The Great Bread Debate

Let’s discuss every dieters favorite topic: BREAD.  Yummy carb-filled delcious bread.

Okay yeah I can’t fake it. I’m not a big fan of bread. And this is coming from someone who grew up eating Peanut Butter and Jelly on white bread for like, 15 years.

I used to eat a ton of it when I trained for my half marathons and races years ago. But then I slowly just got sick of it. Pasta too. I know, I know, I’m Italian, I should LOVE pasta right? Maybe I just got sick and tired of all the carbs. Most of my carb sources these days are in the form of oats, rice cakes and low carb wraps.

So I got to wondering, “Are there others like me? Are there other non-bread lovers out there?” So I asked all my clients as well as anyone else who has kids (thinking maybe they eat bread because their kids probably do for sandwiches) if they eat bread. I also asked if they wanted to mention anything else about carbs and cutting back on the bread when dieting.

Here are the results of my informal survey:

  • Currently I buy Schwebel’s Sweet Harvest Wheat. It’s probably not any better than white, but I love soft wheat bread when I have my PB&J so that’s what I get. My daughters don’t care that it’s brown (like I did growing up).
    I buy it b/c it’s reasonably priced for how much bread we do eat.
  • I have 5 kinds of Ezekial Bread in the house, my kids love them!
  • My kids have sandwiches everyday and they eat regular white bread. I think people have to be smart when dieting. Most don’t know where to start or whatever. Oh…. I like bread too much. I like wine too much. I like food too much. Yeah, we know that, that’s why this country is obese. Nobody knows how much to eat. Once they learn the amount, then I would assume you start talkin about quality. Over time, I’ve learned to make different choices. Some do, some don’t.
  • My kids grew up eating Ezekiel bread or a similar style homemade bread their grandmother made. They thought regular grocery store bread was “weird” when they had it at their friends houses. I’m sure their friends thought our bread was weird. LOL I eat an Ezekiel English muffin almost every day.
  • I am a mom and I do eat breads, all kinds. When I first started eating better I kept my good “aka expensive foods” limited to just me. Then I realized why am I denying my son the right to have the good foods too. He eats pretty much whatever he’s told, however he would choose the good choices first in most cases anyhow.
  • I limit bread because it can be a trigger for me. For planned meals I’ll sub 2 corn tortillas on occasion to make tacos. I’ll sometimes have a toasted English Muffin for a Post Workout meal or when having a craving as I love the crunch/texture. My family eats wheat/sourdough bread on occasion but basic flour or whole wheat tortillas are the norm for making wraps.
  • I only buy Ezekiel bread. I myself rarely eat it but my daughter and husband eat it 5 out of 7 days/week.
  • I eat sunflower seed bread because I have worked it into my plan. I also have butter on it as one of my fats – again worked into my plan.
  • I buy Potato bread or a loaf of sourdough because they like it. I eat it too. Not everyday, but if I want a sandwich sure I’ll grab their bread. My kids wouldn’t go for wraps (especially lettuce wraps) unless they were at PF Changs, LOL!
  • I have three kids and we do have breads in moderation. Organic and whole grain usually.  I eat Ezekiel muffins, they do not like them much. I really try to have them make good choices… ex: a bagel is fine, but not a whole one…instead have a half with eggs and cheese … and fruit. For sandwiches at lunch I do lower carb whole grain for kiddos, or omit bread all together and do cut up cheese, fruit, veggies and meat… (and then maybe whole grains, like crackers…)
  • There are plenty of things I choose not to eat that my kids eat. Halloween candy for example. Obviously 80/20 on that.
    Bread is such a tricky one though. When you make healthier choices you look for volume- especially when dieting. Heck, even non-dieting I don’t really choose bread as a go to simply because there’s not much to it. I think the thought of no bread for newbies would sound restrictive and maybe even daunting. But I know plenty of folks who do cut things out especially when they are just starting.
  • I try not have anything that’s really off limits b/c I have so many food issues. I offer a large variety and they eat what they eat. I think because of that my girls love everything from Fruit Loops to broccoli. I will serve something over and over b/c they will eat something one time and then turn their nose up again at it 5 times before they scarf it down again. I also don’t short order cook. I serve dinner and they can choose to eat it or not, but I don’t make anything else, they don’t get dessert or snack after that.
  • I think people also don’t realize how much “bread” they do eat and that is when it gets dangerous. It’s not just sandwich bread, it’s bagels, pizza dough, cookies, cake, brownies. That’s ALL bread. Just b/c it doesn’t come in a loaf doesn’t mean it’s not bread and too much of it is not good.

 

I think the lesson here is if you haven’t tried Ezekial bread, give it a shot. 🙂  I myself have had the cinnamon raisin Ezekial bread and it tastes so good, and remember, I’m a very picky eater to this day. The last woman I surveyed I think had one of the best points: People don’t realize how carb-y foods can be and if you’re trying to at least “watch” what you’re eating, take note of all those doughs and cookies and cakes and bagels – Those carbs add up!

 

A separate blog post about what kinds of meals you can make for your kids is coming up later on this week too. 🙂

Happy Monday!

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.

Quick Update

I’m 14…er…13 days…well, actually, make that 12 days out if you don’t count today since it’s almost over…Yikes!!!

Things that are done:

  • Registered for the show
  • Posing seminar/dress rehearsal
  • Suit ordered and fits perfectly
  • Tanning booked
  • Photo shoot booked
  • Make up person booked
  • Tickets for family purchased

Things still to do:

  • Get the hair done/scheduled for the morning of the show
  • Get some cheap bling (I think I see a trip to Claire’s in my future)
  • Schedule mani/pedi

As for the diet, Coach Ben says I’m in the best position possible considering he’s adding food to my plan.  YAY for more carbs!

Here are some pics I took last night; I still have to work on the posing and I’m sure it will not be 100% by the time I hit the stage but I’m okay with that.

14 days out!
14 days out!

Now I must go to bed because I got up way early this morning and if I stay up any longer I will be tempted to raid the cupboards.  And I can only eat so much Jell-O (gelatin) in one sitting…I think my new record is 4 cups in one day.  Yeah I don’t think any human being should eat that much.  It’s just plain wrong. 🙂

Good night!  Next update from me will be just 6 days out.  Unbelievable!

Build-a-Butt

Get it?? Like Build-a-Bear….but it’s Build-a-Butt.

That’s funny isn’t it?!  Or maybe I just find silly titles like that humorous.   Moving along…

I survived my first posing seminar this past weekend!  Woohoo! And by surviving I mean I didn’t fall down in my stripper shoes.  That’s a victory in itself.

If you consider my competition the SHOW, you can consider this the dress rehearsal…kind of.  Only with a lot less people…and no spray tans…and no make up or big hair….and no judges. ..okay so it’s not a dress rehearsal at all.

It’s a scrimmage. Yes, a scrimmage would be a much more appropriate description.

I met some amazing looking women like Beth (@SansPantsGirl) and Callista (@StillaLandShark) with matching amazing personalities.  You couldn’t help but size up the competition but what was great is that we were all in the same boat – feeling like we perhaps didn’t belong.  All of us (as I found out later) are first time competitors.  I was shaking in my stripper shoes from the get go, not quite sure how to maneuver in these ginormous heels.

The seminar itself was great – I learned a lot from Chuck and Melissa who are both trainers and have competed several times.  Just watching them give cues I was in awe.  They are both BIG little people.  Big physiques, shorter in stature.  Like you just wanted one of them to bench press you just because you knew they probably could, ha!  (See picture – I’m sure you can tell who they are just by this description).  1071422_496548897099482_1186154786_o

As for the poses themselves – here are some visuals to help you understand just what I was doing on Saturday afternoon and the advice I was given:

frontpose

FRONT POSE:  I feel like I’m trying to be the Hulk in this pose.  You have to give the impression of size, specifically, that you have some.  And not just with this pose, with all of them.  But this is your first one that the judges see.   I’m still “under construction” so I’m not as large as I would like to be.  But, that doesn’t mean you can’t exaggerate and fake it in the meantime.  You’re not supposed to suck in the gut either – it’s more of an elevation of your ribcage.  You also want the judges to see your lats on this pose.  See how you can see that muscle underneath/behind this woman’s armpits?  Yeah, you want to be able to SEE those.  NOT EASY.

backpose

BACK POSE:  This is the most painful pose, in my opinion.  I had a very hard time with this one.  I kept putting my arms out too far and not flexing my back correctly.  I was told by one competitor a couple weeks ago that when you get it right you have to remember how it FEELS, especially since you can’t see yourself.  So, I’ll be recording this one for sure.

sidepose

SIDE POSE:  I wasn’t too bad with this one although I have to remember to stick the butt out and create a curve with the back/tailbone.  Oh and my hands..hand placement is very important with all of these.  Hands have to be relaxed and again, it’s al ot easier said than done.

relaxedsidepose

SIDE RELAXED POSE:  There is nothing RELAXING about this pose.  Of course I had to post a pic of my girl Nicole Wilkins for this one.   See how the front foot is so close to the other foot and it’s pointed?  You have no idea how much that HURTS when you are not accustomed to wearing heels. I was dying in this pose.  Plus I kept forgetting to twist myself so the judges would be able to see me.  This is also the pose you hold while everyone else is on the stage doing their poses.  So it’s imperative you master it (keep smiling keep smiling keep smiling) so you can stay in it for a long period of time. 

Some other bits of advice given to me throughout the seminar:

“Get your butt up…you have no butt so you have to create the illusion that you have one.”

“Relax your back..don’t let your blades jut out.”

“Point your toes as you walk…don’t let your knees bend so much.”

“Stick that butt out.”

Can you tell I need to work on sticking my butt out? 🙂

All in all it made for one very uncomfortable afternoon – but that was the point.  These poses aren’t necessarily comfortable or relaxed in any way.  You are literally shaking (at least I was) as you stand there trying to recall all the pointers that were given to you.  I can only imagine on Competition day what will be going through my head as I pose in front of the judges…”Make eye contact. …Smile…Relax the shoulders…Keep smiling…Hands in front…Butt out  But out…Butt out!!!”

In the meantime it’s practice practice practice.  I actually wear the heels while I do housework as often as I can.  And since I rarely do housework, this is not a common occurrence.  But hey, if it gets me to load the dishwasher and do laundry more often, it’s a win-win situation right?

In the meantime, we got 10 weeks!  The countdown continues.

-Michelle

Tweet of the Week:  Courtesy of MeNote to Gen Pop: “Glad you’re doing well but you’re wasting away to nothing!” is what is defined as a Backhanded Compliment. #StopIt

Sometimes I can’t believe the nerve people have to tell you to your face what they think you look like.  And even after it’s explained that I’m happy and this is for a purpose (i.e. a show) I was told “That’s great! Good for you!  But you’re still wasting to nothing.”   Hey thanks random person!  You’re just fueling my fire to keep this going!

19 Weeks + 1 Day to go!

I can’t believe I have less than 20 weeks to go for my first figure competition.  Kind of a surreal experience right now thinking back to last October and what my initial feelings and thoughts were regarding this decision. 

Here I am almost 8 months later and now I can say the real prep work begins.  I went and hired a new coach online named Ben Esgrow from De Novo Nutrition.  He’s an RD, CSCS, and a Professional Natural Bodybuilder who came highly recommended.  I’ve only been on his workout and nutrition plans for 3 weeks and already see a great amount of progress.  Not only that, but the food/nutrition plan is much better than the plan I was on previously.  I have the freedom to eat what I want as long as it fits my macronutrients for that day.  Basically, that means I can have a certain amount of carbs, protein, fat and fiber depending on the day and what I’m training.

All the guesswork is taken out for me and I have the variety back that I wasn’t getting previously.   As for the workouts, I’ve been instructed not to do any cardio for now which is awesome because between 3 jobs, I have just enough time to get a good 45 minute lifting session in. 

And progress?  Well, take a look at this back. 

Well hello there traps and lats...
Well hello there traps and lats…

I only brag this one time because I had to finally give in and go clothes shopping to find clothes that actually FIT me.  Not a bad problem to have but my wallet felt this one.  As I was trying on clothes I caught my back in the mirror and literally, did not recognize it as my own.  As cheesy as that sounds, it’s true.  A proud moment.

Other noteworthy news:  I’ve purchased the heels! Yes, the stripper shoes we are required to wear on the stage have been ordered.  19 weeks better be long enough to practice walking in these things!  I need all the practice I can get.

 

You mean I have to WALK in these things??
You mean I have to WALK in these things??

 

Let’s just pray I don’t fall flat on my face in these monsters.

Lastly, t-minus 16 days until my first photo shoot.  I’m incredibly excited and nervous about this but I know it’s going to go well and just knowing it’s coming down the pipeline is helping me adhere to my diet.  You can bet pics are going to be shared as soon as possible on that one.

Life is good for this Fit Girl. 

Next week, I will be posting an interview I am doing with a current Figure Competitor.  I won’t even reveal anything about this woman except that you’re going to want to bookmark it to refer back to for motivation.  I haven’t even interviewed her yet but you can bet her story is going to be one that you won’t soon forget.

Happy Friday and have a wonderful Memorial Day!  Remember those who fought for our freedom and honor them as best as you can this weekend.

 

-Michelle