paleo

Unconditional

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{Written December 13th on my 27th birthday.}

Lately, I’ve had a really hard time writing blog entries. I can’t process my thoughts into anything cohesive.

I’ve typed a couple short drafts.  I’ve also written about 10 posts in my head.  Basically, after it’s “written” in my head, I don’t have any desire to try and recreate the “perfection” that it was and so it’s lost in oblivion.

All of those lost blogs covered mainly one subject: my desire to quit contest prep.

Throughout any given day, if you were in my head, you’d hear a voice trying to convince me that I’m awesome and I can do anything… quickly followed by how much I suck and don’t want to do this anymore.  I don’t want to think about macros or weighing in every week or taking pictures to send my coach or writing blog updates about it when I feel like my body isn’t changing anymore and my gut is huge.

The truth is… my body is most definitely changing.  It doesn’t matter if my weight isn’t much.

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March 2013 to December 2013 - 15 pounds lost

And yes, I’ve said that before about the scale, but the obstacle really holding me back was this fixation I have on my stomach.  I’d see changes in other places, but look down at my stomach, feel depressed and immediately want to binge, which is counter productive.

This morning, oh this morning, I had a REVELATION.

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The Daily Grind

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Someone the other day said they’d like to see what a typical day for me is like. I’ll preface this by saying I DON’T HAVE TYPICAL DAYS. Ha. Basically, when you’re a busy single mom trying to balance a full time job, part time job, two children, gym time and taking care of a household, not to mention all the unexpected things that may arise, your days are ANYTHING but typical.

I can, however, try to tell you what a day for me sort of looks like.

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Bikini Prep Week 2 Weigh In

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Food wise, this was a good week.  Workout wise… eh.

I did my workouts, wasn’t feeling on top this week.  Felt kind of off at beginning of the week.  That’s probably due to leg day Friday, Bikram Saturday and half marathon (which I still need to write about) Sunday… yikes.  I swapped leg day to Tuesday now, that way I have recovery time for long runs and racing.

This week was also THAT week of the month.  Boo.

So here’s your reminder of where I begin two weeks ago.  Starting weight of 197.5 pounds.

2014_09_06Day1Week 1 brought a 5.5 pound weight loss, bringing me to 192 last week.

And this morning…

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Week 2 Weigh In: 190.5 pounds

Weight Lost: 1.5 pounds (7 pounds total)

I see changes in the hips and stomach mostly.  Honestly, I was thrilled that I lost any weight this week.  I generally retain water weight during period week.  I’m disappointed that I’m not into the 180s as I had hoped. What’s one more week when I’ve waited this long though, right?

Lessons Learned & Highlights of the Week:

  • Leg day needs more recovery time.  I already touched on this.  Friday didn’t work for me, so leg day is now Tuesday.  I really didn’t even think about it being a problem when I looked at the splits.  My trainer was okay with switching it as long as back isn’t trained on the day before or after back since I do deadlifts on both days (conventional one day, stiff-legged the other).  HIIT on Monday was also brutal after last weekend.
  • Meal prepped more for family.  This was so helpful.  Taking the extra time on the weekends to do this really makes my hectic life easier on weekdays.
  • Started drinking tea.  I used to love love love hot chocolate in the cooler weather.  I can’t do the dairy anymore and non-dairy options are too many calories for prep diet.  I am drinking green, black and white teas right now.  I have a few blends.  When I have a craving, I make tea.  Consequently, I’ve drank a lot of tea this week resulting in many bathroom trips.  Arguably, green tea is beneficial for weight-loss as well.
  • A friend from high school came to the gym with me!  Very excited about this.  I posted one day on Facebook my workout hours to give anyone in the area an invitation to workout with me if they wanted help becoming acquainted with the gym.  I have plans to become a personal trainer, but for now I can just offer advice and hopefully ease the intimidation of weight-lifting that most women feel.  Hope she keeps coming back.  My gym needs female lifters.
  • Apples and almonds are still amazing.  (By the way, it’s almost 3 o’clock snack time!)
  • Found a sweet potato recipe that I like.  More about that on my meal prep post.
  • I like to check myself out in the mirrors at the gym.  I probably do this way too much, but I get excited seeing the developing muscles and comparing the changes.  I stop to admire, sometimes making my gym visits too long.  Maybe I’m a little narcissistic now. Ha.  Guess that’s what happens when you start to love and appreciate your body for all the hard work you’ve put into it.

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    My back and shoulder muscles are my favorites.
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This may be weird, but I like my chest too. It’s just getting so lean!

Heading into week 3 then!  Off to do some grocery shopping and anticipating APPLE TIME!

Competition & Family Meal Prep

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This is the first time someone has requested a post on a specific topic from me!  Excited about that.  A friend asked that I write about my meal prepping, not only for myself, but how I do it for the family.  I haven’t mastered this yet, but I’m doing pretty well, I think.

The first thing I do is make my shopping list, of course.  Since I am on a competition diet, I’ve already calculated the amount of each food I need every week to prep.

My weekly meals include:

  • bananas
  • egg whites
  • eggs
  • brown rice
  • sweet potatoes
  • broccoli, snap peas, green beans
  • chicken
  • ground turkey
  • cherry tomatoes
  • lettuce
  • almonds
  • almond butter
  • apples

I have to purchase most of the fresh items every week, all the produce mainly.  Sometimes I have enough meat in the freezer or extra eggs to get through.  I buy the almonds in bulk and stock up on bags of rice when they are on sale.  The almond butter is usually homemade.

Once I have my list together, I decide what my boys should eat during the week for dinner OR I leave that open to what I can buy on sale that week.  For example, this week ground turkey was marked down, which I used in a couple of ways and froze the rest.

Instead of doing my meal prep in one night, I used Saturday and Sunday night this week for prep.  I never do it that way, but it was sort of nice to make vegetables and carbs one night, then proteins the next.

Sooooo, I made 4 heads of broccoli and a pound (maybe?) of sugar snap and snow peas.

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I have back up bags of frozen veggies in a pinch, but prefer fresh.  To prep, I rinsed everything.  Cut the broccoli into florets.  Cut tips off beans (pretty sure you don’t HAVE to, but I don’t like the texture of the pokey ends, I’m obnoxious).  Tossed these babies with some EVOO, shook some spices on them.  Cook at 350-75°F for 30+ minutes.  I might toss them once near the middle.  Pretty much, I wing it.  Sometimes, if I’m cooking chicken in the lower broiler, I stick the veggies in and the oven is hot enough to cook them without separate cook times.

NEXT!

3 cups of brown rice.

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Follow the instructions on the package.  Pretty straight forward.  I never add the optional salt in the directions.  There was extra for some of the boys’ meals as well.

Instead of eating brown rice for every meal, I decided to experiment with sweet potatoes, like a good paleo.  I haven’t found a sweet potato recipe that I enjoy, but I want to reduce my grain intake. (I don’t compromise on gluten free in my diet though.)

I cooked two sweet potatoes with a recipe I found online and I LIKED them!

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The recipe is from PaleOMG if you want to check it out.  I left out the cauliflower, onion and red pepper flakes, then used two sweet potatoes instead of one.  I actually might use less cayenne powder next time.  I’m a spicy wimp.  Very simple one dish recipe, though.  Yay for variety!

When everything was cooked and cooled, I measured my portions into 10 containers for my weekday lunches and dinners.

I had enough sweet potatoes for probably every lunch during the week, but I gave some to my boyfriend for dinner (because I’m an awesome bodybuilding girlfriend who cooks).

Here’s one of my lunches. (Please don’t ask for my measurements.  A trainer wrote my meal plan, so I’m not willing to share that.  I am paying for this plan!)

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And here’s a dinner…

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Sunday night, I made the proteins.

Two large chicken breasts. (Normally, I make more, but I had ground turkey to eat this week too.)

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For the chicken, I spray the broiling pan with a little Extra Virgin Coconut Oil, shake some spices and cracked black pepper on it, then stick it in the broiler.  8-12 minutes per side, depending on the size of the chicken breasts.  I prefer fresh chicken, but have done this with the thawed frozen breasts that come in a bag when I was desperate.

I also discovered an awesome method this week for cutting my chicken.  I was watching a Dorian Yates YouTube video and someone was using kitchen shears!

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I hate cutting meat!  Like when I’m at a restaurant and I have a steak, I wish the chef would cut it for me.  Sad, I know.  This is genius.  Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Next up, 1.5 pounds of ground turkey.

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Browned this up for my lunches.  Just threw on some seasonings I like from the cupboard.  I think I used paprika, black pepper, oregano, maybe some onion powder.  Simple.  I don’t measure.

I made  turkey burgers for the boys from the other half of the package.

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Used 1.5 pounds of ground turkey, maybe a cup-ish of almond meal (the leftovers that I dry from making almond milk), and an egg.  MIx together by hand, formed patties and cooked in some EVOO in a skillet.

Finally, homemade paleo chicken nuggets.

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If you want this recipe, you’ll have to buy Eat Like a Dinosaur.  (Sorry, it’s not mine to give away!) It’s a fabulous recipe that I also use almond meal to make.  These are the best chicken nuggets I’ve ever eaten.  I made chicken nuggets for the boys so I know what ingredients are going in them, so I know it comes from fresh real chicken breasts (not mechanically separated meat) and because most nuggets aren’t dairy free.

I didn’t prep anything but rice and protein for the boys ahead of time this week, so I’m relying on cans of veggies (don’t judge me) and fresh fruit.

Meal prepping for everyone is still a learning process for me, I’m sure next week will be even better.  Small steps every week.  In a few weeks, I’ll write a follow up on any improvements I’ve been able to make to this routine.

Hope this post was helpful!  Questions and thoughtful suggestions are always welcome.

Bikini Prep Week 1 Weigh In

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Trying to stay on top of my blogging, so getting this done before I check off a bunch of things on my to do list. Groceries. Apple & Almond Time.  Gym. Clean. Cook Meat. Nom Nom. Paint Nails.  Boyfriend Arrives.  Weekend Begins.

Today is Friday and that means progress tracking day!  Gotta tell you, I’ve been cheating all week with the scale.  I couldn’t wait until Friday to know.  Every day the number was better!

Technically, I don’t have to take progress pictures for my trainer’s sake, but I figured, why not take them weekly for the blog’s sake and my own.  My trainer only requires monthly shots.

Just a reminder, this was last Friday’s picture at 197.5 pounds.

2014_09_06Day1

And here is this morning.

2014_09_13Week1WeighIn

Week 1 Weigh In: 192 pounds

Weight Lost: 5.5 pounds!

Can you see any difference?  Yeah, neither can I, but that’s okay.  I FEEL the difference.

I can tell my stomach is a bit smoother and throughout the day, it bloats less.  Normally, my stomach right before bed feels huuuuuge to me.  Also, the waistline from the rear looks a bit slimmer, but that could be the lighting or me grasping at straws.

I started somewhat following the meal plan over last weekend, but had a few things to eat up first like a vegetable soup that I made last week.  Don’t want to waste good food!  I still lost 1.5 pounds from Friday morning to Monday morning.  Then  a pound every morning after that.  My hope is to see the 180s next week.  I can’t even tell you the last time I was that size.  Middle school?

Lessons Learned & Highlights of the Week:

  • Stair stepper is the devil.  I used it Tuesday for my High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and my calves are still tight on Friday!  Never again (unless my trainer orders it).
  • I love apples and almonds.  My afternoon snack is an apple and almonds.  3 o’clock is literally the best time of day now.
  • Meal prepping is the shit.  I am a single mom, I work a full-time job and a couple part-time jobs plus I train hard.  I don’t have time to debate over what to make every day then spend 2 hours making it and cleaning up after I pick the boys up from daycare.  Having my meals cooked, measured and stacked in the fridge this week was simply amazing.  I’ve meal prepped before, but always large meals that I left in containers then portioned when needed.  Grabbing a dish from the fridge and throwing it in my bag has been awesome.  Portioned meals in containers are the way to go busy moms!
  • Meal prepping needs to happen for the kids.  Unfortunately, I didn’t do a very good job of planning their dinners for the week.  I had lunch stuff and breakfast covered, but dinner was hurried every night.  This weekend, I’m going to prep a couple things for them to eat this week.
  • I am not perfect.  This isn’t really a lesson for me.  I knew this already.  A couple nights ago, I had a couple bites of ice cream.  Terrible decision.  Not on my meal plan, OBVIOUSLY, and dairy pisses off my stomach.  Don’t even ask why I just HAD to eat some.  I somehow talk myself into thinking it isn’t that bad for me and won’t hurt my stomach, but it always does. “It tastes good,” isn’t a good reason, asshole.  Thankfully, it didn’t screw up my week.  Holding strong for week 2!
  • Co-workers suck.  Now, not all of my co-workers and not all the time.  But when someone brings in three bags of candy encouraging everyone to eat it, I’m going to say that person sucks.
  • Stop. Assess. Solve.  Monday morning, I woke up late.  Shit.  Immediately, thoughts are rushing in my head that I am going to miss the gym and screw my whole training schedule on the very first week, my trainers going to drop me, I’m going to get fat and lazy and depressed and binge instead… BUT rather than panic.  I stopped the craziness.  Stood quietly for a few minutes… then figured out how to get everything done.  Carter to daycare.  Harley to sitter.  Gym.  No shower (sorry!).  Daycare to pick up Carter.  Preschool home visit.  Visit over.  HIIT for 20 minutes on the steps.  Carter joins me.  Cute.  Done.  Cook eggs for us.  Shower.  Dressed.  Carter back to daycare.  Harley’s school to drop off books.  Work by 10:30.  Whew.

And with that, I think I’ll head out for a busy afternoon.

Thoughts on Week 1?  Questions?  All welcome in the comments, please!

Day Zero – The Weigh In

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My progress tracking begins with a weigh in and progress shots for the bikini competition.  This is my base.  Joy.

I will be weighing in every Friday and sending my coach a log of my weekly progress with meals and training.

Last Friday, is what I’m referring to as Day Zero.  This is where I begin this six month transformation.

2014_09_06Day1

Starting Weight:  197.5

(Height for Reference: 5’9”)

In case you track my progress, you’re probably wondering why I’m not 190 pounds like I was about two months ago briefly.  While some of it is muscle gain, some is likely from poor food choices.  Yes, I make lots of mistakes.   No, I’m not perfect.  Get off my back.

Monday the 9th was the first day of what I’m going to make a PERFECT week.  PERFECT, I tell you.  Workouts on track every day, in addition to my first half marathon next weekend.  I’m not going to say the next six months are going to be perfect.  I’m a realist and I know that I suck sometimes.  However, I’m going to work everyday to put the crap out of my mind.

Yeah, chicken, brown rice and broccoli will probably be boring, but so what.  It’s food.  Food doesn’t have to be exciting.  What I’m DOING is exciting.  The changes my body will make will be exciting.  Having a flat, toned stomach and possibly abs for the first time in my life will be exciting.  NOT having a flabby mom body will be exciting.  I don’t need food to be exciting. I have me.

I’m sort of looking forward to simplicity though.  I know I might eat those words, but at least for a while, I don’t want to think about what I’m going to pack for lunch or make for dinner when I get home.  It will be simple and prepped ahead of time.  My days are way too busy to worry about what I’m going to cook now that school has started, my training is increasing and I’m working two or three jobs a week.  I need to be efficient.  And I need to learn to like sweet potatoes too.

Yesterday, I also ordered a paleo protein powder which I’ll review after I’ve tried it.  It’s one of the only “paleo” protein powders on the market I’ve found without non-paleo ingredients such as soy, corn, or milk!

Finding My Trainer

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In searching for a trainer, I knew that I would have to find someone online.  I live in a rural area with limited options for ANYTHING.  No one around me does competition prep.  I needed someone who could reply in a timing manner to my emails, give me a meal and strength training plan and NOT break the bank.

I emailed a few different ones and some didn’t reply.  Not a good sign.  Another was hella expensive.

I won’t reveal my trainer or fees yet, but so far, I’m very happy with his attentiveness and cost.  I pay a monthly fee, with no contract or limit on correspondence.  I’m not sure yet on what kind of help he’ll be able to give me as the competition gets closer on posing, make up, hair, spray tan, etc.   I do know that he has coached at least one other client in Michigan.  He trains a lot of competitors who place at competitions and seems to have a good reputation.  I trust that he has connections or suggestions for those things when the time comes to discuss them. He does free posing classes on Sundays at his gym, wish I could attend!

Before he even agreed to accept me as a client (he can’t take on many more, as he has  quite a few already), he asked for information about my current eating habits and workout regime.   He also required a bikini shot, front and back, to see if my six month bikini competition goal was a realistic one.

I’m always willing to give my readers the “ugly truth” because I like being honest and transparent.  Before I do that though, here are some old fat pictures to soften the blow…

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And here is what I looked like on the day I emailed him bikini shots.

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Vast improvement, yes.  But it’s definitely nothing close to this…

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Picture from here.

Full disclosure, I’m not looking to win.  I have never gone into a competition for anything related to physical fitness expecting to win.   (My JV soccer team sophomore year didn’t win a single game and I scored the only goal all season on a direct kick while playing defense.  So sad.  But we had fun even though we got our asses kicked every game.)

I’m competing for me.  I’m competing so my kids have a mother they can look up to, who doesn’t sit on the couch eating entire package of oreos and half gallons of double fudge brownie ice cream crying her eyes out because she’s lonely with two babies.  I left that version of myself behind when I started losing weight 2.5 years ago.  I freed her completely when I ended my marriage. Too much of my early 20s was wasted on feeling like I had to live in a that box until I died, because I made my bed and now I had to lie in it.

Enough of that.  This is a happy post.

So after the pictures, my trainer said that six months was realistic for me to be ready, as long as I follow the plan.  AWESOME.

We exchanged a few emails back and forth before he decided to take me as a client.  So I paid him and the following day, I received multiple emails with tons of information to overload my brain.  A couple had generic information he gives all clients relating to strength training form and tracking progress.  I received one email with an initial meal plan for the first two weeks.  We will set a base line and see how well I am responding before making adjustments.  And the last email had my weekly training plan.

In every email, he encourages me to reply with any questions or concerns.  He’s also helped to work around my gluten free/dairy free/paleo requirements (I allow brown rice on my diet though, which I said in the last post).  The plan is suppose to include whey protein, so he gave me some nutritional requirements in finding a protein powder that fits my needs.

Thus far, I’m very happy with him and hope that I can provide him a glowing review when I’ve reached the competition.

Next post, Day Zero – The Weigh In.