Personal Health Intiative Training

Archive for November, 2011

Tips For a Healthy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving does not have to be the start of your 10 pound holiday gain! Use these tips to keep your cool and to keep those numbers on the scale steady!

  • If you are visiting someone else, offer to bring two dishes. These dishes can be healthy and tasty at the same time. You want to consider other people but also yourself when preparing these dishes. You can clean up any dish without sacrificing flavor. Bring a salad or green bean dish. When you eat, fill most of your plate with your healthy food.
  • Exercise on Thanksgiving morning. Hit the weight room and do heavy cardio in the morning to get your metabolism burning those calories. You can also sign up to do a Thanksgiving race. Many cities have 5k races on Thanksgiving day. You don’t have to run, you can walk or jog/walk.
  • Eat breakfast, lunch, and snacks as usual. Do not wait until dinner to eat. You will wreck your metabolism by doing this. You will also prevent yourself from overeating when you see all that delicious food in front of you. If you are going out-of-town, take your breakfast and snack foods with you (protein shake, oatmeal, protein bars, sandwiches etc…). Try not to eat fast food on the way. You are already going to indulge in a Thanksgiving meal. Why add more fat on top of that?
  • Take a small bite of everything. This will keep you from feeling deprived. Just get a spoonful of casserole, pie, cake etc…you will have satisfied your need to try it. If you fill up on veggies and turkey you will be less likely to eat a lot of the other foods. (Beware of the salt and fat laden collard greens. Most people turn these healthy greens into a very fattening side…just get a little bit)
  • Drink a whole lot of water before you eat. It will help fill you up.
  • Do not take a “to-go” plate. If you don’t take it with you, you can’t eat it.
  • Use this day as your cheat day. Eat SUPER clean for the rest of the week. This will soften the damage. Enjoy yourself. This is a day to be with family and friends. It is only one day out of the year BUT it is not an excuse to be a glutton. Don’t fall into the trap of holiday weight gain. It is all marketing strategy to get you to spend a whole bunch of money on food, gain weight, and then spend a bunch of money trying to lose it.

Here are some websites for healthy recipe ideas. If you are the cook, you have control. HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Clean Eating Magazine

Eating Well

Kalyn’s Kitchen 

Paleo Diet Lifestyle

Cooking Light


Natural…and T-Walk Music

When I made the decision to compete, I intentionally sought out a natural show. We are all tested to ensure that we prepared drug-free. Not only does this put all competitors on the same playing field, it proves to skeptics that you can build a spectacular figure the natural way. Many people have negative views of the bodybuilding and figure world. Yes, there are people who cheat but there are many who don’t. For those people who do take steroids, they still have to eat right and train hard to get their physiques. They just get an advantage because they can recover faster. When I step on that stage,  I will have the confidence in knowing that I did it the natural way and maybe I can inspire another woman to do the same thing! For anyone who thinks this prep is easy, they don’t see the hard work that it takes. Not only do you have to maintain a strict diet, you have to eat your foods at certain times and in certain ways that are advantageous to your body. Your body does not want to burn its own fat stores, so you are forcing it to do the opposite of what it is designed to do! If we could all look like figure competitors everyday, then no one would struggle with diet and exercise. This is a scientific fact. In addition to the diet you have to train hard.

You have to get in the gym even on days when you don’t feel like it. Even when you had a rough day at work and just want to go home and lay on the couch. You have to be in the gym when others are not. You have to make yourself lift heavy when the trainer is not there to watch you. You have to work into the burn and pain of the lift knowing that it takes pain to get stronger and see the results you need for the stage. Mentally, you have to be solid as a rock.

After you get over the time when you slip and mess up on your diet, binge on cake, eat a snickers bar and devour the entire row of Doritos in the vending machine, you have to pick yourself right back up and tell yourself that you can get right back on it. You have to develop the mind to realize that you are going to be hungry but you can’t eat until you are supposed to. I had to stop being upset about the fact that I can’t eat what everyone else is eating….everyone else is not preparing for a figure competition where they will be half-naked on stage in heels in front of a panel of judges and a bunch of strangers. Everyone else is just doing what they do but I am doing something out of the ordinary…so my actions must match this. Eating improperly will not get my body in peak form! The mental aspect is the hardest part. Everyday, I pray for strength, encourage myself, and repeat affirmations to stay strong.

If anyone ever tells you that it is easy to train and prep for a natural figure competition, they are lying to you. The 90 second walk across the stage is the culmination of months of training and diet! I am doing this because I always wanted to, not to get an award. No panel of judges is going to tell me that I am not first place in my world because I am doing this for me. Yes, it would be great to win but you can’t go into it for the trophy. This sets you up for depression and disappointment if you don’t win. Anyone who is considering doing a competition must keep this in mind. You can’t control who you compete against, their genetics, and the amount of time they had to prepare. The only thing you can do is compare yourself to YOURSELF. You know how hard you worked and that is all that matters!

So off of that soapbox. 🙂 I am trying to decide on the song I want to use in my T-walk. These are the songs I am considering. These songs really get me pumped up and I know that it will show when I walk my walk! 🙂

What do you guys think?

The smallest things…

When you start cleaning up your diet, you can see how certain foods and chemicals affect your body. For example, if I eat or drink a lot of “diet” products that have aspartame, or sugar alcohols in them, I get bloated and have a lot of gas. Although there are still a few processed foods I am eating now, I am sticking with more simple foods for the next 18 weeks. I have tried to cut back on the amount of sugar-free gum I chew or I chew gum that does not have aspartame in it.

Aspartame has been shown to cause cravings in people who consume a lot of it. Although it is found in a lot of diet products, it has the opposite effect of what it is supposed to achieve. Pay attention…if you find yourself more hungry after you drink a Diet Coke or chew a lot of gum, the culprit could be aspartame. A better choice for a calorie free sweetener is stevia…which can go by many brand names. Aspartame can also cause headaches if you consume too much. (Probably because you are drinking diet coke instead of just plain water).

I also am watching my sodium intake. Many processed foods have a lot of sodium in them which adds to the sodium that is already in the natural foods you eat. The other night I had movie theater popcorn as my treat meal and I found that as soon as I ate it, I had a major headache. It lasted through the next day. All that salt went straight to my head! When I was not eating healthy, I probably would not have noticed this and attributed it to something else.

Another food that I have cut back on is bread. I don’t know if it is the gluten (the “glue.” for lack of a better word, that holds food products together, giving the breads and grains the elasticity to the dough, helping it to rise, keeping its shape and giving the final product that chewy texture.) in the bread or something else but if I eat too much of it, I always feel bloated. Since I have cut back on the processed grains, I have become leaner. My mid-section is a weak area, and it seems to flatten out when I don’t eat a lot of bread. I eat more brown rice, quinoa, and gluten-free bread and limit the processed bread to once or twice a week.

I have been adding more green vegetables such as broccoli, green beans and spinach which seems to help regulate my digestion. If you find that you always feel bloated or  have a lot of headaches, try to eliminate something from your diet. If that does not work, try something else. You will be surprised how your body reacts and changes to the smallest things.

Strong Women!

Today I went to a weightlifting competition. My friend told me about it and one of her friends lifted today.

I will tell you if you want inspiration to get off your butt, just go to one of these.




There were 70, 60, 50… year old woman out there doing snatches and cleans!

I mean come on! Do you need another reason to go lift weights.




Weight lifting keeps your bones strong, metabolism firing, and does wonders for your self-confidence. Take a look at some of these women!

Need I say more…

73 year old lifter!

Shoes, Check, Trainer Check!

This weekend has been a very productive one thus far. Yesterday, I went to my new trainer, Kelley Curtis at Fitness, Body and Balance Studio. My two additional training days with her are Tuesday and Thursday evenings. The great thing is that I will be training with another competitor in what they call a buddy workout. This will really help with motivation. We reviewed my current food logs which I am pretty good about keeping track of. We set the percentages of carbs, protein, and fat that I need eat each day. It looks like I need to cut down my fat intake, lower my protein a little and lower my carbs a bit. I am using a new online food log program which is great! MyFitnessPal. I am not at the crazy diet part just yet but these prep stages will help me prepare. I am allowed to have a LITTLE cheat once per week but I intend to keep it a “clean” cheat. For example, I will have frozen yogurt on Saturdays. In January we will start the first stage of hell! Lol! I call it that because that is what it is going to be. It will be very interesting.

This afternoon I purchased my shoes! Yay! They are 5 inch clear heels with straps by Pleaser. (I still am tripping off some of the websites that are out there to purchase the shoes from…let’s just say they are targeted toward a certain profession that does a lot of entertaining at bachelor parties. LOL). I ordered them from Amazon because they were offering a 10% discount. (I am preparing for this competition on a budget!). I needed straps because I don’t want to slip out of my shoes in the middle of a turn! The next purchase will be my suit. We will see how that turns out! I know that I want a red suit, and the trainer said that a bright color would look better on me. I also have to get this whole tanning thing down. (Yes, Black people still have to tan for a competition! It makes your skin glow on the stage). I seriously doubt I will do a tanning bed. I am going to investigate spray tan companies and will experiment well before the competition. So I am giving up a lot of things in my life right now to prepare for this competition. The money I spend on getting my hair done will go towards my suit and the trainer. The money I spend on getting my nails done will go towards my tan and accessories. It is worth it. I don’t even really see it as a sacrifice because those things are not necessities in life, just desires. My desire for doing my very best is much more important to me right now.


Whew! Today was a tough one. I was tired when I woke up but managed to pump myself up to go to the gym this morning. The workday went by smoothly and I went to spin class in the evening. (If you are looking for an intense cardio workout, spin class is a great option. It is always a challenge and the music and atmosphere really get you going. It makes your legs look great and burns fat. I have noticed a significant difference in my body after doing spin class for four weeks at least twice a week).

I am starting to dislike grocery shopping because it is like one big source of temptation! Have you ever thought about why they place the bakery and deli in the front of the store? Think about it, Food Lion, Kroger, Publix, Wal-mart. The next time you go, pay attention to where it is. (One exception might be Sam’s Club but they are so big and have other items besides groceries.) All those yummy smells entice you to buy food you don’t need and of course they are fattening, fried, sugary foods. The smell hits you as soon as you walk in. Then, in front of you right in the middle are the junk foods…easy access, packaged, processed foods. You have to walk a little bit further towards the BACK of the store to get to the fresh produce section and the natural foods section. I’m telling you, there is a strategy to this thing. You have to go in there with a game plan or else you’ll find yourself faltering.

Speaking of game plans, I had to come up with some new strategies to combat the thoughts of junk food and to prevent myself from eating when I am not hungry. I had a moment this morning and I almost went back to the fridge for something I was not supposed to have. I caught myself and asked myself if I was really hungry. I wasn’t, I just do that out of habit sometimes. You have to stop doing the same things and expecting different results! It just ain’t going to happen. Put the donuts down! Don’t keep going through the cycle of eating and feeling guilty and then trying to justify why you just ate a whole bunch of crap. If you keep saying, “I just have to have cake,” then you will keep eating it. So anyway, here are the strategies I use to stop the cycle of eating crap then feeling guilty.

When you get a craving try to:

Look at your before picture. (If you have one). Now this can go both ways. If it is a thinner picture, use it for motivation. If it is a bigger picture, use it for motivation.

Ask yourself, “Am I really hungry or is this an emotional thing?” Wait five minutes and see how you feel after that.

Go clean up…vacum, wash the dishes, fold the clothes.

Go for a walk.

Read a book. Maybe taking your mind off of food and focusing on something else will help. The television may be a source that triggers your cravings…

Look at a magazine. (Pictures of people who are in shape should inspire you).

Create affirmations to read when you need some inspiration.

Eat cucumbers, celery, sugar-free Jell-O, drink water or herbal tea, chew some sugar-free gum ( I think I am the sole source of funding for Trident, Dentyne, and Extra!)

Be strong! You can do it as long as you have a game plan!

“Gluttony is an emotional escape, a sign something is eating us.”
-Peter De Vries

Figure Friendly Recipies and Glycemic Load

Chocolate Pudding (Makes 6 servings)
3 cups of COLD unsweetened almond milk
1 large package of sugar-free, fat-free Jell-O Chocolate Instant Pudding
2 scoops of chocolate protein powder
Whisk all ingredients together for 2 minutes
Set in refrigerator and enjoy later
95 calories, 1.8 grams of fat, 8.4 grams of protein, 10 grams of carbs 420 mg of sodium,
Clean Shrimp and Egg Salad (Makes 5 servings)
1 bag of frozen, cooked, ready-to-eat small shrimp (Got mine from Kroger)
4 boiled egg whites
1 boiled egg
3 tbps of Spectrum Eggless, Vegan Mayo (You can use non-fat cottage cheese instead or non-fat greek yogurt)
3 tbps of yellow-mustard
any seasoning you like.
Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl
Chill and serve cold
134 calories, 4.8 grams of fat, 22 grams of protein, .3 grams of carbs, 364 mg of sodium,
(I had mine on top of one-slice of brown rice bread…if you are not wheat-free then top one slice of whole-wheat bread)
Black Bean Salmon Patties (Makes 4 servings) (Taken from the Low-Glycemic Index Cookbook)
1 can of sockeye salmon (with the bones)
1/2 cup of organic black beans
1/4 cup of organic rolled oats
1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
1 egg white (raw)
Mix  all ingredients in a large bowl
Form 4 patties
Heat olive oil in a skillet
Brown the patties for a few minutes on each side
233 calories, 10.9 grams of fat, 7.9 grams of carbs, 24.8 grams of protein, 350 mg of sodium
You might have heard about the glycemic index and load in relation to diabetics and carbs; however, it is a strategy that you can use for weight loss. Not only does this way of eating help control blood sugar but it will help you lose weight. You will have more energy throughout the day. Carbs are not the evil enemy as you might think but some foods are high on the index and others are low. Usually, highly processed foods are high and foods in their natural state tend to be lower but not always. You want to pay attention to the load more so than the index. Below is a chart that should help. The one exception for eating high-glycemic foods is after a workout when your body will process it better.
Check this site out for a printable chart of foods and their glycemic load.
“You should limit your daily GL based on your weight.

Weight (pounds) GL Points per day

Less than 150 55

150-175 65

More than 175 80

Protein and Fats do not have a Glycemic Index or Glycemic load, but they should be limited based on the guidelines in the menu plans and typical day instructions.”



The Road to Iron Eagle

This is one of the hardest things I have ever done BUT it is also the most rewarding thing I have EVER done! I am learning some very important life lessons along the way!

Seek and ye shall find…

If you want information, you have to ask questions. There is a lot of advice on the internet but it is better to connect with a person and ask questions. I have contacted several competitors, not all of them have responded to me, but most of them have. I received some much-needed advice about how to prepare for this journey I am on. I think some of the best advice that I got was to have a PLAN. Not just a plan but a plan b, and plan c. I asked people at the gym who directed me to trainers and places to get my competition suit from. If I never would have asked, I would never know!

If it can go wrong, it will!

It is so funny to me that as soon as I started training for my competition, things happened. The gym I go to is going through some MAJOR changes. When I signed up, I signed up with the understanding that I could attend various locations. This was back in March. This week, I see a sign on the door that states, “all members who signed up at (a specific location), can no longer use any other location!” I am extremely mad about this! First of all, I signed a contract that allowed me to use ALL of the locations. Second, the only reason I signed up at that location was because it was on my way home. If I would have known this would happen, then I would have signed up somewhere else. You better believe I am going to go up to that gym and harass the manager until I get an answer! I am not paying them money every month to deal with this. Either they are going to cancel my contract or transfer it. Anybody know a lawyer…? Lol! So, right when I am getting into my groove of training, I have to deal with this crap. But I’m not going to let it stop me. I will adapt and continue on. Also, my workplace wants to have all of these meetings and programs after my work hours and this is cutting into my workout time. So to adjust, I do my 2nd session at lunch or just workout later. You can’t let these things stop you!!

You have to be cocky…

I’m sorry but being timid and not having confidence in your ability, will not get you up on that competition stage! I am not a boastful or prideful person but I have learned to develop my inner confidence. People sense when you are not sure of yourself and why should you not be? I used to be 224 lbs! I think I deserve to be self-assured of my ability and tenacity to do this thing. It’s okay to feel sexy and happy and to love yourself! If you work hard, work smart, and look good, be proud of it! You have to practice this early because the judges and the crowd want to know that you know you worked hard enough and deserve to be there. When you exude confidence, you have freedom!

Pay attention…

My body is not your body. You might be able to eat 400 grams of carbs a day and I can only eat 100 grams to keep a lean figure. I might be able to do less cardio and you might have to suffer on the treadmill for an hour a day. I might put on muscle with ease and you might struggle. I have to pay attention to how my body reacts to food and training. I notice when I get bloated, what makes me lose fat, and when I am tired. You have to pay attention to the little things. You don’t get in peak condition by haphazardly training and eating. This is an art form and it requires specific techniques to get results. Not easy at all!

People don’t change…

If a person never supported you from the beginning, they won’t support you when you decide to outstanding things, like train for a figure competition. Sometimes people get jealous or they secretly want you to fail. People who make sarcastic remarks are actually trying to hide the way they really feel about you. Others will be excited for you and they will help and encourage you in your endeavor. I recommend that if you ever decide to train for a figure or bikini competition, that you be very selective in who you share your goal with. Don’t expect everyone to support you. But the good thing is that the people who count will ALWAYS support you, and that is what I have found. I am fortunate to have a boyfriend who supports and helps me and friends who do as well. I don’t talk about this with anyone other than the people I know who care and those who wish to read my blog.

Say NO to negativity

People, television, music, books, magazines, Facebook, internet, family, EVERYTHING. If it is negative, get it OUT OF YOUR LIFE. If you leave that person, or thing feeling drained and negative, leave them or it alone. It is not worth it. Being on a restricted diet and training twice a day is hard enough as it is. You don’t need negativity in your life. You have to be selfish with your space and who you share your time with. Don’t let other things drag you down because it will follow you all the way up to competition day. I refuse to allow this to happen to me. I ain’t got time for drama. 🙂

So I am off to continue on my journey!

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