Give Thanks for Good Health!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Give thanks for good health, healthy holiday, Thanksgiving, Christmas, weight loss, fitness, chronic illness, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, heat disease, inflammation, anti inflammatory diet, high blood pressure, cholesterol, home workout, self love


Life is uncertain. It's easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the Holidays and forget how important it is to just slow down. This weekend I am challenging all of you to unplug. Slow down, step outside of yourself and look around. Think about what you truly need and what you can live without. Your list of needs will probably include family, friends, shelter, food and faith. Do you have your health on that list? Too often we underestimate how important our own health and wellness is and it becomes less of a priority. For some reason, it feels selfish to spend time "working" on improving our own health. But in reality, the opposite is true. If you love your family and want to give them the best life possible, you need to keep your own health and wellness at the top of that list.

Chances are, if you're under the age of 40, you haven't given much thought what life would be like for your family and friends if you suddenly became ill. Chronic illness can strike anyone at any age. And suddenly you may find yourself dependent on others for care. This weekend, I challenge you to think about how important YOU really are to everyone around you. Make your health and wellness a priority now, before a crisis happens.

Fitness and food are the best preventative medicine

Even the healthiest of people can become sick. There's no guarantee that exercising and eating healthy will prevent us from ever becoming ill. But it really is your best defense. Studies show that you can fight and manage most chronic conditions like heart disease, diabetes, chronic inflammation and autoimmune disease in part through regular fitness and modifying your diet.




Don't wait for a health crisis to happen to make changes...act now!

What's your plan? Even the busiest of people can adapt to a healthy lifestyle, it just takes a little bit of planning.

  • Decide how much time you have to workout? You can get a very effective workout in as little as 30 minutes a day. When you stop and think about it, a small sacrifice like getting up a half hour earlier or spending less time on social media can allow you to fit a simple workout in.
  • Schedule fitness like it's your job! Make a meeting with yourself and remind yourself that your half hour workout is as important as a meeting with your boss. Get it done.
  • Be mindful of your eating. Learn about clean eating and start replacing bad eating habits with healthy choices. For example, start by limiting or eliminating sugar. Replace soda with water or unsweetened ice tea.
  • Eat 3 meals and 3 snacks every day. Plan meals and prepare them ahead of time. It helps to save time and money. Keep healthy snacks on hand at work and in your car to prevent temptation to eat processed, junk and fast foods.
  • Don't skip breakfast. Breakfast sets the tone for the entire day. Skip it and you will find yourself craving food (usually carbs and sugar) all day long. A good breakfast is a combination of protein and complex carbs like oatmeal and berries; eggs, whole grain English muffin and fruit; or a granola bar, banana and milk.
  • Make your family and friends aware that you are trying to improve your health. If they are aware of how important it is to you they will support you.
  • Join a an online challenge group or start your own. Online challenges are a fun and convenient way to stay accountable. Challenge groups make getting fit easy because the group follows a step-by-step fitness and nutrition plan. No guesswork, just follow the plan each and every day and before you know it, clean eating and fitness will become automatic,

$30 Cash Back
This weekend only!

This offer is valid only for my new and existing customer! Email me for more information:
brendalajay@gmail.com



Did you over do it a little lately?
Need to get back on track? Join an online fitness and nutrition challenge group and let's rein it in together. Fill out the application below or email me brendalajay@gmail.com


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Brenda

Cleaned up Spinach and Artichoke Dip

21 day fix spinach and artichoke dip, healthy holiday recipes, 21 day fix, autumn calabrese, Brenda Ajay, gluten free, quick and easy recipes, Thanksgiving recipes, Christmas recipes, Party recipes, clean eating, healthy recipes

Here's a remake of a popular party appetizer. This version is 21 Day Fix approved and gluten-free.

Ingredients


1/2 c low fat ricotta cheese
1/4 c plain fat-free Greek yogurt
1/2 cup frozen, thawed chopped spinach, squeezed dry in a kitchen towel
1/2 cup chopped artichoke hearts in water, drained
2 Tbs grated pecorino-romano or parmesan cheese
4 Tbs shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
salt, pepper and garlic powder, to taste

Instructions


Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
In a medium bowl, mix together the ricotta, Greek yogurt, spinach, chopped artichoke hearts, Romano cheese and 2 tablespoons of the shredded mozzarella. Season with salt, black pepper and garlic powder to taste.

Put in a small oven-safe baking dish and top with the remaining mozzarella cheese. Place on a baking sheet and bake for about 20 minutes or until heated through and the cheese on top has melted.

Serve with gluten-free pita chips, tortilla chips or vegetables like bell pepper slices

21 day fix, Brenda Ajay, autumn calabrese, 3-day refresh, cleanse, healthy holiday, clean eating, healthy food, lose weight, weight loss, fitness

Like it or not, we all go a little overboard once in a while. Get back on track with us on November 30 by refreshing your body and making this the healthiest Holiday season ever! 

Healthy Holiday Challenge
Begins Monday, November 30
Limited Enrollment

To join Email brendalajay@gmail.comUse "Refresh" in the subject

Brenda

10 Reasons Why Online Fitness Groups will Make you Never Want to Go Back to the Gym Again!

Healthy holidays challenge group, online fitness group, Brenda Ajay, 21 Day Fix, clean eating, personal coach, meal plans, healthy eating, home workouts, beginner fitness, guided fitness, fitness classes, rheumatoid arthritis and fitness,

How many times have you come across the term "challenge group" in your news feed? Online challenge groups are trending and they are taking over social media. And here's why:
Online challenge groups are like virtual gyms. They offer a convenient way for people to work out from home, free from distractions. They are cost effective. Usually, members pay one price for the initial program or challenge pack and they get everything they need to complete an effective workout for anywhere from one week to 3 months. But most of all, challenge groups are gaining popularity because - they work. People who stay committed for the length of the challenge are almost always successful. Challenge groups run by Beachbody coaches show members or "challengers" how to gain control of their health through a complete approach to wellness. Online challenge groups take challengers through a step-by-step process of making better food choices, maintaining a consistent daily fitness routine and gaining motivation and support through the group. That is what truly sets Beachbody online challenge groups apart from the rest. It's not a short term fad diet. It is a complete lifestyle change that people are encouraged to maintain for the rest of their life. It takes 21 days to make or break a habit. It's tough to limit or sacrifice things that you love like soda, fast food, and sugar. So if people can stay committed through those first 21 days, they can do it long term. That's why keeping in touch with your coach and staying accountable through the group is so important. The longer people stay connected to the group the more likely they are to reach their goals.

What would you like to improve about your health?  Members are often please to find that they lose weight, can wear smaller size clothing, have more energy, sleep better, have lowered blood pressure and cholesterol, can better manage chronic conditions like arthritis, diabetes, and fibromyalgia; and just generally feel better, stronger and younger. There are challenge groups for all interests and abilities, including focus groups for specific interests such as new and expecting moms, over 50 fitness, clean eating groups, biggest loser groups and more. There really is a group out there for everyone and anyone.

So are you thinking "What the heck is a challenge group?"

A challenge group is a group of people who are each working on improving their health and wellness. Group members follow a specific fitness and nutrition plan for a period of time (usually 3 weeks or longer) and check into a private online group periodically to receive fitness and nutrition advice and coaching, and to gain accountability and support from their peers. If that sounds complicated, let me tell you, it is not! Challenge groups are convenient, effective and fun!
Healthy holidays challenge group, online fitness group, Brenda Ajay, 21 Day Fix, clean eating, personal coach, meal plans, healthy eating, home workouts, beginner fitness, guided fitness, fitness classes, rheumatoid arthritis and fitness,

Who should join a challenge group?

  • People who don't have time to workout
  • People who are new to fitness
  • People who need to modify their diet to manage conditions such as high blood pressure and cholesterol and inflammation
  • People who hate to go to the gym
  • People who don't want to spend money on a personal trainer
  • People who need to lose a lot of weight and don't know where to start
  • People who are on the go and need a flexible workout schedule
  • People who are already in shape but want to take their fitness to a whole new level

Does that sound like you?

Here are ten reasons why you will benefit from joining an online challenge group and never want to go back to a gym again.

  1. Online challenge groups don't require a lot of time. Depending on the fitness program that you select, daily workouts on average last only 30-40 minutes. Think about it, that's just 2% of you day. If you've got time for Facebook, you've got time to workout.
  2. Online challenge groups are structured. Are you a fitness rookie? No problem, each fitness program is laid out in a step-by-step schedule that is easy to follow. All programs offer ways to modify the exercises so you can start simple and work your way up to more challenging moves when you are ready.
  3. The groups promote complete wellness, not just fitness. Each group is based on a 3 part system: Fitness + Nutrition + Support. That means you'll have a specific workout calendar to follow in addition to meal planning, healthy recipes and nutritional support. And most importantly, you are not alone. You will have support from your own personal coach, Beachbody instructors and your peers. That support system is the key to your success. You'll have all you questions answered and you'll receive motivation and advice from people just like you and me who have already gone through the process.
  4. You'll have your own personal fitness coach - for FREE! You coach is there to motivate and inspire you, every day. Not just by the hour. Most coaches are not certified in anything, but they have all walked in your shoes before. Coaches are former challenge group members who have already gone through their own transformation. They are there to lead the group, answer questions, offer advice and make sure you DO NOT FAIL!
  5. Challenge groups are affordable. No need to hire a trainer or pay for a gym membership. Most groups require that you purchase a "challenge pack." A challenge pack is a kit that includes your fitness program DVDs, nutrition guide, workout calendar, a one month supply of Shakeology (a nutrient dense, superfoods meal replacement - not a protein shake) and sometimes additional accessories that you need to complete the program. Once you purchase the challenge pack, you will not be required to purchase anything else. So you have access to a personal coach, indefinitely, and can join more as many challenge groups as you need to reach you goal with no additional fees. 
  6. Challenge groups are convenient. Workout at your own pace and in the privacy of your own home. No crowded gyms, no leaving your house in the bitter cold to go workout, and there's no commute interrupting your day.
  7. Challenge groups work! Studies show that people who engage in group fitness program, such as challenge groups, lose more weight and are more successful at keeping it off than people who workout alone. It all comes down to accountability. No one want to let their team mates down, nor do they want to let themselves down. 
  8. You can still participate even if you are away from home. Challenge groups take place in a private Facebook group that you can access anytime, anywhere with the use of a laptop, tablet or mobile device. You don't even need to take the fitness DVDs with you. If you are a Beachbody club member, you can stream your videos directly to your device. 
  9. Challenge groups are a great way to meet people. Anyone living in the US and Canada can participate in an online challenge group. So it's a great way to connect with people who have similar interests. 
  10. Challenge groups are fun! Hey, remember, it's fitness so you're going to sweat your butt off! But we sure have a lot of fun doing it. We exchange recipes, tell stories, have some laughs and even have some fun contests and games to keep everyone engaged. Who says fitness can't be fun?!

So what do you need to get started?

  • A Facebook account. Send me a friend request so we can connect and start talking about your goals. www.facebook.com/brenda.l.ajay
  • A free account with team Beachbody with me as your assigned coach. Need and account? Sign up here.
  • A challenge pack. Let's talk about this one. Since I'm promoting fitness, it's important that you select a fitness program that is best suited for you (there are over 30 to pick from). Your health and wellness is very important to me. I can make some good recommendations, but it helps to know a little more about you and your needs first. 

That's all folks! It's simple. Joining a challenge group can change your life, maybe even save your life! It's never too late and you're never too old to start. Anyone can do this, even if you have physical limitations. Make your health a priority. After all, you're too important not to.
Ready to join us? My name is Brenda Ajay and I am a fitness & nutrition coach with Beachbody. I have gone through the process myself, I participated in many challenge groups and I believe in Beachbody programs. The process works and I am very passionate about helping others reach their goals like I have. Are you ready to give it a try? Fill out the application below and I'll be in touch soon!





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Brenda

The Master's Hammer and Chisel - Is it for you?

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Masters hammer and chisel, Autumn Calabrese, Sagi Kalev, strength training, home workout, Brenda Ajay, 21 Day Fix, Body Beast, build muscle, test group, online fitness group

It's finally here! Beachbody's newest fitness program, The Masters Hammer and Chisel! I'll admit it, I've been slacking a little lately with my workouts and so I was really looking forward to this launch as a chance to get recommit. The program was developed by 2 of Beachbody's most popular trainers, Autumn Calabrese and Sagi Kalev. If you've had a chance to use 21 Day Fix or 21 Day Fix Extreme then you already know how awesome Autumn's programs are. If you liked her first two programs then you'll love Hammer and Chisel! It's definitely a way to take your workouts to the next level. Sagi Kalev, creator of Body Beast, is Autumn's counterpart. Together they have created this new 60-day program that is aimed at sculpting your body. And whereas 21 Day Fix EXTREME focuses on getting you shredded, The Master’s Hammer and Chisel adds just a little bit more, helping you improve other aspects of your fitness such as muscular endurance, power, strength, and agility.


The Master's Hammer & Chisel Meal Plans

The Master's Hammer & Chisel FAQ's

The best part about being a Beachbody coach is working with other people just like you and me and helping them to select a fitness program that meets their specific needs. When a new launch comes out I always take some time to preview it myself before recommending it to anyone else. Honestly, the title of the program "Hammer and Chisel" scared me. Dealing with a chronic illness, it took me some time to gradually build my workouts up. So I'm cautious about jumping into any new fitness program. But when I discovered that Hammer and Chisel helps to improve endurance, power, strength and agility, I was immediately sold on it. Part of managing any chronic illness, like rheumatoid arthritis and autoimmune disease, is building strength and flexibility through fitness. Most people find relief from their symptoms by engaging in regular exercise. Especially programs like this that help to build muscle to support weakening joints and bones. If you and your doctor agree that it's time to begin a fitness routine, Beachbody has a number of programs that you may benefit from, Hammer and Chisel included.


Here are the details…


Hammer and Chisel is an expert workout system that delivers breathtaking, body changing results in 60 days!  Trainers Sagi Kalev and Autumn Calabrese are amazing experts at sculpting bodies and have tons of awards to prove it!  So this program is sharing their strategies for resistance training to shape powerful muscles, shed body fat, and build a ripped physique.  Personally, I don't plan on competing in any bikini competitions any time soon but I do want to look and feel my best!  PLUS muscle burns fat and supports our aging frames, so that's what keeps me motivated. This is a 60 day program and each workout ranges from 30-40 minutes.

What do you need for this program?

You do not need a lot of space but some equipment will be helpful...

  • You need 2 dumbbells (5-20lbs) for women, depending on your comfort level.
  • Pull up bar or resistance bands with over the door attachment
  • Weight bench or stability ball

Want to be a part of my exclusive test group? It's easy…

  1. I must be your assigned coach.  If you are not working with a coach already just head over to my site and create a FREE account! (if you already have an assigned coach please reach out to him or her to see what groups they are offering)
  2. Then complete the application below so that I can learn a little more about you and your goals. Since we're taking about your health, I want to make sure this program is best suited for you!
  3. The requirements to participate in this exclusive test group are that you commit to the Hammer and Chisel Challenge pack which includes the 60 day workout program, nutrition guide, program manual, schedule of workouts to follow, Shakeology, discounted shipping and price!  **Price to be announced**
  4. You must commit to being an active member of the online support and accountability group.  You must be willing to show up every day, log your workout, rate your nutrition, check in for accountability and support.  In return, I am going to share with you how to meal plan, how to prep your meals, how to make it easy and simple to get results, I am going to help you with daily accountability, motivation, tips and tools to get you the BEST results possible!

If you are ready to switch it up, get great results the time is now!  Make sure you fill out the application below to get on the list to be the first to get HAMMER AND CHISEL!!!!
Email me for more information:

Brendalajay@gmail.com

The very first test group I was a part of not only helped me to lose weight, it was life changing! The accountability and support was instrumental in helping me gain control over my illness and get back on my feet again! Now, I want to help you do the same thing!


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Brenda

The Masters Hammer & Chisel FAQ's

The masters hammer and chisel, Brenda Ajay, Autumn Calabrese, Sagi Kalev, Body Beast, 21 Day Fix, in home fitness programs, workout at home, beginner fitness, strength training, rheumatoid arthritis and fitness, weight training,
We're less than 2 weeks away from the launch of Hammer & Chisel! I'm excited, how about you? December 1 is launch day and I can't wait to get my hands on a copy of the new program! Want to walk through the program step-by-step with me? Join my exclusive  Hammer & Chisel 60-day test group by filling out the application below.
Got questions? Hopefully this will answer most of them. If not, email me for more information:
brendalajay@gmail.com

FAQ's

Q. What’s included? 


  • 12 workouts on 6 DVDs that rapidly build, chisel, and refine your body using SSP Training. 
  • A set of 7 portion-control containers and a Shakeology® shaker cup to help you master the art of nutrition— and sculpt your ultimate physique.
  • The Master’s Hammer and Chisel Program and Nutrition Guide, with your straightforward eating plan, easy-to make recipes, and Sagi and Autumn’s expert tips for getting the most out of your workouts.
  • Quick-Start Guide lays out your 3-step blueprint for building the body you’ve always wanted.
  • 60-Day Calendar that shows you which workout to do each day for efficient and effective training.
  • PLUS 2 FREE BONUS WORKOUTS
  • 10 Min Ab Hammer: Carve definition into your core while strengthening your entire ab complex.
  • 10 Min Ab Chisel: This core-crusher will transform your midsection, without ever getting on the floor. 
  • EXCLUSIVE FREE bonus workout, The Master’s Cardio!

Q Can I stream The Master’s Hammer and Chisel workouts? 

Yes! If you purchase The Master’s Hammer and Chisel and become a Premium Team Beachbody Club member, you’ll get unlimited access to Beachbody On Demand, where you can stream The Master’s Hammer and Chisel and hundreds of proven Beachbody workouts via any desktop, laptop, tablet, TV, or mobile device—wherever you have an internet connection. Just look for “Purchased Programs” on Beachbody On Demand to access The Master’s Hammer and Chisel

Q. How does The Master’s Hammer and Chisel differ from Body Beast? 

Body Beast is a bodybuilding program that focuses on muscular hypertrophy. The Master’s Hammer and Chisel includes aspects of bodybuilding, but also focuses on improving endurance, power, agility, strength, balance, and range of motion to sculpt a tight, defined physique.

Q. How does The Master’s Hammer and Chisel differ from 21 Day Fix EXTREME? 

21 Day Fix EXTREME is a shorter, goal-specific program, whereas The Master’s Hammer and Chisel is a full 60-day program with slightly longer workouts. 21 Day Fix EXTREME focuses on getting you shredded, while The Master’s Hammer and Chisel also helps you improve other aspects of your fitness, such as muscular endurance, power, strength, and agility. It’s a whole new approach to getting you ripped.

Q. What equipment do you need for The Master's Hammer and Chisel? 

• A few dumbbells of various weights appropriate to your strength and fitness level.
• A bench or stability ball.
• A chin-up bar or a resistance band and a door attachment.

Q. How does The Master’s Hammer and Chisel nutrition plan compare to Body Beast, 21 Day Fix®, and 21 Day Fix EXTREME? 

Like the nutrition plans in 21 Day Fix and 21 Day Fix EXTREME, The Master’s Hammer and Chisel uses the portion control container system. However, it is tailored to meet your specific goals and the nutritional demands that a challenging body-sculpting program like The Master’s Hammer and Chisel requires.


Q. Can you customize The Master’s Hammer and Chisel nutrition plan to meet your unique goals? 

Yes! If you want to gear your nutrition toward building more muscle (a surplus), or toward shredding fat (a deficit), you can use the Nutrition Plan Quiz to recalculate your calories to help you reach your goals.


Q. How do the calorie charts for The Master’s Hammer and Chisel work? 

The Nutrition Plan Quiz included in the program and nutrition guide will determine your appropriate calorie chart based on your goals. Like the calorie breakdowns in 21 Day Fix and 21 Day Fix EXTREME, the ones in The Master’s Hammer and Chisel Program and Nutrition Guide also include the number of color-coded, portion-control containers your bracket requires each day to meet your goals.

Q. How does the 60-day calendar work? 

The Master’s Hammer and Chisel program is a 60-day rotation of hardcore strength training built on the three phases of SSP Training—Stabilization, Strength, and Power. Sagi and Autumn strategically structured these workouts to train in all three phases efficiently, so following the calendar is important.

Q. How does the Beachbody Performance line fit in to the program? 

Because these workouts are so demanding, we highly recommend you consider adding Beachbody Performance supplements to your regimen to help support your energy, muscle-building, and recovery.* Instructions for incorporating Beachbody Performance into your nutrition regimen are included in The Master’s Hammer and Chisel Program and Nutrition Guide.

Q. Is there a Team Beachbody exclusive if you order The Master’s Hammer and Chisel through a Beachbody coach? 

Yes! Customers who purchase The Master’s Hammer and Chisel through a Beachbody coach will get a FREE bonus workout—The Master’s Cardio (a $19.95 value)! When Sagi and Autumn want tough, fat-chiseling cardio, The Master’s Cardio DVD includes their go-to moves. Short, but intense, this workout boosts aerobic capacity, power, and muscular endurance—without impacting your lean-muscle gains.

Q. Can I stream The Master’s Hammer and Chisel workouts? 

Yes! If you purchase The Master’s Hammer and Chisel and become a Premium Team Beachbody Club member, you’ll get unlimited access to Beachbody® On Demand, where you can stream The Master’s Hammer and Chisel and hundreds of proven Beachbody workouts via any desktop, laptop, tablet, TV, or mobile device—wherever you have an internet connection. Just look for “Purchased Programs” in Beachbody On Demand to access The Master’s Hammer and Chisel.

Q. Is there a The Master’s Hammer and Chisel Challenge Pack? 

Yes! It contains The Master’s Hammer and Chisel Base Kit, your first 30-day supply of Shakeology® Home Direct, and a FREE 30-day premium trial membership to the Team Beachbody Club where you can stream your workouts anywhere with Beachbody On Demand. There is also The Master’s Hammer and Chisel Performance Pack that contains The Master’s Hammer and Chisel Base Kit, your first 30-day supply of Beachbody Performance Energize and Beachbody Performance Recover, and a FREE 30-day premium trial membership to the Team Beachbody Club where you can stream your workouts anywhere with Beachbody On Demand.

Ready to join the test group? It's easy, just fill out this form to tell me a little more about you and your goals and I'll be in touch soon! 


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Brenda

Get Through Thanksgiving Without Gaining Weight

How to not gain weight during Thanksgiving, weight loss, 21 Day Fix, Brenda Ajay, online challenge groups, fitness, nutrition, healthy holidays, healthy meals, Thanksgiving recipes
from the Beachbody blog

From the fat-laden gravy to the creamy pumpkin pie, even looking at the Thanksgiving dinner table is enough to make you loosen your belt a few notches. Then, there’s the competition: Who’s going to get the turkey leg or lay claim to the most mashed potatoes? Who’s going to finish fast enough to be the first one back for seconds? I know I’m not the only one who has experienced a “get-your-hands-off-my-dinner-roll” moment during Thanksgiving.

Considering all of that, it’s no shock that the average American consumes about 4,500 calories and up to 229 grams of fat1 on Thanksgiving! So, how can you stop yourself from gaining more than a pound in a day? Here are 9 tips you can lean on for this holiday season, so the bird is the only one stuffed at the end of the day.

1. Get a good head start. Start your day with a healthy breakfast, such as two eggs and whole-grain toast and a side of mixed greens, or any combination that’s high in protein and fiber.2 This will create a foundation of satiety and make you less likely to inhale the appetizers. Since you won’t be starving, you’ll be able to more likely to enjoy the main meal in moderation!

2. Don’t go overboard on appetizers. It’s easy to consume 1,500 calories before the turkey even hits the table. Instead of skipping the baked brie altogether, fill most of your plate with vegetables and healthier choices, then leave just a little room for a taste of the indulgent snack. An average serving of dip or cheese is one ounce, roughly the size of your two thumbs.3

3. Trick your brain. The average plate is 14 inches wide, and we tend to finish 98% of the food on our plate.4 No wonder it’s easy to eat too much on Thanksgiving. To trick your brain into thinking you’ve eaten enough, use a smaller plate and/or fill half a normal plate with salad. (Just go easy on the dressing.)

4. Enjoy your favorites. One of the best things about Thanksgiving is the memories and traditions of the day. Don’t limit yourself from enjoying your favorite dishes, but only have a small scoop of those that are less healthy. According to Brian Wansink, PhD, Director of the Food and Brand Lab at the University of Illinois, it only takes four bites for your nostalgia of a food to reach its peak.5

5. Get a better bird. Most Thanksgiving turkeys are about as succulent as woodchips. No wonder we cover them up with gravy, cranberry sauce, or stuffing. Instead, find a recipe that results in a more flavorful turkey, or cook a different protein—ham, fish, or chicken—that you’ll enjoy on its own, and have only moderate portions of the heavy sides. If you’re not hosting, consider skipping the bird altogether if you feel the need to smother it in sauce.

6. Improve traditions. Hosting? Take some of the pressure off yourself and ask guests to bring a healthy side dish or dessert. If you think they might be stumped, you could even provide them with a list of healthy side dishes they could make. Going to someone else’s home? Bring a healthy side dish of your own! They’ll appreciate it way more than the gift of cellulite.

7. Don’t get drunk. Limit yourself to one drink before or during dinner and one drink after dinner. Drinking too much alcohol can increase your craving for salt and may set you up to eat 30% more than you intended.6 Get drunk at dinner and all your inhibitions will be down by the time dessert comes. Two pieces of pie, a couple of cookies, a scoop of ice cream later . . . and you’ll need a forklift to get you off the couch and a cab to take you home. Don’t be that person.

8. Forgive yourself. Did you read this and still overeat? Don’t keep slipping down the slope. Get up and encourage someone to take a walk with you. If it’s too cold for a walk, break out a game of Twister® or fire up the Wii® or Xbox® Kinect®! Getting moving will ease some of your guilt and also start the digestion process.7

9. Remember why you’re there. Between the football game and your sister’s amazing pumpkin pie, take a moment to pause and reflect on what you’re thankful for this year. As tasty as the dishes are, nothing compares to the people we share it with.

So before you reach for the Rolaids, let's put our heads together and get strategic about how we're going to make this Holiday season the healthiest ever. Join me and a few of my pals for a Healthy Holidays online fitness and nutrition group starting November 30. We'll talk turkey, share tips, recipes, humor and, of course we workout a little too. 30 minutes a day to be exact.

If you can commit to one month of simple fitness and healthy eating, then this group is for you! Fill out this application and I'll be in touch soon or
email me: brendalajay@gmail.com



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Brenda

This Simple Tip Could Help You Lose Weight

Thanksgiivng, nutrition, lose weight, eating habits, Brenda Ajay, 21 day fix, online fitness groups, meal planning
from the Beachbody blog

Think back to your last meal. Was it pleasant and leisurely? Or were you rushing to wolf it down before hitting the morning commute? How often have you found yourself racing through meals on-the-go, or watching TV while mindlessly shoveling forkfuls of food into your mouth? Simply putting your fork down between bites could help you eat less and enjoy your meals more.

The common sense advice, to slow down eating by placing your fork on the plate between bites is actually a very useful tactic for reaching your weight-loss goals. Slowing down can be good not only for your digestion and your table manners, it can help prevent overeating. It forces you to relax and pay attention to chewing the food you already have, and allows you to notice more easily when you begin to feel full.

How long do you usually take to finish a meal? If it’s 10 minutes or less, you could be eating twice as much as your body needs without even knowing it! The body takes 20 minutes before it alerts the brain that it has had enough.That’s because it’s not your stomach reaching capacity that tells your brain to stop, it’s food reaching your intestines that triggers the signal to put down the fork. Eating quickly can cause you to eat dozens of extra mouthfuls of food before your brain gets that important message.

A study published in The Journal of the American Dietetic Association reported that slower eaters ate 10 percent fewer calories and felt more full. They also drank more water during meals. Another study published in The British Medical Journal, reported that eating quickly and eating until full was consistent with being overweight, and the combination of both of these habits tripled the risk of being overweight.

It sounds like a no-brainer, but have you ever actually tried putting your fork down between every bite, chewing your food, and not picking up your fork again until you’ve swallowed the previous bite? Try it today and pay attention to how it feels. If you’re eating food with your hands, like a wrap or a slice of pizza, put the food on the plate while you chew. Think about how many calories you could potentially save at every meal just by using this technique.

Brenda

How to Know When to Replace Your Workout Shoes

Saturday, November 21, 2015

running shoes, sneakers, athletic shoes, running, fitness, 21 day fix, Brenda Ajay, health, healthy living, workout, shoes
by Jerry Morgan for the Beachbody Blog

When it comes to working out, failure is a good thing. Bringing your muscles to the quivering brink of structural integrity is what makes muscles stronger. But when it comes to your footwear, the last thing you want is failure. Unlike muscles, shoes are not bound to the same laws of recovery. Once they’re done, they’re done. Use them past their “expiration point” and they may be doing you more harm than good.

It becomes important, then, to understand how long your shoes might last given your chosen workout regimen and how to know when they’ve expired.


How Long Do Workout Shoes Last?

When it comes to shoes, you really do tend to get what you pay for. Shoes that are purpose-designed with higher-quality materials tend to last longer. But no matter the manufacturer, studies have shown most shoes exhibit similar wear in one very important area: compression capabilities, or their ability to absorb the shock of you jumping.

According to research published by the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA), the average running shoe loses 50 percent of its compression capability in 300 to 500 miles of use. Researchers concluded that most shoes should be replaced within that mileage window or every six months, whichever comes first. But how do you calculate that when your workout doesn’t center around running?


How Your Specific Workout Affects A Shoe’s Lifespan

What does your workout entail? If it’s Shaun T’s INSANITY, your workout is bound to include a lot of intense cardio and you’ll essentially be racking up those simulated miles, in addition to jumping. In this case, those compressive forces may wear out the integrity of the shoe a bit faster than just taking a jog every morning.

Programs like Body Beast and P90X definitely have their moments of high-intensity, foot-to-floor exertion as well, but in general these workouts will be more forgiving on your shoes than INSANITY or T25. The same applies if you’re a gym-goer who trains mostly with weights: You can expect markedly longer shoe life with these types of workouts.

And if you are a runner, the life of your shoe depends on intensity. Someone who runs sprints, for example, will be translating exponentially more force through the sole of the shoe than someone who just walks. If you are a sprinter, you may want to condense the NSCA’s six-month recommendation a bit.


Signs Your Shoes Are Done

So, how do you know if your shoes are ready for the circular file? The best way is a simple visual inspection of the shoe itself.

Don’t just look on the underside of the shoe. Take the time to inspect areas that display wear long before, such as the midsole, which is visible from the side of the shoe. If the midsole shows excessive horizontal creasing or wear on the areas that absorb the most load – the heel and the ball of the foot – then it’s probably time to toss them.

You can also perform what’s called a press test, where you press on the outsole (read: bottom) of the shoe and inspect for compression. If the outsole gives very little, that means that the material is highly compressed and doing you about as much good as a set of snowshoes on hardwood.

Brenda

4 Holiday Fitness Myths, Busted

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by Julie Stewart for the Beachbody blog

Eggnog. Pumpkin pie. All-day movie marathons. The holidays have a way of making even the most resolute exercisers stumble. Some holiday traps are obvious, like marshmallow sweet potato casserole (just say no to seconds). Others are more insidious (using whole wheat bread does not make stuffing healthy). But by far the greatest obstacles to staying lean are our own misconceptions, says Rebecca Rick, M.S., RDN, a sports dietitian at eNRG Performance in Littleton, Colorado. Here are four of the most common ones, and four easy solutions to help you greet the New Year slimmer and stronger than ever.

Myth: Americans gain average of 5 pounds between Thanksgiving and January 1st

Fact: Most people don’t plump up during the holidays. The average weight gain is around 1.7 pounds, according to a study in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Your move: Don’t obsess about what you eat, but do be strategic about it, says study author Jamie Cooper, Ph.D., an associate professor of food and nutrition at the University of Georgia. If you overindulge during Thanksgiving dinner, don’t sweat it—but also don’t gorge on leftovers for days afterward. Freeze extra food to eat in small portions during the next month or two. “Be careful about how and what you eat at holiday parties as well,” suggests Cooper. “If you’re going to a potluck, bring a healthy dish, because then you’ll know you have at least one nutritious option.” (Our suggestion: Roasted fennel and farro salad.)

Myth: You’re too busy to work out

Fact: “You’re not—especially during the holidays,” says Dale Wagner, Ph.D., an associate professor at Utah State University who studies holiday weight gain. Sure, high-calorie meals make you sluggish, and cold weather makes outdoor workouts unappealing. But if you’re cashing in extra PTO days in November and December, you probably have more hours than usual to sneak in a workout despite an increased demand to play Candy Land and watch The Grinch, says Wagner.
Your move: Get creative about burning calories. “Look at additional free time as an opportunity to do things that you normally wouldn’t do,” says Wagner, who suggests cross-country skiing or snowshoeing with family or friends instead of, say, sitting around the fire or television. Performed a moderate intensity, cross-country skiing torches as many calories as cross-country running (643 calories per hour on average for a 150 pound individual), while snowshoeing is similar to hiking (379 calories per hour on average).

Myth: If you’re already fit, you’re less likely to plump up

Fact: Being in shape doesn’t shield you from the effects of overindulgence and inactivity, according to a recent study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Yes, you have more “metabolically active tissue” (i.e., muscle) than most people. Yes, your metabolism operates in a higher gear if you work out regularly. No, those benefits don’t last long or protect you from a 3,000-calorie meal, like the average Thanksgiving dinner. “Generally, the benefits start to fade after a few days,” says study author Dale Schoeller, Ph.D., a professor emeritus of nutritional sciences at the University of Wisconsin. Stretch that out to two weeks, and your belly fat can rise by 7 percent, according to a meta-analysis in the Journal of Applied Physiology.
Your move: Stay focused. You don’t have to do the workouts you normally do, but do something (like the activities mentioned above). “And if you can, increase your step count to offset the caloric cost of indulgences,” says Schoeller. A brisk 30 minute walk can burn approximately 154 calories. An even better goal is to increase your total daily step count. Shoot for at least 7,500 steps a day, and do at least 3,000 of them at a cadence of 100 steps per minute, suggest researchers at the Walking Behavior Laboratory at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.


Myth: Whatever weight you gain, you’ll lose in the New Year

Fact: Odds are you won’t. Although most people only gain a pound or two during the holidays, the majority of them never lose it, according to scientists reporting in the New England Journal of Medicine. Not only do most people not follow through with their resolutions, but they also don’t curb their eating habits. Indeed, people tend to buy more calorie’s worth of food between January and March than during any other time in the year, according to a study by Cornell University. Why? Because while they buy more healthy foods, they don’t cut back on the unhealthy ones. “It’s called ‘cognitive bias’,” says study author David Just, Ph.D. “You pick up more veggies than you did last week, feel good about it, and reward yourself with a treat.” The result: A higher net caloric intake.
Your move: Treat grocery shopping like vacation packing: Make a list, determine what’s essential, and leave half the remaining items on the shelf. That should give you enough indulgences to satisfy your cravings without inflating your bottom line (just so we’re clear, that’s a bad thing in the context of weight loss). Also, keep your grocery lists stored on your phone so you can figure out which high-calorie foods you indulge in too often, says Just.

So before you reach for the Rolaids, let's put our heads together and get strategic about how we're going to make this Holiday season the healthiest ever. Join me and a few of my pals for a Healthy Holidays online fitness and nutrition group starting November 30. We'll talk turkey, share tips, recipes, humor and, of course we workout a little too. 30 minutes a day to be exact.

If you can commit to one month of simple fitness and healthy eating, then this group is for you! Fill out this application and I'll be in touch soon or

email me: brendalajay@gmail.com


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Brenda

Mashed Potatoes Three Ways

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Brenda Ajay, 21 Day Fix, Healthy Thanksgiving, Healthy Christmas, clean eating, fitness, gluten free, healthy recipes, December challenge group, Holiday recipes, healthy recipes, mashed potatoes, Colcannon, kale, sweet potatoes, cauliflower
Next to turkey, stuffing, and cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes are one of the most common side dishes on a Thanksgiving table. Instead of settling for bland or butter-soaked mashed potatoes this year, try one of these healthy recipes that are bursting with enticing flavors.

Roasted Cauliflower Mash

Brenda Ajay, 21 Day Fix, Healthy Thanksgiving, Healthy Christmas, clean eating, fitness, gluten free, healthy recipes, December challenge group, Holiday recipes, healthy recipes, mashed potatoes, Colcannon, kale, sweet potatoes, cauliflower
This twist on mashed potatoes is made with a non-starchy veggie, no cream and butter — and yet, it’s every bit as yummy as your traditional mashed potatoes. Only 46 calories per serving. Get the recipe

Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Brenda Ajay, 21 Day Fix, Healthy Thanksgiving, Healthy Christmas, clean eating, fitness, gluten free, healthy recipes, December challenge group, Holiday recipes, healthy recipes, mashed potatoes, Colcannon, kale, sweet potatoes, cauliflower
Sweet potatoes are loaded with nutrition and make deliciously sweet and creamy mashed potatoes. Plus, they look more festive than russet potatoes with their bright orange color! The coconut milk in this recipe makes the side dish extra special, so you can leave off the marshmallows this year. Get the recipe.

Mashed Potatoes with Kale

Brenda Ajay, 21 Day Fix, Healthy Thanksgiving, Healthy Christmas, clean eating, fitness, gluten free, healthy recipes, December challenge group, Holiday recipes, healthy recipes, mashed potatoes, Colcannon, kale, sweet potatoes, cauliflower
These mashed potatoes are anything but basic! This healthy twist on the classic Irish colcannon recipe combines mashed potatoes with kale and green onions. Instead of butter, a touch of olive oil gives them a silky texture. Get the recipe.

Want to have the healthiest holiday season ever? Join us November 30 and find out how to indulge without the bulge this year! Fill out this application and I'll get back to you soon with more information:
Brenda    brendalajay@gmail.com

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Brenda

Mashed Potatoes with Kale (Colcannon)

Mashed potatoes, Colcannon, kale, Brenda Ajay, gluten free, anti inflammatory food, Thanksgicing recipes, Chrstmas recipes, healthy recipes, healthy side dishes, clean eating, 21 Day fix, december challenge, healthy holiday challenge, recipes, hioliday recipes
Here's a healthy remake of a traditional Irish dish that doesn’t sacrifice flavor!


Ingredients:

¾ cup low-fat milk, warm
3 green onions, chopped
2 lbs. medium russet potatoes, peeled, cut into cubes
Water
½ tsp. sea salt, divided use
1 lb. fresh kale, large ribs removed, torn into large pieces
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
Ground black pepper (to taste; optional)

Preparation:

1. Heat milk and green onions in small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil. Turn off heat. Set aside.
2. Place potatoes in medium saucepan. Cover with water. Add ¼ tsp. salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook for 15 to 25 minutes, or until tender. Remove from heat.
3. While potatoes are cooking, boil water in steamer or large saucepan over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-high. Place kale in steamer basket; cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until tender-crisp and bright green. Place in ice water bath to stop cooking process.
4. Drain water from potatoes. Return potatoes to heat. Gradually add milk mixture, mashing potatoes as milk is added; cook over low heat for 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
5. Drain water from kale; squeeze out excess water. Finely chop kale with a knife or in a food processor.
6. Add kale and oil to potatoes; mix until fluffy.
7. Season with remaining ½ tsp. salt and pepper (if desired).
8. Serve warm.

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Want to have the healthiest holiday season ever? Join us November 30 and find out how to indulge without the bulge this year! Fill out this application and I'll get back to you soon with more information:
Brenda     brendalajay@gmail.com



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Mashed Sweet Potatoes (gluten-free)

Sweet potatoes are loaded with nutrition and make deliciously sweet and creamy mashed potatoes. Plus, they look more festive than russet potatoes with their bright orange color! The coconut milk in this recipe makes the side dish extra special.

Ingredients:

2 lbs. medium sweet potatoes, peeled, cut into cubes
Hot water
½ tsp. sea salt (or Himalayan salt), divided use
1 cup canned lite coconut milk, warm, divided use
1 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh thyme, reserve a small amount for garnish
Ground black pepper (to taste; optional)

Preparation:

1. Place sweet potatoes in medium saucepan. Cover with water. Add ¼ tsp. salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook for 15 to 20 minutes, or until tender. Remove from heat. Drain water from sweet potatoes and place in a medium bowl.
2. Add ½ cup coconut milk; mash with a potato masher.
3. Add additional coconut milk 2 Tbsp. at a time, until desired consistency is reached. Season with thyme, remaining ¼ tsp. salt, and pepper; mix well.
4. Garnish with thyme, if desired.
Healthy holidays, healthy christmas, healthy thanksgiving, thanksgiving recipes, christmas recipes, healthy recipes, gluten free, Brenda Ajay, holiday challenge, 21 day fix, holiday fitness, mashed sweet potatoes

Want to have the healthiest holiday season ever? Join us November 30 and find out how to indulge without the bulge this year! Fill out this application and I'll get back to you soon with more information:
Brenda   brendalajay@gmail.com


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Roasted Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes (gluten-free)

Healthy Thanksgiving, healthy Christmas, Cauliflower, mashed potatoes, Brenda Ajay, December challenge group, healthy recipes, 21 Day Fix, clean eating, gluten free, paleo, Christmas fitness, anti inflammatory diet, rheumatoid arthritis and fitness, eat clean, healthy party food
This twist on mashed potatoes is made with a non-starchy veggie, no cream and butter—and yet, it’s every bit as yummy as your traditional mashed potatoes.

Ingredients:
1 (2-lb.) cauliflower, cut into small florets, discard stem
4 tsp. olive oil
1 tsp. sea salt
¼ tsp. granulated garlic (optional)
2 Tbsp. low-sodium organic vegetable broth

Preparation:
1. Preheat oven to 400° F.
2. Wash cauliflower and pat dry.
3. Place cauliflower in large baking pan. Drizzle with oil; toss gently to coat.
4. Season with salt and garlic.
5. Bake, stirring halfway through, for 40 to 45 minutes, or until tender.
6. Place in food processor; add vegetable broth. Pulse until smooth.


Healthy Thanksgiving, healthy Christmas, Brenda Ajay, December challenge group, healthy recipes, 21 Day Fix, clean eating, gluten free, paleo, Christmas fitness, anti inflammatory diet, rheumatoid arthritis and fitness, eat clean, healthy party food

Want to have the healthiest holiday season ever? Join us November 30 and find out how to indulge without the bulge this year! Fill out this application and I'll get back to you soon with more information:
Brenda   brendalajay@gmail.com


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Quinoa Stuffing (Gluten Free)

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Quinoa, stuffing, gluten free, anti inflammatory foods, fix your thanksgiving, Brenda Ajay, Happy Healthy Smart, healthy thanksgiving recipes, quick and easy thanksgiving recipes, 21 day fix recipes, recipes, holiday recipes, food,
This simple stuffing is loaded with sweet apples and cranberries and topped with pine nuts. It tastes great warm or cold.
Ingredients:
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
8 medium celery stalks, chopped (about 4 cups)
2 medium green apples, with peel (about 2 cups)
4 cups low-sodium organic vegetable broth
2 cups dry quinoa, rinsed
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. ground cumin
½ tsp. ground black pepper
½ cup dried cranberries
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
½ cup pine nuts
Preparation:
1.Heat oil in medium saucepan over medium-high heat.
2. Add onion and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes, or until fragrant.
3. Add celery and apple; cook, stirring frequently, for 8 to 10 minutes, or until tender.
4. Add broth, quinoa, salt, cumin, and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook, covered, for 15 minutes, or until most of liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat.
5. Add cranberries. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes.
6. Add cilantro and pine nuts; fluff with fork and serve.

Have the healthiest Holiday ever! Follow #FixYourHoliday for tip, recipes, humor and more!
Or join our Healthy Holiday Challenge that starts on November 30 for motivation, support and lots of recipes and holiday ideas!
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Don't Gobble 'til You Wobble! Stay on Track this Holiday Season without Counting a Single Calorie!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Have the healthiest Holiday ever! Follow #FixYourHoliday for healthy holiday tips, recipes, humor and more!


21 Day Fix, counting calories, weight watchers, lose weight, diet, fitness, clean eating, holiday meals, New Years resolution, December Fix Challenge, autumn calabrese, Brenda Ajay, food containers, colored containers, 21 Day Fix Recipes, Holiday meal planning,
It's that time of the year when most of us tend to fall off the diet wagon. I'll admit it... I'm guilty of it too. Allowing yourself to indulge and enjoy holiday meals with friends and family is expected. Giving yourself the license to do it every day for a month is asking for trouble. So here's a simple way to enjoy all the foods you love this holiday season and avoid holiday weight gain.

Diets shouldn't be difficult. You shouldn't have to pull your calculator out every time you sit down to eat. One of the more difficult parts of starting any new diet or nutrition program is figuring out portion control. The color-coded 21 Day Fix containers were created to help solve this problem and make portion control easy and intuitive and get you away from the hassle of calorie counting. If it fits and it’s on the approved food list, you can eat it!
21 Day Fix, counting calories, weight watchers, lose weight, diet, fitness, clean eating, holiday meals, New Years resolution, December Fix Challenge, autumn calabrese, Brenda Ajay, food containers, colored containers, 21 Day Fix Recipes, Holiday meal planning,

How the 21 Day Fix Containers Work


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There are six colors corresponding to six different types of foods:

The green container is for vegetables. These can be cooked or raw, sliced or chopped. Some examples include lettuces, kale, squash, peppers, mushrooms, and onions. Go ahead and really squish the lettuce into there to create a voluminous salad!

The purple container is for fruits. Berries can easily fit into this container as can grapes and cherries, but you’ll want to cut larger fruits like watermelon, or fruits with pits, like peaches.

The red container is for protein. Fill it with chicken breast, yogurt, eggs, tofu, or shellfish. For some of the other protein, consult the food list in your guide.

The yellow container is for more caloric carbs, as well as starches. This is where you’ll fit in foods like rice, beans, sweet potatoes, and whole-grain pasta into your diet. For foods that don’t easily fit into your container such as waffles and tortillas, the portion amounts are in your 21 Day Fix guide.

The blue container is for healthy fats. Mashed avocado, nuts, cheese, and hummus are just a few of the things you can put in this container.

The orange container is for seeds and dressings. It is the smallest and is used for calorie-dense foods like seeds, olives, coconut, and 21 Day Fix-approved dressings.

There is also a teaspoon measurement included in the 21 Day Fix program, and this is for oils and butters, such as olive oil and peanut butter. A teaspoon is not provided with the containers, so you’ll need to use your own. (And who doesn’t have a teaspoon in their kitchen?)

How To Use Them


21 Day Fix, counting calories, weight watchers, lose weight, diet, fitness, clean eating, holiday meals, New Years resolution, December Fix Challenge, autumn calabrese, Brenda Ajay, food containers, colored containers, 21 Day Fix Recipes, Holiday meal planning,
Now that you know what goes in the containers, it’s time to use them. Although you don’t have to count your calories each day, you should use the Target Calorie Guide from the 21 Day Fix Meal Planning Guide to figure out approximately how many calories you need in a day. Once you do, take a look at the Container Chart that will let you how many containers of each color you should eat each day for your calorie range. If you want to get technical you’ll notice that the plan is roughly 40% carbohydrates, 30% protein, and 30% fat.

Although the guide contains recommendations for how much of one type of food can fit into a container, you can mix and match foods of the same category to fill a single container. For example, if you don’t want to use a whole green container for spinach, then you can fill one half full of spinach and the other half full of carrots, and it will still equal one green container.

As convenient and transportable as the containers are, you don’t have to eat out of them. You can measure out the portions in the containers and then empty the container out onto a plate or into a bowl.

Why the 21 Day Fix Container System Works

21 Day Fix, counting calories, weight watchers, lose weight, diet, fitness, clean eating, holiday meals, New Years resolution, December Fix Challenge, autumn calabrese, Brenda Ajay, food containers, colored containers, 21 Day Fix Recipes, Holiday meal planning,

You don’t have to count calories. You only count containers. And it’s a lot easier to keep track of three green containers than x number of calories.

It’s definitely enough food. Often when people begin this program, they find that they’re full even before they’ve finished all their container portions for the day. That’s because healthy food has more volume than junk food. If you find you find this is the case for you, only eat what you can, but make sure to eat a little from all the containers instead of just filling up on your favorite kind and avoiding what you like the least.

It’s practical. Portion control is about moderation and being aware of what you’re eating. The containers help you do this. After you’ve completed your first 21 days, you’ll have a good idea of how many fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats you should be eating every day and you may not have to rely on the container to measure your meals.

Need some ideas on how to use yours containers? Visit my 21 Day Fix Recipes board on Pinterest or find and friend me on Facebook @ www.Facebook.com/brenda.l.ajay

Ready to give the 21 Day FIX program a try but not sure where to start? 

Why not join my next online 21 Day FIX support group. It's a fun way to get acquainted with the program, make new friends and get some great recipes and meal ideas. The group is free with the purchase of a 21 Day FIX or 21 Day FIX Extreme Challenge Pack. Joining is easy, just fill out this form to tell me a little more about why you're ready for Th FIX!



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6 Steps to the Perfect Mason Jar Salad

Sunday, November 15, 2015




6 steps to the perfect mason jar salad
photo courtesy of My Fitness Pal blog
Are you a jar junkie? Mason jars have become the Tupperware of the 21st century. The same jars that our grandmothers used for canning, pickling and storing freshly grown foods in the pantry, today have become all the rage in meal prep. We're talking about mason jar salads. In just a few minutes you can pack a few salads that will serve as lunch for the whole week. They are quick and easy to assemble, convenient to grab-and-go for lunch, they don't leak and they look as good as they taste. The secret to success with mason jar salads is in the layering. Pack your salad in the wrong order and you can end up with a soggy, mushy mess. Here are some tips to packing a mason jar salad that will stay fresh for up to 5 days in the fridge: 
6 steps to the perfect mason jar salad
photo courtesy of thetwobiteclub.com
  1. Add the dressing first. Sounds backwards, I know, but keeping the wet ingredients at the bottom of the jar will keep the fresh ingredients from getting soggy and mushy.
  2. Next, place ingredients that will be enhanced by the flavor of the dressing. Think of the dressing as a marinade. I like to place things like onions, chick peas, beans, and artichokes next because they will soak up the flavor of the dressing without losing their texture. An added plus, the dressing will help to dilute the strong taste of onions. 
  3. Next add a base layer that won’t soak up the dressing. Try vegetables like carrots, cherry tomatoes, red and green peppers, celery and sugar snap peas; or some protein like chicken, turkey, cubed deli meats or cooked shrimp.
  4. Keep layering with ingredients that you enjoy. There are no wrong combinations! Pack the ingredients as tightly as possible. The less air that’s between your layers, the longer the salad will stay fresh.
  5. Use your salad greens as the final layer. If you like to add cheese or nuts, then sprinkle those on top of the greens.
  6. Twist on the tops, place in the fridge and you’re all set. When you’re ready to enjoy your Mason jar salad, just pour it out into a bowl and toss.
Want to learn more about meal prep and planning? Wondering how to fight disease with food and fitness? Why not join an online fitness and nutrition accountability group. Find out how some simple lifestyle changes can help you look and feel better at any age. It's fun and easy to join. Simply answer a few questions below and I will get back to you within 24 hours.


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20 Tips for a Healthier Thanksgiving

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Thanksgiving only comes around once a year so why not indulge? Because chances are with Christmas right around the corner, that holiDAY could very easily turn into a holiMONTH! Packing on the pounds during the holiday season can happen quicker and easier than you think. And often times that added weight stays with us for good. Don't let that happen again this year. Your best defense against holiday weight gain is a good offence. Here are some tips to help you satisfy your need for the traditional holiday favorites and still enjoy a guilt-free Thanksgiving feast.


1. Get Active 

Start exercising a couple of weeks before Thanksgiving to get off to a good start by creating a good habit. Spending just 30 minutes a day, every day, for a couple of weeks will boost your metabolism and your mood, and prepare your body to work off those excess calories. Plus, making a habit of fitness early means you more likely be motivated to get back into your routine on black Friday and keep the fitness trend going all season long.

2. Eat Breakfast

Start your day off with some protein and fiber within an hour of waking can give you more control over your diet the rest of the day. Start smart with 2 eggs and a slice of whole grain toast, or a bowl of oatmeal with some fruit and you won't feel starved by the time you sit down to a holiday meal.

3. Lighten Up

Whether you are hosting Thanksgiving dinner or bringing a few dishes to share, make your recipes healthier with less fat, sugar, and calories. For example:

  • Use fat-free chicken broth to baste the turkey and make gravy.
  • Use honey, real maple syrup or stevia in place of sugar and/or applesauce instead of oil in baked goods.
  • Reduce oil and butter wherever you can.
  • Substitute non-fat Greek yogurt or fat-free sour cream in creamy dips, mashed potatoes, and casseroles.

4. Exercise portion control

Fill your plate with small portions of your holiday favorites. Don't skip the vegetables and salad to make more room for more stuffing! If you keep your portions small you can enjoy a little of everything.

5. Skip the seconds

Resist the temptation to go back for seconds. Instead, enjoy the leftovers for lunch the next day.

6. Choose wisely

Know that some foods make better choices than others. White turkey meat, plain vegetables, roasted sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, defatted gravy, and pumpkin pie tend to have less fat and calories and are better options.

7. Pace yourself

Eating slowly, putting your fork down between bites, and tasting each mouthful is one of the easiest ways to enjoy your meal and feel satisfied with one plate full of food, experts say. Choosing whole grains, fruits, vegetables, broth-based soups, salads, and other foods with lots of water and fiber add to the feeling of fullness.

8. Easy on the alcohol

Those calories in wine and alcohol add up quickly. So have a glass of water in between drinks or mix alcohol with more tonic or club soda than usual to keep yourself hydrated and sober.

9. Be social

Walk around and talk to family and friends rather than sitting at the table the entire time. The more time you spend talking the less likely your mind will be on food.

10. Walk it off

Weather permitting, plan a post meal walk. Ask family members to join you. Take a camera or smartphone with you and make it even more fun by taking some photos. This could be a great opportunity to get some shots for this year's Christmas card.

11. Accountability Partners

Ask family members and friends to join you on black Friday for an exercise class, or use a fitness tracker like Fitbit or an app like My Fitness Pal and schedule a 24 hour challenge. As an added incentive, ask everyone who joins the challenge to pitch in a couple of bucks or a small prize for the winner.

12. Volunteer to help clean up

Not only will this make you shine in the eyes of the host, but physically removing yourself from the table after the meal will keep your mind off of food for a while.

13. Position yourself

Have you ever noticed how everyone seems to gather around the kitchen when there's a party? Start a new trend and position yourself away from the food when you're not eating dinner. Ask family members to join you by the fireplace or in the living room. Moving yourself away from food keeps it off your mind.

14. Stay hydrated

Make sure to drink water throughout the day to stay hydrated. Often times hunger pangs are actually thirst in diguise.

15. Go easy on the apps

Cheese, dips, crackers and chips are loaded with calories! Save your appetite, and calorie consumption, for dinner.

16. Dim the lights

Studies show that dimming the lights may lead to consuming less food. So create a nice intimate ambiance that everyone will love.

17. Watch out for sneaky sides

Beware of side dishes that aren't as healthy as they appear. Green bean casserole, mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce can be loaded with fat, calories and sugar.

18. Say yes to dessert

The holidays shouldn't be a time to deprive yourself of anything. Enjoy a slice of pie for dessert. You can and should enjoy everything - in moderation.

19. Write it down

If it helps, keep a food journal or use an app like My Fitness Pal to track your food intake over the holidays. Set a healthy and realistic limit to the number of calories you plan to consume and stick to it.

20. Get enough sleep

Make sure you get 8-10 hours of sleep the night before Thanksgiving. Not getting enough sleep can increase your appetite the following day.


 Join us and keep your Thanksgiving holiday healthy and hassle-free in our Healthy Holiday Challenge. This 30-day...
Posted by Happy, Healthy, Smart - by Brenda Ajay on Sunday, October 25, 2015

Brenda