Ready, Set, SASS!

Happy Monday!  As always, I like to start my week with a fresh slate, so despite the fact that it’s actually a day before New Years, I’m ready to rock and roll!

Snowmen

The first order of business, the starting weigh-in.  My least favorite part.  The time where you get to see the reality on the scale after dodging it for months and hoping the tightness of your jeans was just occasional bloat.   I was disappointed to see that I’m back at 137 pounds, exactly halfway back to my original 2010 starting point before shedding 14 pounds.  I worked my ass off to get that body, completely reforming my eating habits, getting on a regular workout schedule, and swore to myself that I wouldn’t ever go back.  At least I’m catching myself now before slipping all the way back, and I learned so much that year that I’m much more prepared to start over again now.

Starting Weight:   137 pounds (December 30, 2012)

My Goal:   125 pounds

Deadline:  April 1, 2013

The Plan:  S.A.S.S. Yourself Slim (click for more details)

I am following the S.A.S.S Yourself Slim plan, by Cynthia Sass, which was released previously as Cinch!, and frequently referred to in my previous blogs.  The premise is pretty simple – you start with a 5-day detox (the “Fast Forward” phase), losing 5-9 pounds instantly (mostly water & waste weight), then eat a balanced diet with 4 evenly spaced meals throughout the day.  It’s not really a diet – more like a new lifestyle!

The 5 Day “Fast Forward” Phase

First step is grocery shopping.  You’ll need 8 simple ingredients for the Fast Forward phase:  Spinach, Raspberries, Eggs, Yogurt, Almonds, Almond Butter, Oranges / Tangerines, and Balsamic Vinegar.

1)  15 cups of raw spinach, approximately 2 large 10-oz bags.  You’ll be cooking this for your breakfast, and also eating daily salads.  I also like to use a Spinach / Spring Mix blend for the salads, especially if you don’t like the flavor of raw spinach.

Spinach

2)  20 cups of raspberries, about 8 frozen 10-oz bags or about 12 small cartons if buying fresh.  I much prefer fresh, but they don’t always look good, and can sometimes be very costly.  But if you buy frozen, be sure and read your ingredient labels!  Some of them have added sugars, listed as “sucrose”, “fructose”, “cane juice”, or many other names designed to hide the word “sugar”.  I recommend you buy a split of both for the sake of both taste and cost.  Use the more expensive fresh variety for your morning cup of berries, as well as on the salad, but the frozen work well for the yogurt parfait and the smoothie.

Raspberries

3)  2 cups of sliced almonds.  You will be using these as a topping on fruit and yogurt, so I like the sliced almonds that you can usually find in the Baking aisle.

10 Tablespoons of natural RAW almond butter, about 1/3 of a 16-oz jar.  After realizing the the organic product I had at home had added sugars and oils, I tossed it, then had to look at almost every jar in the organic section before picking MaraNatha All Natural RAW Almond Butter.  When in doubt, read the ingredient label and be sure all that it includes is “raw almonds”… no oils or sugars.  You can also make your own in a food processor, or at the nicer grocery stores!

5)  60 ounces of non-fat PLAIN yogurt , 2 of the 32-oz tubs.  Be sure to get the non-fat, plain variety, such as the ones shown below.  Plain greek yogurt is a great option as well, but keep in mind that the plain variety is very tart and you can’t use any sweeteners, real or artificial!  If you simply can’t stand plain yogurt, my recommendation is for Dannon’s Light ‘n Fit Vanilla.  It does have artificial sweeteners, but is relatively low in sugars compared to plain.

6)  10 large eggs.  There are different sizes and types, but I like Eggland’s Best LARGE eggs.  Careful not to get extra large!  You’ll also want to boil 5 of them when you get home so they’re ready for your dinners.  You can store un-peeled hard boiled eggs in the fridge for about a week.

7)  3-4 oranges or tangerines (for flavor & salad dressing)

8)  Seasonings  – herbs (salt-free) cinnamon and nutmeg (plain, without sugar), balsamic vinegar.  NO SALT!

MEAL PLAN

Below is my meal plan, along with suggested times based on my schedule.  You can eat at different times, but be sure and eat within an hour of waking (rev up that metabolism!) and then every 3-5 hours.

1)  Meal 1  (7:00 am) – scrambled egg with spinach; raspberries and almonds.  2 cups water.

The egg & spinach combo can be a little bland and the spinach flavor really stands out, so I experiment with un-salted seasonings, such as basil, cumin, parsley, and pepper.  NO SALT!!  Overall, not bad.  The raspberries and almonds are very yummy.

  Meal 2  (11:00 am) – yogurt parfait with raspberries and almonds.  2 cups water.

This is delicious and tastes like dessert!  I add a little cinnamon and nutmeg on each yogurt layer and that really spiced it up.  It’s also good with a little sprig of fresh mint.

  Meal 3  (3:00 pm) – spinach salad with raspberries, almonds, boiled egg, homemade tangerine balsamic vinaigrette .  2 cups water.

This meal is my least favorite of the day, primarily because I’m not much of a salad fan, and do not care for a strong vinegar flavor.  You can experiment with making your own vinaigrette, but the book calls for a mix of fresh-squeezed orange juice and vinegar.  I also like to mash a few of the raspberries with the fresh orange juice and use that instead of vinegar.

  Meal 4 (7:00 pm) – smoothie with yogurt, raspberries, almond butter, ice.  2 cups water.

The smoothie is great – kind of like a fruity milkshake to finish out the day.  I have to add a little bit of water to help it blend, and also add a sprinkle of cinnamon.  For those that are used to a super-sweet smoothie (my husband played guinea pig), you might find this a bit sour or bitter due to the plain yogurt and raspberries.  I’m not sure what to suggest other than give it time for your taste buds to adjust.  By the end of 5 days, you are supposed to have a new appreciation for natural flavors.

Here’s to a succesful detox!

Cinch Detox – Bikini Body Prep

4 days go go!

With only 4 days to go, I’m once again doing Cinch Detox (started yesterday) to completely de-bloat and hopefully lose those last 2 pounds.  I have not done a full 5- day detox since January, so I’m a little nervous, but I know I can do it!  I also intend to continue my workouts this week, albeit more strength training than cardio, which means I’ll be adding an extra serving of egg or nuts each day to boost my calorie and protein intake.

I completely over-slept yesterday morning.  It was one of those moments where you suddenly realize that it’s way too light outside to be 5am.  I momentarily debated sleeping another 15 minutes and skipping my usual Tuesday morning cardio session, but with vacation only a few days away, I instead hopped up, grabbed my stuff, and flew out the door.  I ended up having a nice 45-minute fast-walk and was glad I did. 

To account for my morning workout, I split up my breakfast – having the nuts and berries at 6:30am, and the egg & spinach scramble at 8:30.  Here’s my meal plan, which will be the same for the next 4 days, although normally I’d have the morning fruit & scramble at the same time. 

   
Meal Plan  Time
– 1 cup strawberries & blueberries with 2T almonds  6:30am
– Scramble: 1.5 eggs & 2 cups raw spinach  8:30am
– Parfait: 6oz greek yogurt, 1 cup frozen raspberries, 2T almonds, sprinkled with Truvia & cinnamon.  11:30am
– Salad: 2 cups raw spinach, 1 cup berries, 2T almonds, dressing made from 3T fresh orange juice & 1T balsamic vinegar  3:00pm
– Smoothie:  6oz greek yogurt, 2T almond butter, 1 cup frozen raspberries, 1/4 cup almond milk  7:00pm
   
Workout – 3 mile walk, stregnth training  
Vitamins  

*****

I had my morning berries on my way to work / gym (my husband was driving).  The official Cinch Detox calls for raspberries, but you can sub other berries if you prefer.  I am using strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries for my morning cup of fruit and also for the salad, but will use frozen raspberries for the parfait and the smoothie.  I find raspberries to be a little bitter, and the fresh ones are just too expensive.  For the spinach scramble, I made 2 servings – one for Tuesday and one for Thursday (my morning workout days), using 3 eggs and 4-cups raw spinach.  First I sauteed the spinach using a little cooking spray, then I added 3 eggs, scrambled it in the pan, and let them cook a few more minutes omelet-style.  Then I cut it in half and added a dash of pepper.  Not the tastiest breakfast ever, but certainly not bad. 

Next up, my yogurt parfait.  For this, I used 6oz 0% plain greek yogurt, 1 cup frozen raspberries, 2T sliced almonds, and a dash of cinnamon and Truvia.  The tiny bit of sugar-free sweetener makes a huge difference – delicious!

Then came the salad, the least favorite meal during my last detox, but this time it was much better.  Maybe because I used both spinach and romaine lettuce, and the dressing was more orange than balsamic (3T fresh orange juice & 1T balsamic vinegar), since I don’t care for the taste of vinegar.  I also ate the egg separately (not shown).  

 

Last, but definitely not least, the smoothie.  I actually really enjoy the smoothie, although my husband thinks it’s too bitter.  Nothing a little Truvia won’t fix, but I didn’t actually use any since I don’t mind the flavor.  My favorite meal to end the day.  I definitley think I can handle 3 more days of this.  It sure helps with meal planning since it’s the exact same thing every day!

Cinch Day 12

Today’s Meal Plan:

Meal Plan Time
2 eggs & toast with sugar-free jam 6 am
Cherries, almonds, granola 10am
Pineapple Avocado Tacos 1 pm
Cheese & quinoa stuffed peppers  7 pm

Today’s Workout:  1 hour at the gym, whatever I feel like doing when I get there.

Uh-oh… see a problem with today’s meal plan?  I can’t go 6 hours without food between lunch and dinner!  I guess I should have waited longer to have lunch.  Starting my day so early really makes meal planning in the afternoons more challenging.  I’ve already had too many almonds today, so I’ll pack a few dry-roasted edamame in my purse for a light snack after the gym at 5pm.

Lunch today is a recipe from the book – Pineapple Avocado Tacos.  I would never have thought to combine pineapple, avocado, and feta cheese in a tortilla, but it was pretty good.  However I much prefer the flavor of a flour tortilla instead of corn, so I’ll sub that next time. 

Pineapple Avocado Tacos with Cilantro

 

Dinner will be a repeat – Stuffed Peppers.  I opted for chili and grilled cheese for dinner last night, so I need to finish up the peppers tonight.  I don’t think I’ll be making those again since they were definitely not my favorite. 

I’ve also decided to start over on the 5-day Fast Forward next week.  I was looking over my calendar and that seems like the only week with very little going on to distract me, plus I could really use the extra kick to get back on track.  I will have been on regular food for 2 weeks, so I think it’s safe to start over.  I’ll spend those 5 days researching the recipes in more detail and also putting together some substitution meals for Phase 2 (part 2) so I’m not constantly searching for something to eat without the time (or motivation) to make a recipe from the book.  I actually kind of liked the brainless meal-planning with the 5-day program.  I didn’t have to wonder what I was eating or how it would affect my body, and this time around I’ll know exactly what to expect.  Strange… I’m kind of looking forward to it.