Coming Home Bikini Prep Series: Post 17 “Where Should We Put the Weight?”

Let’s not lie to ourselves. We measure are worth in so many different ways. We look at how much we can lift in the gym, we look at the scale in the bathroom. Really, these two examples should be looked at how can we defy gravity? Some of us even think about how much or how little can we eat in a day. We measure ourselves by the grades that we get in the classroom, we measure ourselves by the work we our accomplishing in the office. Not only are we seeking internal approval by how much we do, but the quality of what we do. We’re also are seeking approval from others to help validate the approval that we give ourselves.

I’ve been talking about this ridiculous roller coaster that I can’t seem to get off fully for almost two weeks now. It seems like I have one leg on the platform and another hand on the seat deciding if I should get off or just continue the ride. I know this isn’t just impacting me. JP doesn’t know what to do sometimes and that’s completely ok. We’ve been talking about this daily because every day has been a struggle of some kind.

If we’re going to be honest and I’m trying to be. I put weight on everything. I look at how much I’m lifting in the gym and wonder how can I improve my form or increase the amount. I try to figure out the best approach to accomplish this. I do check the scale for retention to fatloss, right now I’m just trying to get back to the comfortable 127, which I’m hovering around and then I’ll determine how to maintain – again, the monster, but I’ll be relearning this with an actual methodology behind it. I check measurements and analyze how I feel in my clothes. I literally weigh and measure my food to hit nutritional goals.

But I guess I’m trying to figure out – through my anxiety – what is there to learn? How can I figure out how to trust myself that I won’t gain the weight back and become old Cristina, the “fat” Cristina. That is something that made me nervous all summer. It bubbled up the past two weeks – which seems counter-intuititive since I was struggling with binges. But what I’ve identified and will get clarity on in the next few days is that my PTSD was triggered (JP hates that term) and that spiraled into a few days of anxiety and lead into a week of binging on and off because I didn’t know how to control my emotions and eating was the best thing I knew to do. Where should I be putting emphasis and where should I give myself a break… of sorts.

Moving forward…

Yesterday was actually a really good day. Emotionally, I felt pretty good until the night time. Physically, I got up and was at the gym before it opened. I worked on posing and lifted. Nutritionally everything was where I wanted it to be. After talking with Alicia and Liz, I’ve decided to play with food journaling. Today is day 2. For me, this means loosely monitoring my macros. I do have an overall macro goal, but trying to be mindful about it versus strictly enforcing it.

This is how I planned my day yesterday:

JP and I talked about breakfast and planned it. Here’s what I ate:

  • 1/4 cup of egg whites
  • 1 whole egg
  • pumpkin spice English muffin topped with 10g of fat free cream cheese and 10g of cranberry orange goat cheese
  • 1T of sugar free Italian sweet cream creamer

Macros: 8F/35C/20P

The rule about planning breakfast is I write it down in my journal and don’t actually plug it into My Fitness Pal until around dinner time or least the late afternoon.

I planned lunch. I knew I had a groundbreaking for a new building on campus and there would be food. Everything would be sample sizes, but I still needed to be mindful. This also meant that I needed to make sure I had protein for lunch especially after a more carb heavy breakfast. Here’s what I ate:

  • 4 ounces of chicken breast
  • 100g of broccolini

Macros: 1F/7.3C/30P

Again, like breakfast, I didn’t plug it in. I wrote it down. I also packed some snacks in case I needed them such as 100g of butternut squash and a few protein bars for variety. I ended up not needing them, but split a pound cake slice from Starbucks with a coworker. At the ground breaking I tried a mini cupcake – I wrote it down. I also tried a mac and cheese bite – also written down. That was it because nothing else looked appealing. With the groundbreaking, I didn’t eat lunch until around 1:30, which shifted everything for me, but also meant that I wasn’t really getting hungry every few hours like before. When I got home, I plugged in what I ate and determined I needed more protein and my fat was lower than I thought. I made pancakes with the 1 carb protein waffle recipe and topped them with 1T of muscle frosting.

When it came time to figure out dinner – we went out for Taco Tuesday – I finished plugging this in to see how I did throughout the day. I still had 13F/33C/45P left, which is pretty solid for fajitas without the tortillas.

I’m pro-macros and I’m still tracking them, but I’m trying to figure out how to do it in a more mindful way rather than in a overly planned fashion. Not being in a competition setting, but just trying to live is a different concept for me. Not having everything planned to a T is also a million times new to me. Structure is something I live for because it gives me the comfort of being in control, but I also have to acknowledge that there is a lot going on right now.

Today has been pretty good. We waffled for breakfast and I had chicken and broccolini for lunch. We’re cupcaking tonight and are pretty sure we’re going to make eggplant parm for dinner together. I plugged in the cupcake macros already because #dessert.

I’ve been tracking since June 2014 and I have a really good idea of portion sizes and nutritional values off the top of my head. I know that my lunch had at least 32g-ish of protein because I know that 4 ounces of chicken is 26g and I had 5 ounces. I eat that portion often to know that. This is about mindfulness and enjoying food and creating an experience when appropriate. When I think I can handle some harder structure I will go back to plugging in right away, but I also think that the concept of putting so much weight on being perfect or close to it to reach my goals has hurt.

I’ve conditioned myself to behave a certain way in order to get specific results, but what about when you’ve reached those results and you don’t need to be as conditioned or the conditioning should or needs to change? I know people who will say “I went to the gym today, I can have dessert.” To me, dessert just fits into my plan. I don’t want to be deprived,  but I also don’t want to be putting a lot of emphasis on having dessert every night. Last night, both JP and I were satisfied from Taco Tuesday and we didn’t have dessert at all. When I went to bed I was still slightly more than content, oops #fajitas, but I recognized that while I would love dessert, I didn’t need it and it would push me over my day nutritionally.

So, my plan is to still track my macros, but use a different method that is a little more loose with the hopes to recondition myself to not be so hard on myself when the day isn’t perfect or as strict so I can enjoy without the guilt that I did sometimes feel this summer. By writing down my food and journaling I’m allowing myself to go a little more with the flow, but to also attempt to be cognisant of what I’m choosing throughout the day.

I guess we’ll see how this week goes and if I feel like I have more control by loosening the reins.

❤ Cristina





Recipe: Single Serving Protein Cream Cheese Icing

What You’ll Need

  • 2 tablespoon Fat free cream cheese
  • 1 tablespoon or about a third of a scoop of a basic protein powder (I used cookie dough)
  • 1 tablespoon Milk (I used cashew milk)
  • Vanilla extract
  • Splenda


  1. In a microwavable bowl, add 2 tablespoons of fat free cream cheese and microwave for about 10 seconds or until slightly soft. You can use any cream cheese, it just depends on the fat macros you’re willing to dedicate to a topping.
  2. Add 1 tablespoon of protein powder. I used Cellucor’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough because that was a basic flavor I had at the time. You could use vanilla, cinnamon roll or snickerdoodle if you want a basic flavor profile. Keep in mind that adding the protein will make the cream cheese very thick so add a little at a time.
  3.  When it gets too difficult to mix the protein into the cream cheese add your milk. I used cashew milk because that’s what I had on hand. You can use any milk, just use a tablespoon.
  4. Add vanilla extract and Splenda to taste. For me this was about a teaspoon of Splenda and a dash of vanilla. mix thoroughly.

Remember an icing is something you drizzle, a frosting is something your spread. If you’re looking for something thicker try playing with the ratios of milk to cream cheese and protein powder. I used this as a drizzle for my Sarah Lynn Fitness Snickerdoodle Pizookie. You can also use it on pancakes, waffles, cookies and cakes. It’s not a perfect alternative to icing or frosting, but it’s pretty damn close.

Macros: 0F/2C/4P


❤ Cristina

Sarah Lynn Fitness Cookie Challenge: Macaroon

THE CHALLENGE CONTINUES! Even if prep isn’t. The macaroon was the 8th cookie that I’ve baked from the Healthy Cookie Cookbook. While I wasn’t a fan of having to skip over it before for lack of ingredients, it was worth the wait.

As a coconut lover this hit the spot. JP thinks I should’ve shredded the coconut more than just taking it from the package with the food processor, but you know, I didn’t mind the thick pieces of coconut. The cookie overall was soft and chewy and that’s kind of how I imagined it should be. I didn’t think it should be a crispy or crunchy cookie and I think that may be what his expectation was.

Like always, I made two large cookies and I follower Sarah’s directions for volume, not weight. This is where you need to pick a method and stick with it. If you’re going to follow a recipe to the point, you need to decide how. I believe because I followed volume that impacted the recipe. The macros were much lower than I had anticipated, but I’m not complaining by any means.

Notes on this recipe:

  • Following volume over weight may have impacted the ratios, which changed the consistency – these did bake a little longer than called for, it also changed the nutrition per cookie. Next time I make them I’ll need to follow the instructions using the weight of each ingredient and see what how it’s different.
  • I used snickerdoodle whey casein blend as the basic protein powder for this recipe. Seriously, such a good protein for something like this. Kind of like a cinnamon roll, it’s more than vanilla, but doesn’t have a flavor that will truly overpower the other ingredients.
  • I used cashew milk for binding, sadly I’m almost out and will be switching to almond milk that I picked up at BJ’s. I did need a little bit more liquid and my lazy self used the water that was nearest to me instead of getting more cashew milk. So, 1T water and 2T cashew milk for binding total.
  • I would recommend parchment paper for these, I can’t remember if Sarah’s directions called for this and if it did, oops, but cooking spray may not be enough. I more than gently used a spatula to de-baking sheet the cookies, thankfully, no cookies were harmed in plating.
  • I opted to not use the chocolate topping, but I truly don’t think this cookie needed anything else. It’s sweet and chewy already, and I think the sweetness of the chocolate in my opinion may be too much sweetness.

Total macros per cookie: 5.3f | 9.9c | 4.8p

Macaroon pictured with a SLF Peanut Butter Cookie stuffed with an Oreo

The cookie rankings:

  1. Peanut Butter Cookie
  2. Double Chocolate Fudge Cookie
  3. Almond Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie
  4. Macaroon
  5. Oatmeal Raisin (minus the raisins)
  6. Snickerdoodle
  7. Fudge Brownie Cookie
  8. Chocolate Chip Cookie


❤ Cristina

Sarah Lynn Fitness Cookie Challenge: Snickerdoodle 

We’re going to call this the pizookie that saved lives. This is the 7th cookie in my cookie challenge and probably one I’ve been looking forward to the most. From all my other food posts, you notice that I use cinnamon a lot to sweeten and spice things up. When I saw that the snickerdoodle was a part of the cookie family in this book, I knew that I was going to have the chance to play with ALL my favorites.

This past weekend we had a family party to go to and I know what that means: food and dessert to feed a small army. Aside from my prep friendly lunch that I packed, I decided to pack my own dessert. I’ve already skipped the macaroon, and my heart breaks that I went out of order with that, so I was excited that the snickerdoodle was low in fat for the WHOLE recipe and that the carbs and protein were reasonably ratioed because I had one thought in mind: pizookie.

Have you ever been to Uno’s Chicago Grill? Or Applebee’s? The pizookie is a deep dish (of sorts) cookie that is served often warm and with ice cream. I asked JP if ice cream would be available – it wasn’t so I had to think of a plan, but first baking the pizookie!

Usually I make 2 huge cookies, but if you’re weird like me, there’s a chance you have a mini ramekin or pie pan. I have a 6 inch pie pan that makes mini desserts or stuffed peppers very easily.

Notes on this recipe:

  • I used bourbon barrel maple syrup instead of regular because again, I’m a weirdo and have crazy things in the house. This adds a little bit of a oaky taste to the cookie, but it doesn’t smack you in the face. If your concerned about sugars from the syrup, I’m sure you could do half maple and half sugar free – I would NEVER suggest completely changing out the syrup because I think it adds something to the cookie and it would be a disservice to the recipe to alter it too much.
  • I used unsweetened cashew milk because it’s what I had on hand. I also added a tiny bit more than suggested because the dough was very crumbly and I wanted to be able to form the cookie in my pan.
  • Like many of the other recipes, I used cookie dough whey, but attempted to shake out the “chip bits” that make it more cookie dough like so I wouldn’t have crunchy boys through my cookie.
  • I added pumpkin sugar – think cinnamon sugar, but pumpkin pie spices, to the top instead of just sweetener and cinnamon. Yes, it’s a jar I bought – it’s fabulous.
  • I baked the cookie a little longer so the edges would be crispy, this didn’t effect the softness of the center.

Sarah did have a recipe for a frosting to use, but I also have a few that I use when I bake so I thought I would mix my own pizzazz to her cookie. I used a protein frosting recipe that you can find here. I also took a knife and drizzled apple crisp P28 Foods peanut butter on top to tie in the flavors.

Macros for pizookie: 7.8F/35.4C/8P

Macros including toppings: 8.7F/37.8C/12.7P

❤ Cristina

Coming Home Bikini Prep Series: Post 16 “No One is Going to Do It For You, You Need to Create Your Own Happiness”

This is something I believe in fully. It’s true for so many aspects of your life. You can’t go to a specific college to make your parents happy or have a specific course of study. You can’t lose weight to get someone to notice you. You also need to search hard and find what makes your happy. For me, it’s lifting and setting goals. I like challenging myself because as I said in my last post, I don’t trust that others will challenge me enough. The problem then becomes how high is the standard. Am I setting my own bar too high?

We’re going to debrief, briefly what’s going on in my head so you can better understand what has led up to this week because what you believe you derive from social media isn’t ever the full story.


  • April 30th – Competed in the Jay Cutler Classic
  • May 2nd – Started reverse dieting
  • May 25th – Found out my apartment was being foreclose on and I was being evicted and the last meal before surgery
  • May 26th – Abdominoplasty for excess skin removal and dropped macros to meet daily intake with little movement
  • June 9th – First day back in the gym
  • June 13th – First day back to work
  • June 17th – Finalized papers for a new apartment
  • June 20th – Started work travel
  • June 29th – All day work retreat
  • June 29th to July 2nd – Moving into the new apartment
  • August 1st – First day of competition prep and work travel ramps up
  • August 29th – JP put in his notice at work
  • September 9th – JP moved home

It really is a bunch of dates, but let’s just look at them a little closer.

The Cutler was amazing and I had started reversing my diet afterwards with the help of my trainer/coach at the time. A red flag should’ve been the lack of communication on show day, but honestly, it wasn’t my first show and I knew I had a lot on my plate so I wasn’t going to make a big deal about it. The second red flag should’ve been when I couldn’t determine the method to my reverse – how do we determine how many calories or grams are added based on movement? I asked questions and didn’t get answers. The third red flag and I think this is kind of where I started having some slight issues with food this summer, which has caused me to be VERY FLEXIBLE in my daily consumption, much more than I actually was in the spring prep – the last meal before surgery.

My surgery was a half day out-patient surgery. It started at 7 am, no food or drink from midnight until surgery. We finished at noonish, and I wasn’t released until after 1 pm because of nausea, very common. My first meal on surgery day was 1/4 cup of oats with 1T of protein peanut butter around 4 pm. I know this because I wrote it down for JP so he would know what to feed me. The first 16 hours of the day I had nothing in my system.

“The last meal” was going to be guilt-free because I knew my macros were going to be lower and with surgery I wasn’t going to be consuming much the first day or two. I had checked in with my trainer/coach at the time because I trusted her enough to help me through a surgical recovery, but her response to me saying that I was getting a burger and a cupcake was not what I expected. It went something like, “Do you have to have the bun?” I then reminded her that I was having surgery the next day and wouldn’t be eating. The response was “I guess that’s okay.” It wasn’t me putting the restriction or the guideline on the food, but it was an external person that I trusted. You can’t fully blame someone else, I still ate it, but those words definitely stuck with me all summer.

After surgery and clearance to go back to the gym, which I was thrilled about because I was on bed rest and stuck inside for so long, we reversed me again. But again, no method and I had to ask for larger increases in nutrition. We also never had the talk about what maintaining actually means. It’s not just the same number on the scale being reflected. It can mean a 1-3 pounds fluctuation on the scale, but your clothes fit the same. I know that stage weight isn’t a year round weight, but we never did anything to even push me into maintenance that would’ve brought me to a weight just above stage. So at the end of the day I usually sit at about 130 to 131 after all food and water is consumed. My stage weight per-surgery was 130.0 and they removed 1.6 pounds of skin.Before I started prep in August, I was still sitting at a weight that could be considered my stage weight. Now, I’m 5’4″ and it wouldn’t be unheard of for 126 to 129 to be a normal weight for me anyway and I wasn’t as lean as many of the others on the stage beside me, except my body fat percentage is pretty damn lean too.But we never had this conversation to mentally get me ready. It’s been a constant pep talk with myself, which I also believe everyone should have. We need to be a cheerleader for ourselves.

There were definitely days I had gone over my macros, but if wasn’t going to impact the reverse much I wasn’t super concerned. For the most part I hit them pretty spot on, but I noticed that I was getting much more flexible. I don’t mean my cupcaking once a week, I mean in my thinking and execution. I noticed I was taking in a less balanced ratio of veggies to cookies, but my body wasn’t having a issue with maintaining so I didn’t really care. I can joke about sugar cookie gains all I want – those cookies are an experience. I believe food should be an experience. Things that are home made are made with love and can be unique. But I was looking for more than an experience, it was satisfying something else.

As different events happened throughout the summer, I noticed myself staying flexible, but getting slightly frustrated –  I didn’t have anything to prep for, but yet the structure on my nutrition made me a little concerned.

In August when I started prep, I knew I was going to have to create a deficit with nutrition and exercise, not realizing how much deeper in a deficit I would need to be because of my leanness already. Again, very typical. It’s harder to lose when there’s less to lose. This sport is my safe haven because of the structure because I can control it. But slowly as August progressed and I was seeing slight changes, I saw other stressors around me increase and ultimately put pressure on this. I started to feel like because prep is something I can control, that it needed to be perfect. The truth is unless I’m going to make myself get in the top 5, this shit isn’t going to be perfect. Even those who place high could alter something in their plan for the next time. During weeks 4, 5 and 6 I found myself talking to JP about if I should compete at all – it’s costly, it’s timely, I’m tired. But he wanted to support me because he knows I love it.

I think what I was looking for was validation that it’s okay to back off sometimes. That sometimes you need to listen to your body. I think he thinks I was genuinely concerned about cost and trust me I am, but it was and is more about someone else saying “Cristina, take a break, this won’t make you a failure.” And as I type those words at 5:52 am on 3 and half hours of sleep, I’m tearing up. Because I so badly want to believe that I am not a failure. Not just with this, but with other aspects of my life. There are days I’m just like “wow, I’m a bad adult” not that anyone isn’t allowed to have a bad day or not get it right, but some days I just think I need nap time.

So this brings me to this week.

It’s been a lot and it’s been building up. Wednesday I listened to JP be high and excited that we got so much down and in a 5 minute phone call he was very low and canceling our afternoon plans to the mall as we were on our way to the mall. I don’t think he fully grasps how this impacted me even though we’ve talked about it. He’s down and he dragged me with him. Twenty minutes later he changed his mind and since the mall was in the same direction anyway, we navigated there. The whole time my mind was racing – just like last night. A list of a million things and not one being fully committed to or concentration on. I kept coming to this thought:

I can’t compete this season, my heart and head aren’t working together. They’re working against each other.

When we got to the mall, we walked over to a cupcake shop – of course I know where it is. I got out my wallet, asked the woman which one she recommended. I looked at JP asked if he wanted to split two and he picked one out as well. I paid and we sat down. We cut them in half and traded, we’re predictable. I bit into my cupcake and started crying. My voice broke and I told him I couldn’t compete. I told him that it’s more than stretching my wallet thin. I said, “my heart loves this and right now my head is telling me to cut the shit and sit down.” I said between work and the move and surgery and then prep, I’m exhausted. I said “16 weeks isn’t a long time you know.” He looked at me and said “I guess we’re going over macros with these then.”

That started what I would call a binge. While there were planned meals like 4 ounces of chicken breast for the car ride home and ground turkey for the airport. Date night was burgers and fries at the place we had our first date. I ate the bun and had a beer. Ate all the fries. My belly wasn’t super full – it was content, but that doesn’t mean that it wasn’t a binge. Remember new body, new person. What makes me feel worse is that I fought Tuesday so hard and had a plan. I talked on the phone to a friend and that helped a lot. But Wednesday and Thursday straight mindless binging. Even Thursday I plugged everything in a it didn’t look so bad as far as the overage – I want to say 10F over and 70C over my cutting carbs, that was when I was figuring out things before I left the office. My dinner and dessert were already plugged in. But then I got home. I changed. I was just talking to JP while he was doing the dishes and I walked into the pantry. I had a biscotti here, a cookie there. Walked to the fridge, had a yogurt there and some green pepper. There wasn’t a method to what I was reaching for.

He asked me if this was binging. I said this is binging for new Cristina and I need to get my shit together.

Ultimately, between Wednesday and Thursday I consumed about 7,000 calories. I know some people are like it could be worse and to you good sir, fuck you. On Tuesday I posted about what old Cristina would consume in a day and the base was pretty high, imagine what a binge looked like. So yeah, maybe a binge now looks like a base of what I was consuming before, but that doesn’t make it any less of a problem just because it’s less food. It’s the action that’s a problem. It’s the stress and events that trigger actions like binges and panic attacks. It’s words like “I might as well just leave and go back” after you’ve had the conversation of the fear of being left that triggers your anxiety.

So I’ve been in and out of panic attacks since Wednesday and I couldn’t even fully come clean to Alicia, which made me feel like garbage because if anyone knows stress and anxiety and triggers and me, it’s that girl. I texted her yesterday in the middle of the day about said I wasn’t competing and explained why. She said she supported it because there’s a lot going on and we all need a break. There’s that phrase.

So I have my meals with me for the day. They made it through TSA.

  • Breakfast – 1/2 cup of oats with 1T of brownie batter almond butter and 1/2 scoop chocolate protein
  • Lunch – 4 ounces of chicken breast + 220g of yellow squash
  • Dinner – 4 ounce of 93/7 ground turkey + 2T of medium salsa, mushrooms and peppers and avocado verde (my dinner meeting is over a drink, not actual dinner)

I have a new to me protein bar for during the day and I have located a Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods if I need other veggies or yogurt. I still have half a L and L cookie plugged in for dessert.

Today’s plan may not even make it to the gym, but I am going to walk around the city and also get some work done in the hotel room. Today’s plan is to stick to my macros because I do want to keep cutting and seeing how my body responds as I try to lessen the stress around me that I can control because cortisol is a bitch and impacts losses even when you’re 100% on point. I think taking out the stress of the actual competition that I was putting on myself will give me an idea of how this as a test case is for me. I want to reverse properly after. A friend asked why I wouldn’t just reverse now: the past few weeks (aside from this week) were great with food and exercise, but my stress levels were so high I think it truly impacted me. I want to see how I am without the added stress.

Today’s Instagram will be a day of eating with macros shown at the end. This post won’t go live until noonish, I’m scheduling it right now, so you’ll already see a few food posts before then.

We all have fuck ups or what we consider to be fuck ups. We all put pressure on ourselves and that combined with pressure around us doesn’t also result in a diamond, sometimes you just combust into a powder. Something has to give and we have to not dwell on it or beat ourselves up over it. Bad things happen and we need to examine why and then move on.

This is prep series is going to continue because I’m continuing the cut, but it’s going to be a little looser and I’m going to look at finding my happiness again within the sport. I’m going to work on my balance of love of food and experimenting in the kitchen with the understanding of food as fuel because it is. I say it is all the time, but I need to truly mean it and believe it. Without it we don’t survive and with too much it consumes you.

❤ Cristina






Coming Home Bikini Prep Series: Post 15 “Gazelles Are My Idols”

Ok they’re not mine, but the metaphor I read was kind of nice. Something about them being free. The idea of that sounded like a fantasy. I’m currently writing this on my iPhone as we start our final dissent into Washington DC. That’s how the captain said it. Very official.

One thing I do on planes is try to disconnect. I think you know me well enough now to understand this is a struggle for me, but on a plane that doesn’t have WiFi service, not very hard to do. But it is. I brought a copy of Thrive – Arianna Huffington’s book to read. I get the most reading done on planes and when I started the book at home before, I got as far as the intro. That’s bullshit, but I get distracted. Tonight I got through 2/3 of the first part. The book isn’t divided into chapters, but rather sections or parts. The first part is about well-being. She talks about burn out, stress and what companies are doing to combat this with their employees. There’s a bit about meditation and mindfulness, something I’ve read about and done myself, but can’t remember the last time I practiced. As I read this section and tried to be in tune with what I was reading, but I found my mind wandering. Again, not hard to do for anyone.

Here’s what I thought of:

  • My meetings tomorrow
  • Cardio: do I want to run without my garment or elliptical so that I don’t have issues with my abdomen
  • Saturday and what donut glaze do I want
  • This blog post
  • I’m thirsty
  • Breakfast tomorrow morning
  • I’m still thirsty
  • I think I need to pee
  • How will I modify my lift for the hotel
  • I definitely want to run
  • Too bad I didn’t bring a sweatshirt, I could run through the city

I tried to bring myself back to the book and I did, then 10 minutes later I wandered again. The process repeated a lot as you can see above. I’ve been thinking about the week and the past few days, something I’ll talk about more in the next few posts. This will probably be a few parts.

I’ve been thinking of my own mindfulness. My own stress: the stressors I can control and those I can’t. The ones that directly impact me and those that subsequently impact me because I’m somehow involved. I’ve been thinking about food an awful lot. More than I want to and on that note, I’ve gotten angry with myself for the internal fighting that has happened this week in relation to food and the comfort it provides me.

Why can’t I continue to find that comfort in my lifting or in the idea of JP being home?

I don’t think it’s hard for anyone to come up with reasons to get mad at themselves for thoughts like these. You almost feel like you’re obsessing about not obsessing. Does that make sense? If not, you should just stop reading because you know when the coffee is out of my system it’s downhill from there.

I’m a big proponent of not investing your mind into food – don’t let it control you, it will always be there, the food won’t run out. But at the same time,  sometimes you just want to say yes! to the muffin or yes! to the extra guacamole. When all you do is say “not right now, but later” you just think “well, when does later come?”

We interrupt the typing of these thoughts because we have landed at 9:20 pm at DCA.

So now I’m settled in at the hotel and it’s 10:55 pm on 14th and K Street. This is way past my bedtime and I think we all know, it’s just going to get further downhill, so I will finish my thought in a minute.

I talked earlier this week about feeling bingey. I did. It was terrible. I put myself down for a nap like a 5 year old, but also, don’t knock nap time. We all need it. I had three days of vacation plus the weekend and if I’m going to be honest, which I am, I learned that I suck at vacation. I was stressed the whole time because of the overall move. Yes, I am nervous about us, but that wasn’t what was stressful. I got a front row viewing of JP falling apart because he feels defeated, he feels like a failure. This is something that him and I currently have in common so it’s been extremely hard to support him and keep myself up as well.

While academically, my psychology course is going really well, professionally I feel defeated. I love fundraising. This is the kind of impact I want to be making on the future generations. However, there have been a few things happening at work that make me question my abilities to get the job done – more in reaction to actions of others towards me, question if leadership trusts me or is willing to invest me. Here’s a correlation from fitness to professional life. It’s one thing to believe in yourself, but support is also very damn helpful. There’s something about support that gives you the boost to really crush your goals. It’s not fun not sharing an experience or journey with at least someone.

Personally, I’ve also felt like a failure and feel defeated in some way most days lately. Not just because I feel as though I’m not supporting JP enough – don’t know if I would say being a bad girlfriend, but I don’t know what to say to him to “make it better”, especially when I see him decline within a few minutes. For that matter, there are a lot of people who want and need support and I don’t know how to say “I am a mess today, can you come back tomorrow.” I need to get better at that because there are many days when I’m just like “hey, there! I’m normal. I’m you. I have issues too. Please get a therapist.”

I guess there are times when I think I’m externally giving my all to those around me that I don’t have enough to give to myself. I give a lot to my work, which I think is much more common than it should be, especially for those in my generation – we will give you all the effort and hit deadlines, but we also want some flexibility, like not needing set office hours. If I say I’m going to do something, I will be there heart and head. Regardless of the 5 am gym time that I believe to be my heaven or diving into researching and coaching myself because I find it interesting how the body works – I believe that this isn’t enough investment in myself and maybe it’s because I’m a little tired. Maybe because when I think about today, I’m reminded that 16 weeks ago I had a life changing surgery. That maybe 16 weeks isn’t very long after all, and maybe four months or a third of a year isn’t very long either. If I think of everything that has happened in that 16 week period I wonder how am I standing? How am I still awake? Then I think: “Because you can’t just sit still. You can’t just let everything go on around you without getting involved. Because you believe that if you don’t push or challenge yourself that no one will, so you set the standard high, higher than those around you would. Because you push until you’re burnt out.” I guess when I think about it, I feel like a failure because I’m don’t think that I’m giving myself a balance or being easier on myself when  necessary. I tell people to not beat themselves up all the time, so why can’t I take my own advice? That would be too easy.

So. It’s 11:27 pm. Very much past my bed time. I’m going to head to bed. Since the gym is on the 2nd floor of the hotel, I may attempt to sleep in to 5 pm since I can stumble to the elevator.

Good night. We will finish this talk tomorrow.

❤ Cristina


Coming Home Bikini Prep Series: Post 14 “The Adventure Within the Adventure”

I’d like to think that I’m pretty honest about the ups and downs in my journey. I believe that what it comes down to is that if you’re lying to strangers then you’re lying to yourself and ultimately you’re in denial that you ever have problems. The beginning of this week was stressful. It was the final week for JP at his job and that brought up a bunch of emotions that hadn’t really surfaced before.

There was fear – Will he find a job when he moved back to Massachusetts? Will my salary be enough for us? Will we like each other after more than 6 weeks of living together? side note: JP was home for 7 weeks taking care of me post-surgery

There was excitement – We can finally go apple picking, I need to make apple dumplings for him. We won’t need to always have a plan. It won’t be about sharing his time anymore, I know he’ll be home for dinner some nights and out with friends and family others.We can go on vacation if we want to.

There was hope – We can finally move forward with our relationship.

There were other thoughts that went through our head, but I believe fear was the one that took over the most and shadowed the hope and excitement. I was anxious and some days found myself not being 100% focused on my workouts. I mentioned this the other day because there are some of you that comment about how focused I am and how motivated and a lot of other terms that can imply that I am perfect. I am so far from it.

I had my own food issues and planning treats in kept me on track the majority of the week. Going to bed early and going for walks also helped. Here’s a recap of some of the treats that I had planned.

I made double chocolate fudge cookies from Sarah Lynn Fitness’s  healthy cookie cookbook. Making her cookies has helped a lot because 1. I LOVE baking and this gives me the chance to do it in small quantities 2. Her approach to baking is new to me and it’s giving me the chance to play with my favorite cookies while still hitting my nutritional goals. I do have a dairy sensitivity – even though you wouldn’t think I do from the amount of goat cheese I eat, but most dairy is made with cow’s milk and if you ever noticed I don’t have more than a serving and most days, less than a serving. Regular ice cream can really upset my stomach, however, Ben and Jerry’s is always worth dying over. These baby cookie sundae’s with 2 tablespoons of dairy or non-dairy ice treats has also been helping get the taste without going crazy. I’ve said it before, for me, it’s not necessarily about having a large quantity of something, just the ability to have it that helps me keep a better relationship with food.

Waffle Wednesday was accompanied by a yolky egg. Something I love, but something I don’t eat often. I really should consider having yolky eggs twice a week. While all the fat lives in the yolk, having them sometimes isn’t bad. It’s having multiple yolks, many times a week that can be problem IF they’re not balance with your other fats.

My Friday night ended with the second SLF double chocolate fudge cookie, again topped with 2T of ice cream, this time caramel apple gelato and a little apple crisp peanut butter. Truly, I build my day around breakfast and dessert. Those are my favorite meals so I build around them. This week they may have been a little bit more fun. I’m not saying that it’s ok to find comfort in food, but let’s face it, many of us find comfort. I just found a way to make it fit and work with me versus not planning ahead and possibly failing.

I did have a few great days towards the end of the week as it felt real that JP was coming home and was going to stay. I think the idea that it was becoming real made it less scary because it was realizing that it’s the next step in our relationship and we have to take that leap sometime. Reality kind of started to kick me in the butt.

I also decided this week to cut out BCAAs. Scientifically speaking, they’re not necessary for progress. I eat after my workout and I do watch my micros like I watch macros – so I know I’m getting enough vitamins. I switched to coffee, which is what I did in my first prep. I take it black or with a little flavored syrup and I drink it throughout my workout with a bottle of water. I felt more alert during my workouts because of the caffeine and I also felt like I was pushing harder too. This definitely assisted in getting my stress to level out. Friday’s workout was in the morning, unlike the past two weeks where I did it at night because I had a day conference and I wasn’t sure I would be home and willing to get to the gym that late. I felt really great during my back day. I had no issue with my lifts and cardio was steadily strong throughout.

And the end of the day on Friday, after all the food and water, I felt really good and I looked pretty good too. I felt that even though Thursday and Friday had been very hot and humid, with the stress and my emotions being all over the place – the week was successful.

I weighed in this morning and even though there was no change on the scale, I did have a .5″ loss in my hips, which dropped my body fat a bit. I feel good and that’s important during prep as you’re getting into a deeper deficit. Your body is working on less fuel and it’s working in over time. There’s a lot that can show progress, which is why I share photos and take measurements and use the scale. For me, it’s also about understanding where my body has come from. There are things out of my control and I will continue to talk about them because it’s important to note, like the loose skin that I still have in my lower back. In reality it doesn’t bother me, it’s not noticeable in my clothes and not noticeable in a normal swim suit; but for prep, it’s a little different. That’s why posing is powerful. With the right movements, you can hide a lot. The back pose photo below is an excellent example. My pelvic tilt hides a lot. If you jump down a few photos and look at me standing straight up, you can see the skin sitting over my suit. Eh, take it stride. We can’t be perfect or “fix” everything.

I am really pleased with the changes that have happened this prep in the first 6 weeks. Between nutrition and exercise paired with posing, I think the next 7 weeks are going to be much breezier. In general, when I look at very old photos of heavier Cristina, I’m floored at where I am. When I compare to a year ago, I’m still in awe. Lastly, when I think of this summer and the past month and a half, I can say “yep, I did this. This is my hard work.”

This morning I checked in with Avatar Nutrition for my macro update and I did something I normally don’t do. I added a higher fat/carb day. Yesterday was mine and JP’s two year anniversary and while I was in Boston for my conference I explored and walked myself over to Bova’s in the North End. I was going to bring something home for just JP because I had intended on bringing him a dessert, I found German chocolate cake. This is my favorite cake because it’s everything I like in dessert: cake, chocolate, caramel and coconut. I NEVER find places that make it as a cupcake and I definitely never find it sold by the slice, so finding a square was a jaw dropping moment. I bought it and figured I could adjust my macros so we can have a day to celebrate.

The photo below depicts my macro decrease on the top from last week: same fat, down 4c and up 1p. However, below is are the changes since I selected to make Monday a higher fat/carb day. Originally the computer was going to allow me 204c and 57f, but that would mean a much more drastic drop for the other days of the week. Also, I just want to fit in the cake, I don’t need a huge increase.

So macros for the upcoming week are:

52F/130C/133P with Monday being 55F/182C/133P

JP and I have talked about grilling chicken and steak and some veggies for our anniversary dinner. Prior to him leaving his job, we had talked about fancy dinner because the place we discussed would definitely fit, but to save some money and have more control of the nutrition cooking at home is the plan. It’s the only part of the plan that has been determined. I have however, moved my first leg day to Monday this week to accommodate the higher carbs, which may mean that I move my second leg day to give myself the proper amount of recovery time.

Which brings us to workouts – I just finished my third week in a volume block and I’m moving into a 3 week strength block. My lifts are similar to the first block, I did make a few changes from the notes I had made then and in my volume block. Again, my focus continues on my lower back and mid/lower back with some shoulder focus. The shift in style means I will be adjusting my cardio a little bit. This week is tricky because I have airplane travel at the end of the week and I know that will impact my movement, but not in a bad way. My flight is toward the end of the day and I should still hit my step goal on the way out of town. I will be in DC and I will have the opportunity to walk A LOT more, so I will be omitting a cardio day this week –  probably the Friday session since I will be in DC the whole day and then exploring in DC all Saturday as well.

Last week my cardio was 4 sessions covering 135 minutes: 2 HIIT, 1 steady state and 1 interval state. Based on progress this week after traveling, I will adjust as necessary or maintain the same total length of time. I’m not a fan of doing a ton of cardio, however, sitting at a desk all day or in a car or plane traveling is hard on my legs and lower back. It can increase clotting and other not so fun things. It’s also important that even when you’re tired during prep to keep moving. For me, it’s difficult to get movement outside of the gym, even though I’ve been taking walks around dinner time. There have been a few nights that hitting my 10K step goal felt far fetched. Out of 42 days of prep, I’ve missed my 10K goal twice, but again, there are some days where I felt like it was going to be impossible.

There are 7 weeks left of prep. Another 48 days, if we don’t count show day. I’m nervous and excited and while this week was a little rough in the beginning, it ended strong.

JP met me for breakfast this morning, where he enjoyed a breakfast sandwich and I threw back a new to me protein bar and cup of coffee. The roller coaster continues and I can’t wait to see where it ends.

Now all that’s left is to unpack his things and get this place homey. He’s got 7 weeks to put up with prep and then it’s the holidays. Let’s see what happens this week!

❤ Cristina

Sarah Lynn Fitness Cookie Challenge: Double Chocolate Fudge Cookies

And today is the first day that we have gone out of order, but I have a good reason. I’m out of unsweetened shredded coconut, so I skipped the macaroons for now and I dove into the 7th cookie in the book – the double chocolate fudge cookie. Looking at the recipe I thought this could be a contender to the peanut butter cookie and as I mixed it up, I knew the potential was greater.

So, the 7th cookie in the book and 6th cookie in the challenge. This had all the chocolate-y goodness things you could ever ask for in a cookie with the lovely addition of nut butter. There are three chocolate ingredients in the recipe and depending on your nut butter collection you could make it four. The only wet ingredients are almond milk and the nut butter of your choice, which made me slightly nervous that it wouldn’t be enough for a dough ball, but I was quickly proved wrong.

The dough was surprisingly stickier than I had anticipated, so don’t forget your spoon or flat spatula for scraping!

Notes on this recipe:

  • I used PEScience frosted chocolate cupcake as my chocolate protein – definitely a solid choice. Sarah says any chocolate protein, but the whey casein blend is thicker and I really love this flavor.
  • The recipe calls for almond milk, but I have cashew milk on hand – no noticeable difference to the recipe overall.
  • Game change – the recipe calls for almond butter or nut butter of you choice. As you’ve learned, my nut butter collection is ridiculous and this was the best excuse to break out the Dark Chocolate Dream peanut butter. See what I mean by a forth chocolate ingredient is possible.
  • Instead of mini chocolate chips, I used Reese’s peanut butter chips. 2g less carbs and 2g more protein, I think that’s a win.
  • The texture was definitely fudgey and brownie/cakey like. It had a similar crumbliness to the Fudge Brownie Cookie, but I believe the addition of the peanut butter is what truly sold me on this cookie.

Macros per HUGE cookie: 10.1F/21.4C/8.5P


Going into the oven!

All done!

Topped with 2T of salted caramel cluster Cashew Milk “ice cream”

This cookie knocked the Almond Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie into 3rd place, to take over 2nd. The Peanut Butter Cookie still holds strong in 1st place.

The cookie rankings:

  1. Peanut Butter Cookie
  2. Double Chocolate Fudge Cookie
  3. Almond Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie
  4. Oatmeal Raisin (minus the raisins)
  5. Fudge Brownie Cookie
  6. Chocolate Chip Cookie

❤ Cristina

Sarah Lynn Fitness Cookie Challenge: Oatmeal Raisin Cookies, Minus the Raisins

I think at this point in the challenge, we have a pretty clear understanding that I like cookies and I don’t really discriminate against them in anyway. There are some cookies I prefer over others – I like my cookies soft and kind of chewy, not necessarily doughy, but chewy. I like the soft sugar cookies at the store and I like fluff chocolate chip ones from from the oven. I like to rank them and make slight modifications, but I don’t think I’ve really met a cookie that I didn’t really like or wouldn’t be willing to try again.

This was the fifth cookie from the Healthy Cookie Cookbook from Sarah Lynn Fitness and it fit my qualifications of a solid cookie.

Going in order because when you don’t know where to start that’s a good way to stay organized, the oatmeal raisin is in the first half of the book filed under classic cookies. Just like a standard oatmeal raisin cookie this dough was sticky and cinnamon-y. Those aren’t problems, those are opportunities.

Keeping with tradition, I made two large cookies and surprisingly the carbohydrates were lower than I had anticipated. Definitely a win for a girl in competition prep. When I saw coconut flour, apple sauce and oats, I was slightly concerned that they would be higher in carbs. I will admit there are a few things I adjusted in the recipe to make it fit what I had available.

Notes on this recipe:

  • I used cashew milk instead of water, there’s such a little amount called for that I didn’t think it would truly effect the cookie nutritionally.
  • I used pumpkin pie spice blend instead of straight cinnamon. The pie blend has cloves, ginger and nutmeg in it as well.
  • I used chocolate chip cookie dough whey instead of cinnamon swirl because of what I had on hand. The CCCD is pretty basic aside from like chocolate pieces so the flavor blended in just fine.
  • I left out the raisins. This resulted in lower carbohydrates for the overall recipe. I don’t eat raisins regularly, so I felt like it would be fine to omit them completely. I had considered adding chocolate chips, but thought it may distract from the cinnamon-y oat-y goodness. However, since I’ve given this a try, the next time I make it there may be chocolate chips added.
  • The texture is the same as a standard oatmeal cookie – soft and chewy.Crumbly in the right ways.

With the slight modifications the macros were per cookie: 3.9F/15.7C/5.8P

Topped with 1/4 cup (half a serving) of salted caramel cluster cashew milk ice cream

The cookie rankings:

  1. Peanut Butter Cookie
  2. Almond Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie
  3. Oatmeal Raisin (minus the raisins)
  4. Fudge Brownie Cookie
  5. Chocolate Chip Cookie

❤ Cristina

Coming Home Bikini Prep Series: Post 13 “It’s About Visualizing the Light at the End of the Tunnel”

Today is the last day of my 5th week of prep. I can’t believe it’s been 5 weeks already. Tomorrow starts the last day of my volume block and then I’m going into a strength block for three weeks, there may be an increase in cardio during these three weeks since I won’t necessarily be burning as many calories during my lifts. But we shall see. I haven’t made changes to cardio in two weeks and these macros seem to have put me in a deficit, but I’d also like to continue with progress and not have an opportunity to stall.

So. This week. This week was a HUGE week personally. JP decided to give his notice to his employer and by next Saturday he will be here in time for an early dinner. This is something that we’ve been talking about for months and it’s weird to think it’s finally happening.

Last week, as him and I were talking about the possibility of him leaving his job and relying solely on my salary we talked about me continuing to compete this season. It’s an expensive hobby and not something you should take lightly.You may wake up one day and say I WANT TO COMPETE! But it’s not a decision that you throw yourself into without considering it from many angles. We went back and forth and ultimately said let’s see how week 5 of prep goes and then make a decision. So let’s talk about this week to recap.

Sunday’s leg day kicked my butt. I felt strong throughout and then dead when I got home. Perfectly acceptable. It’s high volume and these stems need to be pushed! I felt like both back days were strong as well. Cardio went well this week with the incorporation of the stair stepper since it’s been fixed at my gym. Lifting on Friday night was a good idea even though it’s busy. I gave myself the extra half hour to sleep in and I know so many of you think it’s funny because that’s not sleeping in for so many people. But when you get up at 430 almost every day for the gym, 5 am is sleeping in.

Macros were pretty solid all week event with three days of half meetings. I did find myself eating a 1 carb waffle EVERY DAY just to hit protein and stay full. Drinking my protein doesn’t keep me full. There’s something about the mental process of actually chewing that makes my mind think I’m eating. Your body also absorbs things differently when they’re liquid versus solid.

Monday night was pretty tough because I found myself really bored even though I was busy with classwork. JP and I also had discussed his resignation. Boredom and stress. More this week than in the past few weeks, I’ve found myself falling asleep fast and almost as soon as I laid down, which means there may have been night where I was asleep before 9, in the middle texting…

Checking in this morning I was 126.2 pounds, a full pounds loss from last week. There were no changes in my measurements, but really not everything is going to tighten up at once. I will take the pound and do a happy dance. I can see the glute/hamstring tie in pretty clearly and it’s exciting to see changes like that in my body. That is more important than the tape or scale.

I would say week 5 went pretty well and that was the determining factor if we stretch and I continue to compete. So I will be competing. I have 8 weeks until the show, but that’s going to be my last competition for a while. I had plans anyway to reverse and bulk from November until March/April with the hope to cut and compete in a few shows at the end of the summer beginning of the fall – Connecticut, New Jersey and Boston shows. But while I love competing because of all the structure and deadlines it gives me. I know it’s an environment in which I thrive even when I doubt myself. I think back to 2014 and why I started.

I wanted to learn something new. I was single and had been “doing the online dating thing” for over a year – we’re talking about 100 in person dates that were TERRIBLE. I decided to delete my online dating profiles, say fuck it and focus 100% on me. Bodybuilding and competing gave me something that I never had before. It was a new outlet in which I could push myself, question my abilities, goal set and push my abilities. I had never challenged myself physically so much, not even through my running.Mentally this is liberating because when you start you don’t think about the greatness that’s lies ahead, but when you look back all you can do is think WOW, I DID THIS.

This was something I could do to take up my time after graduate school, after I said fuck it to dating. I went to work, went to the gym, planned, ate and slept. I had no problems with that. I met JP when I was six weeks out from the 2014 New England Championship. I never could’ve imagined that what we have now was what was waiting for us. September 9th is our two years anniversary, and the whole time we’ve been dating all we’ve known is how to be together while we live apart. Competing has been a savior to take up my time, but this past week I thought about everything that I’ve always wanted to do with someone else, everything I’ve wanted to do with JP and I thought about how when he moves home I don’t mind if my goals shift slightly and if we try living our lives together.

Am I saying that you can’t have relationships and compete? FUCK NO. Of course you can, but JP has always known me to be someone to say “yes, but first the gym.” I wonder what it’ll be like to say, the gym can wait today. Prep is very structured and I love that, but teaching him to lift resulted in a two hour training session that usually takes my 45 minutes to an hour. I can’t wait for us to the gym for a lift and say, “what do you want to train today?”

Here’s my September schedule:

  • September 5: date day with Liz
  • September 7: lunch date with Jackie and Beth
  • September 9: full day in Boston for work
  • September 10: JP arrives home
  • September 11: Party with JP’s family
  • September 12 to 14: vacation i.e. lift, eating and laundry
  • September 15: leave for DC in the evening
  • September 16 to 17: DC travel for work returning on the 17th
  • September 20 to 21: Cape Cod travel for work
  • September 23: half day in Boston for work

I think September is going to fly by and now you know why!

Here are some of the goals I want to accomplish in the post-season (November to March):

  • Bring my back squat from 1×3 of 165 to 3×5, 1×3 of 185 by March
  • Work on front squats and start adding weight
  • Run a 5K before the calendar year ends
  • Find the best German Chocolate Cupcake
  • Try the rest of the flavors of doughnuts that Kane’s has to offer before retrying any flavors
  • Go on vacation with JP

I have 8 weeks until the New England Championship. It was my first show. It’s going to be my last for a little while.

I’m excited and stressed, but I’m not tired. These next 8 weeks are going to be strong. It’s going to be unbelievable.

❤ Cristina