Hey friends! Two weeks ago I told you about how I purchased the Bikini Body Guide eBooks from Kayla Itsines (affiliate link, FYI), and you guys seemed really interested in them! I got a lot of comments, emails, and tweets with your questions, so I thought today would be a good time for an update. Hold on to your seatbelts- this is going to be a long one!
First and foremost, I should explain how to purchase the eBooks. Although they are technically called eBooks, they are actually just PDFs. You can buy them from the Kayla Itsines website here. You won’t find them on Amazon or anywhere else where they sell traditional eBooks. I hope that helps clarify things!
As for my update- so far it’s going great! I’ve lost about 5 pounds in two weeks, although I have to say most of that was probably bloating from all the junk I ate and drank right before I started. Bleh. Like many women, I have a typical “weight range” that fluctuates up a few pounds or down a few pounds from day to day. When I started using the Bikini Body Guide (BBG) eBooks, I was at the heavier end of my usual range. I am now one pound less than my typical low weight range, so take that as you will (1 pound loss or 5). Either way the scale is moving in the right direction and my body is feeling great 🙂
Now let’s get down to the nitty gritty…
The Nutrition Plan
The BBG Nutrition Plan (which is called the Healthy Eating and Lifestyle Plan aka HELP…so clever!) is one of the things I was most excited about when I decided to try out the 12-week BBG plan. I have always had (and probably always will have) a love-hate relationship with food. I grew up not understanding healthy food AT ALL and was basically (unknowingly) addicted to junk food. You can read more about that here.
Now I try really hard to eat a balanced diet but I still crave food that’s bad for me and I’m not sure that will ever really go away. I am totally fine with following a 80-20 diet (eating healthy 80% of the time and enjoying yourself the other 20% of the time) but lately that balance seemed to be leaning more toward a 60-40 “balance” which I was NOT ok with. Especially with summer right around the corner and some fun plans on the agenda which involve being in a bathing suit.
The HELP Nutrition Guide suggests following a food regimen that a) I was already familiar with/loosely following, b) was backed up by science, and c) in-line with my nutrition preferences and beliefs (i.e., no fad diets), which made it a perfect match for me. In short, when I read about it I couldn’t wait to give it a shot!
The Nutrition Plan recommend eating a specific number of servings of each food every day. As I have explained before, it’s basically like following the old food pyramid recommendations we all grew up with.
To track my meals, I use the notepad app on my phone. Basically I write out the recommended number of servings of each food I should be eating each day under “IDEAL,” and then I list the actual amounts I’ve eaten below it. At the end of each day I delete all the numbers in the “ACTUAL” list and start over.
Here’s a sample of what my tracking looks like after I’ve eaten breakfast:
You’ll notice that some of the serving amounts seem pretty large (6 servings of grains!) but the portion sizes are actually really small, so it balances out. One slice of bread, for example, counts as one serving, so a sandwich would be two servings. Similarly, 1/4 cup of brown rice counts as one serving, and sometimes with dinner I’d rather have 1/2 cup of brown rice instead of just 1/4, which bumps it up to two servings. I don’t usually wind up eating all 6 servings of grains, but I get a lot closer than I thought I would. I also run out of dairy and healthy fat servings before I even make it to dinner time, so that’s been a bit of a change. I used to just pop raw almonds by the handful, but now I’m more careful! I also have to be careful to avoid processed foods, since they aren’t recommended on the meal plan. So far that has been going well!
Overall I would say that what I’ve been eating while following the HELP Nutrition Plan hasn’t changed all that much, but the amounts definitely have. Here’s a snapshot of some of my meals.
Breakfast hasn’t really changed that much for me. I am trying to make an effort to eat cleaner (i.e., less cereal) even though technically some whole grain cereal is still allowed on the plan. I’ve been having a lot of my favorite oatmeal (which I make with 1/3 cup oats, 1/3 cup skim milk, 1 mashed banana, and a sprinkle of cinnamon) and I’ve also brought the two ingredient pancakes from Tina over at Carrots ‘N Cake back into the mix. I forgot how tasty these are!
Yogurt and fruit has also been a good go-to. The picture below includes one container of blueberry Chobani, a sliced banana, and organic coconut granola. Yum. FYI, this would count as one serving of dairy, 1 serving of fruit, and 1 serving of grains).
Lunches have been a bigger switch for me. As part of the nutrition plan, I am supposed to eat six servings of vegetables every day. I thought I was really good at eating a lot of veggies before, but it turns out I was no where close to getting six servings (it was more like 3-4). I have been trying to squeeze them in wherever I can, which means replacing my beloved turkey and cheese sandwiches with giant veggie-packed salads. These usually include mixed greens, baby spinach, tomatoes, cucumber, carrots, and feta cheese. Other add-ins include any leftovers we might have laying around like chicken, roasted veggies, quinoa, or rice.
My salad-making skills are improving and I’ve been enjoying these combos!
Not much has changed with my snacks; I still eat an apple almost every day and depending on whether I have any servings of healthy fats left I will also eat some almonds or peanut butter on the side (just 1 tsp. of peanut butter = 1 serving of healthy fats, BTW, so that’s been a bit of a change). Through this process I have realized that I was probably eating way too many healthy fats before I started this nutrition plan. Also, you can only have two pieces of fruit! I usually have a banana with breakfast and an apple as my snack, and then that’s that.
There’s always room for more veggies though! Carrots and hummus still make a perfect snack (I usually count hummus as one of my healthy fats though, so I have to be careful how much I have).
Dinners have also stayed pretty much the same. I am trying to include more lean meats and lots of veggies, but that has always been a priority for me. Being on the nutrition plan does help keep me from ordering out too often, and it also encourages me to steer clear of unnecessary alcohol with dinner, but I’ll get to more on that in a minute.
Here is a tilapia filet with Thai curry sauce that I pulled out of the freezer from the Saucy Fish Co., some broccoli rice, and sweet potato wedges (that recipe is also from Carrots ‘N Cake! These are so tasty, and you must try them if you haven’t yet!).
More broccoli & rice, grilled chicken, and balsamic carrots & cauliflower. Simple, nutritious, delicious.
Unfortunately (for me) Desserts and Alcohol pretty much have no place in the nutrition plan. I know. However, since the BBG plan is a 12-week program, I’m trying to be realistic about things. Knowing myself, my social life, and my sweet tooth, there is just no way I won’t eat any sweets or alcohol for twelve weeks. It’s just not realistic!
The plan does allow for one “cheat meal” per week, so I try to schedule my social events around that. Even still, I know I am usually tempted by booze and/or sugar more than once a week, so I am just doing the best I can. I want this plan to be something I feel comfortable following well beyond the 12 weeks, and omitting drinks and sweets all together just won’t work for me. That being said, I have made a huge change from having a glass of wine with dinner and a low-calorie dessert afterword each and every day, to saving my “cheats” for when it’s really important. It’s a step in the right direction but I’ll be honest, even that hasn’t been easy! Oh well, at least I’m making progress!
The Exercise Plan
I have also really been loving the BBG exercise plan! I’m on week 3 right now, and for weeks 1-4 you complete 3 resistance training workouts (circuits) and 2-3 low intensity steady state (LISS) workouts like a light jog or power walk. I probably should be taking the LISS workouts more seriously, but I walk a lot every day anyway to and from the metro plus when walking Jack, so I like to think if I just take Jack a little further than usual or go for a quick run that counts. Eh, maybe it does, but I could probably do more on this front.
I think the reason I’ve been taking the LISS workouts so easy is because the circuits are so tough!! Here’s an example of one of the circuits. As I explained before, you have 7 minutes to run through the circuit as many times as you can (usually 2 for me) and then one minute of rest before moving on to circuit #2. Then you repeat, so you wind up doing 14 minutes (4 rounds) of each circuit. Phew.
I am usually dripping in sweat after each and every workout and feel sore in some spots the next day. They are quick (about 30 mins) and effective which I love!
And that’s about it for my Kayla Itsines BBG update! The nutrition plan is going really well and so are the workouts. I’m just chugging along trying to continue toning up/losing a little weight and reminding myself that I’m in it for the long haul, so if I mess up here or there it’s really no biggie. Also, I continue to look at the Kayla Itsines transformations on her website to keep my motivation up. Hopefully in 12 weeks I will look like these awesome ladies!
**Note: Although I am an affiliate for the Kayla Itsines program this post was not sponsored by anyone. All thoughts and opinions are my own. **
Question of the day: How do you deal with unhealthy “cheats” in your diet?