My Version of Healthy Eating

Healthy eating can be define differently by many people but for me, it goes beyond what you put in your mouth or the labels on the packaging.  It’s about “why” you are eating what you are eating and it begins with a healthy mindset.  For as long as I could remember, my relationship with food was horrendous. As I got older, it became more destructive and I never thought I would be able to get out of it.

Through therapy and my first prep, I began to learn the reasons behind my disordered eating and learned to identified emotions that were attached to my impulsive, self-abusive episodes. I rebounded terribly after my first show and even though I added 30 pounds really quickly, I noticed something shifted inside of me. I didn’t like what I saw in the mirror but I didn’t hate me.  It took some time to level out my post-show binges but when I did, I made the decision to spend the next 3 years eating what I wanted with no fear.

I accepted my body but this was easier said than done.  I always had aesthetic goals of losing fat, but my failed attempts to limiting my food intake was a clear sign that I wasn’t ready to categorize my food again.  Slowly but surely, my weight became just a number, I enjoyed my workouts and embraced my athletic physique.

I stopped categorizing food.   We live in world where if you don’t follow the categories of food then you are doing something wrong. Well, I said “F*ck that!”.  Obviously, I knew that certain foods were more nutritious than others. I knew sugar wasn’t great, too much caffeine can negatively impact you, processed foods can be damaging…etc. but I didn’t care.  My fitness friends would often make comments like, “We have to earn that meal!” or “We shouldn’t be eating this.” I would respond with, “Who’s we? I eat whatever I want.  I have no fears…” I’m sure they didn’t get it, but I didn’t care.  Saying out loud that I eat whatever I want wasn’t for them, it was reinforcement for me.

I stopped “earning” meals”. This was probably one of my biggest pet peeves with society.  The idea of earning meals.  What the hell is that?! I don’t need to earn my meal! I’m human; I need food to survive, I enjoy food for pleasure and the only thing I should be earning is the money to afford to put that food in my mouth. I cringe anytime I hear or see people saying that they earned a meal as I feel that it puts this negative meaning behind delicious food.  “I must torture myself in the gym so I can feel less guilty about eating something I enjoy and don’t want to live without!” No, that won’t be me.

Don’t get me wrong; if you have aesthetic goals then you need to eat accordingly.  If you want to gain muscle and keep your fat increase at a minimum then you need to strategically eat above your maintenance.  If you want to lose fat, then you need to restrict your intake.  There will be foods that you should or shouldn’t eat based on your goal and foods that are more healthier than others, but these decisions should be based on the purpose of your goal not the purpose of your happiness.  I needed to spend the 3 years not being afraid of carbs, not regretting indulging, appreciating what my body looks like and is capable of doing, but most importantly, enjoying life and not letting food dictate me. It hasn’t been an easy road and I still have my struggles, but I also have a lot of self-awareness to recognize when I need to take step back and focus on my mental health.

We all have our food issues, but my hope is that my stories can help someone else work through theirs and stop fearing food because it’s pretty freaking amazing. Oh and get this, when you start taking care of your mind/body, your mind/body will start taking care of you!

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Whole 30: Week 2 (What I’m Learning)

Let’s just say I’m doing like a Whole 20-something because I cheated again. Yes, yes, I know, but honestly, I don’t care.  True, I’m not getting the full effects of the program but I’m learning a lot which is what I wanted.  This isn’t about weight loss for me like it is for some.  This is about changing my dietary habits for the long run and paying attention to my body and how it really responds to food.

So what have I learned?

Well, I cheated Sunday night and it took me TWO full days to recover from this cheat of processed, high sugar, high carbs, high shit-filled meal.  Yes, two freakin’ full days! I  was exhausted, run down, couldn’t sleep well and was cranky AF.   In some ways, I was disappointed because after 3 days of amazing energy I was literally back to the way I felt and the way I’ve always felt not realizing I could feel better.  On the flip side, it made me realized that my body really does not handle this type of processed crap.

  • highly processed crap that is loaded with sugar/carbs/shitstorm of chemicals = totes no Bueno.  
  • A meal with simple carbohydrates like bread or pasta, I could handle but in moderation. Like for real…moderation. 

It gave me a new appreciation of my body and how smart it is; it really does what it wants depending on how you take care of it.  If I really, truly, invest in smarter choices than my body will pay me back in return with happy, sustainable energy.  The rest of the week I worked to get myself back on track and my urges to eat processed foods have slowly diminished because it’s not worth it. I’m loving how I feel when I’m not eating crap and I’m mad it has taken me so long to really experience and take note of the difference, but it all begins with mindset. I wasn’t ready until now!

Check out this week’s vlog: Adulting So Hard! #homeowner

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Day 3 of Whole 30 #killmenow

It’s 9:30pm as I write this post and I am finishing up my 3rd day wondering what the hell am I doing. I’ve had headaches all week long, I’m always hungry (even though I don’t stop eating), I’m tired, and all I can think about are the sugary treats that I am no longer having.  I don’t need to do this shit, do I?  Why can’t I just slowly eliminate foods from my diet? Ya know, clean up in tiiiimeee.

Well for one, I’m an all or nothing kind of girl. I’m either all in or I’m all out and I’ve made this decision to work on my food quality versus so there is no turning back!  But truly, this 30-day program is a big detox.  Not just in my bad habits nutritionally, but mentally and spiritually.  I found myself falling down my depressing mental rabbit hole that leads me nowhere good and I was struggling to get it out.

Yes, my initial intentions on starting the Whole 30 were to clean up my diet and begin to focus on the quality of my food choices for a long-term health. However, in doing so it’s providing me the opportunity to evaluate my social circle, the stressors in my life (self-created or environmentally created) and figuring out how to move forward as a better version of me.   Truthfully, challenges like this always re-energize me which is why I loved prepping for the last show.  Having such a self-focused goal, allowed me the opportunity to really figure out where I was going in life and how to get there. The Whole 30 is now proving itself to be another mini transitional prep.

It’s only day 3 and I want to quit, seriously.  My sugar cravings are intense and I just keep thinking about the “one little cheat” I could slip in (if nobody knows I ate it then it didn’t really happen, right?).  This kind of nutritional challenge is different for me as the ones in the past have been all about aesthetics but this is by far harder than any prep I’ve done!

But I won’t quit. I can already tell I have too much to lose even though it’s been a few days.  My body feels like shit but my mind begins to clear up slowly each day.  It’s an amazing, difficult and shitty experience but I see the light at the end of the tunnel.

27 more days!

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Welcome to the Whole30!

Some of you may have heard about this Whole30 “diet” (which I hate even referring to as a diet), but this has been recently brought to my attention and it peaked my interest.   Like I said, I hate calling it a diet because this way of eating is truly about eating whole foods and eliminating the ones known to cause inflammation, digestive issues and a negative impact on our health.  While the 30-day program is truly a lifestyle, I am looking at these first 30 days as a detox and introduction to the rest of my healthy life.  Oh yea, forgot to mention – I’m starting this tomorrow!

I know a lot of people assume that just because I’m into fitness, have done shows, worked as a Personal Trainer and have a few certifications under my name, that I live and breathe the healthy lifestyle. The truth is, while I have adapted many changes, mostly my activity level, I still eat like shit.

Now bear with me as I explain why that is – 

It is very easy to label health by the foods we eat or don’t eat, but for me, the biggest challenge was my mental health and the relationship I had with food.  For the past 5 years, with the exception of my preps, I threw the middle finger up to any diet rule out there. For me, the most important thing wasn’t focusing “healthy” food, but eating food without any negative thoughts associated with it….no regret, no self-disgust, no guilt, no labels…nothing.  It’s taken years for me to get here and I still have my days, but I finally feel empowered with my relationship with food and I’m ready to adopt a more quality approach to my daily intake.

Which brings me to the Whole30!  I’ve been thinking about making changes to my diet for some time now and I don’t know why it is taking this program to get me make the change, but here I am!

Whole30 Rules:

  •   Do not consume added sugar, real or artificial. No maple syrup, honey, agave nectar, coconut sugar, date syrup, stevia, Splenda, Equal, Nutrasweet, xylitol, etc. Read your labels, because companies sneak sugar into products in ways you might not recognize.
  •   Do not consume alcohol, in any form, not even for cooking. (And ideally, no tobacco products of any sort, either.)
  •   Do not eat grains. This includes (but is not limited to) wheat, rye, barley, oats, corn, rice, millet, bulgur, sorghum, sprouted grains, and all gluten-free pseudo-cereals like quinoa, amaranth, and buckwheat. This also includes all the ways we add wheat, corn, and rice into our foods in the form of bran, germ, starch, and so on. Again, read your labels.
  •   Do not eat legumes. This includes beans of all kinds (black, red, pinto, navy, white, kidney, lima, fava, etc.), peas, chickpeas, lentils, and peanuts. No peanut butter, either. This also includes all forms of soy – soy sauce, miso, tofu, tempeh, edamame, and all the ways we sneak soy into foods (like lecithin).
  •   Do not eat dairy. This includes cow, goat, or sheep’s milk products like milk, cream, cheese, kefir, yogurt, sour cream, ice cream, or frozen yogurt.
  •   Do not consume carrageenan, MSG, or sulfites. If these ingredients appear in any form on the label of your processed food or beverage, it’s out for the Whole30.
  •  Do not step on the scale or take any body measurements for 30 days. The Whole30 is about so much more than weight loss, and to focus only on body composition means you’ll overlook all of the other dramatic and lifelong benefits this plan has to offer. So, no weighing yourself, analyzing body fat, or taking comparative measurements during your Whole30. My favorite rule of all!

I’ve become pretty reliant on the scale lately so having a 30-day break will be really good for me and redirect my focus on my health.  But I did take before pictures so that I physically see the differences in my new lifestyle change. So here we go –

Current weight: 159lbs              Current BF%: 29%

(measurements are from my Garmin Index Smart Scale)

Keep an eye out on you YouTube channel. I’ll be vlogging these changes and giving you my thoughts as I go along!

Who else has tried the Whole30??

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My Diet Breakthrough!

Guys, I’ve had the most remarkable breakthrough with my body regarding my caloric intake!  I didn’t realize that part of my post show challenge was that I had a bit of a lingering fear of food and carbs in particular. This isn’t a new occurrence but I had really thought this was something I got past.  In many ways, I made huge strides, but I always believed that my body could not handle a high carb diet and kept it at a moderate level (around 175-200g).

When I made the decision to get off “dieting” (aka tracking every meal I ate), it was scary. I knew I would be fine in the end but I didn’t trust myself and the ability to make good food choices without gaining the weight.  I was scared of my decision-making, food, and my body.  However, in the first week, I kept reminding myself that this was for the best. As much as I didn’t want to gain weight, I knew that this was a possibility and I was prepared for it. I surprisingly didn’t gain weight and didn’t stress about food as much.  After a couple of weeks, I grew more confident in my decisions and my body and decided that it was time to eat more! I wanted more muscles which meant I needed to eat more food and I was prepared to put on the fat if it got me to my “gain” goal.

During the next 4 weeks, I slowly increased my carbs in every meal to the point where I would go to bed feeling full and yet my weight wasn’t changing.  I was eating whatever I wanted, ate protein in every meal, increased my carbs yet nothing was happening. I knew if I wanted to gain weight that I would need to eat above my maintenance calories so I decided to start tracking my food to get an idea of how much I was eating.

To my surprised, I was averaging 140-150g of protein, 50-60g fat and 250-275g of carbs with NO WEIGHT GAIN!  I was so excited to see that my body was maintaining my weight with those macros, especially with my carbs. I really believed that I couldn’t handle high carbs and I was wrong…oh, but it get’s better! Since then, I’ve continued to increase my fat to 70g and carbs to 330g and I’m eating roughly 2500 calories and still not gaining a pound.  In fact, I gagged on a shit ton of carbs before bed last night and woke up a pound lighter.  I’m floored!! And yes, I literally gagged because I’m now dealing with the struggle of getting in all this food so that I can put on the muscle.

This is such an exciting breakthrough for me and it makes me so happy to see what my body is really capable of! I didn’t give my instincts or my body enough credit and now that I’m finally giving it what it deserves, it’s paying me back in return.  Guys, intuition and risk-taking are a beautiful thing!  Our metabolisms are freaking amazing, but you have to get off the diet to reap the benefits. Trust me, It’s terrifying but worth it. Take a break from the diet and listen to yourself…you won’t regret it!

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Yam Protein Muffins

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Calories 113 | 14g Protein | 12g Carbohydrates | 1g Fat

Makes 12 Muffins (1 Muffin Per Serving)

The original recipe came from The Shredded Chef: 120 Recipes for Building Muscle, Getting Lean, and Staying Healthy (Second Edition)(The Build Healthy Muscle Series).   The original muffin called for Sweet Potatoes and chocolate or vanilla protein powder.*  I changed it up a bit and it came out great, but I know you won’t be disappointed however you make it!

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Preheat the over to 350 degrees
  2. In a blender or food processor, add all of the ingredients and blend until smooth.
  3. Lightly coat a nonstick muffin pan with cooking spray and pour in the mixture.  Bake for about 20 minutes or until cooked.  The top will be golden and the toothpick inserted in the middle should come out clean.  Let them sit before removing from the pan.

Enjoy!

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