Thursday, April 14, 2011

Lettuce Leaves & Rice Cakes Aren't Enough...

Hello dear readers!

I have had a lot of women come to me in the past week requesting diet ideas and healthy eating ideas so this post is so you can get an idea of what that looks like, at least for me. Everyone is so different, and God didn't make everyone the same, so these are just ideas! NOT a nutrition plan, just ideas. I hope this helps everyone. This is the type of eating plan I have adopted during off-season when I am not training for a competition. I have learned many secrets and tricks to healthy eating in the past year. The jolly rancher idea in water came from my friend Tara, who is a fellow competitor and wonderful mom!

Meats: Lean protein like 90% lean ground turkey, turkey burger patties, chicken burgers, Boca Bugers or other veggie burgers (just be aware sometimes these are higher in sodium, try to keep under 300mg per patty) fish is great like tilapia, flounder, shrimp, crab meat without the butter, catfish, tuna (no mayo), mahi mahi. Also chicken breast of course. Eggs are great. Especially like 1 or two eggs and then a few egg whites. That's about it. I never eat any other types of meat unless I get an occasional craving for a buffalo burger which is fine because it's the leanest of all beef if you just have to have beef. Sometimes I get a weird craving for's rare, but it's better than ground beef that is for sure!

Other protein options: Protein shakes and bars. I love protein shakes from EAS products. They have chocolate and vanilla carb control shakes in purple boxes at Walgreens and I think they sell them at Wal-mart too. Very delicious. If you want to buy protein powder, I would recommend going to Complete Nutrition and asking for some low-calorie, low-carb, low-sugar protein. :) You can mix it with almond milk or non-fat, ice, blend it, DELICIOUS! As far as protein/snack bars: Go for Larabar, Balance Bar, Pure Protein brand, or if you're gonna do a REALLY tough workout, the Cliff brand builder bars. Those are high carb, higher sugar, but a lot of protein. So those are perfect for days where you are gonna lift legs or do a really tough cardio session.

Veggies: Think GREEN! The best veggies for you are the green ones, but all the veggies are great! I eat a ton of spinach, green beans, brussell sprouts, cabbage, romaine lettuce, sprouts, carrots, (not when competing because they are higher in sugar) mushrooms, bell peppers, tomatoes, cucumber. Basically 3 servings a day, a cup each time and you are SET for your daily veggie intake.

Happy Carbs: So we all love carbs...and there are happy carbs that won't murder your waistline. Stick to 100% whole wheat breads and tortillas, ALWAYS check the label on breads and tortillas to make sure it doesn't say "enriched wheat flour." When anything says "enriched" you can count on it to stick to your body like glue. Which is no fun. :( Also brown rice, sweet potatoes, oatmeal, (no dried fruit & brown sugar, add cinnamon & blueberries to your oats instead) the occasional baked potato minus the butter. Rice cakes are great for carbs! Put almond butter and some cinnamon on top and they are delicious! I like topping mine with cottage cheese for a good protein fix. Cottage cheese is an EXCELLENT form of protein and you can get it non-fat or low fat. Protein bars are happy carbs too. I also make protein pancakes which I will get you a recipe for.

Dairy: Whenever I am not competing, I drink nonfat milk and nonfat milk alone. I won't touch % milk if I can help it. I also adore almondmilk. The unsweetened kind or a low calorie vanilla one. I don't do rice milk anymore because I think the sugars in it are outrageous. Greek yogurt is an excellent form of protein and very good for you. Yogurt can be VERY high in sugars and fat, so beware of that. They have a brand of yogurt at Smith's called "Carb Control" and they come in the best flavors ever, I'm talking "Vanilla Chai" and "Carrot Cake." I love these! If you have a craving for cheese, get some goat cheese, or lowfat/% cheese. The best cheeses to stick to are mozzarella and a bit of parmesean. Both are better for you as opposed to cheddar and more of those fatty cheeses. Frozen yogurt is not bad for you if you stick to just some chocolate chips and a little fruit on top. It is far better than ice cream any day. Skinny Cow ice cream is good if you have a mega craving for sweet. They are lower in sugar and fat. I also like Jello sugar-free pudding snacks. Those really help get me through dessert cravings.

Fruit: Any fruit is great for you so long as you don't overdo it. Bananas are the highest in carbs and sugar. I try to stick to the berries, those are a lot better. Blueberries, raspberries, blackberries. Add the blueberries to oatmeal, delicious!

Healthy fats: Avocado, unsalted nuts like peanuts/almonds, dark chocolate, fish oil pills, (good for your heart, hair, nails, and also a source of healthy fat) peanut butter, (I like reduced-fat JIF) almond butter, flaxseed is just something you can pick up at Wal-Mart and sprinkle into your oatmeal. It is great for your health!

Drinks: Water, water water!!!! At least 8 glasses a day. If you have a water bottle, fill it up every hour. Try to keep drinking all day long. Other things are unsweetened iced teas and coffee. Diet soda isn't the greatest for you, but if it'll keep you from having a regular soda, go for it. If you get sick of water, try Crystal Light mixes to jazz things up, or try sparkling water. Another thing that is great is to buy some Jolly Ranchers. Add one to the bottom of your water bottle. It is delicious and helps curb a sweet tooth. I will have 1 glass of wine per week, MAYBE. I usually stick to 1-2 glasses per month. Alcohol is a waste of calories in my opinion. I would rather have a piece of cheesecake instead. :)

Dressings & Condiments: Low-calorie things such as salsa, pico de gallo, balsalmic, vinagrette dessings, seasonings like lemon pepper or Tony Chachere's seasoning, BBQ sauce (within reason), mustard. All things I love. No Mayo, ranch, guacamole...all no-no's due to high fat content and calories.

You should try to be eating 6 mini-meals a day: Breakfast (always!!!) a snack, lunch, a snack, dinner, and one snack before bed which should be a rice cake type treat with a protein shake or something to tie you over until the morning. Stay ahead of your body and keep it fueled all day. It will help your metabolism. Don't let yourself get so hungry you crash, because when you do that, it's harder to build muscle and your body stores fat more.

I hope all this helps. Please let me know if I left anything out. Happy eating!!! :)

Thursday, April 7, 2011

This is the final countdown...

If I see another can of low-sodium tuna or asparagus one more time, so help me.
Kidding. (kinda.)
This salad picture above is a typical meal for me at this point in the training.

I officially have 6 weeks and 2 days until Fitness New Mexico competition 2011. I competed last year in the Miss Bikini division and it was my very 1st show. Since then I competed OCB Natural Southwest 2010 and Fitness America Nationals 2010 in Las Vegas this past November.

Oh, how things have changed. When you get "lumped in" with other fitness competitors around the world it truly becomes its own sub-culture in your life. It becomes a part of who you are, like your capability to stomach a lean protein & green veggie diet becomes somewhat ingrained in you. You think in terms of fat grams, calories, you always check carbs, you know your workouts like the back of your hand, and you have tasted every brand of protein powder, and no, not a single one tastes all that wonderful without the aid of almond milk.

You have one of two options when faced with this sort of lifestyle:
1. Become JUST LIKE everyone else.
2. Stand in your bedazzled bikini with clear high heels and walk the path God has carried you along thus far.

You can float along, tread water if you everything the way others do it, sometimes you can become what I call "a fitness-woman obsessed." You can worry so much about not getting your workout done that you forget about friends and family and you can't think of much else but your training. You can put down others, have scathing words to say just because you secretly love to compete in every way you can. Well guess what? Putting another competitior down doesn't make you better. It doesn't make you look leaner to say she looks fatter, it doesn't make you a better person to point out her flaws...because let's face it, WE ALL HAVE THEM.

I won't be shy. I have stretch marks. I have places I would like to see more tone. I could always build more muscle because I am always convinced I don't have enough. My skin isn't always perfect, my nails usually look like crap thanks to lifting weights so often and biting my nails. I have callouses on my hands in places from gripping the weights.

But like I said, there are one of two options, and you can disagree with me, but I think with every hobby/goal/dream in life there is a fork in the road: Be who you aren't or be who you are. I am choosing daily (sometimes while gritting my teeth and forcing a smile) to walk the higher road. I don't always do this. I want to. I desire to walk this road of a dignified woman. I desire to embrace my fellow competitors and other women in my life and just love them for who they currently ARE and not who they COULD be. They are beautiful as they are. Regardless of any opinion, for that is what it is anyway, OPINION.

I have to tame my inner tiger of competition sometimes and say to myself all I can do is my best. I am competing against myself, NOBODY ELSE. For the woman who takes the stage after me could be one of my best friends. It usually is. I compete against my friends technically, but realistically I am competing only against me. For if I could choose, my best friends that I stand by and train with so many days of the year(Christine, Genieve, Elishia, Brittany) these women would all get 1st place. THEY DESERVE IT. The sweat, blood, & tears we put into these shows is more work than anything I have ever done in my life.

I can choose to be selfish or I can choose to cheer them on while they smile boldy on that stage under those bright lights.

I choose love. I choose the antithesis of self-absorbtion. LOVE LOVE LOVE.

Here's to 6 weeks and 2 days lovies. I'll be rooting for you.