Helpful Advice to get started

  • I've decided to take the step from talking about it and doing something about it.  My mom used this program a few years ago with great results, she was always larger when I grew up and this program has been a huge success for her.  I now have kids of my own and want to take steps to improve my health and

    Starting Monday, July 9th will be my first day of the 12 weeks, this will give me enough time to finish reading the book, figure out what workouts and equipment I might need, and figure out the meals and plan a few things for the week.

    Anyone have any thoughts on the equipment for exercises I may need.  I already have a treadmill but will likely need to find some free weights.

    Any recommendations on grocery list or meal idea, hints or tips.

    Does coffee get removed from diet as it's not on the authorized list?  I always like a morning coffee but I imagine if I start workouts in the morning this may be a substitute for coffee as a way to wake up?

    Any advice will be grateful.

  • I know a lot of people who have taken coffee off their list but coffee is something I'm not willing to give up. I drank one cup of black coffee in morning during the last challenge and still got the results I wanted. This time around I am still sticking with my one cup. I think for me its just ritual at this point.

  • Coffee doesn't do anything negative, and it can actually help a bit with exercise. However, it has only the effect of half its volume in water, since it is also a diuretic. A cup of coffee is only the equivalent of a half cup of water. Also, if you put milk in it, milk actually conveys calories, protein, and carbs -- it is not just water, like coffee (in effect) is. Coffee operates more like water, an aspirin tablet, and a caffeine pill, whereas milk is liquid food.

  • Juju,

    That's a good question you've asked about coffee. In my case, it's not the coffee its what I put in it, as in sugar. I used to drink cups and cups til one time few years back I decided to do the Daniel fast which prohibits taking sugar. So once I was forced through my commitment to drink sugarless coffee I found myself not craving coffee anymore. So I got the message that what made me crave it is what I put in it and not the coffee itself. I don't know how much you love it, couple things: coffee is an irritrant. that means if you have any hurting or irritated part of your body, and drink coffee, it will exacerbate. It also dehydrates the body. So you probably can have a cup a day with no harm, but try to limit it at that.

    "An ounce of action is worth a ton of theory." – Ralph Waldo Emerson---

  • I drink coffee every day, and the book actually brings it up with breakfast in the sample meal plan. However, poorly roasted, over-extracted, crappy coffee can work as a laxative so make sure the coffee you drink is high quality (I highly recommend getting something that is locally roasted and freshly ground, if you can). And yes, it is a diuretic. I drink 2 shots of espresso in 12 oz of water, and then drink another glass of water on top of that. No problems. I also do a double shot right before cardio and it really helps!

    For food, I am in my 2nd Challenge and can say, if you get creative you will NEVER be bored with the eating. Here are some tips:

    1. Don't think of "typical" breakfast/lunch/dinner meals. You don't have to eat egg whites & oatmeal every morning. Some days make a smoothie. Other days have fat-free Greek yogurt, some avocado, and fruit. Other days, cottage cheese and toast. Et cetera. I sometimes eat egg whites and chicken sausage with salad for dinner. Ditch the "meal appropriate" mindset and you'll feel a lot less stifled.

    2. Check out, Cook's Illustrated Magazine, and . These 3 have been absolutely detrimental in my success with meal planning and inspiration for recipes. I especially love Cook's Illustrated. They not only give you the recipe, they explain why they did what they did (ingredients, methods, temperatures, etc). Clean Eating Magazine's website is also helpful; they have 3-week-long seasonal meal plans that can give you some great ideas (not all of them are B4L approved so I wouldn't recommend following it absolutely, but there is some great stuff in there).

    3. Experiment! The other day I made a salad with plain canned tuna, mango, greens, cucumber, carrot, onion, and salsa. It was amazing. Try different vegetables and cooking methods. Also, try to lighten up traditional recipes. Things like, stuffed bell peppers with ground bison, whole wheat bread crumbs, canned tomato, and brown rice. Or chili with shredded chicken breast, apples and black beans. The sky is the limit.

    4. If you aren't the type who can cook off the hip, sit down every week and plan your week. Try to work variety into your meals. Pork one day, chicken the next, etc.

    5. Think ahead about re purposing. Instead of buying 1 or 2 chicken breasts, buy 4. Cook them all at once, then eat one and save the rest for salad, chili, hash, tacos, whatever! Whenever I grill lean steak I always buy extra for steak and eggs the next day.

    For home gym equipment, I'd recommend free weights, kettlebells, and balls. If you've never lifted before start light, get maybe 5, 10, 15, 20, and 30lb weights. You can actually do all your upper and lower body exercises with free weights. I do all my upper body with dumbbells and have started doing lower body ones too, like squats and lunges. Free weights are great because the lowering takes a lot more effort; your muscles are working much harder against gravity and you really have to pay attention to your form.

    Good luck and it sounds like you're doing great with planning ahead!

  • I've actually been cutting back my coffee consumption due to high blood pressure.  The biggest trick has been removing the cream and sugar, but I've been slowly dialing that back.  It's good to know though if I do feel I need a morning coffee that I can have it black.

    I didn't realize it was an irritant, knew it was a diuretic.  I smashed my ankle when I was young and now that I have this extra weight I find it hurts more often (one of the reasons for making this change).  This might be more reason to drop coffee.

    Seahorse that is helpful, I'm finding the biggest difficulty in the meal planning.  I'm working on it right now for my 1st week.  The biggest trick is the meals while I'm at work, most days I'm in an office but other days I'm in the field so trying to pick stuff that will keep is a bit more challenging.  I think once I get the hang of it though it'll become easier.

    I appreciate all the helpful advice and am looking forward and excited to start my 1st week.

  • I love that morning coffee, too. I'm starting week 5 and found I "forget" to have coffee most days! Who'd a-thunk that? I get my day's drinking water ready the night before and put it in the fridge (I like to measure it out, so I don't have to think about how many glasses I've had--it's premasured and I know by midday, half of it should be gone, etc.). In the morning, I have a tall glass of water first, before anything else. I've been experimenting with whether to do morning or PM workouts, and am gravitating towards morning. Anyway, once I've had water and a workout, I forget all about coffee and go onto a protein shake and then a meal, etc. All of a sudden it's afternoon, and I think, hey, I didn't have coffee today. Go figure.

    Wine and cocktails are another issue all together. That's been tougher. I never realized how much socializing I do around wine and cocktails. So I'm still getting that figured out....

  • Oh, Wal-Mart has inexpensive free weights, starting at 3lbs and up...

  • I'm looking into getting a set of bands, too, for when I travel and want to workout on the road. I also am going to find some good old-fashioned calisentics for vacation and travel workouts. I'm not a gym person.

    For aerobics, I have a rowing machine that I really, really like--I've had it for years but it hasn't gotten much use until now :-).

    Also a SKLZ workout timer that I got at Wal-Mart for about $10--you can set the number of sets, the length of your set, and the length of your rest. It beeps you, so you know when to rest or go to the next rep. Really saves time and keeps you on track. (No, I don't work at Wal-Mart or have nothing anything to do with them.)

  • Tips for starting out? Do what my wife and I did. We went through our fridge and cupboards and pantry and garage and got rid of every morsel and drop of unhealthy food. All boxed dinners and all unhealthy canned goods. Even our" I can't believe its not butter", which we thought was healthy, was given to a family member. We donated all the unhealthy food to a food bank rather then throwing it away. Even though unhealthy, its still food and someone somewhere can use it, just not us. That's what we did and its helped. No unhealthy choices eliminates unhealthy choices and temptation.