Day 179, Quote 17: “You’re halfway there”

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This week has been good.

It’s been weird, but good.

I dusted off my dresses and found the rest of my bobby pins – this is what got me mentally in the game. It was nice to have a break from sheath dresses, heels and shaking hands, but I’ve been ready for that break to be over since February.

I started applying for jobs in February knowing that it can take a while for the application to become an interview and the interview to become an offer and an acceptance and a start date.

I started applying early because I was still figuring it out, but I knew what would make my heart sing. I know the kind of work I wanted to do, and I won’t lie it was a bit broader than I had anticipated.

I started on Monday, and let’s just say I’m glad to be through the paperwork and actually working on reading through literature pertaining to my role.

I have Wednesdays off and it gives me time to continue to volunteer where I had been doing my fieldwork placement this past spring.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t intimidated a little bit, but honestly, I think it’s good for me to be pushed and work towards my potential. We never know what we can accomplish if we don’t do something new or something that makes us a little uncomfortable.

My role as a project coordinator is going to test me and push me to be a better manager and organizer. I will be coordinating efforts between our team overseas in Liberia and different entities here like the CDC.

This project was developed after the Ebola outbreak in 2014 and if you don’t know anything about Ebola here’s some important things to know:

  1. It was discovered in the 1976 near the Ebola River in the Democratic Republic of Congo
  2. It’s mainly located in sub-Saharan Africa
  3. Scientists aren’t completely sure where it came from, but suspect animals
  4. It spreads through direct contact of bodily fluids of a person who is sick or has died from Ebola
  5. There’s no approved vaccine or treatment for Ebola
  6. It’s deadly

The work this project is doing to strengthen initiatives in Liberia is truly amazing. This work is and will be impacting thousands of lives if not the whole country. I think that’s why I still feel on cloud 9. I know the potential implications of this project and I get to be a part of it.

I never thought I would be here.

I guess we’ll see where week two takes me as I start having meetings with our teammates. Academically – I’m done. Like done. I submitted my final on Monday and grades were posted today. Solid A in fieldwork and A- in US Government. Officially graduated with highest honors. I can’t even say how nice it feels to be done with papers and tests and to have time to write for fun and read for fun. Until I say I’m bored and take the leap for my MPH. I DO want to take some time off before diving in. Right now, one masters is enough and I’m content with the associate’s I just finished.

I’ve got my eyes on Boston University, but I also want to get experience before jumping into that. Now is the time to “relax” and enjoy the new path, work on my writing and keep moving forward with coaching.

In the gym – my lifts haven’t felt this good or capable in months. I surprised myself with my deadlift on Wednesday and again with my squat on Thursday. The next four weeks of this program really may be magic. I can’t wait to see where I end up and reassess the next steps.

I think I will want to work within my maxes after the program and work on some other self-created programming. I’ve missed writing out my own workouts, however, I did rework some of my accessory work for the PH3 program and I still saw appropriate progress.

Deadlifts and squats are still movements I want to work on, but I want to incorporate some other movements that work on mobility and flexibility. I also may have my eyes set on the rope in my gym.

Last week, I noticed the hanging rope from the ceiling in the functional room. I haven’t really gone in there. It’s where the TRX and kettlebells live. It’s away from the barbells and machines. I used to hate the rope in gym class and I haven’t climbed one since middle school, but there’s a part of me that kind of wants to try and see if I can do it.

I think it’s important to mix it up and being half way through the year, I’m excited to see what else I can do. I’m excited to see what else we have planned.

We’re going on our first hike of the season this weekend and I’m hoping we get a few more in as our schedules are slightly more flexible this summer. We had wanted to start this in the spring, but winter wouldn’t leave and classes kicked my butt.

We had wanted to run a 5K and 10K (me and JP respectively), but his foot just isn’t having it. We’re pretty sure it’s from poor support after a recent run so we’re postponing until later this summer.

I’m happy with where things are, and last summer’s feels feel miles away.

Bring on July. Bring on the rest of 2018.

We’re still working on exploring outside of Moscow Mules, but slowly chipping away at the other goals.

❤ Cristina

 

 

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Day 174, Quote 16: “I just don’t know”

What is good enough?

At what point does being proud of yourself matter more than the pride others project onto you?

I just don’t know. Me neither.

I’ve been thinking about this post for a really long time, but it took a first check-in with a new client to decide to say yes and write it.

There are many of us that experience imposture syndrome. It’s common among Type A personalities, it’s also common among trauma survivors. Remember trauma is objective. Every individual has experiences differently and that means that even the same situation may be traumatic for one person, but not another.

Emotional abuse can be more harmful than physical abuse in some cases because physical wounds heal more easily. It’s not hard to identify a broken bone and to put a cast on it. Emotional wounds can take years to identify and acknowledge and work through before they actually heal.

We we’re discussing success and the feeling you get when you’re proud of what you’ve accomplished. She is filled with doubt, and I’m honest, so I told her that I have moments like that too and I explained I felt that way when she contacted me because I was in awe.

I ask everyone to fill out a questionnaire because I want to make sure that we’re a good fit. I want to make sure I understand their support system, their goals, the motivation behind their goals and their expectations of coaching. I don’t want to take on a client that I don’t believe I can help or one that doesn’t have the same expectations of the relationship. Like all potential clients, she told me that the questionnaire was hard.

It made her think about her goals and how they were connected. I’ve had a few questionnaires that have put me into tears, but I also don’t claim that I’m excellent at holding back tears.

Her goals aren’t about physical attributes.

Her short-term goals:

  • Be more social
  • Not over think/doubt myself
  • Find what I am mean to do or be

She followed up these goals by stating that she wasn’t sure if these were actually goals of not.

Our screening lasted longer than they normally do, and we’ve already discussed extending out check-in times. This isn’t the first client I’ve done this for and as many of mine know, most of our calls are longer than an hour anyway. We were both in tears on the screening and I’m not ashamed to say I was in tears on Wednesday night when we had our first call.

Wednesday night we were talking about doubt, success and the influence of outside opinions.

I asked her the above question and she didn’t know the answer. That’s ok, she doesn’t need to and neither do I.

They’re competing ideas – be confident in your decisions and give zero fucks or seeking approval and never settled for your own satisfaction. There’s the alternative – being confident in your decisions, but then seeking approval as you reflect on the choices you’ve made.

When I stopped speaking to my family, it was easy to not reach out. It was easy to not call. Calls weren’t pleasant even when they started out well. They always left me defeated. When I finished my master’s program, I had graduated with a 3.947. I had received one A-. The response on the other end of the phone was “well, it’s not an MBA so it probably wasn’t that hard.” This is the only reason I remember my GPA.

I loved the program. I learned so much about program design and goal setting. It really is a lot of the basis that I use in coaching now. I connected with some of the most brilliant nonprofit leaders in the Boston area. I busted my butt and I was so proud because it was rigorous, and I hadn’t been 100% confident that I could do it. I try to hold onto the pride I had in myself because this was just an example of many that showed me how some people just can’t be happy for you.

I would be lying if I told you I never think about what the reactions of others are to my accomplishments and failures. I do, but I also try to step back and be objective about my own success and failures because if I can’t fill my cup on my own then nothing will ever be good enough.

I have to disagree with Yoda here. You can’t do something without trying. If I try to run a race, I’m still running the race, but there’s no promise I’m going to be capable of finishing, but at least I tried. You practice, and you keep trying and you move the needle over time.

I don’t know why, but I’ve had an easier time being satisfied and proud of my accomplishments and ignoring the opinions of those who actually know me. I think part of the reason is because they should know how I hard work and my backstory –  I shouldn’t have to explain myself. There voices While, I know I should care less about strangers, those seem to be the opinions I struggle to brush off because I know they don’t know me and I feel like I need to explain myself.

In a world where we can connect with a click of a button, it’s hard to say, yes I am enough, yes my voice is enough, yes my opinion is more than enough.

This is something that I find myself working on everyday. I share my story and that’s considered “content creation” in the digital age. But for me, it’s not about the likes, but the impact. Am I making a positive impact? Do others feel that they can share and be authentic because I try to share honestly and be authentic?

I can’t control how others feel about me, but I can control how I feel about myself. So, again, it’s hard, but at what point can we be proud of ourselves and allow that to take precedent over the projections that others put on us?

❤ Cristina

Wellness Refocused Education: Snacking intentionally

When I started competing I thought I had to eat every few hours. This was something that I had read about, but more importantly (at the time) it was something that I saw over and over again in practice online.

For me, every few hours meant every three hours. I was on a cycle of eating about seven or eight meals or snacks, which were small in volume. I didn’t have macronutrient goals per meal (I still don’t). I didn’t have calorie goals per meal (I still don’t).

Now, there’s nothing wrong with eating in this structure. I do think small meals can help you get through the day, but naturally, this method also has you in a cycle of wondering what time it is and when the next meal is coming. This kind of focus on meal timing has the potential to be harmful mentally. This concept can be considered grazing, since meals are consumed steadily throughout the day instead of in two or three large meals.

Transitioning away from this approach to eating when I was hungry was a slight struggle at first. However, after a few months, I relearned my body and now I have an idea of meal timing that works for me as well as how full certain combinations of foods make me so that I can plan when I’m on the go.

One positive thing from this eating structure is that I started to eliminate labels from food like breakfast, lunch and dinner.

By removing labels and eating what I’m interested in, I gave myself more flexibility and diversity to my meals. Some days I just want eggs for dinner – they’re also quick and no hassle.

I hear often, that snacking is bad, can lead to weight gain and in some cases can lead to going “off-track”. I think many confuse having a snack with negative snacking behavior like what we describe as mindless eating. I do also understand that some foods can lead an individual to not stay on track and in that case, I would encourage that person to dig deeper and think about why that food has that power.

So snacking, what’s the science say?

A 2011 study investigated the definitions of snacking, perceptions of snack foods and snacking behavior defined “having a snack” as “eating food between meals or eating a light meal (Chaplin & Smith, 2011).”

Other research has defined a snack by caloric consumption, social interactions and the time of day for the consumption, but “these definitions fail to consider the influence of social patterns and/or cultural norms on timing and size of eating occasions (Chaplin & Smith, 2011).” These definitions also don’t take into consideration a person’s motivations to eat such as not triggered by hunger or social environment.

Another article that reviewed definitions of snacking and motivations to snack found that without a consistent definition of the words snack and snack, it’s hard to determine if prevalence has increased and if it does in fact contribute to weight gain (Hess, Jonnalagadda, & Slavin, 2017).

For the purpose of this post, the definition that I’ll use is:

Snack: an individual food or light meal consumed between meals with or without intent.

Researchers of the 2011 study also found that language used to describe and talk about food influenced how it was reported such as labeling “healthy foods” as snacks (Larson, Miller, Watts, Story, & Neumark-Sztainer, 2016). Gender also made a difference.

While having a snack can simply mean that you have consumed an individual item or light meal with intent, snacking behavior is typically associated with over-consumption of calories.

A 2016 study in the Journal of Nutrition examined snacking behavior from 2,793 adolescents to determine the influence this behavior had on weight status (Larson, Miller, Watts, Story, & Neumark-Sztainer, 2016). Researchers were interested in this examination because there is a lot of conflicting findings that suggest snacking behavior may or may not contribute to weight status in young people, which impacts the strategies provided to those seeking to improve dietary adherence.

What they found was that snacks have the potential to be calorically-dense, which may cause someone to over consume calories; however, the behavior on its own of having a food or light meal in between meals isn’t inherently harmful to health (Larson, Miller, Watts, Story, & Neumark-Sztainer, 2016).

However, paired with other behaviors, there’s greater potential for calorie-dense snacks to be chosen such as watching television (mindless eating) and skipping legitimate meals.

As an adult, I look back on times in childhood and think about the things I missed out on – the hours of naps I said ‘no’ to and the snacks I missed out on. As an adult, these things have greatly helped me maintain my health, even when there are times it doesn’t seem so great.

Being “allowed” to have a snack truly comes down to the psychology of dieting and eating behaviors. It comes from having all or nothing mindset. What we thought we knew about a healthy lifestyle has been made more complicated by the reality that we need to be healthy mentally as well and understanding that creating lifestyle change doesn’t happen in a bubble.

Be intentional

Going back to the definition that I created above – the ending, with or without intent. I think this part is key. Having a snack with intention means it’s part of the plan.

When I plan out my day, especially if I know I will be in and out of the house, I intentionally pack them with me. There’s potential that I won’t need them, but having a snack planned helps me with dietary adherence or “staying on track”.

I know if I’m truly hungry, I can wait about 30 minutes before I feel like I need to find something. If I don’t have a snack with me I’m more likely to not care about my choice, which will more than likely be calorie-dense.

As a society, we’ve changed greatly in the past 50 years. The workforce is larger with more women going to work, many of us work jobs with longer hours or nontraditional hours, we’re are living at home longer, having children later, obtaining more education, etc. If our schedules have changed and adapted with the needs of society, why not adapt our eating to our lifestyles?

There is no right way to go about meal timing, which means there’s no wrong way either. If we can take away labels and change the language that we use when we describe food, we may be able to create eating behavior that encourages adherence and gives us the satisfaction of participation.

When labels are removed the possibilities are endless. Eating well doesn’t have to be expensive and it doesn’t have to be complicated. I carry one or two protein bars in my purse, but I will also put some crackers or pretzels for the when I’m running around.

Some of the snacks I’ve been enjoying lately are:

  • Snyder’s mini pretzels
  • Wheat Thins
  • Individually wrapped cheese bricks
  • Quaker caramel rice crisps
  • KIND bars
  • Fruit: grapes, bananas and apples
  • Protein bars and protein shakes are always a staple
  • Nuts: pistachios for JP, walnuts for me!

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A helpful tip, that I still implement is to portion my snacks when I get them home from the store since I typically plan and prep the day I grocery shop. This isn’t necessarily ideal for all foods because some could get stale, but  portioning a few snacks can be helpful. If you don’t plan out your week and prefer to take it a day at a time, you can still portion out some snacks so that they’re easier to grab when you’re on the go.

If you don’t mind buying individually wrapped snacks, that’s also fine. I don’t buy everything individually wrapped because it’s not cost effective for us., however, if you know that the packaging makes a difference in your decision-making then you need to find a strategy that works for you.

Tell me, how are your choices impacted when you don’t have something on hand or something planned?

 

References

Chaplin, K., & Smith, A. P. (2011). DEFINITIONS AND PERCEPTIONS OF SNACKING. Current Topics in Nutraceutical Research , 53-60.

Hess, J. M., Jonnalagadda, S. S., & Slavin, J. L. (2017). What Is a Snack, Why Do We Snack, and How Can We Choose Better Snacks? A Review of the Definitions of Snacking, Motivations to Snack, Contributions to Dietary Intake, and Recommendations for Improvement. Advances in Nutrition, 466-475.

Larson, N. I., Miller, J. M., Watts, A. W., Story, M. T., & Neumark-Sztainer, D. R. (2016). Adolescent Snacking Behaviors Are Associated with Dietary Intake and Weight Status. The Journal of Nutrition, 1348-1355.

Tartakovsky, M. (2015, August 3). 5 Ways to Expand All-or-Nothing Thinking. Retrieved from Psych Central: https://psychcentral.com/blog/5-ways-to-expand-all-or-nothing-thinking/

 

 

Day 169, Quote 15: “Strength and growth come only through continuous effort and struggle.”

No one is immune.

There are some things we just don’t grow out of, no matter how much we want to or how hard we try.

For some, it may be hard to look in the mirror and see the person standing in front of them instead of the person they used to be. For others, it may be how they think about their environment or how they respond to it. These may be things that we work on piece-by-piece by never fully let go.

I’m sure you’re noticing a pattern by now with how I talk with my clients and try to talk to myself. So I have no issues saying again, this is something I talk to my clients about often because this is also something I tell myself.

Behavior change is hard. I’ve talked about that before. You need to be ready for it. That being said, once you’ve felt good about making changes and you’ve practiced them, it can STILL be hard. Our behavior is a result of many things, it’s more than we “know”.

There’s two conversations going on in my head and I apologize if they get a bit jumbled, but they intertwine.

The first is reminding you that I was diagnosed with PTSD after college and just after I started losing weight. Around the time I was diagnosed with PTSD, I was also diagnosed with binge-eating disorder and anxiety. At the time I didn’t understand that multiple disorders could be diagnosed. Now, I know that it’s called concurrent disorders and it’s more common than we think.

I took medical leave almost two years ago because of my PTSD, and while I had been diagnosed four years before, I had never struggled with flashbacks, anxiety attacks and disassociation as intensely as I did when I started medical leave.

During college, food was a source of comfort for me like it is for many. It was part of socializing, it was part of coping, it was everything.

I know now that the behaviors I had that led to my weight gain were also related to my mental health. Honestly, as a college student, that wasn’t something I had considered before.

Seven months after college, I started to lose weight because I felt like I couldn’t control anything around me and this was something I knew was about my behavior. After I started losing weight, I had struggled with my eating in spurts around times of high stress, sometimes for a few days at a time, but never for longer than that. I never thought of this as more than stress-eating.

It was weird when my therapist at the time said I had binge-eating disorder. Our sessions revolved around growing up in an abusive household and how it impacted me in the present day. We talked about my relationships and the life I was creating for myself and making connections with previous experience and behavior to current experiences and behaviors. It was weird when a second therapist also agreed that I had an eating-disorder.

When I’m in good headspace, I don’t struggle with eating or decision-making or sticking to whatever “plan” I have at the time – that goes for sleep schedule, workouts, as well as eating – all aspects.

The second is telling you that I do feel good about where I’m at with everything. It’s been a weird year schedule wise, but I feel like I’ve gotten a good handle on adjusting priorities and creating a lifestyle that works for the current time.

Some of the feelings I’m going to talk about came to a surprise to me because I’m not 100% sure where they came from.

I’m also sure some things I will say may sound like they’re contradictory.

Let’s start at the beginning-ish.

In the beginning, when there were dinosaurs and I felt like change and progress were going to take forever – portion control meant eating smaller portions than what I had been, i.e. putting less on my plate and therefore in my mouth. This meaning was easy to follow because my daily diet was out-of-control and it wasn’t hard to just decrease my portions.

Eventually portion control meant making the decision to either follow the specific serving size on a package or to have a portion of that size, i.e. sometimes I have one serving, sometimes I have two, sometimes I have half a serving, etc. This was more structured and specific to my goals.

When I was competing, the above concept of portion control was a bit more meticulous. While I still chose to have one or two servings, I was more precise with my measurements.

So, I repeat – when I’m in good headspace – adherence isn’t hard for me. I’m deadline driven. I thrive in a goal-oriented environment. In isolation, the weight loss portion of my journey wasn’t hard because I had no issues sticking to smaller portions and moderating my food or working out – it was everything else in my environment that made it hard.

Today, even though I’m focusing on developing my strength and body re-composition, I’m allowing some flexibility with my eating, which means it might not be so perfect. Real life isn’t perfect. For me, I need to be flexible – I want to be flexible, otherwise, I think we find ourselves upset in every situation that we believe we have no say in or is out of our control.

I don’t have off-limit foods. I truly try to be flexible within macro-counting. I don’t eat foods I don’t like. I also try to change up my meals and be creative because you can’t live your life on a meal plan. When I’m not tracking everything, I have an 70/30 or 60/40 rule – track most things, but work on making good choices.

When JP and I go out to eat, I always get something I won’t cook for myself at home – like fish. I just can’t cook it the way they do at the restaurant. I’ll also get something slightly ridiculous like a burger with every topping on it because it’s not something I would do regularly anyway.

When we get dessert to bring home from local bakeries, my thought process is usually these will be here tomorrow and the next day and the next, so picking up the number we want is enough for now. We usually pick up two (depending on the size) and we split them. I pick one and JP will pick one. We don’t usually bring home more than we’re going to eat that day.

However, sometimes, when I’m trying to decide about something we don’t have often, I do struggle to finalize my choice. I may change my choice three or four times. I may say it out loud and talk to JP about it. Sometimes I go back to my first choice because there’s a reason I said it first, even if I don’t know it.

This is struggle I found myself in Sunday morning when we went to get bagels.

We always have bread in the house. Bread isn’t special. We make sandwiches a few times a week with whole grain bread and it’s satisfying enough – fiber, vitamins, all the things a grain should provide.

We always have English muffins in the house too. We probably eat them twice a week and since we don’t buy burger buns, sometimes we use plain English muffins in place of those. If you’re making a face at that, you don’t know the magic of a toasted English muffin and how it holds your burger patty and toppings in place!

We don’t keep bagels in the house. I’m not really sure why, but it’s probably because the size of the English muffin is enough to satisfy the craving and provide fullness without being too full. Sometimes a bagel can be too much.

There’s a bagel place by JP’s parent’s house called Gunther Tootie’s. The name always makes me giggle and their bagels fill me up for hours. I usually get a breakfast sandwich and that accounts for breakfast and a snack because it really is that filling for me.

I like to plan what I’m getting when I go out, but at 29, I also know what I like to eat. I know that I don’t like poppy seed bagels, but I do like lemon poppy seed muffins. I know that I like the idea of everything bagels, but I don’t like the mess they create so I never get them. Maybe I’m a pain in the ass, but I’ve talked to pickier eaters.

The conversation I usually have with myself and even with JP when he’s deciding is – sweet or savory? What am I trying to satisfy because let’s face it – this is about taste. From there I’ll ask what stands out that sounds good and what will keep you satisfied. I do ask myself about satisfaction in relation to fullness because I don’t like to be hungry after I’ve eaten a meal that I believe should’ve kept me full. I also ask about satisfaction in relation to taste because 1. I should like the taste 2. Food is also about experience. Everything has its place: fuel, experience, nutrients.

Yesterday morning I knew I wanted a bagel, obviously. I figured I would probably get a bagel sandwich, but I couldn’t decide between sweet and savory. My first choice was a bagel with salmon because we NEVER buy salmon. I then went down the rabbit hole of should I get this, or should I get a bacon, egg and cheese, maybe I should get a chocolate chip bagel and honey walnut cream cheese.

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In my head, I probably went through five or six choices and then said to JP, “I think I’m going to get salmon on a rainbow bagel, and I’d like to bring home two bagels for us to have for breakfast this week.”

He looked at me and said “yeah, we could do that.”

So, I ordered a rainbow bagel with salmon, regular cream cheese, red onion and tomato to eat right then and a chocolate chip bagel and an onion bagel for later this week. They’re already planned for breakfast on Tuesday.

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This was the compromise for the battle in my head.

I know it’s one that many others face too.

Here’s what I know about this battle.

  1. I know that the bagels aren’t going anywhere, at least from what I know about this business – they aren’t going anywhere. And if they were, there’s other places that bagels can be obtained. I also know that it doesn’t matter that I know that. This kind of thinking is associated with disordered eating behavior and eating disorders – and yes, these are different, but connected concepts.
  2. I know that it’s ok to not have a perfect plan or to change your mind and therefore alter the plan. Sometimes you don’t know what you’re going to be in the mood for, but this was more than not being able to decide what I thought would taste good. This was a moment I felt that I wasn’t in control of my relationship with food.

We have many relationships. We have relationships with people around us. We have relationships with ourselves. We also have relationships with food. Our relationships impact our decision-making process in both positive and negative ways. They create our environment.

These are two of the most important questions I ask clients – who or what is in your environment and what are these relationships like?

These are also questions I ask and reevaluate in my own journey.

Who or what is in my environment and what is the impact they are having on me.

Right now, so many exciting things are happening, and I never thought I would get here. It’s overwhelming. It’s a good overwhelming, but with the excitement comes fear and doubt of something new. I don’t always feel it, but sometimes it creeps in.  Sometimes it puts pressure on the other relationships I have.

For me acknowledging the feeling in general is a good step. Talking about how it’s impacting other aspects of my life is another.

My relationship with food isn’t perfect, but it’s better than it used to be, it’s a work-in-progress.

Trusting myself is going to be an ongoing project and that’s okay.

Great relationships take work and time. I’m not in a rush.

 

❤ Cristina

*If you think you may be struggling with an eating disorder or disordered behavior patterns, please seek proper professional assistance. The National Eating Disorders Association has a helpline that’s open 24-hours a day. If you don’t think your behavior warrants that call, consider reaching out to a therapist in your area who can assist your specific needs.

 

 

Recipe: Smoothie bowl

I won’t lie, whenever I see smoothie bowls online I am always envious because they also look delicious and perfectly put together. I don’t know about you, but fruit doesn’t keep me very full so it’s something I typically pair with something else. I may have berries in my oats or a banana with my protein shake. I top yogurt with fruit and nuts sometimes. But on it’s own I could eat a ton of fruit and not be full for long.

However, since  March we’ve been consuming a ridiculous amount of fruit that has led to the purchase of large bags of frozen mixed fruit. It lasts longer than fresh fruit and it’s perfect for in yogurt and smoothies. I do buy fresh, don’t get me wrong, I LOVE crisp fruit, but honestly guys, read the labels. Frozen fruit is just as nutritionally dense as fresh and you can find bags that have NO additives, which makes it a pretty economic choice when some fruits aren’t in season.

What brought me to this recipe is the search for a snack while lunch was cooking. For me this was an appetizer to baked chicken. I was running low on veggies and was trying to figure out a carb to have with lunch. I then realized that I could just have lunch in parts and call it a meal.

What You’ll Need

  • 1 cup of frozen fruit
  • 1/4 cup of milk or milk alternative
  • 1-2 tablespoons of protein powder
  • Optional toppings: nuts, seeds, granola, shredded coconut, chocolate chips, more fruit

Directions

1. In a food processor, grind/chop 1 cup of frozen fruit for a few minutes. You’re going to want to pulse the fruit as it start to chop. I used mixed fruit from Dole that I got a sale a few weeks ago.

*Using a few fruits gives a good base of flavor and textured. You could combine bananas, strawberries, blueberries, etc. if you don’t have a pre-bought bag.

2. Add a 1/4 cup of milk or milk alternative to the chopped fruit. I used almond milk. After blending in milk, consistency should be thick like frozen yogurt.

3. Add 1-2 tablespoons of whey casein protein powder. I added 1 tablespoon, which is about 1/4 scoop of protein powder. The more protein you add, the thicker it’ll be and you may need to add a little more milk. If you’re using whey isolate it may not be as thick as whey casein blend. If you’re using a vegan or plant based protein, I’m unsure how thickness will be impacted.

4. Transfer fruit base to a bowl and level out.

5. Optional: Top with your favorite toppings. The fruit base will have a lot of flavor so you can eat it on its own or you can jazz it up with toppings.

* Be mindful of you’re toppings and what they add nutritionally and calorically. This base is a moderate carbohydrates base with 5-12g of protein depending on how much protein and brand (1 or 2 tablespoons) you added. Nuts/seeds/nut butter will add fat and some protein; fruit will add more carbs; coconut will add fat and carbs, etc.

Estimate nutrition for my specific base: 1f | 18c | 7p

With toppings: 9f | 30c | 9p

 

Wellness Refocused Education: Steel Cut Oats v. Rolled Oats

One of my clients and I were talking about oats the other day. She said she had to eat steel cut oats, and I asked, “why do they HAVE to be steel cut?”

She said well they’re healthier for you.

I told her that wasn’t necessarily true.

So, let’s talk oats – what’s the difference between them?

Steel-cut oats are minimally processed, meaning they have only been cut a few times from their original form of oat groats. They can take up to a half hour to cook.

Rolled or old-fashioned oats are oat groats that been steamed and rolled – this makes for faster cooking.

Quick-oats are rolled oats that have been chopped – even faster cooking.

Nutritionally, these are all made from oat groats, so they should contain the same number of calories, protein and fiber. However, the biggest nutritional differences will occur when you compare brands. Oats made from Quaker may differ from oats that are store brand.

Oats are a great source of vitamin E (a fat soluble vitamin) and B-1 and B-2 (both water soluble vitamins).

The biggest difference is how your body digests steel cut versus rolled oats.

The steaming and rolling process that the rolled oat goes through make them easier on digestion in comparison to steel cut oats. This is because the outer layers of the steel cut oats have insoluble fiber, which is harder for digestive enzymes to breakdown (Rasane, Jha, Sabikhi, Kumar, & Unnikrishnan, 2015). While steel cut may help with satiety, they may also result in bloating (Rebello, O’Neil, & Greenway, 2016). To further help with oat digestion you can soak your oats overnight or slow cook them. Here’s how I make mine overnight.

So why does it seem like there are more differences nutritionally?

Serving size matters. I’ve seen some brands list the serving size as a ½ cup of dry oats where I’ve seen other’s list it as 1/3 cup. The serving size dictates the caloric and nutritional value.

Add-ins and topping make a difference. I buy plain rolled oats because sometimes I actually enjoy plain oat meal, but mostly because I enjoy the chance to experience with different toppings and flavors. I love using protein powder in my oats – it adds protein and flavor, which allows me to add minimal toppings. I also love berries and peanut butter in my oats.

If you look at some of the instant oatmeal’s available in the store you’ll see packets that include high sugar flavors like maple brown sugar, apple cinnamon, etc.

Below is a comparison of steel cut oats, rolled oats and apple cinnamon from Quaker Oats.

oats photo 1oats photo 2

You’ll notice that steel cut and rolled oats are pretty much the same, except steel cut has 2g of insoluble fiber, which comes from the lack of rolling the oat groats (soluble v. insoluble fiber). Comparing these two to the Quaker Instant: Apples and Cinnamon flavor, you may noticed that the serving size is the same weight, but as you scroll through the table you’ll also see an additional 6g of carbohydrates, but 12g of sugar – this is because a portion of oats have been replaced with sugar, spices and apple pieces, all of which add weight and sugar.

Really what this comes down to is asking yourself 1. What texture do you prefer? 2. How much time do you have?

If you like oats in general, they have a lot of benefits like the vitamins listed above but can also help with maintaining a healthy cholesterol level as well as satiety throughout the day, which can assist with dietary adherence.

Remember, there’s a lot of marketing tactics used to make us as consumers believe something is much healthier than it truly is. Don’t get fooled. Read labels, ask questions and do a little digging on your own.

Lastly, how do you take your oats?

❤ Cristina

 

References:

Rasane, P., Jha, A., Sabikhi, L., Kumar, A., & Unnikrishnan, V. S. (2015). Nutritional advantages of oats and opportunities for its processing as value added foods – a review. Journal of Food Science and Technology, 662-675.

Rebello, C. J., O’Neil, C. E., & Greenway, F. L. (2016). Dietary fiber and satiety: the effects of oats on satiety. Nutrition Reviews, 131-147.

 

 

 

Day 159, Quote 14: “Brave does not mean…”

We’re shifting. I’ve been running on movie quotes this year and JP and I have been watching A LOT of movies. The spring was tough and there were more date night’s in,s o we revisited some of our favorites and found some new ones. Some inspired me and struck something that made me want to write.

But I’ve been working on writing more in a different way. Not just blogging or the workbook, but journaling and writing just to write. My friend Kara started a writing group for about a dozen of us using a writing challenge that prompts us daily. The prompts may be quotes, it may be a photo, but regardless you’re encouraged to write what comes to mind that day.

There have been some where I knew exactly what I wanted to get out of my head on paper and others that frustrated me and left me pondering for most of the day.

This was Day 8.

day 8 bravery

Bravery.

My first thought was self-demeaning.

I am not brave.

I then thought of all the times that I’ve been told I’m brave.

I reached out to Kara and said in not as many words, this post was something I wanted to expand on outside of the group. I asked her to co-write a blog post with our view points of bravery.

As you read through our perspectives, I want you to ask yourself what brave means to you now. Has it ever changed it’s meaning? Do you think it can continue to evolve for you?

I also want you to consider its Google definition – you know, when you search Google like this: def:bravery.

brave.JPG


Here’s Kara’s point-of-view.

Moments of bravery go unnoticed every day, while moments of pride and vanity are heralded as heroism.  Because bravery means something different to each individual, because we all have our own fears – both acknowledged and hidden – bravery takes many forms.

The definition of bravery that resonates the most with me is from Merriam-Webster’s latest edition, “Having or showing mental or moral strength to face danger, fear, or difficulty”.

Is it brave to commit yourself to defending your country? 

Absolutely.

Is it brave to put your life in danger to save the life of another?

Most definitely.

It’s also brave to get out of bed in the morning when every part of you hurts, and you just don’t think you can do it.

It’s brave to try something new that takes you out of your comfort zone, knowing failure is the likely outcome.

It’s brave to find the lesson in the failure and try again, over and over.

It’s brave to speak up and share your truth when you know your perspective is different.

It is brave to form your own path, often walking away from what is comfortable, expected, and accepted.

In the last year, I have been called brave more than perhaps any other time in my life.  Due to a series of localized tragedies that the CDC has deemed a “suicide contagion,” I decided to share my story.

I spoke to my high school classes, and eventually to the entire student body, about being a survivor of multiple suicide attempts.

I have always been open about my experiences with mental illness, both in person and on social media.  Hiding who I am and how I am struggling is something that I decided long ago that I would not do. Pretending that they don’t affect me every minute of every day isn’t helping anyone.

During moments of openness about mental illness, I have often been told how brave I am to share my struggles. To me, this isn’t brave. This is just being who I am and not being ashamed.

I share my experiences because I hope to find connection with others, along with understanding. I do not want pity, but I do want others who may be fighting their own battles silently to know that they are not alone.

Ironically, the moments in my life when I have felt the most brave probably wouldn’t be what most consider brave actions. It was the moment that I stepped away from a relationship that on the surface looked perfect, but underneath was damaging.  Or the first time that I put myself first, rather than fulfilling my lifelong role as a people pleaser. It was finding genuine happiness for a friend at her baby shower, days after I had miscarried. It was willingly putting myself into a situation that I knew would induce panic, because I know it’s part of the process of healing.

Each of these moments were terrifying and overwhelming for me. In every instance, I convinced myself that catastrophic repercussions and failure were imminent. However, these moments of self-doubt ultimately became moments of self-discovery.

The grandiose and the quiet moments of bravery should be equally celebrated and appreciated.  Growth, both individual and societal, can only come from moments of bravery.


Here’s Cristina’s point-of-view.

I hate the word brave.

I know we all have our own definition, but I feel like people confused bravery with doing the right thing or doing what it takes to be successful or doing what is necessary to live your life fully.
I’ve been brave for putting on heels and a bikini.
I’ve been brave for talking about my PTSD.
I’ve been brave for calling out online bullies.
I’ve been brave for telling people about my bad days.
I’ve been brave for wearing stripes.
I’ve been brave for having skin removal surgery.
I’ve been brave wearing “that color” or “that style”.
Why are these things brave?

I think that many people view behaviors that they wouldn’t exemplify as brave. They wouldn’t wear stripes or talk about mental health – so it must be brave. For me, I know it has nothing to do with things I wouldn’t do.

I think it has to do with things that leave me in awe.

I saw brave in my older sister who stepped between me and mom when I was in third grade. It was the first time my mom hit me, and it was the first time I realized that if my big sister was around I would be safe.

I saw brave when a friend told me she went back to therapy. She’s capable of problem-solving and she’s capable of making connections and then making a plan, but I also believe that this assistance will guide her to peak greatness. I believe that she will be able to grow more fully and asking for help and putting trust in someone else is brave.

I saw brave when a client told me she was leaving her corporate job to be a stay-at-home mom and teach her sons herself. This was a powerful declaration of “I can” from this client and my heart clapped and cheered for her because while I knew she was terrified inside, she was still taking this step.

I have felt brave when getting out of the shower on days I thought I couldn’t get out of bed. Sometimes I stay in the shower longer because I’m thinking and when I’ve come to my conclusion I’ll feel ready to step and out go into the world. But on days when it’s bad, getting in to begin with is a project and the feeling of readiness to take on the world (as it feels) seems like a burden.

I have felt brave when I trust myself to be capable in the gym, as a coach, as a partner. I have more doubt than I want to admit, but writing it out makes me face it and makes me think about where it comes from.

I feel brave when being myself. Growing up, if I was bullied my dad always asked what I did wrong or what I did to draw the bully’s attention. It was never about the wrongness in their behavior but identifying that there must be something wrong with mine. I am not wrong and it took a long time to see that and to feel that.

When I was a kid, I think I just wanted to be happy. As an adult there has never been a point in my life where I have thought, I want to martyr for the cause.

I don’t want to be brave.

I just want people to look at me and see normal people can do extraordinary things when they work hard. That normal people change the world. That we can live our lives to the fullest without labels of our accomplishments.

❤ Cristina and Kara

Wellness Refocused Education: Vitamins Part 2

In part 1 we discussed how there are two categories of vitamins: fat soluble and water soluble. We dove into fat soluble vitamins in part 1. We talked about what they are, where they come from and what can happen if you get too much or don’t get enough.

This post is about water soluble vitamins: Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) and B vitamins such as:

  • Thiamin (B1)
  • Riboflavin (B2)
  • Niacin/nicotinamide/nicotinic acid
  • Pyridoxine/pyridoxal/pyridoxamine (B6)
  • Folate (folic acid)
  • Cobalamin (B12)
  • Pantothenic acid
  • Biotin

Like we talked about in the last post, solubility is about transportation through the body. Water soluble vitamins are easily absorbed in the intestinal tract and go into the blood stream. They aren’t stored, so toxicity is less likely than with fat soluble vitamins.

This isn’t to say that toxicity can’t occur, it’s just less likely with a healthy functioning body.

To see more about toxicity and deficiency symptoms, check out the last post here.

Vitamin C is commonly associated with oranges and “curing a cold”, however, it’s a bit more complicated than that and it has a lot more functions than just immunity.

Vitamin C is required for a few specific functions like creating collagen, L-cartnitine, some neurotransmitters, hormones and DNA (protein)(Office of Dietary Supplements, 2018). That’s a bit more than what we typically think about when we think Vitamin C or a glass of juice. These functions are a part of our immune system, cardiovascular system, endocrine system and our nervous system.

Collagen is a kind of connective tissue (fibrous protein) in the body and it plays a big role in healing, which is why Vitamin C is important (Marieb & Hoehn, 2016). As an antioxidant, ongoing research has shown that Vitamin C helps with oxidative stress (an imbalance of free radicals and the body’s ability to detoxify itself) limit damaging effects of free radicals, which may prevent or delay disease and illness.

Other immune functions are include improving nonheme iron transport. Nonheme iron can be found in plants and as you imagine is recognized by the body differently than meat-based sources. This also means that it’s transported through body differently. Decreased oxidative stress by Vitamin C helps with allow for transport.

So does Vitamin C cure sickness?

Vitamin C plays a role in keeping the body healthy, however, once immunity is weakened, Vitamin C consumption may not do a lot for you other than give you peace of mind (Thomspon & Manore, 2015). There has been research conducted looking at how Vitamin C prevents disease and illness like types of cancers. “Epidemiologic evidence suggests that higher consumption of fruits and vegetables is associated with lower risk of most types of cancer, perhaps, in part, due to their high vitamin C content” (Office of Dietary Supplements, 2018). This is in connection to the decrease of free radicals in the body. Other research has shown the taking vitamin C may not prevent a cold, but may decrease their duration. A varied diet with “excellent sources of vitamin C will also help you maintain a strong immune system” (Thompson & Manore, 2015).

So how much should you consume? The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for men is 90 mg/day and for women it’s 75 mg/day. If you’re a smoker, it’s recommended to consume about 35 mg/day more than the RDA and the upper limit is 2,000 mg/day.

B complex vitamins are the other water soluble vitamins.  They help with a number of functions and are most known for helping the body regulate energy metabolism. They act as a coenzyme, “which is a molecule that combines with an enzyme to activate it and help it do its job  (Thompson & Manore, 2015).” The cellular functions they assist with are interconnected across organ systems and also include various aspects of brain function (Kennedy, 2016).

Thiamin (B1) assists  with breaking down glucose for energy as well as the creation of amino acids leucine, isoleucine and valine – which are branched-chain amino acids that I briefly mentioned in the post about protein and amino acids. These amino acids are used in muscle and help produce glucose when needed (Thompson & Manore, 2015). Humans store very small amounts of thiamin in the liver, and since the vitamin has “a short half-life…continuous supply of it from the diet” is necessary (Office of Dietary Supplements, 2018).

Riboflavin (B2) assists with carbohydrate and fat metabolism and occur in chemical reactions to produce energy.

Niacin (B3) is acutally two compounds – nicotinamide and nictinic acid, which work to activate enzymes to metabolize carbohydrates and fat. Niacin plays a role in DNA replication and differentiation as well as repair. Without niacin, the digestive system, nervous system and integumentary system (skin) can be disrupted.

Pyridoxine/pyridoxal/pyridoxamine (B6) similarly to thiamin, helps with carbohydrate and protein metabolism. In coenzyme form, B6 engages in over a 100 enzyme reactions that deal primarily with protein metabolism. It’s involved in hemogloblin (the component that transports oxygen in the blood) formation, helps synthesize neurotransmitters for cognitive function and normal brain activity.

B6 vitamin is sensitive to both heat and light, so it can be degraded during cooking, however, it can be found in many foods that are consumed regularly in a normal diet such meats, fish, poultry, many vegetables and fruits.

Folate (folic acid) is required for some of the body’s most basic cellular functions such as DNA synthesis, which is why it’s so important for women who are newly pregnant to have adequate intake during the first few weeks. Folate combined with the sperm-egg cell quickly develops tissues and structures of the human body. It’s not just in these developing stages that folate is necessary, throughout life, it helps with tissue maintenance and repair. Folate also contributes to the development of amino acids serine, glycine, histidine and methionine as well red blood cells. Without folate or B12, which we will get to in a minute, RBC have the opportunity to become enlarged from their inability to divide and mature. This can result in macrocytic anemia.

Cobalamin (B12) assists with DNA synthesis, which helps with proper red blood cell formation (Thompson & Manore, 2015).  Like we’ve talked about before, red blood cells transport oxygen and nutrients throughout the body. B12 along with adequate levels of B6 help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). The conversion of folate to its active form is dependent on adequate amounts of B12. If the conversion process is unable to occur, then folate is unable to be utilized properly even if  adequate amounts are consumed regularly through diet (National Center for Biotechnology Information, 2018). Individuals who have malabsroption disorders such as celiac disease may have a higher chance of deficiency because of decreased intrinsic factor – a protein that helps with absorption that occurs in the small intestine.

Pantothenic acid  is an important in the breakdown and synthesis of fatty acids (Thompson & Manore, 2015). It’s role allows for foods in our diet to be utilized for energy, but also assists with excess fat storage for later.  It can be found in a many foods, which is where it got it’s name – pan meaning every where. This vitamin isn’t typically measured in a healthy person since it is abundantly consumed and adequate intake is so small.

Biotin is a coenzyme for five different enzymes that breakdown all macronutrients providing energy for the body to function properly (Office of Dietary Supplements, 2017). Like Folate, it’s important during pregnancy because of it’s role in cellular development of hair, skin and nails, but recommended amount are in micrograms, which is a very small measure. Biotin is found in a number of foods, and while rare, if deficiency does occur it can lead to brittle nail, skin infections and hair loss or thinning.

How much should you consume for B-complex vitamins?

Below is a chart with the RDA for a general healthy individual. Many personal variables will change the necessary intakes such as if disease and illness like autoimmune disorders, age, activity level, current or desire to become pregnant.

water solube

Currently, no research shows concerns with toxicity in relation to water soluble vitamins consumed through dietary means since they are not stored in the body, however, you shouldn’t take a vitamin just to take one.

Be thoughtful and talk with your doctor about what a vitamin can do for you and if it’s necessary. Examine the variety in your diet and make sure that you’re getting enough real food with your fun foods.

Again, potency is important to be mindful of and with supplementation there’s an increase risk of toxicity.

❤ Cristina

References:

Kennedy, D. O. (2016). B Vitamins and the Brain: Mechanisms, Dose and Efficacy – A Review. Nutrients, 8(2), 68. http://doi.org/10.3390/nu8020068

Marieb, E. N., & Hoehn, K. (2016). Chemistry Comes Alive. In E. N. Marieb, & K. Hoehn, Human Anatomy and Physiology (pp. 23-59). New York: Pearson Learning Solutions.

National Center for Biotechnology Information. (2018, June 4). PubChem Compound Database; CID = 6438156. Retrieved from National Center for Biotechnology Information: https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/6438156#section=Top

Office of Dietary Supplements. (2018, March 2). Strengthening Knowledge and Understanding of Dietary Supplements. Retrieved from National Institutes of Health: https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminC-HealthProfessional/

Office of Dietary Supplements. (2017, December 8). Strengthening our Knowledge of Supplements: Biotin. Retrieved from National Institute of Health: https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Biotin-Consumer/

Thompson, J., & Manore, M. (2015). Nutrition: An Applied Approach. San Francisco: Pearson Education.

 

Recipe: Grilled Chicken Shawarma Skewers

Guys, it’s hot outside, which means it’s hot inside. It’s not just hot, it’s humid and muggy. If I had allergies like JP I would also bitch about the pollen count, but I don’t so I won’t.

Last year when we moved into our apartment, aside from the fitness center, one of the outdoor amenities that really excited us, was the grilling. We have access to both charcoal and gas grills. While charcoal is perfect for s’mores, gas is perfect for everything else.

We’ve grilled more this year than last year and that’s because we have more time and our jobs allow us to be home at roughly the same time. While grilling is easy and the dinner prep is minimal, it may require more hands than two.

This recipe is something that I made last week so that we had something quick to eat after work, but didn’t have to put too much energy into it – the heat kills our motivation for cooking and the last thing I want is a hot kitchen.

Aside from Pinterest, I have way too many cookbooks for someone my age and a subscription to Food Network Magazine. I get ideas and then roll with them. This one is a combination of three recipes – from the spices to the ratios.

What You’ll Need

  • Chicken breast of tenders
  • Ground Cumin
  • Curry powder
  • Minced garlic
  • Fresh lemon juice
  • Olive oil
  • Skewers (wood or metal)
  • Plastic bag

Directions

1. Trim excess fat and cartilage off of your chicken, then cube into small bite-sized pieces. I used 8 ounces of chicken, so my ratios are for 8 ounces, which is about two servings.

2. In an empty, plastic bag add a teaspoon of each: ground cumin, curry powder and minced garlic. As far as brands, I don’t use a specific brand – I buy what’s affordable/on sale at the time I need it. The store brand is fine and if you’re brand loyal, that’s also fine.

3. Add to the bag, juice from half a lemon. I opened the bag and squeezed it directly in.

4. Add a tablespoon of olive oil (not pictured) to the bag.

5. Add chicken to the spice bag, seal and shake. When sealing the bag, don’t remove all the air out so that the chicken has freedom to move around and get coated.

*After bagging my chicken, I put it in the fridge for the day while I went to the office. To prevent potential contamination, I placed the bag in a glass bowl on the bottom shelf.

6. Divide chicken in half and skewer.

7. Pre-heat grill for a few minutes so the grate can get up to temperature, this may take 3 to 5 minutes. Place skewers on hot grill cooking each side for about 3 to 5 minutes. The duration may change depending on how big the chicken has been cut and how much chicken is on each skewer.

How we plated:

9. Slice a red onion and tomato into small pieces. I cut red onion rings in half. I also did the same to the tomatoes.

10. On a pita, spread a tablespoon of hummus (plain, garlic or roasted red pepper would pair well with the spices) and a tablespoon of tzatziki.

10. Place red onion and tomatoes on the pita and sprinkle some feta.

11. De-skewer chicken and place on top of pita.

If you’re not interested in plating like we did, this would be great with rice and veggies – we had broccoli and salad on the side of ours. You could also use it on top of salad.

Do you enjoy grilling in the summer?

❤ Cristina

Day 153 :Movie Quote 13: “Almost There”

It’s officially June and I honestly don’t know how we got here so fast.

Five months have never escaped my grasp so quickly. Are you feeling that way at all? As I think about where the time went, I’m trying harder to look forward and think about all the time left. We can’t control how fasts time goes, but we can control what we do with the time given.

This week was really good.

1. It was a shorter week so I felt like I had a chance to relax over the weekend and then use Monday to get ready for the week. 2. It was just a good week.

I’ve switched from going to fieldwork I need to for course credit to volunteering because I like the mission, I like the networking and it’s a good use of time to give back. This week we shifted gears from executing a conference to full-blown gala planning. I’m revisiting my roots of fundraising, which is nice because that’s a skill I have. However, I’m being pulled into more strategic planning and timeline initiatives for sponsorship conversations, which is slightly new. I had worked with individual donors, not organizations, but the principles are similar. There’s still one individual we’re speaking with on behalf of the organizations and companies we’re soliciting, but there’s a few more steps to close an ask.

I’m working on examining community data and correlating socioeconomic status and school district with obesity rates and wellness programs and prevention plans. It sounds more complicated than it is. I’m looking through census data and state data to see what school districts have the ability to implement proper programming and what schools should we reach out to so we can lend a hand with some programs we’re designing. Not everyone has resources and our goal is to help those who need the extra assistance first.

I love what I’m getting involved in.

On the side, I’m also working on strategic marketing and health communication to engage with their target audiences. It’s making me think differently about how we talk with different populations and approach different health issues. It’s a good challenge and I feel like I’m considering multiple perspectives that weren’t being considered before. Not only is this good for this organization, but as I consider my own coaching business and how I talk to my clients.

People need to be met where they are and then brought up.

Outside of the work stuff, I was pretty pumped about my first go at donuts this week and how my lifts are feeling during the fifth week of programming.

Here’s the recipe I used for the batter. The ONLY change I made was the substitution of almond milk + 1 teaspoon vinegar instead of buttermilk. I didn’t use their glaze, but instead made my own after looking at other recipes.

I decided to make donuts for National Donut Day because I didn’t want a standard chain donut and I couldn’t get out to Kane’s for my beloved turtle donut. I guess I’m a bit picky and I have a preference on taste. I’ve also been wanting to make my own for a while and this was as good of an excuse as any. For baking, I’d like to try a few other batter recipes before making modifications or trying to make my own flavors. Baking is a different monster in comparison to cooking – the chemistry is much more important, but I think it’ll be fun to try some new recipes and check off a few from my Pinterest boards.

It’s weird having the time to plan to bake, but I could get used it that’s for sure.

So this week donuts, next week – we’ll see.

I finished the fifth week and started the sixth week of PH3 and my lifting feels good. Most days it feels right where it should be. There have been a few days where things feel heavy and I have a few more pep talks. Getting to the gym feels routine and feels good. I’m glad I restarted the program when I did. I’m glad I recognized that openness and shift in my schedule and pushed myself to adapt to it.

That’s one of the most important ideas I push to my clients – we need to be flexible enough to adapt and shift how we appropriate our goals. I know in the very beginning of my journey I didn’t think that way. I know some people don’t think that way years into their journey. I certainly know competitors who don’t think that way. But if you want this to be a lifestyle, if you want to engage with your environment in a healthy way – you need to be able to adapt. If you can’t adapt or try to adapt, you will find every excuse to encourage your failure and lack of progress.

I feel I’m almost where I want to be. Strength is building and I’m seeing lower body progress like I was hoping. I feel leaner and tighter. Nutrition has stayed the same since I reset my macros a couple of months ago because I increased and changed the style of my activity. It’s really is an art to figure out the balance.

Five weeks of consistent workouts, mostly consistent eating. Better sleeping routine. Lower level of stress. Attempting to say yes a bit more often, but we’ll get into the soon, just not quite yet. This is my path for success.

Well, it’s post-workout. Post-weekend-pancakes. Post-homework.

Soon, we’ll be getting ready for JP’s grandfather’s 90th birthday party. It’s kind of crazy to think about what 90 years of life would be like. His mom has put together a book of stories and memories – she let me contribute too. Even though these kind of gatherings give me anxiety, I know it’ll be fun to hear the stories, sing Happy Birthday and lay poolside for the afternoon.

While our bodies don’t run on the same clock and most think of Monday as a new week – Sunday is a new week for me and day two of the sixth week of my program. I’m ready for the new week. I’m ready for June.

❤ Cristina