the ingredients in your blender and blend away!

In the book there is a list of “mix-ins” for the shakes. You choose 1 fruit/fiber and one fat. So you could have an apple & almond butter shake…or a grape and peanut butter shake…or a strawberry shake….there are lots of combinations!

 

Blog Giveaway Laws: Are Your Blog Giveaways Illegal?

Do you know enough about blog giveaway laws? If you’re a blogger that does giveaways, you really should make sure you understand them.

I love doing giveaways on my blog. Since I own a business, my giveaways are a great way to introduce my brand and products. Plus, I love the thrill it gives my readers!

But since I started my giveaways I’ve done some reading regarding the blog giveaway laws and rules. We’ve all heard about disclosure when we’re given products to review, right? Well, there are laws regarding giveaways as well, and judging from the number of infringing blogs I’ve seen (including mine!), I think we need to get the word out!

Blog Giveaway Laws: Understanding the Types of Giveaways
In the US, there are three types of “giveaways”:

Sweepstakes – winners are chosen by luck of the draw. (This is usually the type of “giveaways” blogs do.)
Contests – winner is chosen based on some merit or skill. Examples include photo contests, essay contests, etc..
Lottery – prize drawing where people have to pay money to enter.
Things get a bit more complicated when you open your giveaways to Canada and other countries. Canadian law states that they cannot enter any sweepstakes (luck of the draw). There must be an element of skill displayed. And yes – if you are a US blog you must comply by Canadian laws if you want to include your Canadian readers.

This is why I don’t include Canadian readers in most of my giveaways. Sorry, guys! I think you’re awesome, really I do!

There is much more involved, and I urge you to read this very informative article by Social Media Examiner. It lays out the laws pretty clearly.

Bottom line – be mindful of your giveaways and try to play by the rules. While many people get away with not following them, they’re taking a risk.

Bare Fruit Review

I’m a “sandwich and chips” kind of girl – I like to have that bit of crunch along with my ham and cheese, you know? But chips are not very nice to my hips, so I usually miss out on my crunch, left to suffer with a soft, lonely sandwich.

I know – it’s so sad.

Then I got a bag of these lovelies in my mail:

cinnamon bare fruit

I haven’t had apple chips since I was a kid, mainly because they usually come in very small bags for a hefty price, and they are usually made with other junk that makes them just as bad as potato chips.

Bare Fruit Chips Are Different
You can be sure you’re getting a quality food product when eating Bare Fruit. Check out the stats on these puppies:

bare fruit cinnamon nutrition

Ingredients: Organic Apples,

Organic Cinnamon

There is NOTHING in this bag except apples and cinnamon. And it is a BIG bag of chips! I was surprised by how big and full the bag was. Another shocker? My kids like’em! Holy Toledo – I was floored. Even the toddler was munching away. Hurray!

The chips themselves are crispy and dense, slightly sweet with just the perfect amount of cinnamon. Look how happy my sandwich is next to them:

bare fruit

Oh yeah.

And Bare Fruit chips fit perfectly with my Weight Watchers plan, since they are just 2 points for a 24g serving! Yes, an apple is 0 points, but for those days when I’m really looking for that crunch with my sandwich, these are a great alternative to greasy chips.

You can check their website for all the different flavors – they have pear, fuji apple and more. And you can order Bare Fruit chips on Amazon.

Bare Fruit Review and Giveaway US Only

I’m a “sandwich and chips” kind of girl – I like to have that bit of crunch along with my ham and cheese, you know? But chips are not very nice to my hips, so I usually miss out on my crunch, left to suffer with a soft, lonely sandwich.

I know – it’s so sad.

I haven’t had apple chips since I was a kid, mainly because they usually come in very small bags for a hefty price, and they are usually made with other junk that makes them just as bad as potato chips.

Bare Fruit Chips Are Different
You can be sure you’re getting a quality food product when eating Bare Fruit. Check out the stats on these puppies:

There is NOTHING in this bag except apples and cinnamon. And it is a BIG bag of chips! I was surprised by how big and full the bag was. Another shocker? My kids like’em! Holy Toledo – I was floored. Even the toddler was munching away. Hurray!

The chips themselves are crispy and dense, slightly sweet with just the perfect amount of cinnamon. Look how happy my sandwich is next to them:

Oh yeah.

And Bare Fruit chips fit perfectly with my Weight Watchers plan, since they are just 2 points for a 24g serving! Yes, an apple is 0 points, but for those days when I’m really looking for that crunch with my sandwich, these are a great alternative to greasy chips.

You can check their website for all the different flavors – they have pear, fuji apple and more. And you can order Bare Fruit chips on Amazon.

Giveaway!
The good people at Bare Fruit want to give one My Charming Life! reader a whole CASE of the Cinnamon Apple Chips! That is 12 BAGS for you to snack on. Perfect for back to school snacks!

Enter the giveaway through the Rafflecopter below. US residents only, sorry to say. Giveaway closes on 9/12/2012 at 11:59PM ET. Winner will have 5 days to claim their prize, and must be willing to have their contact information sent to Bare Fruit, as the prize will be sent by the company, not by me.