Sunday, June 30, 2013

A slice of I eat, how I live.

I get a lot of questions about what I eat. I thought that I would share my recent slice o' life with you to try to shed some light on what has become a much too complicated subject.
 I was back in VA visiting family and friends for two weeks. I got in a few (umm, like 2)work outs, stayed active outdoors with some kayaking and lots of walking. I ate things that I wouldn't typically eat on any sort of regular basis. For instance, my dad made homemade rosemary bread and was pulling it out of the oven when I came in. It was heavenly!! On Fathers Day, my nephew made a homemade german chocolate cake, and there was just NO WAY that I would pass that up! My nephew is 12 and he is proving to be quite the chef! Also there were were plenty of cocktails in those 2 weeks.....and some pizza.  It was a great time and I was definitely eating, drinking and being merry! I completely enjoyed myself and my family and friends and I wouldn't change a thing (except maybe that pizza, which sat like a rock in my stomach!)
 Now I am back in Colorado and it is time to get back to business. Let me share with you a few side effects that I am experiencing (and maybe you have too) since my little hiatus from clean eating and exercise: 1.A distended stomach. Sexy, right? But my stomach is actually slightly bloated. 2.Water retention. I am puffy. For me that puffiness always shows up worst, right around my waist. 3. the scale shows that I am up 2 lbs. and 4. I am dehydrated. From not drinking enough water, all of the travel, the cocktails and then getting back to this super dry climate. This shows up in my skin.....particularly around my eyes and forehead and also gives my muscles a "flat" appearance.

So what am I going to do???
I do not operate on a system of restriction and rewards so there is no ridiculous guilt. I enjoy food, I enjoy my life and thats that. I do not "throw in the towel" because I had a few weeks of less than optimal eating. No WAY!!
I do not look at the scale and say "Oh, well now I've gained 2 pounds. I may as well just quit. Whats the use?" Ridiculous!!
 ** A word on the scale numbers: RELAX. It takes an EXCESS of 3,500 calories to gain a pound of FAT. So unless you are eating like a sumo wrestler, you haven't gained actual body fat in a few days!**
  I don't like the side effects that I experience when I don't eat well. I don't FEEL good. My energy levels lag and I really don't feel like working out or doing much of anything after awhile. I know how good my body CAN and WILL feel as soon as I get back to my proper fuel and exercise. So, when I am ready to do that, I don't cut myself much slack for a few weeks. I make out my plan and I stick to it! For my body weight (regularly 120) it takes about 14-1500 calories to maintain that weight and to support my work outs. When I first started working out and really trying to get FIT, I had to do some calculating to figure out what kind of foods were going to give me the results that I waas looking for. These days, I can eyeball it and always fall right around that calorie target without trying. I just keep it simple and use proper portions of whole food. I will be strict for 2 weeks, in order to get back on track eating right and to get rid of any cravings. I prep food on Sunday to give myself (and my family), easy, good, fresh meals that are quick to prepare. There are no processed cookies, crackers, etc in our house. They aren't good for us, so we don't buy them and they don't tempt us. This is from today:
 It took me about 45 minutes to chop the veggies, cook the chicken breast, boil a dozen eggs,roast sweet potatoes, make salmon cakes etc. This is all in the fridge and ready to go. This is what my meal/fitness plan will look like this week:

Run in the am (short run)
Breakfast: 2 eggs+ 1 cup egg whites w/ spinach and tomatoes, coffee

Meal 2: cubed chicken w/ guacamole, steamed broccoli or salad (my sister showed me a delicious dressing for the broccoli using just mustard and vinegar.)

*work out*

Meal 3: protein shake with almond milk, banana and green superfood powder + roasted sweet potatoes

Meal 4: salmon cake + guacamole and/or salad

Meal 5: Dinner (always red meat, poultry or seafood +2 vegetables and red wine)

Walk in the pm
I drink 2 cups of coffee a day, water, red wine with dinner and sometimes hot tea.

I will stick to this pretty strictly for about 2 weeks. A few substitutions would be greek yogurt, another serving of fruit, some different vegetables etc. It isn't the fanciest meal plan, and I don't offer it up as perfect but doing this for two weeks, gets me back on track, gets rid of all of those side effects, gets me feeling great again and is certainly good for my body. I try to load up on lean protein and a variety of vegetables because this is what works best for me. Muscle is SO HARD to come by and upping my protein really makes a difference in the results that I get in my work outs.
After the 2 weeks, I always find that I am on a roll, all my cravings are gone and my energy levels are restored. I don't concentrate on "no carb" or even "low carb", I just keep it simple and eat more carbs on my toughest work out days and always load up on proteins, and vegetables. Between cooking my foods in coconut oil & olive oil and eating guacamole, avocados and whole eggs, I find that my fat intake stays right where I like it as well.
When I go out to eat with my husband or the rest of my family, I enjoy my meal completely, but still try to make good choices :salmon w/ vegetables or filet mignon w/ vegetables is pretty much on every restaurant menu! If I want dessert(rarely), I order it.
I guess what I am getting at is that you really SHOULD enjoy your food. There is little that is more satisfying in life than delicious food and good fellowship! But YOU decide what goes into your mouth and how much it will be. Will it be a bag of Doritos or a few slices of warm, fresh baked rosemary bread baked by a loved one? YOU decide. If you are trying to lose weight and get fit, be purposeful in your choices and your decisions....... take control of what goes into your mouth and into your body.
 Let me know if you have any questions about meal planning or meal prepping. I love to talk healthy food!!
Just Keep Going!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Crossfit nemesis

So, I gave up my gym membership. I miss my basement gym back in Virginia! While I loved having access to so many different weight machines, I actually realized that I don't actually use many weight machines! I'm pretty much a free weights kinda gal, and I would always rather get my cardio done outside rather than on a treadmill. So I talked with my husband and we decided to just start slowly adding pieces to our basement here. Our first purchase? Crossfit rings. Have you used these before? They are a mean and nasty piece of equipment that will put you to shame, no matter how fit you are, if you haven't used them regularly. When I first start back to using them, I basically feel like I am just thrashing around up there a lot. It's embarrassing, and I can feel BOB's eyes on me from over in the corner. But having used them in the past, I know that you have to just keep going, and eventually you will feel yourself getting stronger and there is less thrashing and more strong movement and there is very little that will target your abdominals and your back and shoulders, like these rings will. Talk about SORE!!!
 We also purchased some bands to help me to get in more exercises while I am still working on my strength. You can see the green band hanging in this picture, on one of the rings. (BOB looks so smug there in the background.)

 I use these to assist my pull ups and while I am trying to get strong enough to kip up into the transition phase of a muscle up.(BIG goals, people.......I'm aiming high!) I am actually using the purple band in this picture, which gives less help........and I was feeling it.

I have a long way to go, but I am somewhat encouraged by my pink jumprope. Guess what? I'm jumping rope! Yay me! It is no longer getting tangled in my ponytail and I am actually able to do a "double under" once in awhile (granted, it is usually by accident, but I'm doing it nonetheless, so I am claiming it as a small victory. Sue me.) For our next gym purchase, we are trying to decide between a wall ball and a jump box. Baby steps. :-)
  These days my work outs contain less heavy lifting and more body weight exercises, kettlebells, jump rope, and the rings, done in circuits.  I am back on track with my eating, taking my vitamins and my water intake. It feels really good.
  If you have gotten off track, do whatever is necessary to get back to eating good foods and exercising. Maybe you will have to make some adjustments. Maybe your schedule needs some work or you need to re-think your work outs. Plan your meals and don't get caught off guard. Consistent effort will pay off big time for you. Not just aesthetically, but mentally. Eating right and exercising enables you to deal with the stresses of life in a more balanced and consistent manner.(And if you are going to read the news these days, you NEED to work-out!) It helps you to sleep better and gives you more energy throughout the day. Don't let another day go by. Take action and even if you are just going through the motions at first, just do it anyway, I guarantee you will be pushing yourself before the end of that work out! You can do this. It isn't magic, but it really works. Be patient and just keep going. And as always if you have any questions or need help with where to start, feel free to ask me here in the comments or on Facebook at Train With Melissa , or email me at