The Gift of: Healing the Inside

While attending a Young Adult retreat recently I met a woman (I actually should refer to her as a “young lady” since I found out she’s 14 years younger than me) who mentioned her past life as a Crossfit athlete. Her and I bonded over the fact that we both have had a similar “departure” from the fitness world due in large part to the vanity that seems to accompany many of the wanna-be athletes who frequent the gyms these days.

This isn’t a knock on CrossFit by the way (although I do tend to enjoy giving them a hard time now and then). And it’s clearly not a knock on anyone who goes to the gym considering I am one of those people.

I mention this because I find it interesting to read stories of athletes and bodybuilders who didn’t get burn out per se, but they came to the realization that working out constantly and obsessing over their PR’s and what they ate and how much weight they pulled, pressed and pushed, or all their races they ran – none of it truly satisfied them. They thought they would find happiness at the finish line or after they crossed the stage and received a trophy or left the gym a sweaty mess.

They have since found that none of that really matters as much to them anymore.

The Thrill is Gone

I know I was super excited after I did my competition. I couldn’t wait to get in the gym and “bulk up” and hit some PR’s and lift some heavy weight and make progress.

It was fun for a long time. You could even say I made the gym my sanctuary.

But something isn’t quite right when even my independent, solitary-loving self felt like I spent more time in the gym and writing in my workout log than I did writing emails to friends or spent time with my family and friends. And I wasn’t even one of the “worst cases.” I have read and known many folks who became gym addicts and their relationships suffered.

What I find most interesting is that we can become addicted to something inherently good. Like an infatuation.

This desire to be strong, be fit and be a good athlete usually starts out all good. (Or, in some cases and I would actually say MOST, we give up after awhile or we get distracted by other life events and neglect our health).

But sometimes, and I would argue this is happening more and more, especially with social media – this desire to be healthy becomes an unhealthy desire for glory and praise.

You “Look” Amazing!

For me personally, it felt awkward to receive compliments from people. So many times my friends or even random strangers would comment on my blog or to my face, “You look fantastic!!! I want to look like that!” when referring to my before and after pics (I’ve taken them down, so don’t bother looking for them).

Why couldn’t I even accept a compliment of praise? For me, I felt like it was like people were congratulating me on how I looked and my appearance and it felt…vain. Fake. Like, “Why are you praising my body for looking this way?” I know this sounds strange and selfish and whiny – Who wouldn’t want to receive a compliment like that? But the keyword was “look.” I couldn’t get past that word. And to be complimented on my appearance was something I was not used to considering I never looked like that way ever before.

Of course I said thank you, I’m not rude. But still, it felt really strange and it was a feeling I couldn’t shake.

So imagine what it felt like when those compliments stopped after the competition.  I was bulking and trying to put on weight. I was somewhat relieved to not receive any more of them because then the pressure was off! But of course, looking in the mirror told a different story.

I cannot even begin to tell you the mind games the that went through my head. And I considered myself to have a good relationship with food and decent body image of myself.  Imagine what a professional figure competitor or bikini competitor goes through when he/she rebounds and gains a ton of weight too quickly! And we wonder why there are heartbreaking stories of these (mostly) women who can’t see their value anymore other than a body designed to win trophies or look good in photos. The bingeing and the dieting becomes obsessive and their health and metabolism is shot. And they take YEARS to re-cover.  Granted, this is a worse-case scenario but I assure you, the bodybuilding world is full of them.

Prioritize the Inner Self

I think the lesson learned is that we should keep our bodies healthy and in shape the best way we know how and dedicate a good amount of time to doing so. Perhaps invest in a Personal Trainer? 😉

But when the time spent in the gym or measuring our food or taking selfies (please don’t, just don’t) takes up the majority of our days, that’s when pride and vanity enter and that’s when I would suggest you take a big step back and re-asses your priorities.

I will tell you from experience, when outward appearance takes over your life, it does more harm internally than you realize at the time. And no one will tell you this – it’s something you will discover on your own.

My advice is to focus on mental and spiritual health before anything else. The physical stuff is easy to dedicate time to once you have the internal priorities set.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Distorted Perception of Weight Loss

Let’s go back in time to July of 2013. This is what I looked like:

July 22 2013
July 22 2013

It was 9 weeks before the competition. So I was probably 112lbs.

But I recall a specific moment from this timeframe:

I recall telling my sister (and only my sister as I wouldn’t dare say it to clients or friends) the following statement:

“Everyone looks huge to me. Big. Everyone. The people I see on the tv. The models and celebrities in magazines and on the cover. Everyone on my Facebook feed. Everyone…looks…huge.”

It wasn’t so much that I felt and looked small – It was that everyone got fat. Everyone.

I remember looking at a swimsuit model and thinking, “Poor thing…she’s too big to be in that suit.”

I went to the grocery store and looked at people in line and thought, “Poor thing…she’s too big to be buying those chips and cookies.”

I went to the gym and thought, “Poor people walking the treadmill…they must be exhausted carrying all that weight.”

Just let that sink in for awhile. Me. A Personal Trainer. Thinking everyone I looked at was huge. Ginormous. BIG.

How is that normal? How is that acceptable to think that way? I was completely distorted. Why? Probably because every time I looked in the mirror, I was getting SMALLER. I was getting so lean, that it seemed like everyone else was gaining weight by comparison. AND because people kept telling me, “You’re so small! You look great! You’ve lost so much weight, oh my gosh, you look so small!”

Although people were trying to give me compliments, they were reinforcing my thought that, Yes, I am small. This is a good thing.

As I got bigger after the competition, that feeling and perception went away. And my perception returned to “normal.” THANK GOODNESS.

It was quite possibly one of the strangest and startling things that happened to me during that period of time.

Now, that I’m building again, I am well aware of potential setbacks and feelings having gone through this before. I’m feeling much more prepared and confident. I don’t think you can fully prepare yourself for what is reflected in the mirror staring back at you once you start to change your physique (on purpose or by accident). It’s startling to see yourself in a particular way (I’m so much bigger than I was! I’m so much smaller than I was! I’m way more muscular than I have ever been!) and hopefully it’s a positive experience.

But this is the part where I point out that double standard: Society says we can’t tell someone that they look too big or too fat or too muscular but we are completely allowed to tell someone they are too skinny or too lean or too small. As if telling someone they are TOO much of something based on their appearance is EVER a good thing. No. Not even when you’re complimenting them, it really isn’t.

Because although that person you’re trying to compliment might not be training for a competition, I’m trying to give you an idea of what goes through the mind of someone who is dieting or training or struggling with their journey since they, too, might have a body distortion issue.

Instead of attaching a size to a comment, can we change the dialogue to start saying things like:

“Hey there good lookin!”

“That dress you have on is a great color on you.”

“You’re looking well today.”

Is there a reason we have to tell someone how they look and give it a size?

“You look great, have you lost weight?” – What if someone just looks great because they’re in a good mood that day?

“You look great, have you been eating more? You were looking too small last time I saw you. Glad you put on some size.”  – Because your opinion matters, yes.

“You look great, what size are you now? A 3 or a 4? That’s awesome! How big were you? Like a 12?? Wow!” – So now that I’m smaller, am I a better person now? Wasn’t I okay at a size 12?

Let me give an example that just happened to me:

I was told I was looking “really small” by another female who really had no idea I’m trying to bulk up. I wasn’t insulted. She thought she was complimenting me! (It’s not very common for women to WANT to get bigger). I know this. But even though I know this, guess what I did about 20 minutes later?

I downed a bag of chocolate covered almonds because…ya know, “Gotta eat to grow, bro.”

I had the idea in my head that “I’m small. That’s not good. I need to get bigger, therefore, gotta eat more.”

It was actually kind of funny at the time, and I like to think I have a mostly POSITIVE body image, but what if I was a binge and purger? What if I had a really bad history of yo-yo dieting or poor self image? And what if she had said “You look kinda small” in a way that made me second guess her intentions?

“What did she mean by that? Did she mean I should be even smaller? Did she mean I’m not small enough? Does she think I’m TOO small?”

I should have said to my friend, “Hey thanks…Actually, it’s funny you should say that. I’m trying to put on muscle…So hopefully next time you see me, I’ll look bigger!”

Just be careful with the comments to someone who is struggling or trying to make changes to their physique.

Chances are, they have enough dialogue going on in their head. And what they see in the mirror might be in complete distortion to what you see when you look at them.

P.S. I have posted progress pics in the Progress Pic page but here they are to save you a click:

March 13th, 2015. 135lbs and feeling strong, but not too fluffy.
March 13th, 2015. 135lbs and feeling strong, but not too fluffy.

The caption from my Instagram page: I’m Huge! 🙂 5 Months to go until my next figure competition. Feeling good at 135lbs.

And I’m proud to say the comments were all positive reinforcement. 🙂

 

 

5 Bad Diet Habits to Stop Today

eatingatdesk

This blog post originally appeared on Muscle is the New Sexy.

If you’ve been working out and lifting weights consistently but haven’t seen the scale or measurements budge lately, then it’s time to take a look at your diet plan.  As the common saying goes, “You can’t out-exercise a poor diet.”  As tempting as it is to say, “I’ll burn it off tomorrow” after we indulge in some cheesecake or donuts, it’s just not realistic to think one workout will help.  Take a look at these 5 Bad Habits and ask yourself if you’re guilty of one or more of them.  It could be the key to assisting you with your weight loss goals.

Eating at your Desk

I list this first because it’s probably one of the more unappealing and just plain gross habits we’ve become used to as of late.  In typical American fashion, we’re always in a hurry and no one seems to have time to sit down during the day and eat their meals.  This is why the grocery store aisles are loaded with quick and convenient “meals.”  But even if you have the best intentions and pack your meals everyday, there is still the problem of WHERE to eat your meal.  If you’re in a rush, your desk becomes the table.  With as many germs that are typically on a keyboard and office desk, this is not ideal to enjoy your lunch.  At the very least, choose a place to eat that is communal and intended to be eaten in, such as a cafeteria or break room.  Everyone is busy, and your job is important, but your health is much more important.  And getting crumbs in between the space bar is not attractive.

Scarfing Down your Food too Quickly

No one seems to enjoy their food anymore.  Not every meal needs to be an earth shattering experience.  But if you go to the trouble of cooking, or at least purchasing your food, why eat it like it’s going to be your last meal?  If you eat with intention and with purpose, you might find yourself eating slowly, thus, feeling fuller for a longer period of time.  Take time to taste every bite.  Some people even bless their food before they eat, ensuring they savor every morsel.  You know you’re going to eat again in a few hours.  There’s no need to rush!  Take frequent sips of water in between bites as well.  If you’re hanging with others, chat with them while you eat.  You should be too busy talking to eat so fast.

Skipping your Meals

There is still the misconception among dieters that in order to lose weight, you must skip some meals.  This is counterproductive.  Why?  Because if you start reducing your caloric intake so drastically, you’re just going to become even hungrier and most likely start gaining weight because you might double the size of your next meal.  If you are dieting, cutting back on the portion size is a better strategy than to skip a meal entirely.  The food you eat should be whole and natural as much as possible, not invisible.  An empty plate does not equal a lower number on the scale.

Drinking your Calories

Soda, pop, beer, wine, mixed drinks, juices.  All of these beverages would be considered poor options to hydrate you.  The best choice, of course, is water.  Even if you have a “stellar” diet, and you celebrate a few days a week with just a few drinks, you could be doing yourself a disservice.  For example, one Cosmopolitan has 145 calories in it, a Whiskey sour has 160 and a regular Beer has approximately 150.  Those calories really add up over time.  Reduce and cut back on these, and you might see a shift in your energy levels, better endurance in your workouts, and a change in the scale.   You should see an even bigger change when you increase your water throughout the day.  A good goal? Aim for half your bodyweight in ounces per day.

Opting for TV Dinners instead of Cooking

Boy Scouts aren’t the only ones who should always be prepared.  Adults need to have a plan.  It all starts with cooking.  Planning and cooking your  food might seem like a time consuming chore, but it really is the best way to ensure success with your health.  Maybe you know those tv dinners aren’t very good for you but you don’t know what else to eat.  And if you think those processed meals are “decent” for you, read the ingredient list.  There are usually more than 30 ingredients listed which is always a bad sign.  Learning to cook is worth it!  Take some cooking classes or have someone you know share some tips with you.  And cookbooks are cheap. I found one called “How to Cook” for $5. It really isn’t that difficult to bake some lean proteins and vegetables, cook up some hard boiled eggs, and heat up some leftovers for lunch.  You can even pick one day during the week to get all your cooking done so you’re prepared and ready to get on track with zero excuses.

If you’re guilty of one or more of these bad habits, make the decision today to stop and create better, healthier habits.  Pick one good habit to start and stick with it!   It might take weeks or even months to create the better habit, but it will be completely worth it and your body will thank you.

The Honeymoon is Over – Saying Goodbye to the Bulk

I officially started my dieting phase on Monday and ended the building phase.  It’s been 26 weeks since the last time I had NO plan – No lifting and No meal plan.  And it’s been about 14 months since I’ve done any cardio (I don’t count the 3 cardio sessions I did the week of my competition).

Last week I was under orders from my coach to take off, no lifting and no planned meals for an entire week.  The result?  See here:

photo(2)

I gained just 1lb, half an inch in my waist (BOO) half an inch in the hips (YAY!), half an inch in each leg, (YAY!), and of course, 1.5inches in my stomach. (BOO).

So you might think I’m upset about this but keep in mind, this was the result of being ON plan one week and being OFF one week.  It was such a much needed break for my body.  I did enjoy a few runs fast walks during the weekend while the weather was nice, a few alcoholic beverages, and celebrating Easter a week early with carbs galore.  If this is the result of that, then I’m really pleased.

So these are the STARTING numbers for my cutting phase.  I’m logging all of my food until I get a detailed plan from my coach which is due to arrive any minute now.  I took in about 1600 calories yesterday and am on track to do about the same today.  I worked legs yesterday and upper body today.  I’m holding off on cardio until I get my plan because, as I’ve learned, it’s all diet. 🙂  And the less cardio I have to do to shed this extra layer, the better and happier I’ll be.

I thought about ending my bulking phase with a little Ode to Food..but I’m not feeling the creative juices flowing on that one.  So here are some Lessons Learned instead:

  • The scale is my friend…the food scale that is.  I don’t care who you are, when you slap exactly 90ounces of tilapia or exactly 85grams of chicken on the scale, it’s like a little mini celebration.  As pathetic as it sounds, I can’t help but think “HELL YEAH I’M A ROCK STAR”  for being able to eye-ball what 85grams is and then to be right on the money?  Okay it’s silly but I feel pretty damn awesome for doing it.
  • You can never get tired of peanut butter.  Did you know there are people out there who don’t love peanut butter?  How dare they!  I learned to control my cravings by making my own in my VitaMix.  It’s amazing what you WON’T devour when you’ve made it yourself.  And when you’re super cheap frugal like me.
  • Good Food Attitude Required.  You cannot possibly enter a bulking phase with a bad relationship with food.  Of course, you can’t diet with one either.  But I would say you better have a positive attitude because when you consume a lot of it, you don’t want to HATE food.  You don’t want to HATE what it’s doing to your body.  You’re getting larger and larger and clothes aren’t fitting but don’t hate on the food.  It’s doing what it’s supposed to.  You’re training your body to grow and you have to keep in mind that a surplus of food is necessary to achieve this.
  • Body Image is Everything.  To go along with the food attitude, if you are miserable with how you look, you won’t last long.  It’s not easy to see my six pack go away, it’s not a cake walk to step on the scale and record the new number, and it’s damn annoying to try on clothes that fit 3 months ago that can’t get past your hips.  But it’s just the way things work.  It’s the way your body responds to added muscle (plus a little fat).
  • If eating an entire plate of asparagus is wrong, then I don’t want to be right.  There’s not really a lesson here.  I just love asparagus.  And I will never ever ever get tired of it. 🙂

Dieting progress posts will be forthcoming, as well as some much requested Workout posts.  I’ve been asked to blog a 20 minute Hotel Workout for those clients of mine who travel frequently.  So be on the lookout for that! 

 

As always, you can find my other posts on various training topics at Muscle is the New Sexy, new posts from me come out every Wednesday.  Don’t forget to like me on Facebook here and follow me on Twitter (mostly fitness related but sometimes sports and humor get mixed in) and Instagram (always just fitness related content).

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Happy Training!

 

 

 

My Top 10 Fitness and Nutrition Tips

I thought I’d put together a list (thanks to my client Heidi for the idea) of the best advice I’ve ever given as well as gotten as part of trying to be healthier, and live an active lifestyle.  Some of these I’ve stolen borrowed from my own coach or my first PT, others I’ve heard along the way, and some just from learning on my own.  Feel free to share with others who may need to hear this advice too!

In no particular order:

Be honest with yourself.  Write out what you’re going to eat the day before.  Even if you know you’re going to have a fast food breakfast, it’s better to be honest and have that reflection.  It works in reverse as well: Writing down that you plan to have a balanced, healthy dinner and then following through with it, gives you a tremendous feeling of accomplishment.  It’s also a small level of accountability you can have with yourself at the end of the day – looking over what you wrote down what you WANTED to eat versus what you ACTUALLY ate.  Do they match?  Why not?

 

Workout when you are least motivated.  Sounds strange, but when you absolutely have zero desire to get on your running shoes or get in your car to head to the gym, THAT is the time you should.  Many people experience a huge sense of satisfaction when they are DONE working out.  “I really didn’t feel like it at all but by the time I was done, I felt BETTER!”  Sooner or later, you’ll get into the habit of going, even when your body might be saying, “Let’s just stay home.”

 

Sleep trumps exercise everyday of the week.  If I was ever approached by a client who suffered from insomnia and was trying to lose weight, I would turn them down for PT until they got into a habitual sleep pattern that included a minimum of 7 hours of sleep.  Why? Because chances are they are not losing weight because they can’t sleep.  Until that is corrected, I’d be stealing their money and they would show zero results.  If you have a choice between going to bed early or going to the gym late for a workout, always always always opt for sleep.

 

Mentality.  If you start to view your food as fuel, you are much less likely to hit the drive thru or eat out at the chain restaurants.  When you’re first thought of when you hear the word or think the word “food” is “FEAR” or “WEIGHT GAIN”, or “DEPRIVATION” then you have the wrong mentality.  When your first thought is “FUEL” and “NOURISHMENT” and “HEALTH” you will never be tempted to have crappy, greasy, and garbage food ever again.  It’s a relationship that might take years to get to a good place.  It takes time to learn how to cook good food too.  Learning to cook even something as basic as steaming vegetables and baking chicken gets you one step closer to feeling good and looking good.

 

Shop the perimeter. There is no reason to go down the middle aisles of a supermarket when the majority of what you should eat is on the perimeter.  Granted, there are exceptions:  Whole grains, oils, nuts, and some baking needs are in the aisles.  But 90% of what goes in your cart is available in the perimeter.  Load up on veggies, fruits, lean proteins and fats, and you are good go.  Plus, you’re cart will be so full of the good stuff, there won’t be much room for the junk.

Goals should be something you can control.  I stole this one from my coach although I had learned it many years ago.  Don’t focus on having a goal of losing X amount of pounds in X amount of time.  How can you control that?  If we knew exactly how to lose fat, we’d all look exactly the same because no one would have a weight problem.  You cannot control your metabolism to the degree that you tell it exactly how many pounds you want to lose. Your goals should be simpler yet a challenge.  Examples:

I will drink 4L of water today.

I will not have alcohol with dinner this week.

I will have protein with all my meals today.

I will get up 15 minutes early to make breakfast tomorrow.

You cannot spot reduce.  If we could choose where the fat on our body could disappear from, that would be like discovering the fountain of youth.  Alas, it doesn’t work that way.  And speaking from experience, you cannot choose where the fat COMES on your body either.  You think I want the fat to go directly to my stomach?!  Yeah it’s irritating but the difference is, I know the endgame:  More muscle.  I know it’s temporary to have this layer of fat on me right now.  Same goes for when I’ll diet down, I know I might lose it in places that are not ideal (ummm Chest?) but, this is the way the body works.  So enough with the “Can we just do exercises that get rid of the extra fat on my inner thighs?  And can we just do abs and crunches so I can get rid of this belly fat?”  Sure! Let me just get my magic wand…

Your behavior should match your goals. Stole this one from Precision Nutrition. This goes back to being honest with yourself.  If you have a goal of losing fat and weeks go by with little to no success in that area, you most likely give up, right?  But if you take a look at what your behavior was those weeks, what would you see?  Someone who worked out 5 days a week?  Someone who ate 5 balanced meals a day?  Someone who got 7 hours+ of sleep?   Someone who did everything you’re supposed to when you’re dieting?  If you only have yourself to hold you accountable, you have to be honest with yourself and evaluate where you went wrong. You might see that you only worked out twice a week and you ended a few sessions early because you weren’t feeling it.  Or you skipped lunch a few days because you got busy at work.  And you never did prep your food for the weekend so you binged on junk.  Adjust your behavior before you set your goals because that is a huge reason why many people fail.

Bloodwork tells a big story.  I think people hear “I have a thyroid problem” and automatically assume someone must be lying or using an excuse for their stagnant progress.  As much as I hate to hear “Ever since I hit menopause I just can’t lose this weight,” or “Ever since I had babies, I can’t lose this weight,” many times, it’s a contributing factor to someone’s progress.  Yes, specifically women but men as well if they have cortisol or testosterone imbalances.  I won’t use this blog as a shameless plug but if you are interested in learning more about how hormones affect your weight loss, email me at fromfittofigure@gmail.com and we can discuss.  In the meantime, ask your doc to run a panel of tests on your thyroid, cortisol, and hormone levels to see what’s going on.  Adrenal fatigue, stress, hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism are all contributors to why SOME people cannot lose weight.

The scale doesn’t tell the story.  If you’re frustrated by the lack of movement in the direction the scale might be going, first, you need to read this story from my friend Leslie who contributed to my blog last year.  Secondly, you don’t have to throw it out, but consider weighing yourself once a week and then maybe once a month.  Lastly, stop thinking of that number and start measuring inches.  Yes, that’s yet another number but almost everyone who reaches a plateau (and it WILL happen) notice that although the scale didn’t budge, the measurements did.  That’s called Progress. 🙂  You went down a dress size yet the scale only moved 3 pounds?  Oh gee, I guess you gained something called muscle.  If you’re still disgruntled, check out the following visuals.

5-pounds-of-fat-5-pounds-of-musclefat-vs-muscleWeight-Loss-VS-Fat-Loss3

I hope these tips were helpful and informative for you.  If you liked what you just read, please share and comment!

 

 

 

 

One Perfect Week

So for those who follow me on my FB page, you know I had a goal last week of being absolutely on point with my diet for 7 days straight.

I made it 5 days before I caved and had a cheat meal.  But in this phase of my training, the building phase, it’s incredibly easy to just have a little extra with no detrimental effects on the physique.  At least none that I’ve noticed thus far.

According to my coach, I can save this “hardcore” goal for the dieting phase.  Right now, I’m trying to enjoy the fact that I get to be in a surplus and enjoy my food and continue to train heavy.

I’ve updated the Muscle Building Pics page with photos from the past month.  New pics will be added a week from today.  I don’t anticipate huge changes but in case you can’t tell from the photos, I’m growing quite the nice booty. I was always told in order to get a butt, I would either have to get pregnant (no thanks) or be blessed with good genetics.

Well, I got my Mom’s flat butt genes, and I still managed to grow one. 🙂
Looking back at my starting measurements – you can see I’m growing in all the right places.  It’s STILL scary to see that number on the scale go up every week but, just like a dieting phase, it’s not permanent.

photo(1)

With that said, I’m STILL going to shoot for 7 perfect days in a row.  It’s gonna be tough with tomorrow being Fat Tuesday – (What appropriate timing!)  I wanted to get a Paczki in honor of my Mom.  That was the last holiday she celebrated before she passed.  But, to be honest, I’m not such a huge fan of them that I MUST have one.  I can possibly try to fit them into my plan tomorrow but without knowing exactly what’s in one, I think I’ll pass.  Not quite worth the calories.

I might not make it 7 perfect days, but by saying it on here, I feel like I have a little bit more accountability from my readers who might be curious to see if I can do it.

What about you?  If you feel like you need a fire lit under your (growing) butt, give yourself a challenge!  It doesn’t have to be food or fitness related.  It can be anything.  Whatever it is, try and do it for 7 days straight.  Feel free to report back here next week to let us know how you did!

Thanks for reading and Happy Monday!

-Michelle

Gimme Your Food

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How appropriate is this picture?  I LOVE IT!  I love it so much I made it my new profile pic on Facebook.

This is exactly what I tell people when they see me stuffing my face eating delicious off-plan food.  In fact, I did engage is such behavior on Superbowl Sunday.  I ate some really good snacks that I don’t normally eat at all and they were all pretty much worth every calorie.

I’m 15 weeks into training with my coach at LBC and I gotta say this building phase is much harder to adhere to with regards to the diet than the fat loss phase I went through for the competition.  Like, 10 times harder.  Probably 90% of the reason is because there’s no competition to get ready for.  However, as I have mentioned in previous posts, the scale is not an indicator of how I feel and how I look.  I admit I get a little scared when I step on it and see the number up 20lbs from my stage weight.  I think to myself “Stop this train, I wanna get off!” But, you gotta take a breath and realize what your goals are.  This is what I wanted.  This is what I set out to do.

Clearly, if you want to put on some muscle, you’re going to gain some fat along with it until it’s time to lean out.  So I have accepted this fact and move on.  It’s hard, especially at night when it’s too early to go to bed and I’m already finished with my last meal of the day.  I’m definitely not hungry (I’m in a surplus, how can I be?) but it’s that behavior I have to change.  That mindset of “But I’m bulking, I can eat more!” pops into my head.  It’s pretty much SHOUTING at me at night and it’s really difficult to shut it off.  So the past few days have not exactly been 100%.  More like 90% compliance.

Not bad, you might say.  It could be worse, you might think.  But remember what I always preach:  “One “bad” meal won’t undo all the hard work you’ve done just as one “good” meal won’t undo all the damage you may have done.”  But, adding up one and then another and another “bad” meal WILL yield results that will be less than favorable. 

Something to keep in mind as I go along this building phase.  Some days I think “I wish I could be in a deficit.  That was so much easier.”  But to be honest, it wasn’t as much fun as it is now.  I was SAD when I finished my last meal of the day.  Sometimes I would be sad as soon as I finished my BREAKFAST!  Just knowing I couldn’t eat anything for another 3-4 hours was super depressing.

Now, since I’m in a surplus, I’m pretty full after I eat.  And I take my time to eat my food instead of scarfing it down.  I enjoy my food SO much more since doing this.  I found myself literally shoveling food in my mouth at every meal, especially lunch and dinner since I was at a different job at the time and I didn’t really get a real legit “break.”  Now, I take my time and eat super slowly.  Just doing this one little thing has helped me immensely.

In keeping with “Accepting” this new me, I wrote a blog post for Muscle is the New Sexy this week which focuses on Letting your Light Shine.  I discuss some positive ways we can silence that negative voice that gets stuck on repeat sometimes in our head.

Let Your Light Shine

I hope you guys like it and share it!  Look for my blogs to come out every Wednesday on that site.