First Post-Op Debrief


Post-op: 4 days out

Well that wasn’t a walk in the park. Sunday I mean.

The day started out pretty good. I went to the bathroom for the first time since Thursday, which after a major surgery is a big deal. I think we handled it well. The suit is flexible enough to pee with it on, but you need to take every thing off if you are going to poop. Now let’s be adults, we all poop. Manuvering in the morning wasn’t hard, but we have no idea how we managed it. Or how we got everything assembled appropriately after. I was able to be more mobile throughout the day, which was nice because I was able to convince JP that we should make something with the papaya I had bought at the market the week before. I ate a little, slept some. Played some games on my cell phone to keep me busy. 

I lost my appetite in the afternoon, but was trying to nibble on things. The papaya banana bread came in handy on my nightstand. By the time dinner came around I really just wasn’t hungry and I was more tired than anything. I told JP to make himself something to eat and I would figure it out later. We have plenty of snacks and meal parts that it wouldn’t be hard have a tuna sandwich or something similar. Anyway, since I wasn’t hungry, he didn’t want to make himself an elaborate meal.  I get that, fancy for one is a pain, but chicken isn’t fancy and we’ll eat it for a few days anyway. Anyway his lazy man meal planning shined slightly.

From early evening on I was frustrated and he was frustrated. My back was sore from laying down so much and it also hurt if I tried to stand too much. Cabin fever is awful and he truly is giving up his time for me. I understand that. It’s definitely getting to us both. I was so thankful that my friend Jules was able to come over on Saturday for lunch and let him escape for a few hours. She will actually be coming over a few times this week too. So that will be a nice break for the two of us. 

Moving on.

The frustration peaked when I told him I thought I needed help in the bathroom again. Poop number 2 for the day.  So we started to get the suit down, but it was close to the time I needed to take my pain medicine again and I was having some solid burning pain at the incision sights (completely normal). Needless to say I was scared to take the suit off, and then lowering myself (even with his help) to go to the bathroom. After I finally got down and had a quick poop, I tried to think about how I was going to clean myself up. 

Yeah, it’s kind of gross to think about, but if you’re used to going through the motion this isn’t something you would usually be concerned about. So take a minute and think about it, if you couldn’t help yourself, how would you attempt or communicate it to someone else? The problem, I have short arms and it’s hard to reach behind me, I also have limited mobility and bending far forward is difficult. Then there’s tubes that are hooked to drains that are sewn to me; I know sexy imagines right? But as I’m already trying to figure out how I need his help he asks if “I need him to help me wipe”. I said I didn’t think so, but I wasn’t sure. His response “right, answer.” Because he didn’t want to have to help with that. 

At that point I screamed at him to get out of the bathroom because that was a dick thing to say while I’m freaking out and trying to not hurt myself. I seriously thought he was kidding at first, but he wasn’t. I already feel like a child because I can’t do things on my own that are normal like walk to the kitchen standing up and his comment just made me embarrassed and feel like I was asking a lot. 

After I got cleaned up, he started having his own breakdown about how he felt he was in over his head, questioning why would the doctor let him help me, and he felt he wasn’t doing a good job. I told him that he needs to tell me these things because we talked about how much work it would be and a few days post surgery isn’t the time to tell me you feel overwhelmed. We had joked in days leading up that we would probably be a little closer than we want because of the things he would help me with such as drains, showering, going to the bathroom. 

I have told him repeatedly thank you the past few days, I have done my best to assure him that he’s doing everything he’s supposed too and he’s doing everything that I need him to. This isn’t just about me, it’s about those around me who are lending a hand. But I can only do so much reassuring. So much of this is winging it and seeing how things work and how they make me feel. Hell, how they make him feel. The drains – something you can easily google if you desperately want to see them, fill with a combination of fluids being produced by your body, blood is one of them. So as you can imagine it’s a very bright red color that he has to empty, while wearing gloves. So, this process isn’t just hard on me it’s hard on him. 

Today I’m in a funk. I managed to get to the kitchen to get breakfast and coffee going because I wanted to say that I did at least that. I got halfway done before he was awake and came in the room. We managed the bathroom fine today and he was more communicative about what he could do to help and where his willingness is, but I keep thinking back to yesterday when I just felt helpless and he shoved his foot in his mouth. 

Every morning I remember I did have surgery and this is reality. You would think that the pain would remind me, but it hasn’t officially hit me yet. Maybe that’s it, maybe it hasn’t hit him too. 

Tomorrow is my first post-op with the doctor and if everything looks good and I feel comfortable, I’ll share a photo or two. 

I guess we’ll have to see how the next few days progress. 

❤️ Cristina 

Post-op: 2 days out

While I do yell at technology when it isn’t responding or working the way I want it to, I do appreciate the accessibility from my bed. This is the second day post-surgery and I’m feeling pretty good. It could be the drugs, it could be that reality is setting in, there’s a chance it’s because I don’t need to have any other cares in the world for the next two weeks. Many say the first few days are the worst and I would have to say that the first day (yesterday) was the worst. 

The pain was awful, but not just at the incision sites, my back was very sore because all I could do was lay on my back. I had also gone to the chiropractor on Wednesday prior to surgery and she had to put a left rib back in place. So truly I am a mess and all my doctors know it. However, I have since been told I can lay on my side, but I need to be on my back for sleeping purposes. I don’t think I will ever be so excited to see my chiropractor as much as I will in June after recovery. 

Yesterday, overall, I was pretty damn scared to move because between swelling and the tightness of the compression wear, I didn’t have a lot of mobility and I feared I was going to pull something or ruin something. I also didn’t fully put my trust in JP when he was assisting me. That is super important and I think today we have a better handle on it.

Can you tell that I freak out when I have no control? Yeah, I thought so too. 

Anyway, I was able to eat yesterday without an issue,  but I also did a lot of sleeping as well so my macros weren’t perfect, but that’s not necessarily the goal. I believe the almond croissant that JP brought me from our favorite bread place helped me come close to my carb and fat goals. Yay tasty carbs for the win! 

Prior to surgery, we had a loose eating plan so that JP would be able to give me specific things throughout the day, but could also wing it when necessary. So dinner last night was a tuna melt wrap: mine was stuffed with Mexican cheddar blend cheese, plain Greek yogurt and jalapeños. This kid knows me well to know that anything less than a handful is a joke. But this morning eggs and fruit were planned. So even though I haven’t had much of appetite, I do know that I need to keep myself fueled up. Thankfully, I haven’t experience nausea, so eating just out survival is working for me. 

My surgeon’s office sent an RN to my apartment last night to check on me, change my dressings and go over a few basics. Turns out I also had a low fever of 100.2, this was a concern for the nurse, which is understandable because infection after this kind of surgery is dangerous. But yesterday was a warm day and I live in a 3rd floor walk up… So yeah. My heart rate was also elevated, but between being scared, drugged and in between naps I’m not surprised. I did struggle with my water a bit and mostly because if I was awake I was eating and then rolling back over to go to bed. The drugs made my vision slightly blurry and just sleepy overall, so writing/texting wasn’t easy at all. I have only been taking one pain pill every 4-6 hours as necessary, however, before bed I’m taking 2 with a Xanax to help me sleep. The surgeon has now told me to take two pain pills every 4-6 hours. JP has been writing down the times when I’m taking any medications so we can track what I need and what I don’t. This also goes for emptying my drains. Trust me, I know that’s disgusting, but it’s parts of the process and it helps prevent infection, so we’re just trying to follow the instructions given to us. 

The positives, however, outweigh some of the negatives. 

  1. I have been able to confidently get out of bed to use the bathroom. However, we’re still working on getting my bowels to move (yeah I know, but everyone poops).
  2. I walked to the kitchen to explain breakfast to JP. I also walked to watched him open up the papaya.
  3. I can sit up a tiny bit, which is perfect because I’m not supposed to sit up too high or too often. So just a little bit works for me.
  4. I have been able to eat, many experience nausea and while Thursday was a roller coaster of nausea, yesterday and so far today haven’t been that way at all. 
  5. I took a peak at my tummy when the nurse was here and it’s very flat, it’s weird and my belly button is slightly awkward, but I’m in one piece and that matters. 

It’ll be exciting to take photos on Tuesday during my first post-op. I told JP I don’t want to take photos or really see myself until I see the doctor on Tuesday. Mostly, because taking this garment off is going to be a pain in the ass, but I also don’t want to get a warped vision of myself if there’s still swelling. Also, Tuesday is the first day I can shower. You don’t want to see dirty Cristina, it’s kind of grotty. JP has helped me get most of the iodine off my chest with rubbing alcohol and assisted with washing my face, it’s not my idea of fun, nor his, but he has been a huge trooper these first few days. My braids have been holding up pretty well, they’re a little frizzy, but French braids were much better than doing nothing to my hair. So I would recommend to anyone that will be having a surgery where they won’t be able to wash or take care of themselves get your hair braided. It keeps it out of your face and it’s less likely to get ridiculously tangled.

Aside, from playing Go Fish in bed this morning and kicking JP’s ass in the first round, today has been pretty low key. My friend Jules came over to make lunch so that JP could go see some family. I know this is a lot to take on alone and I am reminded that I have some amazing friends that are willing to step in if we need it. Jules had no problems making lunch and hanging out with me while he escaped for a few hours. It was also nice to have some girl talk time; it was long overdue. 

So here’s a few photos from the past two days. I’m trying to not go stir crazy!  We’ve been watching movies and playing card games in bed and it’s helping, but that can only do so much! 

❤️ Cristina 

Warning: Obstacles may arise

A text that turned into a thread of texts that turned into a phone call on the drive home got me thinking: when we’re concerned with our health how do we draw the line? How do we determine when tracking is reasonable and helpful versus determining if it’s masking a greater issue.

In the beginning

For me, tracking in some way has always been helpful for my progress. In the beginning, I counted calories because at over 240 pounds it was clear that to start I needed to decrease consumption. My senior year of college this is what an average days food consumption would look like:

Breakfast – 2 or 3 whole eggs with a bagel and cream cheese or waffles and eggs in the cafeteria or pancakes with bacon and sausage and eggs in the cafeteria

Lunch – a cheeseburger with mayo, lettuce and tomato in the cafeteria with a side of fries, salad of sorts and soda or pizza.

Dinner – 3 or 4 slices of buffalo chicken pizza or pepperoni pizza in the cafeteria or a crispy chicken wrap at the sandwich station with fries in the cafeteria or chicken with a whole bag of Knorrs pasta sides (7F/84C/18P for the whole bag) at home.

Dessert – cookie or ice cream that was at the dessert station.

Drinks – grande caramel macchiato at the campus Starbucks, a few beers or a few glass of wine, soda (not diet)

Snacks – Oreos, fruit, ice cream, Ramen noodles, Taco Bell #6 (2 beef baja style chalupas and a soft shell beef taco; 50F/79C/36P)

Ok, so the Taco Bell meal I had to look up because I knew what it was, but I didn’t remember the number, but from what you can see, calorie counting in the beginning was a savior.

New goals, new methods

I’ve said it a number of times, but as my goals changed so did my eating habits. Over the years I went from calorie counting to paleo (no tracking) to macro counting with a clean focus to macro counting flexibly. These methods were at different points of my journey when I was experiencing the need to change it up because either a goal had been accomplished or I was hitting a plateau in my progress, which meant I needed to change it up.  At these times, I also changed up my training and added new goals to the list such as running a 5K (I have now run 5) or hiking a local mountains steep trails to bodybuilding and bikini competing. As my goals became more focused and structured so did my nutrition and training. That makes sense because different goals require different methods.

A marathoner who is adding many miles to their shoes in a week may need to consume more food than someone who is training for just a 5K. The training is more rigorous as far as distance covered, which translates into more calories burned. Someone who is just starting there weightloss journey may have the weight “fall off” faster and more consistently in the beginning than someone who has been working at it for a few years. This was something that I noticed in my own journey. As I became smaller, I was burning less calories in the gym doing cardio and needed to figure out the balance of workouts and nutrition to continue losing and progressing in the direction I wanted to.

53 months into my journey

If we fast forward to today, I’ve been told I’m organized because I plan my meals ahead of time, I write them down, but I believe my history of having a lack of structure has lead me to desire as much structure as possible. I like meal planning because it helps take guess work out of dinner when I come home after a long day and an hour commute, it also helps me when I travel. However, as someone who used to binge regularly, lately I have been frustrated.

Meal planning had turned into a game at some point, counting and tracking – being creative in the kitchen, which is something I do love to do, but it has me thinking about food all the time. This makes me ask the question: since I’m done losing will I ever truly feel comfortable and trust myself to not track in some way. Will I ever feel the ability to be spontaneous on a Monday night to say “hell with chicken, I’m taking myself to dinner instead!” I’m hoping the answer is eventually.

My mental challenges

I thought losing weight was hard. I thought figuring out my why and goals was hard. I was fooled. Adjusting to change and trusting yourself to make good decisions is hard. My reverse has been pretty awesome. I am more interested in science now than when I was in school. If they taught health class this way, I would’ve paid attention a lot more! However, I’ve posted about it on Instagram before, and I know I’ve written posts too, looking at myself in the mirror and acknowledging my body in its current state is the hardest part. Physically seeing the change is a step, but mentally acknowledging that I am fit and thin and capable of maintaining what I have accomplished  is a struggle I never thought I would endure.

There have been times the past few weeks that I have found myself stressed (I’m telling you, I have been doing a lot of coloring) and wanting to binge. My binges come from stress. I haven’t caved, but aside from coloring books, I believe it’s because I’m concerned that the ramifications of the action would leave me feeling guilty and unhappy with myself. I think this is valid. After a binge in the past, I have been upset with myself. I have questioned why I couldn’t find something else to do with my time to get the energy out. So I have been coloring a lot. Watching a lot of Netflix and may have put myself to bed early a night or two in the past month.

The conversation that made me want to write this post…

As the conversation on the drive home continued, I found myself saying that tracking my macros has helped me greatly. I can see the nutritional benefits of foods I’m eating, but there have been times like I said that I think to myself I can’t wait for the day when I’m slightly less paranoid about over-eating. I’m over here getting my cupcake on and I think that is my balance. A cupcake a week keeps the doctor away right? Well, maybe not quite, but I am trying to enjoy food as what it has been presented as: sometimes fuel, sometimes healing agent and sometimes just an experience to enjoy something that tastes amazing.

I think, for myself at least, that the paranoia comes from forgetting that I’m not the 240+ pound girl I was four years ago. Forgetting that I’m growing my body and that this goal, this phase of the journey is very different than the last. I’ve said it before that I’m not perfect and maybe part of my flexible approach is to band-aid my binging, but I also think that it’s forced me to learn how to balance and realize what I’m feeling when I have that urge. Looking at a day in life of college senior Cristina is no where near what a binge from Cristina today is. Some may call it stress eating, but that’s down playing an issue that has more mental aspects than can be spoken. I am probably more in tune with how my body feels in reaction to certain events than ever before.

During the texting portion of our conversation, my friend said that she used to restrict and that there have been times when she’s found herself cycling restricting and binging. Today she found herself having anxiety attack or something that felt close to one when she was at the gym. She said she had a good workout regardless, but all of a sudden this wave of emotion flooded her. She didn’t know what triggered it or how she was feeling before it happen, but it kind of freaked her out. She said it reminded her of the feeling she would get when she was restricting her diet heavily. She mentioned that she has been sick and not eating a lot because she’s not up to it, her diet has been mostly ice cream since she has a sore throat too. We talked about how the body burns calories when it’s sick, that’s usually what results in the fever – your body fighting off whatever illness you have. I also said if she’s mostly eating ice cream and not much else, her body is probably using it as fuel. When you’re sick it’s hard to eat well and ice cream may not be the best option, but it’s not something she does all the time, so she shouldn’t beat herself up. I know, that’s easier said than done.

It makes me sad that her and I understand each other so much because we have both felt the same way for similar and different reasons. We agreed that some days are great and others can be a battle. You joke about what peanut butter to eat because there are so many options, but some days even when it fits your macros you question your consumption.

We discussed body dysmorphia and how she had changed her goals to incorporate lifting when she did hit her goal weight. You can tell that she finds it empowering and challenging because there’s always something new to accomplish. Lifting is forever evolving. But like myself, she finds herself having to give herself pep talks and remind herself that she is fitter now, smarter about what food can do for her body now and the goals are different. These are things I need to remind myself of too.

New struggles as I move forward with surgery and recovery

I have two more workouts until my surgery. Many have asked if I’m scared of surgery -nope, I’m not. What I am scared of is the forced 10 day recovery of not getting up at 5 am for the gym. I’m scared of not having my routine. I’m scared that this is the first time I will not be going to the gym consistently in over four years. What if I’m bad at sitting still? What if I wake up every morning wanting to get out of bed? I want to be healthy, and the gym is my “me time”, but maybe this recovery is also what I need to take a break from the physical aspects of this journey.

Alaina and I talked about what recovery could mean for me as far as food and yes, I have loosely planned that out. Mostly because while I’m scared of reverting back to old habits and becoming fat Cristina again, I think I’m more scared of losing more weight in recovery. So to help out my boyfriend I have written down somethings that will fit my macros and that I would like to eat during recovery. This will help take some guess work out for him, but he will also be able to make whatever else he sees fit for us. So I guess in a way by trusting him slightly with my menu options, I’m taking a quick break from hardcore tracking.

Maybe this will help me evaluate my next steps because I will be competing this fall – I hope (as long as recovery goes well), but I also want to make sure that mentally I’m loving the body I’ve created and will finally get to meet in June (after some swelling subsides). One day I won’t have to pinch myself to understand what progress I have made, looking in the mirror will be enough. Maybe after I’ve learned how to maintain my weight I won’t be as fearful as I am right now, in this moment of this new challenge. Right now, I’m trying to trust my coach, trust my boyfriend and trust myself that I am making the best decisions I possibly can in this moment.


❤ Cristina

Found: You Fresh Naturals Carrot Cake Almond and Coconut Muscle Butter 

Over the weekend, I stopped by Vitamin Shoppe because they had a huge sale going on store wide. Sales are truly the best time to try new products. High protein nut butter is something that I see as an investment. A jar has a lot of servings and I better like it if I’m investing in a jar for myself. On the market there are a ton of brands and with each brand come a million flavors.

Here are some of the brands I’ve tried:

  • Nuts n More
  • D’s Naturals
  • Sweet Spreads
  • Buff Bake
  • You Fresh Naturals

Some specialize in a specific nut butter like Sweet spreads  – they specialize in cashew butter. Others have a variety of peanut or almond butters. I do not discriminate against nut butter and I buy from a lot of brands. This sale allowed me to purchase two new brands and flavors that I had been hesitant on acquiring.

This morning I topped my carrot spice protein pancakes with You Fresh Naturals Carrot Cake flavored Almond and Coconut spread. it was awesome. If you like almond butter then you will definitely like this. It’s pretty much the same consistency of almond butter, but there’s a hint of coconut. Since the flavor is carrot cake, there are pieces of pecans in it! Which I love and thought was a nice addition for some crunch.

Nutritionally, the macro nutrients are pretty good for a serving (see photo below). If you eat Nuts n More, they are about the same for macros so it’s just a matter of deciding on the flavor you need to bring into your life.

This brand has a number of flavors and because I’ve been cupcaking a lot lately, this one was fitting. I can’t wait to try other flavors when this one is gone even though I’m sure I will have a hole in my heart from the emptiness of the jar.

❤ Cristina




A week in review – week 3 of the reverse diet

Yesterday marked the last day of my third week reversing my diet since the Cutler Classic. To say this week was easy would be a lie, but to say it was hard would be a stretch too.

At the beginning of the week I was traveling for work. Just like prep, I researched what was around my hotel as far as food options, I looked into a gym facility because getting my workout in even when traveling is important to me. Lastly, I packed snacks and loosely prepared meals i.e. pancakes for Pancake Monday.

I hit the gym like I do every Sunday morning, but it was important that I get in and out and home to pack. My flight took off in the afternoon, just before dinner, so I knew that I needed to have something to eat on the plane. My last meal at home was lunch and knowing that my flight wouldn’t land until 8 with an additional hour of driving in the car, I spread my meals out a little differently.

Lunch was higher in protein and lower in carbs because I wanted to make sure I didn’t run out of food too fast.

Sunday’s lunch: chicken with mushrooms, peppers and onions topped with salsa and jalapenos

For dinner, I essentially packed the same thing I had at lunch, sans jalapenos and I used a different spice blend.I had never been more thankful that dinner didn’t smell as I was when I opened the bag on the plane. No one wants to be that guy.

I also packed some snacks. Sarah sent me S’mores Boom Chica Pop Popcorn and it was a great snack to try on the plane. It says “I can be dessert if you pretend I am.”

And because I know I get hungry at specific times of the day, like 8ish at night when my dessert usually takes place, I packed a protein bar to try on my drive to the hotel. It was a newly released bar and I was so excited to try it. Sadly, this one just didn’t hit the spot an I may have reviewed it on Instagram.

But have no fear, I do eat a lot so I had dessert when i got to the hotel room. I was able to try my 5th Cookie Department Cookie. It’s called Tough Cookie and is their peanut butter cookie. Amazing. Soft and chewy and I mean just amazing. This was really winning and probably the best way to close my macros for the night.

But, my night didn’t end at the hotel. The room had a number of issues, the biggest one being the door wouldn’t shut and close properly. I had no faith in the manager on duty, so I called a different hotel to check on room availability and I left. That was the end of that night.

I started my Monday off the best way I know how – at the gym. Since I was traveling and knew my options were limited, I snagged a day pass at Planet Fitness. It’s not my favorite place at all, but I figured I could get the job done.

I thought they were kidding when I saw this sign. However, when the “lunk alarm” went off around 6 am I knew they weren’t kidding. I have no idea what set it off because I was in the zone, but it scared the hell out of me and kind of made me uncomfortable. So I got in and our as fast as possible.

The rest of my trip was pretty amazing actually.

Like I said, I packed my pancakes, which always starts my week off right and I was happy to find some whip cream in the eating area of the new hotel.

I had some time and I explored for the beach.This was the first time in about 3 years that I had gone to the beach in a swim suit. I felt pretty awesome and to me, it was meaningful. I also brought Bella along for the sun and she enjoyed it too!

We explored the area a little bit and because I am a planner, I knew where to find a cupcake shop! We picked up a gorgeous chocolate cupcake and had it late Monday night for dessert.


Tuesday started of with a beautiful sunrise before we headed back home.We also had a chance to celebrate Taco Tuesday at the airport! #IIFYM

After a flight of binge watching the Food Network, I came home and was prepared to get creative in the kitchen, but only after I hit the gym first.

Egg white and raspberry omelette with cream cheese, topped with blackberry and blueberry reduction sauce

I do love traveling for work, but there is something about grocery shopping and making your own food. I had a ton of fun making meals this week. I also got the latest issue of Food Network Magazine, which only furthers my addiction of getting busy in the kitchen.

Feta and Spinach Salmon burger with sriracha mayo and a glass of sweet red

Breakfast grilled cheese was a thing this week (recipe already posted!)

I tried some new to me foods this week.

Oh Yeah! has other bars that were much better than this one…

Sarah understands my desire for all the peanut butter.

I went to lunch with my coworkers and was able to make some pretty great decisions.Surprisingly, I do really well with eating out. Even through prep this wasn’t an issue, it was just a matter of looking ahead to make sure I had options. I loved what I tried, but I can’t wait to go back see what else this restaurant has to offer.

I celebrated a coworker who recently finished their masters degree. No one knew what snacks would be at the party we were having and I figure it was better to bring something than wish I had. So I made a protein brownie and stuffed it with break and bake chocolate chip cookie dough. There were a number of good decisions made for that dessert to happen. Also, when I got to the party the only healthy item was a bowl of strawberries, there were cakes, brownies and rice crispy treats otherwise. Planning ahead works for me and I’m glad I didn’t wing it.

Try About Time protein brownie with break and bake chocolate chip cookie dough

Even though I had gone out to lunch and had an office party, I had promised myself I would get out of my apartment Thursday night. I’m a part of MeetUp in my area and they had planned a social at a new restaurant in town. I had planned to go to this specific event a few weeks ago and was able to build a beer into my macros, which was an excellent way to finish them off. I also had some great conversations and got a few numbers so I can hang out with other locals outside of MeetUp.Being social locally is something I struggle with because I don’t work in the city I live in and I’m not originally from the city I live in. Going to the gym is easy; it’s my alone time and I don’t have to have a buddy to with, but exploring would be nice with a partner. Also, this gave me an excuse to wear jeans for the first since Sunday.

Friday brought more experimenting in the kitchen.

Egg whites and pumpkin spice Nuts N More on a cinnamon raisin English Muffin

Caramel Turtle Oats for lunch

I had my second pre-op appointment Friday afternoon and I talked about that here. Overall, I’m excited for the surgery. This surgery is necessary for my peace of mind, for me to feel comfortable with myself. I say it all the time, I’ve worked so hard the past few years and I’m so thankful that there’s a permanent way for me to show off the hard work. There are definitely a few things that make me nervous, such as the eating, but that’s why I’ve worked with my coach on a plan. We’ve talked about my macros in relation to recovery and no exercise and will be adjusting them accordingly. JP and I have talked about some things that he can make for me that will be nutrient dense so that I can reach my macro goals or come close to them.

In preparation because I am that planning girl, I have a box of some snacks I want eat through recovery. They include some Cliff bars (carbs), Combat Bars and FitCrunch (protein). There’s a few other bars I’ve added. We have also talked about pancakes and oatmeal as great carbs and protein sources that I can eat without too much effort. One piece of feedback I’ve gotten from a number of women who have had a similar surgery is that eating was a lot of effort and that they felt nauseous. I have been prescribed a medication to help with that, but I also have some small meals planned so I can eat quickly and not worry about the “rocking the boat”feeling.

Saturday brought my last exploration before surgery. I went into Boston with Bella to see the Boston Public Market, Fanueil Hall and to go to lunch. I also had the plan to pick up cupcakes because cupcaking has been something I’ve been enjoying since prep ended.



Lunch at Durgin Park

Farmer’s Market outside the Public Market


August 2012 versus May 2016

Lastly,  while I sent in my progress photos and weight to Alaina in the morning like I do every Saturday, I did my write up for her last night.I’m just as impressed as she is that I’m handing this reverse to well. It’s 3 weeks post show and I’m only up .2 pounds from stage weight. I’m also eating more. Before my check-in I was up 5F and 33C. I knew that with this check-in that we would be increasing something this coming week. Proud to say that my body is loving these increases and we’ve increased fat again by 2g and carbs by another 10g.

Now, please don’t think this is all sunshine and cupcakes. After having focused on losing weight and being in a deficit for so long, increasing my food is hard mentally.  I love food and I think that’s clear by how I get creative in the kitchen, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t get intimidated. I still believe in balance and vegetables and lean meats are a huge part of my diet, but now I can have a little more fun with other foods. That’s why I have been cupcaking about once a week since prep ended. I’m making up for lost cupcakes!

For the first time in a long time, I feel like I am enjoying all aspects of food. I’m using it as fuel for my workouts, but I’m enjoying the experience of having a really great cream cheese frosting. I have grown in so many ways, but the past 3 weeks I haven’t really feared food or been concerned with weight gain like I believe I was early in my journey. Every day has new challenges, but I’m trying to live every day and have some fun. There is more to life than working out and while yes that is a big part of my life, I’m excited that I am enjoying all the other labels I am – cook, girlfriend, lifter, competitor, writer, movie lover.

It’s going to be an interesting summer, but let’s get through this week first.

Surgery is in 4 days. The countdown is real.

❤ Cristina



Recipe: goat cheese stuffed baked apricots

I had the best time yesterday at the market in Boston. It was the coolest thing I have ever seen. It was also the cheapest produce I have ever purchased! I grabbed some necessities like green peppers and asparagus, but I also bought some things that sounded like a good time, such as apricots and a papaya. I still haven’t decided what to do with the papaya, but that’s a post for another day.

So apricots, aside from eating them raw, I was interested in finding something else to do with them because while, yes food can be consumed in its natural state, that’s just not as much fun.

Pinterest apricot screen shot

So after a few quick searches on Pinterest, I decided that 1. I was over thinking this and 2. I really wanted to eat them with breakfast and to eat them hot. So baking them it was.

Sundays are my favorite day to play with breakfast recipes. Probably because after lifting legs nothing is more satisfying that a big breakfast, but also, I have nothing else to do on Sundays except eat and relax – my two favorite things.

What You’ll Need

  • Whole apricot
  • Goat cheese
  • Cinnamon (optional)
  • Cooking spray
  • Knife
  • Baking sheet
  • Oven


  1. Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees
  2. Lightly spray your baking sheet. I used a mini pie pan since I was only making enough apricots for myself, I didn’t want to dirty up a larger dish than necessary.
  3. Cut your apricot in half and remove the pit. Then cut a little bit off of the end your apricot. This will give you a flat bottom and your fruit won’t roll around in the baking dish. I ate the ends, but do what you feel.
  4. Using a small spoon, scoop your goat cheese and slightly shape it into a ball. This will go into the hole where the pit was. I used maple pecan goat cheese I found at the store, but you can use any kind. If you don’t like goat cheese, you can also use another soft cheese like cream cheese or mascarpone.
  5. Place your fruit on the baking sheet and dust with cinnamon.
  6. Bake for about 5-7 minutes or until the cheese is soft and slightly melty




Step 3



Step 4 and 5


Baked apricot

I ate these with my breakfast, but I’m sure if you made a lot of them you could use them as an appetizer. I did find a recipe that used apricots and goat cheese, but wrapped them in bacon- it just seemed like a bit much for me. I have a few more apricots, so I may play with them this week leading up to surgery. We will see!

❤ Cristina

Recipe: sweet pumpkin spice butternut squash

Sweet potatoes, pumpkins and squash are essentially relatives, so why not treat them similarly? I understand that many squashes have distinct flavors such as acorn squash being a little more nutty, but butternut squash I believe has a lot of diversity.

I’m going out on a limb to say that I think there are two main ways to cook butternut squash, boil it or roast it. I typically roast it. Tonight it was cubed before roasting. Many times, I halve it, de-seed it and lay it face down on a baking sheet to cook with a little salt. Tonight, I did something similar by using a baking sheet, but I guess I have pie on my mind.

What you’ll need

  • Butternut squash
  • Olive oil
  • Pumpkin pie spice
  • Splenda
  • Sharp kitchen knife (or a knife that will cut through squash)
  • Mixing bowl
  • Cooking spray
  • Baking sheet
  • Oven


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
  2. Start cutting your squash by halving it. Once you have it cut in half, de-seed it. I like to use and ice cream scoop because it pulls all the seeds and strings out easily.
  3. After you’ve de-seed your squash, start cutting it into cubes. To remove the skin, I cut it off, trying to keep as much of the meat as possible.
  4. Once your squash is cubed add it to your mixing bowl and sprinkle with a little olive oil. I use about 1 tablespoon. You may need to adjust this depending on how much squash you have in your bowl.
  5. Spray baking sheet with cooking spray. Even though you tossed the squash in olive oil it an still stick to the baking sheet.
  6. Dump squash onto baking sheet and spread evenly so that no pieces are on top of each other.
  7. Sprinkle pumpkin pie spice over squash. Use as generously as you would like. You can also use just cinnamon if you don’t like the other spices in the blend.
  8. Sprinkle a teaspoon of Splenda over the squash.
  9. Bake for 10 minutes or until slightly crispy.

I’ve heard of people using honey to sweeten up squash, what ways do you like to prepare and cook yours?

❤ Cristina