Extreme Newsletter—Diet and fitness tips, recipes, and motivation

SUCCESS STORY WINNERS, MYPLATE REVIEW Issue #87 06/30/11

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Meet Beachbody's Inspirational Success Stories

My doctor described me as a 36-year-old walking heart attack . . .

By Gregg Bird, 2011 Million Dollar Body Game® Grand Prize Winner

My life before P90X was pretty basic. I would eat breakfast while driving to work, consisting of two cigarettes, a king-size pack of Reese's Sticks, and a cup of coffee. I'd eat fast food for lunch every day. I'd go home, take a nap, and eat more fast food—usually pizza, cheese steaks, French fries, or potato chips—for dinner. Then I'd retire to the couch for either another nap or to watch TV until 9:00 or 10:00 PM, and then it was time to eat again—popcorn, candy bars, chips, etc. Throughout the day, I'd smoke about two packs of cigarettes.

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Three days after my 16th wedding anniversary, I woke up and could not stand what I saw in the mirror. I had become depressed, mean, and hopeless. My doctor described me as a 36-year-old walking heart attack and placed me on medication for very high cholesterol and type 2 diabetes. I had been thinking that I should just end my life, but knew that I was better than that. I knew that I had never taken the easy way and that I wouldn't this time either.

I had been watching the infomercials for P90X for some time and jokingly telling my wife that I could do it. Then we'd laugh and eat more junk food. In December of 2009, I saw the commercial again and remembered that a friend had bought it, so I asked him if I could borrow it. I started doing it, but there were some obstacles:

  1. Junk food habits.
  2. Wanting to be lazy and not work out.
  3. Naysayers, whom I'd thought were friends.
  4. Traveling for work.
  5. Muscle soreness and tiredness.

I overcame them by just doing my workouts and eating healthy. I found that I actually like vegetables after not eating them for over 30 years. And I found that my attitude was changing—I was becoming . . . happier!

There are two very key things that I found from Beachbody that have helped me tremendously: Shakeology and Results and Recovery Formula. Shakeology has helped me get my cholesterol and blood sugar lower than they've ever been, and I no longer have to take any medication.

Results and Recovery Formula does absolutely everything that it is promoted to. It is the only thing that takes away the stiff and sore muscles, and I drink it after every single workout.

I have since completed three rounds of P90X, one round of P90X Plus, and one round of INSANITY, and I am currently doing a hybrid version of P90X/INSANITY. I continue to lose body fat, grow muscle, and become faster, stronger, and healthier!

 
I joined Beachbody as a Coach and am on a mission to help others gain the happiness and healthiness that I am experiencing. I 100 percent believe and support the push by this company to End the Trend of obesity, and that in itself inspires and keeps the fire burning within me to remain fit and healthy. My lifestyle is now one of healthy, clean eating and daily workouts. I now host a weekly Fit Club and am getting ready to start a second one. Me! The guy who hid in the corner because he was embarrassed that people looked at him and made fun of the "fat guy"—now I'm standing up front and leading people who are sweating and working out to a Beachbody workout program. I am alive and loving it!

Help others. Become a Coach. LEARN MORE

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My Life Was Once a Series of "I Can't Do Thats"—Now It's "How Can I Do MORE?"

By Meghan Kehoe, 2011 Million Dollar Body Game® Grand Prize Winner

Before and After Photos of Meghan K.I was always a heavy kid, and after experiencing an abusive situation in my preteen years, I turned to food to cope and began gaining weight. When I got married in 2004, I weighed almost 250 pounds and wore a size 22 wedding dress. I hid behind baggy clothes and had very little self-confidence. I was depressed and felt hopeless, and was growing apart from my husband because I felt so bad about myself. I settled for less in every aspect of my life because I did not feel like I deserved anything good.

My only good times were our annual trips to Disney World. Even then I had to Google which rides I would fit on, and wear special shorts under all my clothes to prevent a rash from my skin chafing. I dreaded the water park because I needed to wear a swimsuit, and I couldn't parasail or go horseback riding with my husband because I was over the weight limit.

My husband and I desperately wanted to start a family, and after a few unexplained miscarriages that just sent me straight to the fridge or the drive-through, I headed to the doctor. I was on the borderline of adult onset diabetes, not to mention the high blood pressure. The doctor then told me I had developed polycystic ovarian syndrome, a hormonal imbalance that causes infertility, weight gain, and facial hair growth. I had hit rock bottom; I felt completely defeated. The doctor told me my only chance at motherhood and survival was to take off the excess weight in hopes that it would balance my insulin levels and hormone levels.

ChaLEAN EXTREME®—BURN UP TO 60% BODY FAT—SAVE $10.00 My doctor offered surgical procedures like gastric bypass or the lap band, but neither of those options felt right to me. I truly felt the only way I would achieve long-term success would be to finally take responsibility for myself and do the work on my own. I had a gym membership, but being so large, I was intimidated by the weight room. I worked closely with my Team Beachbody Coach to select a program. Since muscle toning was imperative to my overall success, she suggested ChaLEAN Extreme.

The program has completely transformed my body and my life. I am able to do things I never thought possible. I take pride in my appearance and love shopping, now that I can shop anywhere. I no longer worry about fitting on the rides at Disney; I am now the first in line. For the first time, my blood pressure is normal and I don't have to worry about diabetes. Whereas my life was once a series of "I can't do thats," now I am constantly looking for ways to do more!

Get a free personal Coach at TEAM BEACHBODY® today!

If you're ready to take charge of your life like Gregg and Meghan did, there's a community of support and free personalized Coaching available to you at TeamBeachbody.com. Click here to learn more.

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Questions about your workout program, diet, the latest newsletter, or anything wellness related? Chat with Steve Edwards, the overseer of Beachbody fitness and diet development (and who also serves as your Fitness Advisor on the Message Boards), in the Beachbody Chat Room on Tuesday, July 5th, at 3:00 PM ET, 12:00 PM PT.

Check out our Fitness Advisor's responses to your comments in Steve Edwards' Mailbag on the Message Boards. If you'd like to receive Steve Edwards' Mailbag by email, click here to subscribe to Steve's Health and Fitness Newsletter. And if you'd like to know more about Steve's views on fitness, nutrition, and outdoor sports, read his blog, The Straight Dope, recently named one of the Top 50 blogs covering the sports industry by the Masters in Sports Administration.

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Say Goodbye to the Food Pyramid!

By Denis Faye

In their continued quest to be a relevant source of information regarding the American diet, the USDA retired their food pyramid earlier this month, replacing it with MyPlate, the new, improved—not to mention circular—representation of how they think the general public should eat. The recommendations really didn't change from the 2010 food pyramid revamp, but it's progress nonetheless, I suppose. It may have taken them 19 years, but the government has finally figured out that average Americans tend to eat on round plates, as opposed to triangular ones.

USDA's MyPlate

The new graphic features a plate filled with equal portions of veggies and grains, smaller but still substantial portions of fruits and proteins, and a small(ish) serving of dairy. While these portion sizes haven't changed, MyPlate is an improvement on the old recommendations based primarily on the plain, clear language featured front and center on the main page of the Web site, right below the graphic:

Balancing Calories

  • Enjoy your food, but eat less.
  • Avoid oversized portions.

Foods to Increase

  • Make half your plate fruits and vegetables.
  • Make at least half your grains whole grains.
  • Switch to fat-free or low-fat (1%) milk.

Foods to Reduce

  • Compare sodium in foods like soup, bread, and frozen meals—and choose the foods with lower numbers.
  • Drink water instead of sugary drinks.

For you Beachbody types, this is all no-brainer intel, but if you walk down to your local mega-box store and have a look all the folks pulling elastic-waisted pants off the plus-size racks, you'll see visual evidence that Americans just don't know how to eat. So good for the USDA for using simple, basic language to point out universal truths.

In defense of the USDA

USDA LogoIf you spend much time in the food blogosphere, you know that the USDA's latest educational effort has many detractors. Complaints are probably best summed up by the blog Fooducate:

"With all due respect, the USDA should not be the government body dishing out (pun intended) nutrition advice . . . It's not a good idea to have the same organization that promotes agricultural and food production and sales be the one telling us what's healthy to eat."

While this is a valid point, I think we should save the conspiracy theories for Elvis, JFK, and the UFOs. Big Agra might have played a role in making MyPlate closer to McPlate, but I think a far more oppressive special interest group at play here is the American people in general. For example, let's look at the USDA's continued insistence that we need up to 8 servings of grains a day. In truth, while grains are a perfectly acceptable source of carbs, fiber, and other nutrients for 90 percent of the population, they pale nutritionally when compared to vegetables. However, if the government came out and told consumers they'd be better off with more salads and fewer sandwiches, Americans just wouldn't have it. We love our bread, so my guess is that the USDA keeps the grain numbers up in order to keep us from ignoring the recommendations completely. A telling sign of this is the bright red italic, large-font message plastered all over the MyPlate website: "Key Consumer Message: Make at least half your grains whole grains."

Half? Really? I haven't had a refined grain in about 2 weeks. There's no need for refined grain in a healthy diet—and I don't think the USDA put this plea in there to appease Big Agra, which profits from grain sales whether consumers eat the bran and husk or not. This "Key Consumer Message" has the distinct ring of a negotiation you have with a 6-year-old when you're trying to get him to eat his broccoli. It was put in there to appease those Americans who refuse to accept that Pop-Tarts® aren't a complete nutritional source.

Another complaint a lot of people have is the continued importance placed on dairy in the recommendations. I'm prone to agree, but in defense of the USDA, the site does plainly feature the section, "For those who choose not to consume milk products."

Where they screwed up

Woman Eating SaladWarm fuzzies aside, I do think the USDA could have done a few things differently. As I mentioned earlier, their treatment of grains was a little off. Also, their handling of protein leaves a lot to be desired. It assumes that consumers eat meat. While there is an informative section on the vegetarian diet, I'd rather see a more integrated approach to plant-based nutrition. For people who regularly eat meat and just want a few nonmeat protein options, MyPlate offhandedly recommends beans and nuts, and that's about it. In a way, this is decent advice, because combining these two foods with all the grain you're supposed to eat will give you all the amino acids you need to have complete proteins, but a more effective path would have been to create a whole separate nut-and-bean portion equal to the grain portion. With the guaranteed complete proteins this approach would introduce into the user's diet, he or she could reduce the meat protein portion to a healthier level.

Another notable absence from MyPlate is education on healthy fats vs. unhealthy fats, save a vague message stating, "Oils are NOT a food group, but they provide essential nutrients. Therefore, oils are included in USDA food patterns." Given the vast amount of research that indicates the health benefits of good fats, not to mention the fact that some fatty acids are ESSENTIAL to human health, the USDA might want to think about giving fat its own food group. Under this umbrella, they could stress the importance of foods like olive oil, avocados, and, most of all, super-nutritious nuts and seeds.

Some of you might note that I've just suggested adding two additional food groups to MyPlate, thus further complicating an already complex topic to educate people on. I concede that I understand why the USDA sugar-coats (literally!) their nutritional advice, with a little refined flour here and a little ham there, but that doesn't mean they need to dumb down their message. As long as information is presented clearly to them, humans are capable of understanding remarkably complex issues, be they delivered via circle or triangle.

Case in point? The University of Michigan's Healing Foods Pyramid (http://www.med.umich.edu/umim/food-pyramid/index.htm), which offers the nut/bean and fat portion changes I suggested, plus several others, in a concise, understandable way. It breaks down food choices into weekly and daily needs; stresses the importance of hydration; and even includes space for "accompaniments," a euphemism for "junk food."

The USDA could learn a thing or two from these college kids. They should certainly spend a little time on the Healing Foods Pyramid before coming out with their next round of nutritional suggestions. I applaud the USDA for trying to do the right thing by the American public, but maybe it's time to step up the game a little and assume we can handle a little tough nutritional love. Next time, let's spend a little less time worrying about the shape of the plate and a little more time figuring out what should go on it.

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Questions about your workout program, diet, the latest newsletter, or anything wellness related? Chat with Steve Edwards, the overseer of Beachbody fitness and diet development (and who also serves as your Fitness Advisor on the Message Boards), in the Beachbody Chat Room on Tuesday, July 5th, at 3:00 PM ET, 12:00 PM PT.

If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.

Check out our Fitness Advisor's responses to your comments in Steve Edwards' Mailbag on the Message Boards. If you'd like to receive Steve Edwards' Mailbag by email, click here to subscribe to Steve's Health and Fitness Newsletter. And if you'd like to know more about Steve's views on fitness, nutrition, and outdoor sports, read his blog, The Straight Dope, recently named one of the Top 50 blogs covering the sports industry by the Masters in Sports Administration.

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The World's Healthiest Foods

By Denis Faye

The World's Healthiest Foods by George Mateljan. GMF Publishing, $39.95.

Various Healthy Foods

The World's Healthiest Foods, by George MateljianThere's no shortage of information out there about healthy foods. Everywhere you look, someone's telling you to eat this superfood or that superfood. It's all great advice, but most of the time, there's not a lot of follow-through. Thanks for the tip on the benefits of seaweed, man, but how exactly am I supposed to prepare kelp, anyway? And yes, I know watermelon is good for me, but every time I get one, it's all mealy and gross inside!

So big kudos to George Mateljan for assembling The World's Healthiest Foods, in my opinion the world's ultimate resource for which foods are healthy, what's healthy about them, how to pick them, and how to prepare them.

Vegetables in Olive OilThis 880-page book features 100 foods divided into vegetables and salads, fruits, fish and shellfish, nuts and seeds, poultry and lean meats, beans and legumes, dairy and eggs, whole grains, and herbs and spices. Mateljan picked the foods based on six criteria: They had to be nutrient-rich. They had to be whole foods. They had to be familiar foods. They had to be readily available. (Seaweed is a lot easier to find in stores than you'd think.) They had to be affordable. And they had to taste good.

That last one is slightly subjective, but if you can't find a dozen staples that you like out of the 100 foods listed in this book, there's really no point in your eating at all; you might as well just go on a hunger strike, saving the brown rice and walnuts for those of us who want to lead long, healthy lives.

WrapEach food entry is divided into several sections. You get a complete nutritional breakdown, including vitamins, minerals, carotenoids, amino acids, fatty acids—the works. There's a section that explains the various aspects of the food, including varieties; peak season; how to pick, store, and prepare it; and potential negative aspects (or "biochemical considerations"). Entries then go into even more detail on the health benefits and feature a simple, yummy recipe or two. The recipes include little "Flavor Tips" that suggest how to tweak the ingredients to suit your tastes. It's a neat idea that I'm surprised doesn't show up in more cookbooks.

Foods that might be considered controversial, including soybeans and milk, feature an extended Q&A section that addresses all the issues.

This book should be required reading for any healthy eater, whether you're new to the practice or you're a veteran food nerd and you want to Dig Deeper® regarding the stuff you've been buying at the farmers' market all these years. Odds are The World's Healthiest Foods will become a centerpiece of your cookbook collection.

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Questions about your workout program, diet, the latest newsletter, or anything wellness related? Chat with Steve Edwards, the overseer of Beachbody fitness and diet development (and who also serves as your Fitness Advisor on the Message Boards), in the Beachbody Chat Room on Tuesday, July 5th, at 3:00 PM ET, 12:00 PM PT.

If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.

Check out our Fitness Advisor's responses to your comments in Steve Edwards' Mailbag on the Message Boards. If you'd like to receive Steve Edwards' Mailbag by email, click here to subscribe to Steve's Health and Fitness Newsletter. And if you'd like to know more about Steve's views on fitness, nutrition, and outdoor sports, read his blog, The Straight Dope, recently named one of the Top 50 blogs covering the sports industry by the Masters in Sports Administration.

Submit A CommentTell A Friend Bookmark and Share

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Beachbody® Summit 2011


Weren't in Los Angeles last weekend? Then you missed the biggest Beachbody event yet: the 2011 Beachbody Summit. Awards, new product announcements, and more than 2,000 people working out at once with Debbie, Chalene, Brett, Leandro, Shaun, Donna, and Tony in the L.A. Live Nokia Plaza. Click below to watch the video.

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Recipe: Crocked Coconut Macaroon Shakeology®

Crocked Coconut Macaroon Shakeology®At this year's 2011 Beachbody Coach Summit, the Shakeology chefs came out in force with the ultimate recipes they'd developed to shake up their daily Shakeology regimen. In the Chocolate category, the winner was Suzy F. She's lost 25 pounds with INSANITY® and Shakeology, and she actually had to have her dress altered so it wouldn't fall off when she went up to receive her award!

  • 1 scoop chocolate Shakeology
  • 1 cup coconut water
  • 1 tsp. rum extract
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup light coconut milk
  • 1 oz. frozen Thai coconut meat
  • 1 Tbsp. coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup ice

Place ingredients in blender and blend until thoroughly mixed and creamy. Makes 1 serving.

Nutritional Information (per serving):

Calories Protein Fiber Carbs Fat Total Saturated Fat
499 21 g 8 g 31 g 31 g 25 g
NOTE: If you're feeling a little "sticker shock" from the calorie count and fat grams, remember that coconut contains some of the healthiest, most heart-smart fat out there. But if you want to reduce the calorie count to 359, just cut the amount of coconut milk, meat, and oil in half.

Fuel your workouts with Shakeology® THE HEALTHIEST MEAL OF THE DAY®—Click here for FREE shipping†

If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.

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