So I made a little treat for myself on Christmas Eve. Although it is okay to have cheat meals every now and then at this point in my prep, I do not want to go overboard. I have been viewing Pinterest a lot and I came across a very simple recipe for oatmeal cookies. I added my own touch with protein of course.
For this recipe you will need:
1 cup of oats
1 small package of walnuts
1 scoop of chocolate protein powder
4 tablespoons of shredded unsweetened coconut
A little bit of unsweetened almond milk to help moisten
Combine all ingredients in a bowl until mixed well. Divide into 9 or more small cookies. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. They are great for a post workout meal.
So I am three weeks into my prep and I am still alive! Today was kind of tough and I had to really get myself going. I have made a few adjustments in my diet because I do not want to lose a lot of muscle mass. I am going to keep my carbohydrate intake where it is until January. After New Years, I will get on the scale and go from there. I refuse to let the scale drive me crazy this time. My clothes are fitting loosely which means I have lost inches and that is what matters. I have decided to do Fit Body and Figure this time so what really matters is how I look…not the scale.
Tomorrow I will start practicing my posing. Slowly but surely things are coming together! 13 weeks to go to the show!
The first week is always the hardest but if you make it through without cheating on your diet, going crazy at work, and being nice to your spouse…you should be good! Lol! It was a little rough because I had some major cravings. Each morning I got up to workout and realized I couldn’t have a granola bar, honey, or any of my usual pre-workout treats. I managed to get by with my chicken, tuna, sweet potatoes, oatmeal (YUMMY) and vegetables.
I have found a new thermogenic that really helps control my cravings and provides enough energy throughout the day. (MHP Dopamite). My cardio is not full on yet so I’m not exhausted. Starting 16 weeks out allows me more time to lean out so I am not rushing the process. I have already lost 4 lbs which is great! I will weigh again in a few weeks….I am never doing every week again because I refuse to drive myself crazy. Plus the scale does not tell me what my bodyfat percentage is. When I go back to the YMCA, I will have them measure it.
This week’s meals include stewed chicken and tomatoes, tilapia, chocolate protein powder, coconut oil, coconut flour,
spinach, kale, cucumbers, oatmeal, grapefruit and sweet potatoes.
Off to a great start!
Today is the start of a new month but for me, this day represents so much more. I have decided to compete again and today is the start of my prep. This time is different because I am creating my own plan and the thought of taking control is scary and exhilarating. I’ve had a lot of help since I started competing. My coaches have taught me the best ways to train and diet and I know what works for me and what does not. I would love to have a personal coach but finances will not allow it this time and I have the strongest confidence that I can do it. I’ve been down this road before and I created my own plan when I went from 175 lbs to 135 lbs before I started competing. I have also earned my personal training certification that enables me to understand the science behind what I am doing. I also have my friend CJ who will check in on me and hold me accountable. So here we go! My training and diet plan are done and I am ready. 16 weeks to go!
I have been doing a lot of reading and listening to motivational books…on the way home from visiting my family yesterday,I heard this poem from Napoolean Hill’s Law of Success. I am going to commit this poem to memory because I think it describes all of the emotions that a competitor goes through:
If you think you are beaten, you are
If you think you dare not, you don’t,
If you like to win, but you think you can’t
It is almost certain you won’t.
If you think you’ll lose, you’re lost
For out of the world we find,
Success begins with a fellow’s will
It’s all in the state of mind.
If you think you are outclassed, you are
You’ve got to think high to rise,
You’ve got to be sure of yourself before
You can ever win a prize.
Life’s battles don’t always go
To the stronger or faster man,
But soon or late the man who wins
Is the man WHO THINKS HE CAN!
I have been at two opposite end of the dieting spectrum. At one point in my life I ate whatever I wanted, when I wanted, and didn’t care anything about it. I have also dieted down for a show to the point of extreme carb depletion with a very limited selection of food. I have seen what food can do to the body, both good and bad. If you ask anybody who has ever been on a diet and exercised what the hardest part is….they will tell you “the diet!” After all, we do have taste buds for a reason.
Eating is one of the most enjoyable activities in life. We plan majority of our social events around food….Thanksgiving, Easter, Christmas, Halloween, the Superbowl…and the list goes on. We eat mindlessly just because it is something we are expected to do and we even associate certain food with certain activities. Watch a movie and nine times out of ten you are eating popcorn. When you go on a mission to lose weight or eat healthier, it can be a very daunting task to eliminate all of the foods that you used to eat. Many people become so zealous that they avoid certain foods like the plague. But through my years of trial and error, I have learned that what we may think of as “bad” food is not necessarily bad. Living healthy is not about good vs. bad or restriction. Living healthy is about balance and better choices.
Many people at work are aware that I eat healthier than most and I workout on a regular basis. The most common question I get about my diet is whether I eat carbohydrates, if I restrict foods, or if I eat junk food. I wish I had the willpower to never eat “junk food” again but that is not happening. If I didn’t eat carbs, my body would shut down and I would not be writing this blog as we speak. After many years of struggling with food, losing weight, dieting for shows, and dealing with post-competition blues and trying to adjust to a “normal diet,”…I have decided that I am not classifying foods into good or bad categories anymore. These terms play tricks on the mind. I eat according to my goals, I eat to be healthy, I eat because I enjoy food, and I eat in a way that will leave me satisfied and feeling like I made a good decision. Unless you have allergies or a disease, or are involved in a sport that requires specific foods such as bodybuilding, you don’t need to be extreme. If there are foods you don’t like, that is fine. If you don’t want to eat them, that is perfectly fine as well. Only you know how you can control your eating.
Balance is the key to being healthy for life and as humans we like variety. Don’t get caught up in fad diets just because everyone else is doing it. Start tracking what you eat and you will see the amount of nutrients in your food and might even realize that what you thought was “bad” is not so bad. Become an educated food consumer, not just a blind follower of someone else’s diet plan.
One benefit of tracking your calories online is seeing not only the calories and macronutrients (fat, carbs, protein) that you are eating, but also the amount of vitamins and other nutrients you are consuming on a daily basis. I took a look at my food log today which gives me a grade for the day. If I get close to the proper amount of vitamins and minerals and stay within my calorie range, I receive and “A.” If I am far off, the grade goes down. I did pretty good today but while I was looking at my log, I couldn’t help but notice that I was closer to the recommended amount of fiber as well as potassium (which is really high). I ate more vegetables today than I have and I ate REAL food. I did have one granola bar and saw that it basically had no nutrients in it whatsoever….even though it is marketed as a healthy snack. Yes, it is better than a bag of potato chips but it would be far better to make your own granola than to buy a processed bar.
Even if you are not trying to lose weight, tracking your macros can help to ensure that you get all of the nutrients you need from food. You will be surprised at the difference small changes can make. To help transition to eating more whole foods here are some tips:
- Cut up veggies and fruits in advance so they are easy to grab
- Make your own “mix”…nuts and berries, dark chocolate, toasted oats and berries/nuts, anything you want to mix together
- Make your own protein bars: Example 2 cups of instant oats, 1/4 cup of nut butter, 3-4 scoops of protein powder…mix together and place in a pan. Put the mix in the freezer and voila…you have homemade protein bars!
It is not hard to eat real food. It just requires a little preparation and creativity so you don’t get bored.
Forget restriction, deprivation, and forbidden…just eat a good variety of healthy foods and make it fun. This approach will ensure healthy eating for a lifetime…not just a temporary diet. Have your processed foods in moderation.