MealEnders (Product Review + Giveaway)

18 Feb

As part of my Sweat Pink Ambassadorship I received four packs of MealEnders for free in exchange for a review. I volunteered for this opportunity, and all opinions are my own. There are no affiliate links in this post.

The giveaway is now over, so comments have been closed. The winner has been notified.

Have you ever mindlessly snacked even though you weren’t hungry? Or kept eating past the “full” point until you were uncomfortable? I definitely have.  That’s why, when I was contacted about a review of MealEnders I was intrigued. However, honestly, I was also skeptical.  We’ve all seen ads (and as a blogger I get contacted from random companies) that promise a miracle product to help you lose weight.  However, when I looked closer at the ingredients of MealEnders I was presently surprised.  There are no drugs, weird herbs, no funny sounding stimulants, and no high fructose corn syrup. There is some sugar, but only 2g per lozenge, and only 15 calories. Sign me up!

The basic way they work is by signaling to your body that it’s time to stop eating.  The lozenges have 2 layers – the first is a sweet layer that tastes like dessert (for real!). I will talk about each of the flavors in more detail below.  The second layer of the lozenge is a cooling layer – sort of mentholy – that “engages the trigeminal nerve to cue the end of eating and clear the palate.”  Interesting!  You can find more about how MealEnders work here.  Eating a MealEnder also gives your body and mind something to do during the time after you finish eating – the time it takes for your mind to catch up to the idea that you are in fact, full.

They come in convenient individual wrappers so you can stick some in your car, purse, wherever. I know I’ll be keeping a stash in my desk drawer at work.

Another thing I really liked is that in all the media I have read about MealEnders, the company never claims to be a miracle maker. They say a few times that it’s important to use MealEnders in conjunction with a healthy diet and exercise to create healthy habits.  No quick fixes here, just a tool to help you control those random cravings.

I have tried the different types of MealEnders over the past week and wanted to share my thoughts. MealEnders come in four flavors: cinnamon, citrus, mint chocolate and mocha.

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I tried cinnamon first, after lunch one day when I was working from home. I find that I tend to mindlessly graze MUCH more when I work from home since my entire pantry is available.  I actually expected to like the cinnamon the least but LOVED it.  It tasted like apple pie!

I tried the mocha after dinner one night hoping to fulfill the need for sweets I have after dinner. It more than did the job and I didn’t feel like I needed to snack that night either.

I really like all the flavors but my favorite is probably the cinnamon, and my least favorite is the mocha.

I honestly don’t have anything bad to say about MealEnders – I think with the variety of flavors there’s something for everyone, and they are a convenient and helpful tool.

The giveaway is now over, so comments have been closed. The winner has been notified.

MealEnders Info: Website, Facebook, Twitter @mealenders, Instagram @mealenders

That time I cried after going to the gym

9 Feb

Last Wednesday I got in my car after finishing up at the gym at 5pm and started sobbing.  Raw, emotional, crying. I wasn’t sad though – it was for a really amazing reason.

Let’s back up.

Though I have not shared my goals for 2015 yet (if you’ve been reading here for more than a year you may remember that I take my time to think about my goals and usually don’t share them until early February), I have been thinking about what I want to accomplish in 2015.

A big part of that is, of course, my fitness goals.

I have had a few classes I have been scared to take since I started at my amazing gym in July 2013; 1. BodyStep class and 2. GRIT class.  These are the only two classes offered that I hadn’t had a chance to take – or rather, had wussed out to take.

The reason I had wussed out was because of one seemingly minor, yet debilitating reason.

LesMillsStep

The bench/step required for the classes.

Here’s the thing. I have used the bench in BodyPump classes for over a year. We use them for doing chest and tricep presses. I was familiar with using it in a non-threatening way.

However, BodyStep and GRIT require you to be comfortable with jumping onto, off of and over the bench.

The thought of jumping onto the bench and maintaining enough composure to jump off of it and back on to it again, scared the shit out of me. Maybe it’s because I fell down the stairs in our basement when I was 3 years old, I’m really not sure what caused this. All I know is that it felt like a huge mental block holding me back.

At the end of December I took my first GRIT class – it’s a super intense HIIT class created by Les Mills. I managed to avoid having to jump on and off the step for my first few classes.  The first time I walked into a GRIT class and instructor said “you need a bench today” I internally freaked out.  We had to do a couple sets of standing straddled over the bench, and then jump up, land on the middle of the bench, and then jump off back to a straddled position.

My heart rate jumped as soon as I saw her demonstrate and I really tried to master the move.  But it was awkward and I didn’t feel comfortable, and frankly I almost fell over so many times that at the end of the class I still was freaked out. I was just glad to be done.

I went to a few more GRIT classes and every time they said we didn’t need a bench I internally rejoiced.

Last Wednesday I couldn’t avoid it any more though. I seriously almost wussed out of going to class. But I knew I had to go, because I knew I had to face my fear.

GRIT rotates between strength, cardio and plyo formats. I knew that the plyo format was the one that would require jumping with the bench the most, and I knew that was the planned format for last Wednesday.

Once again, when the instructor said we would need a bench my heart rate went way up.  But I told myself, this is it, no excuses.

The first exercise we had to do was the hardest. Starting on one side of the bench, we had to jump sideways over it, land, and jump back to the original side. As soon as we started, I froze. I just could not psych myself up to even TRY.  At that minute the instructor (also the owner of the gym, gulp) walked over and stood right in front of me. She said “Do it. Just do it. You can do it.” So I took a breath, and forced my body up, and over that damn bench and landed, a bit awkwardly, without falling on my face. The instructor said “see? awesome job” and moved onto coaching someone else.  and I kept jumping, from one side, over the bench, to the other. And back again.

Don’t get me wrong, it was not easy. Every time I jumped over that bench I felt scared, but every time I landed on the other side successfully I felt like I was knocking out a brick in my mental wall.

After that set of exercises we moved on to jumping on and off the bench in different patterns and jumping over it from front to back.

By the end of the class I had jumped on, off and over that bench more times than I could count.

When I got in my car after class I felt like I had smashed my fear of that stupid bench. And I promised myself to never look back.  That’s when the tears started. It sounds silly, but that mental fear was really limiting me and knocking my confidence. I feel like I overcame that during that 30 minute GRIT plyo class.

Later in the week, I signed up for my first BodyStep class, knowing we would be using the bench for a ton of different exercises in the 60 minute class. I went to the BodyStep class on Saturday and rocked it.

If you have a fear I encourage you to smash it.  The feeling you will get from overcoming something that is holding you back is incredible.

FearQuote1

 

2014 Goals In Review

4 Feb

Hey there,

I just wanted to check in on how I did in my goals that I made for 2014!

My theme for my goals for 2014 was really all about getting stronger, mentally and physically.  And I think I succeeded in doing just that.

Healthy Living

Strength Training. Strength Training. Strength Training.  This was a huge success. BodyPump has been great for me and I feel myself becoming much stronger because of this.

I recently posted this on instagram but wanted to share a little BodyPump “Before and Current”… my first #transformationtuesday post.

Run Marathon #2 – Wineglass Marathon in October.  Success! and I PRed. I finished this race strongly and happy after a very strong training cycle.

Wineglass Marathon (4)

Focus on water intake.  I ended the year on a strong note with this, but it’s still something I want to focus on.

Yoga. Okay this was a pretty big fail. I did great with it during the Marathon taper period but other than that didn’t do so great.

Quality over Quantity with races.  The Wineglass Marathon was my focus in 2014. I did less races overall but have no regrets. I also feel like I finished many of my half marathons in 2014 feeling good and strong (though no PRs).

Battlefield Pro Photo

Focus on fresh and unprocessed. I did really great with this. I try to cook fresh, unprocessed meals, most week nights and have become much more comfortable with cooking as a result.  A lot of this is do to meal planning and prep on weekends.  It made a huge difference for me.

Personal

Focus on far away friends. I wish I could say I did better this year, but I didn’t.

More reading.  I definitely read more books in 2014 than I have in a while, but this is something I want to continue to improve on.

Focus on living in the now. I really tried to live in the moment in 2014 and overall I think I was successful. There were definitely moments where I was stressed out and a bit anxious but for the most part I was able to stop myself from wishing any moments away or worrying about the future.

At Home

Finish the basement of the house.  We finished this in March. YAY! A finished basement is a great thing. :)

Paint the interior. No progress on this… hopefully in 2015.

Overall I am happy with how I did on my goals in 2014, but feel there are definitely some things to continue to work on in 2015. I’ll be sharing my 2015 goals in an upcoming post soon!

Battlefield Half Marathon Race Recap

26 Jan

On November 8, 2014 I ran the Battlefield Half Marathon in Winchester, Virginia.  Unfortunately, I cannot find their website anymore (it seems to have been taken down), but it is put on by Frederick County Parks and Rec.  This was an inaugural race that my dad and I signed up for on a whim. We were looking for a race in early November in a state close to Pennsylvania. :)

For an inaugural race the packet pickup was really well organized!  It was held at a sports center and there were a good number of vendors, including some where you could by Gus and other running nutrition. They also offered a *free* pasta dinner at the expo, though my dad and I had already made plans to eat somewhere else.

We also got a really nice long sleeved tech shirt.

Battlefield Half Shirt

Since this race was in early November, it was the coldest race I had run this year. However I hate being hot when running, so I planned to wear either a tank top + arm sleeves or a short sleeved tech shirt + arm sleeves and capris.  There was also only 3 water stops on the half marathon course so I opted to run with my Camelbak since I need water more frequently.  I’d never raced with my Camelbak before but trained for the Wineglass Marathon with it so I knew I’d be fine.Battlefield Half Outfit

The morning of the race it was chilly – my Garmin data is saying it was 34 degrees! So I opted for the short sleeved tech shirt instead of the tank top.

My dad and I made the drive to the race start/finish at Kernstown Battlefield.  The area was gorgeous! Since it was chilly my dad and I hung out in the car until about 20 minutes before the start time.  We then went up closer to the start line and ducked inside the visitors center to stay warm until we heard the opening announcements.  It was a smaller race so this was totally doable. :)

The race started on time. The first 2 miles or so required us to actually run away from the battlefield, through a neighborhood and then back across the start line. 

Battlefield Pro Photo

I actually bought the above pro photo – that was after came back toward the start line.

My plan for this race was to do 3:30/1 Run/Walk intervals.  I also really wanted to try to run the run intervals strongly.  I did know that the course would be a bit of rolling hills so my plan was to tackle the big hills and run up them as much as I felt comfortable but not exhaust myself on them.  Then I would use the downhills to make up some time.  This was a strategy similar to what I used on the hilly Runner’s World Half course last October.

The course itself was really nice – lots of rural roads and gorgeous views. Lots of green. :)Battlefield Half Course

There was a relay option so everytime a relay exchange point was coming up there would be a lot of people cheering.  I never felt alone running this course, but it wasn’t crowded either.

My outfit choice ended up being perfect – as the sun came out things warmed up and I felt very comfortable.  I never ended up taking the arm sleeves off until I finished.

Carrying my Camelbak was also the right choice for me, I needed water many times when there was not a water station. It also meant I didn’t have to stop. :)

My 3:30/1 intervals felt great as well. I felt like I could good fast enough on the run portions but wasn’t tiring myself out.

Around mile 11 I remember thinking how great it felt to be passing people! :) I took this as a sign that I had paced myself appropriately.

From mile 10 on I started to really look at my watch and do the math.  I realized I was on pace to do a sub-3. Considering I have only done this one other time in Cleveland in 2011 I was thrilled!  I wasn’t sure if a PR was possible but I decided to keep following my run/walk intervals until the very end and then push myself for the last .25 mile. I knew that if I wasn’t careful I’d start going too fast and burn out over the last 3 miles.

I finished the race in 2:58:48. My fast half since May 2011, and only 2 minutes or so off my PR.  I was momentarily bummed I missed my PR but realized it was incredible that I had run this hilly course that quickly within a month of my marathon and within a few weeks of another half marathon!

Battlefield Half 2

I kept thinking about how strong and proud I felt. It was the perfect last half marathon of 2014. :)

2015 Race Plans (Tuesdays on the Run)

13 Jan

On Tuesdays I am joining a link up with MCM Mamma Runs, Run the Great Wide Somewhere and My No Guilt Life. You can find out more about the link up here.

This weeks topic: 2015 Race Plans!

I’ve never been one to majorly plan out my races for the year all at once. I tend to sign up for a few and then do some research, and then sign up for a few more as I feel like it. So here’s what my race calendar looks like right now, but I’m sure it will change as things get more solidified.

January & February

  • Nothing…. Pennsylvania and the east is cold this time of year!

March

  • My husband and I go to Florida every year so I always look for a 5k or 10k that I can run one morning while we are there.  So I may end up running something, or I may not.
  • I may also run a local 5k towards the end of March or beginning of April.

April

  • Hershey 10k (4/11) – Maybe. I have a hotel room booked but am still on the fence about doing the actual race and will probably wait until February to register.  I do really enjoy this race though.
  • Asbury Park Half Marathon (4/18) – This will be my first New Jersey race!

May

  • Pittsburgh Half Marathon (5/3) – I love this race, so I always sign up when registration first opens! This will be my fourth year running it. :) Race recaps: 2012, 2013, 2014.

June, July, August, September, October

  • Yet to be scheduled, but there will probably be a 5k in July and there is always potential for a Color Run or Mud Run during the summer months.
  • In September or October it would be nice to do a half marathon or two.

November

  • Rock n’ Roll Savannah Half Marathon (11/7) & Rock n’ Roll Savannah 5k (11/8) – I am so excited to travel to Savannah, GA for this race! My dad and I try to do a destination race every year and for 2015 this is what we picked! I’m also excited about a Half/5k Double weekend, and checking another state off the list!
  • I’ll probably run a Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning – I love getting in a run before a day of relaxation and food!

December

  • I always end up running a local New Years Eve 5k so there is a high chance this will happen again.

So that’s my year in racing, so far!

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