Bulu Box Unboxing

I was sent a Bulu Box for review purposes.  In case you are not aware, Bulu Box is a new subscription service which is $10/month (which includes shipping). Bulu Box allows subscribers an outlet to discover vitamin, supplements and health products they may not be able to get their hands on or may be iffy to try out purchasing a full-size product. Subscribers also have the opportunity to earn 50 Reward Points (valued at $5) each month to use in the Bulu Box online store to buy a full-sized product of a product you’ve tried and enjoyed.
When signing up you can choose between two different types of Bulu Boxes: Bulu Box (focused more on health and nutrition with lifestyle extras such as DVDs, gift cards, etc.) or the Bulu Box Weight Loss (focused on helping you lose weight featuring products such as vitamins and supplements, fitness and healthy eating products).  The subscription options vary between monthly ($10), 3 months ($30), 6 ($60) months or 12 months ($110).  The price break down is different for each, so you have to be really sure you enjoy the service before signing up for an extended period of time.
The box I was sent was the original Bulu Box, not the weight loss box.  The samples received within my box are as follows:
          Dream Water. This water is supposed to help you sleep better – it contains GABA, Melatonin and 5-HTP.
          QSpeed CoQ10 100mg. This is a natural flavored orange, sugar free, fast melt tablets to provide heart health support, improve exercise performance and increase cellular energy.
          Prolab Quick Fire. This is to be used to help surge your workouts by providing your body with nitric-oxide-induced blood flow for muscle contractions and promote vascular.
          Redd Remedies atEAST PM. The natural pill is supposed to calm anxiety and nervous tension which may cause restlessness.
          AeroShot Energy. This is an air-based shot of energy delivering a powder blend of B vitamins and 100mg of caffeine that are supposed to allow the effects to start right away.
          iTrain Download Workout $50 gift card. iTrain offers downloadable workouts that can be loaded onto your mp3 player.
If you’re interested in signing up for a Bulu Box, do so through the company website as follows: http://www.bulubox.com/
Personally I don’t feel the Bulu Box original is something I’d be in the market to order on my own, but I am interested in seeing what the Bulu Box Weightloss has to offer since I am currently in weight loss “mode.”
QUESTION:
Have you signed up and received a Bulu box?

My personal philosophy around the psychology of weight loss


One thing that’s not always talked about with weight loss is how it’s not only a journey into finding health and wellness – but it’s also a journey that’s psychological and emotional. Now, I am not a clinical psychologist or anyone with a psychology background – I am simply a girl who has struggled with her weight her entire life (and I’m talking since I was 3 or 4).
I have lost weight countless times in the past, but I’ve learned in order to truly succeed and to stick with it is to work on the other factors that come along with weight loss.  The reason you started your journey alters as you continue down your path, your outlooks change, and your overall environment can and will change.
Weight loss is not only physical, but it’s also emotional and psychological. Our bodies transform, our habits change, but our minds are the last thing to switch over and sometimes that switch can take years. I’ve learned that regardless of what my body may look like (in clothes, out of clothes, etc) I have to love myself for who I am. My body may not be perfect, but I have to remember where it’s gotten me and what I’ve put it through when I was heavier. I try to remember where my legs have carried me, what my arms have lifted. If I focus on the positive, it makes it so much easier and so much more worth it.
For instance after my first nearly 100 pound weight loss, I could look in a mirror and still see myself as that nearly 400 pound girl when in reality I was anything but.  My brain hadn’t caught up with seeing the new me.  I determined to set my thoughts on positive thinking.  Negativity wasn’t and will not get me anywhere in life.  In fact negativity was the reason I was tipping the scale at nearly 400 pounds.  Everything was a downer; there was no light at the end of the tunnel.  I quickly learned that continuing with that mentality I was only going to hit a brick wall, throw my hands up and give up. I didn’t want to get to that point, so I began changing things slowly.  I tried to see the positive in all aspects – life, work, relationships, friends, family, etc.  Just because someone is having a bad day, it doesn’t mean that I have to let that affect me and my mood and I certainly didn’t need to eat over the frustration they were dealing with.  Over time I realized that if someone was affecting me in a negative way I had to remove myself from that relationship.  Negativity is a malicious disease and it can eat away at you and those around you before you know it.
I’m not saying you can train your brain to switch over in a week, or even a month – but I am saying it’s a gradual process and it takes time and it takes effort.  Finding someone who you can trust to talk to is a huge help – boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife, friend, family.  If you can’t find that, there are many therapists out there who will listen to you speak and give you completely unbiased platform to express yourself and even provide unbiased advice, etc.
I admit there are still instances when clothes shopping that I find myself in the plus size section. It then clicks and I ask myself “Why am I over here?” and I move over to the other sections to browse for clothing.  I realize the reason why I sometimes end up in the plus size section is because for my entire pre-teen, teenage and adult life I’ve shopped in plus size sections exclusively so it’s what’s familiar.  Shopping in a juniors section or non-plus size section of a store is foreign to me – even after shopping in those sections for over a year.
It’s a journey, a one day at a time journey that coincides with your healthy lifestyle. Learn to love yourself (and if you can’t do it right now – fake it ‘til you make it), to love your body (remember how strong your body is, keep in mind where you’ve been, where you are and where your ultimate destination is – but please keep realistic expectations) and to enjoy life (because life is no fun when you’re glum).
Four years ago I was a very miserable person inside and out. I’d mask my pain but it was evident in my annoyance, my anger and my “I don’t give a shit” attitude.  Today, I smile a lot more, I’m happy and I work on me day in and day out.  This is a lifetime journey – both my weight loss journey and psychological journey. But keeping myself in check really makes things and the journey so much easier.  I wouldn’t change who I am today because I’ve grown so much over the last 3 years – emotionally, physically and psychologically.  I’m proud of myself today and most importantly I love myself today.

Meetings make a difference


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While sitting in my Weight Watcher meeting I was struck with inspiration and decided on a few topics to blog about – this being one of them.
Being a Weight Watcher I’ve quickly learned that meetings undoubtedly make a difference!  I understand there’s a price differential between online vs. weekly vs. a monthly pass.  Many people find success solely using the online program – whereas others find success with meetings.  I’m in the success with meetings category.
When I joined Weight Watchers three years ago, it never crossed my mind to be solely an online member. I know me. I would end up winging it because at the end of the day I’d be weighing myself and nobody but myself would know my successes/failures.
With meetings I find they give me a sense of accountability.  I know every Thursday I am going to have to step on the scale and I am going to be faced with whatever number is on that scale.  Up, down, or the same – it’s going to be presented to me and I am going to have to take that and keep moving. I’m also going to have to swallow the fact that someone else (a Weight Watchers employee who isn’t going to judge me) is providing this information to me.  Once again – I get that sense of accountability.
The meetings themselves are extremely helpful. With being a monthly pass member, I can go to a meeting every day if I wished, but I typically stick to my Thursday night meeting only.  Each week I learn new tips and tricks.  Yes, I’ve been doing this 3 years and I still learn new things. Listening to what fellow members have to say can truly change your way of thinking and it can completely lift your morale.  Considering we’re all different, we all think differently and we all do things differently.  There’s a lot of understanding, relating and even finding humor in the topics being discussed – at least in my experience.
I know every week on Thursday I cannot schedule to be anywhere or do anything between 5:30-6:45. If someone wants to go to dinner, we’ve got to schedule that for after 7pm – if not, then we’ll need to pick another day.  I am a stickler with my meetings.  I’m quite positive everyone I work with and everyone that’s around me knows about my Thursday meeting.  One time at lunch at work I mentioned how traffic was annoying because it almost made me late to my meeting and my coworker said “Meeting? What, like, AA?”.  Close … but no cigar!
After being a member 3 years, I have only skipped out on probably 4 meetings because of prescheduled travel plans.  When this happens I make sure I find another nearby location to at least weigh-in to have that accountability for the week and to pick up a Weight Watchers Weekly.  One time my boyfriend and I were considering going to South Carolina and I found a Weight Watchers location nearby where we were considering staying in South Carolina so I wouldn’t have to miss a meeting.
I love meetings and even once I hit goal and then lifetime (because that will happen!) I’ll still be attending meetings. Why? Because meetings work.
QUESTION:
Do you like attending Weight Watchers meetings or are you considering joining meetings?

Shannon’s experience: Weight Watchers – One Amazing Day

 


I had the immense pleasure of sharing my weight loss journey with a group of individuals at a Weight Watchers One Amazing Day event yesterday.  When I was asked to participate I admit I was scared to death and part of me wanted to back out.  I’m not the most comfortable with public speaking and being heavier practically my entire life I’ve always slid into the room (as unnoticed as possible), mingled in the back and quickly exited.  So the thought of being the center of attention panicked me just a little bit.  But the new me stepped into place and said “You’re passionate about this and a lot of people tell you you’re an inspiration to them.  Do this.  Do it for them.  Do it for yourself.  YOU deserve this!”  So I did it – I signed up and took the 1 o’clock spot.

I know I am not at my goal weight, but I have lost a significant amount of weight over the time I have been a member.  I openly participate at my home meeting and am not afraid to share my advice, my thoughts and any tips/tricks that I have found that work for myself.  If they work for me, they may very well work for someone else.  So my philosophy is why not share?
I joined Weight Watchers in February 2010 because I wanted change and for the first time in my life and most importantly: I wanted it for myself.  I’ve always been the heavier kid as early as my days in kindergarten all the way through college.  I was unhappy with my size and because I was an emotional eater, I would eat to pacify my feelings about my looks (while I would also eat to pacify any emotion I was feeling – happy, sad, angry, elated) – which only aided in me gaining more and more weight.  Family and friends would tell me I should consider losing weight because I had my whole life ahead of me – but I wasn’t in a mind frame where I wanted to take advice from anyone.  I was comfortably wearing blinders and those blinders did not allow me to SEE myself.  I knew the outside world could see me but if I didn’t see me, they couldn’t – right?
Months later, I had my “ah-ha moment” when I finally saw myself for the size that I had become (in a photograph).  I also found myself going shopping to buy clothes in a larger size and thought to myself “This is crazy… what am I doing?”  At that point, I was so sick and tired of being sick and tired I had decided that enough was enough – I needed to get healthy for myself and for myself only.  I knew Weight Watchers worked, I had joined with a family member when I was about 18 years old and lost a good amount of weight.  So, keeping my intended journey to myself (because I didn’t want anyone to tell me to join Weight Watchers because if they told me, I wouldn’t have joined – self sabotage at it’s greatest) I joined Weight Watchers on a Thursday afternoon, on my way home from work, and have never looked back.
To date, I have lost 175 pounds on the program.  I’m about 30 pounds away from my goal weight (BMI) and I plan on obtaining that goal weight this year.  It’s been a long, amazing and incredibly rewarding three years.  Weight Watchers has helped me change my life for the better  I’ve embraced this lifestyle change (including my tracking, measuring and weighing) with open arms and have praised the program and how fabulously it works (if you’re willing to work with it).  I’m a healthier, happier and utterly positive person today.  Such a night and day switch from the person I used to be.
So my advice to anyone who is considering joining or even considering giving up – BELIEVE.  Believe in yourself.  Believe in the program.  It works, but you just have to be willing to do the work and work with it.  It’s not something that’s going to eat up all your free time.  Once you get the hang of it and figure out the points for your frequently eaten foods, it becomes second nature.  And as you see results, you’re going to feel more in-tune and you’re going to want to try a little harder to reach that next goal.  My advice to anyone who’s frustrated: BREATHE.  You did not put on your weight in a week.  Think of how long you’ve been the weight you were/are currently.  Realize it takes time – but once you’re on the journey it’s the most fulfilling thing you’ll ever do.  My advice to anyone who’s struggling: RE-EVALUATE.  Dig into the problem area – what are you struggling with?  What are your goals at this current phase of your journey (because they do differ from when you first start).  If you’re bored – switch it up!  Switch up what you’re eating, add an extra 10 minutes of a different activity and remember continue to keep that positive frame of mind.
You will get there; just believe in yourself that you can and that you will … the rest of just a proverbial cake walk.

Pumpkin "Flan"

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A number of weeks back I was really wanting something sweet – flan particularly.  I love authentic Spanish flan.  It’s soft, creamy, sweet and just downright delicious.  One of my close friends mom is from the Dominical Republic and she gave me her recipe a number of years ago and I have made it a handful of times and it’s seriously a party in your mouth BUT it’s not a party on your waistline (tons of sugar and fat).  I was browsing the Weight Watchers website one day and found this pumpkin flan recipe and put it into my favorites to try later.  I had all the ingredients in the house, except for the orange juice, so I picked up a small single serving container at Target and quickly made this later on in the weekend.
The original recipe showed the flans in individual ramicans but since I don’t have any I decided to make it in a large pan and cut it up into the 8 servings.  I will say though – this isn’t a flan consistency, it’s more of a pumpkin pie filling consistency.  It’s good BUT it would be SO much better with a little crushed graham cracker crumbs over the top with a dollop of cool whip.  That’s the one thing I didn’t have so it tasted kind of plain – but served cold with whip cream it’s good – with graham cracker crumbs it would be even better.
By the way – the one thing I switched in the recipe was instead of using individual seasonings (which I should have done) I used pumpkin pie spice instead.
If you’re interested in trying this out for yourself here’s the recipe:
½ cup brown sugar (unpacked)
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground clove
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
16 ounce canned pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie)
1 cup fat free evaporated milk
¼ cup unsweetened orange juice (I used the 50 Cal Tropicana)
¾ cup fat free egg substitute (egg beaters)
Mix together the brown sugar, cinnamon, clove, cayenne and salt in a bowl.  Whisk in the pumpkin, evaporated milk, orange juice and egg substitute.  Once mixed divide into 8 custard cups OR as I did pour into a glass baking pan.
Place the container (either cups or baking pan) into a roasting pan and pour boiling water around – about an inch deep.
Bake in a pre-heated oven set at 350* for about 45 minutes – the flan should be firm around the edges and just slightly puffy.  When done cooking remove your cups or pan from the water (careful – this is pretty dangerous) and let it cool completely before putting into the fridge.

Healthy Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Who knew having chocolate covered strawberries for breakfast would not only be healthy BUT delicious at the same time?  I certainly wasn’t sure how it was going to turn out, but I’m glad I tried it because it was delicious!

I started off by putting a teaspoon of baking cocoa powder in a sandwich baggie.  I added in a sprinkle of cinnamon and 1/2 a packet of Equal.  I mixed it together – then washed my strawberries, dried them just a tad, then cut them into pieces and added those pieces into my sandwich baggie with the cocoa mixture.

I sealed the bag shut and shook it up — the powdered ingredients easily covering the strawberries.  I then dropped them into a bowl and ate as a side to my breakfast (ham sandwich on wheat).  The strawberries were delicious!  The cocoa turned a little wet so it wasn’t dry and ready to choke me at any minute.  Some of the strawberries as they sat in the bowl got very chocolatey.  Sinfully delicious!

This was 0 Points Plus Values since the teaspoon of cocoa powder was 0 pts — and strawberries are free under the plan.

Let me take a moment to introduce myself …

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I decided to make this blog because this is something that’s very near and dear to my heart. I enjoy blogging about health & beauty, but I’m VERY passionate about my path to a healthy lifestyle.  My name is Shannon, I’m a 27 year old young woman from New England who has struggled with her weight since as far back as I can remember.  Taking control of my own destiny I decided that I NEEDED to get healthy for myself.  My mind was in the game and my decision was made and I went full force towards that goal, no looking back.  It was one of the best decisions I have ever made for myself.  As I’ve become more comfortable (public speaking isn’t nearly as daunting as it used to be – but I still do get a little shy), I find I enjoy helping those around me work towards finding their courage and obtaining their goal.  I’m very open to speaking with anyone about their weight loss or how to help switch things up in their journeys.