Coming Home Bikini Prep Series: Post 18 “Homecoming Is So Much Than Coming Back For a Visit”

Lately, I’ve been having conversations with not only JP, but with a lot of people from social media about what I’m doing right now and how I’m trying to figure out the next thing. I do like being transparent because I think it’s important to show that it’s not all perfect and sunshine and roses, but at the same time, I’ve never thought that people would potentially be more invested in my journey than I am at times.

A few weeks ago I talked about the episode I had with my mental health. I have PTSD. I have anxiety related to my PTSD. I’ve never hid this. It’s more than feeling anxious. It’s more than needing medication – remember I talked to my doctor about this and that resulted in more harm than good. It’s about triggers that are out of my control that put me in a place where I’m not myself and I can’t make impactful decisions. I’ve never had a trigger push me into an episode that lasted longer than a day or two, but according to my therapist it’s clear that I was having a week-long episode where I was in a dissociative state and my decision-processing and decision-making abilities were out the window. I felt like garbage, I felt like no matter how much I tried to get my act together I couldn’t.

Someone commented on a post of mine, that while in her 40s she doesn’t have her shit together either. This is more than having my shit together. I couldn’t because mentally I wasn’t all there. The only decision that I could make was that I needed to step back. A few days before my episode I had decided to not compete and that killed me. I felt like I was failing myself because I had set this goal for myself, no one else. I was upset because I was finally in the groove and felt like I could do this.

Each week has been getting better. It’s not about how many days I’ve been binge-free. My eating disorder is connected to my PTSD, not caused by restriction, not usually caused by boredom – however, the amount of candy corn in the kitchen right now doesn’t make it any easier. This past week, regardless of the events was a better week overall.

Nutritionally, I feel awesome about consumption. While water could’ve been so much better this week, I felt like I had a variety of necessity foods and fun foods. I continued to journal my food and loosely use MFP. Last weekend I saw a friend in New York City and we had a ball. I was mindful about what I was eating, but I didn’t track it. I actually felt okay about that, which was a big step because going from Fat Cristina to Fit or Lean Cristina is really hard. You’re switching through different mindsets and trying to figure out balance. Clearly, I haven’t figured out anything yet, but we’re getting there.

I had two donor visits this week for work, one more locally than the other, but both out of state. Traveling makes it slightly tricky, but not impossible. My trip to New Hampshire resulted in the discovery of a coffee house with excellent pastries – pecan pumpkin pie bar say what?! My trip New York City gave me the opportunity to hunt down some doughnuts that I follow on Instagram. Realistically, I probably follow more restaurants and food companies than people.

Yesterday, I weighed in at 131.6, which was about 3.4 pounds up over last week. But like I mentioned sodium to water wasn’t on point this week. I didn’t feel puffy, I just felt there. I made sure to really monitor my water in take yesterday and this morning I woke up at 130.0. Only 1.8 pounds up from last week. This is the fluctuation I feel comfortable with.  Two pounds either way depending on sleep, workouts, food, sodium and water. Last week I mentioned that I had calculated macros that I’ll be working up to because I know my body fluffs up when I try to increase too fast. With journaling, I stayed roughly around 45f | 150c | 128p daily. Some days were slightly under and some slightly over.

In the gym, not every day was glorious, but for the most part I felt pretty solid about what I was doing.I lifted 6 days and did 4 cardio days. I actually like cardio and to eat more without a gain, you need to have a greater expenditure. Last week I had three cardio sessions of 30 minutes and one session of 20 because I was over it by the time I was 15 minutes in. I am not a fan of volume lifting structures, but I do them for certain exercises because I know the benefit of that structure. But I again, to eat more there needs to be a greater expenditure, so cardio and walking around. I kept working on my maximum weight back squat and attempted to play with some weight for other exercises. That to me is fun. Having some structure, but not being fully committed if you get tired or decide you want to add an extra set or exercise because you feel good.

The week was far from perfect.

My car accident put a pretty big dent in it, which resulted in me talking to my doctor about the anti-anxiety medication he prescribed. I’m no longer on it. I had a few anxiety attacks and chest pain this week, but I didn’t feel like I couldn’t control it. I think that’s the biggest difference between this past week and a few weeks ago. I was in a position that I felt more in control and therefore didn’t go ham in the pantry. I could say to myself, “no you’re just frustrated go do something else”, whereas a few weeks ago that sentence didn’t matter at all and barely touched my ears.

I thought this blog series “Coming Home” was about being able to step on the stage again. Do the show that I did the first time I took the leap, but bring a better package and a better me. Coming Home as it turns out is figuring out what I want in this next chapter, what effort I’m willing to put in, what growth do I want to have both physically and mentally. It’s remembering why I like lifting and getting myself to run again, take the leap without my garments. It’s about making plans to not have a plan.

I’ve been journaling, not just my food, but things that I don’t need or want to share with the world. Observations and ideas mostly. Trying to reflect.

So my plan – I’m journaling my food and I’m being mindful. Like I said above, I was pretty solid with my goals this week. I’ll evaluate later this week about an increase in carbohydrates because I think I won’t have an issue maintaining on higher consumption as long as everything else is loosely in check.

I don’t eat keto. I don’t count calories. I don’t even want to track for the rest of my life. I believe in eating and working towards goals, but if I tried to have a talk with Fat Cristina, I bet she would say “I guess I never thought this chapter would come. I never thought I would be in a position to say I need to change the plan, change the way of thinking.”

We went to brunch today because we could. We also went to the gym before. With JP living here the world is different. Good different. We don’t need to necessarily rush and there doesn’t need to be a huge plan, but it also means that there are date days at random. This week I’ve been asked if I have cheat meals? How do I have this body if I eat like this (brunch)? Do I restrict some days so I can have treats on others?

Here are questions I have for you. What happened to experience? What happened to eating a cupcake because it sounded like it would be tasty? What happened to searching for the perfect latte? When did food become bad or good, clean or dirty? I have always said it: I fit treats into my daily consumption. I eat in volume (foods that are nutrient dense and can be consumed in large quantities without taking up a lot of nutritional value) because I like to eat and I don’t want to feel like I’m depriving myself or saying no all the time because at this point in my fitness journey – it’s not about weightloss, when do I allow myself to say yes? It’s called moderation. It’s called controlling yourself and not letting the food control you. It’s about recognizing that to eat a little more you may need to work a little more to maintain rather than be in a surplus.

It’s a lifestyle. It’s about finding balance. It’s about enjoying the moment when your boyfriend says let’s go to brunch tomorrow and not hesitating because you don’t know if you “should”. It’s about showing myself and others that there can be a 3 to 4 pound difference on the scale, but barely any change between photos.

Listen to your body. Talk to yourself gently. Set goals, set strategy and change it when it’s  necessary. I will not be letting myself go, there’s no reappearance of Fat Cristina planned, but I get to celebrate Halloween with my babe… dressed as a doughnut. I get to make the pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving and we’ll make cookies at Christmas.

There’s a huge show line-up in the spring. I guess we’ll have to see what happens.

❤ Cristina



Coming Home Bikini Prep Series: Post 17 “Sometimes It’s Not in Your Head, Sometimes You Need to Remind Yourself That”

Last week was a good week.

I felt different. I had more of my routine back. It wasn’t perfect and I’m still dabbling, but it’s getting there.

I met with my therapist Friday and there was more clarity from that meeting. I know in August I shared with you that I was going to see one to talk about some of the issues I was having with anxiety and body dysmorphia. It became more than that. It was more focused on my PTSD and anxiety and how old triggers were evolving and taking new forms. There were some new triggers that subconsciously reminded me of old actions, those triggered me too. As we talked about some current events, that I haven’t and won’t fully be disclosing to you all, he told me that I was in a dissociative state last week. That from how I described a not really out of body experience, but not me experience it sounded like I wasn’t able to mentally connect with the physical actions being conducted. That the chest pains I had last Saturday were a full blown anxiety attack and that it’s possible I had an episode for longer than a week. That the event that triggered me was the height of a few events piling up and leaving predisposed to something bigger. This week has been so much better than last week.

I felt more in control of my actions, not just saying I’m getting up in the morning, but actually doing it.

I checked in with myself on Saturday and not only did I feel really good, I liked what I saw and I felt the scale reflected a week of trying.

I was 128.2 last week and this week with journaling and loosely tracking, but hiring the gym every day I was 129.2. A pound is normal fluctuation and I’m really happy about this. Being mindful is hard, but I’ve tracked long enough to have an idea of what I’m eating. I also don’t feel like I need food to help feel in control – something that I felt last week.

I did have to have a nice chat with myself Friday in the shower as I remembered I had loose skin in my lower back and legs as I shaved for the first time in a week or so. Similar to the spring, it’s the talk where I have to tell myself that what’s on the scale isn’t truly reflective, something else could’ve been removed to show a tighter body. The scale doesn’t make you who you are, it doesn’t tell you that you’re strong. It can only tell you how you’re fighting gravity. Like I’ve said, I have no issues with my clothes on, but bikinis and nakedness are a little different. We all need a pep talk every now and then. I posted a video yesterday (Friday) giving the up close look at my side, lower back, leg and butt. I have received a lot of comments this past week, which led to the video, most of the comments are positive, but many putting body on a pedestal.

The point of my own pep talk was to remind myself that’s it’s ok to have flaws, not everything is fixable, but maybe not everything should be. The point of the video to those on this journey with me was to show that while you say that the body I have built is your goal, the end game, you need to remember that it’s been through a lot. I wanted to remind people that flaws are on even the smallest or fittest of bodies. You need to remember where you started and understand how that impacts you today. I’ve had a lot of people surprisingly enough ask why they don’t have bodies like mine when our starting points were similar, easy answer – you are not me.

While I’m trying to be easy on myself, I am also trying to work on a lot of different things – a more real approach to nutrition, liking or loving myself at different times of the day and wearing different things, not beating myself up over and over again. It’s not fair for anyone to keep unrealistic expectations at different stages. Maintaining and losing or bulking are all different stages that require different protocols. If I’m trying to live and be healthy, I can’t shove myself into a box that is necessary for losing. I also can’t be frustrated if I don’t see development in muscular build if I’m not willing to consume more and gain a little. That being said, I really do need to figure out maintaining. I’ve calculated some rough nutritional information to give myself a boundary.

Maintaining calories with an hour to an hour and 15 minutes of exercise 6 days a week puts me at roughly 1,942 calories or 51F/245C/126P. I’m not interested in jumping straight to this, so I’m slowly increasing, but not as slowly as I was this past summer. My macros for this week are about 45F/150C/128P – about 20C more than the cutting macros I had before, but more of a reallocation of nutrition, rather than a true increase. Next week will be a true increase. I’m journaling my food and being mindful, so these are a guideline – if it’s not perfect that’s ok, but this will give me an idea as to how my body responds to maintaining.

This weekend was equally as good. While it seemed as all I ate was what others would call treats, I’m calling it an experience. I had a new to me protein bar on my drive to the train station around 8:30, but didn’t have brunch until 1 pm, so the partial sugar cookie in between was completely necessary. Since we were both pretty content from brunch – which was excellent, eggs should always be on brunch burgers – we didn’t eat until 7:30… and that’s where the doughnut experience came into play. We had a glass of wine and then headed to dinner around 10:30/11 pm. Bed time didn’t happen until just after 2 am. So yeah, I ate things I wouldn’t necessarily eat in a normal day, but Saturday wasn’t a normal day.

I’m hoping this week is good or better than last week. It’s easy to say “today is going to be a good day”, but those with mental health issues know that it’s not that easy. I’m taking it a day at a time.

Anyway, below are some photos from adventuring in NYC. I’ve also updated the “Be Well” tab with restaurants and places I’ve gone to that I think you may want to check out too!

❤ Cristina

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




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

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


Coming Home Bikini Prep Series: Post  “Week 4 Recap: A Lot of Firsts”

Personally and professionally there were an awful lot of firsts this week. Let’s start at the beginning.

This past week kicked off the new block in prep: the volume block. Just like it sounds, the focus is on lifting more volume in reps. For me, this meant adding more super sets where necessary and focusing on form with lower weight. The art is picking a weight that will be comfortable in the beginning, but will gradually feel tougher as you continue through your sets. There are a few exercises that I kept heavy with a different variation to repetitions such as back squat. In my strength block, I had an ascending weight/descending rep pyramid with an option 2×3 if I felt good. This allowed me to lift heavier and I actually got back to my old max. It was pretty exciting.

This block, I have my squats in a triangle pyramid, so they ascend in weight/descend in reps and then descend in weight/ascend in reps, I kept the 2×3 optional if I feel good, but since my leg day volume is between 340 reps and 415 reps, I did the optional sets once this week. I’ve also added back squats to my second leg day as well. If you want to get better, you need to practice more often – so triangle pyramid back squats twice a week this block. I also kept deadlifts and bench press with lower reps and a little bit heavier weight because those are exercises that I really enjoy doing heavier – so both are in a 5×5 structure.

I added front squats to my first leg day and rack pulls to my second back day – both of these exercises are completely new to me. I’ve seen both of them done online and did some research on their benefits and form, and now they’ve been added to the line up. Definitely things to get used to, but I think that’s why I’m loving this prep – the ability to add new things and change up what isn’t working. Which leads me to my next change – my Friday back day.

It’s no surprise to anyone that by the end of the week you’re exhausted, it also shouldn’t be a shock that as you lower carbohydrates you also become fatigued. This past week, I traveled the longest car ride I’ve had since my surgery and I think that triggered the start of my exhaustion, however, lower macros and the end of the work week didn’t help. That being said, depending on how I feel Thursday nights, I’m going to move my lifting to Friday night and let myself sleep in Friday morning. This first high volume back day was terrible when I made my attempt in the morning. I felt tired all over, I could feel it in my face and I could feel it in my lifts. I decided to stop in the middle to stop my lift and come back that night because it wasn’t worth a shitty session to hurt myself. So I did and it was a million times better.

Now back to the car ride – professionally, there were some firsts this week too. I’m a fundraiser for a University and it takes between 8 months to a year to develop a relationship and solicit for a contribution. Wednesday, I had an amazing lunch, which lead to a conversation and will be resulting in a proposal asking for my largest ask in my career. Thursday, over lunch, my first endowment proposal was accepted and an agreement will be sent out. Wednesday’s visit is the one that is linked to the VERY LONG car ride. It took almost 4 hours to go from Fairfield, NJ to southern Connecticut – that should be an hour, maybe an hour and a half drive. I sat for 4 hours, which is tough for anyone, but it’s the longest time that I have ever sat in the car since my surgery. I can’t even begin to explain how wiped out I was when I did finally get home. But the trip was completely worth it and I left the office a little early on Thursday after lunch.

Lunches – travel and prep. It’s harder, that’s for sure, but it’s not impossible.I packed my meals and planned accordingly. If you saw Instagram, then you saw the Qdoba post. Maybe I’m ballsy or just #thatpreplife, but I brought the mixing bowl and scale into the food court and just measured out what I needed. It was a pretty damn taco salad if you ask me.

Sadly, on my way out the mall, I passed by this:

One day my love, we will reunite. Just kidding. Cinnabon is good, but I mean cupcakes and doughnuts have my heart.

I also had dessert waiting for me back at the hotel and somehow managed to cap off my macros with half a Lenny and Larry cookie with cashew butter. It was a glorious cap indeed.

I brought waffles with me, along with my toppings and had my own Waffle Wednesday in the hotel dining area.

Even on travel, I got my workout in at Gold’s. It was a nice gym and I do love seeing other facilities, but damn, I just wanted a standard leg press.

I successfully hit my macros on Tuesday and estimated to the best of my ability on Wednesday, which I will gladly take. This week was my first week trying out Avatar Nutrition. I had been talking with a friend about it because I have been struggling to get into a deficit, but after my last experience, I wasn’t 100% sure about how I felt trusting someone else.

Avatar Nutrition is essentially an algorithm that learns your body as you put information into your profile such age, height, weight, gender and activity levels. It adjusts your nutritional goals as you input progress. Last Saturday I weighed in at 128.0 – .8 pounds higher than the start of prep. Sunday I weighed 129.0 according to the scale at the body fat testing center – I believe we can attribute this to the salt in the Mexican I had for dinner the night before. I weighed 129.0 on Monday and that’s when I signed up with Avatar. Immediately, my carbohydrates were cut by 40 grams, which means I was put at 140 grams of carbs daily down from 210 grams when I was in maintenance. Trust me, I didn’t I would need to drop that much, but it made sense. My macros overall were: 52F/140C/136P, so fat was up a little and protein was down little, and carbs – well, goodbye carbs. So I figured I would give it a try and see how I felt and see if any changes happened. I like checking in on Saturday’s because it’s the end of the week for me – it’s a rest day. Well, I was 127.2. I stepped on the scale a few times to make sure it was right and it was. I was also down .5″ in my waist, which means I’ve lost 3/4″ in my waist in 4 weeks and I do believe we have hit a deficit.

Even after 2 full days on these macros I felt tighter and Wednesday morning at the hotel I could see some definition going on.

Someone questioned me about doing “this” on my own. I am still prepping myself on my own. I am still designing my workouts on my own. Avatar is assisting me in the nutrition portion and a lot of competitors who prep themselves have used it. It’s no different than me using any other online calculator, except it auto-updates your nutritional goals based on the progress that you input into your profile. Tomorrow is my check-in to see if there’s any changes to my nutritional goals. I’m hoping for no change, or a very minimal change since this week’s progress was amazing.

A few of you have asked me to review Avatar Nutrition, but guys, it’s only been a week. I figure I’ll debrief when the season is over, do you think you can wait another 9 weeks? I think if things go as well as they did this week, then I don’t think I’ll have an issue working on a review on how I felt about using the site and how they adjusted.

Overall, I’m happy with how this week went. I travel for my job and that’s nothing new, it’s not hard to plan around my trips and bring things to supplement what I can’t get from restaurants. I’m happy with my workouts, even though I had to do a round 2 of back day. I’m happy with my progress, even though it took a few weeks to get here. That’s part of this whole process – learning my body, what’s working and what’s not working. If I stepped on stage today, I would still feel successful because I know where I was before, I know what this sport means to me. I also know that I’m one of those people that will say “watch me next time, I’ll be better.” I like what I’m learning and this week was a lot of that. Here is some other photos from the week. I can’t wait to really dive into week 5 this week.

Coming Home Bikini Prep Series: Post 11 “Knowledge is Power”

That sounds corny, I know and Ally knows it too – she said it to me this morning after I texted her my results.

JP and I had been talking about what we thought our results would be while we were driving to the club that owns the BodPod. I told him I thought I was probably around 18% because realistically I had surgery, I was on bed rest and my lifts weren’t where they were in the spring during the summer. I said there’s potential that even though I’m lighter by the scale that I’m up a few percentage points. That’s normal, but I want to know where I am so I can be more strategic going forward.

I wasn’t expecting 16.1% body fat.

For reference here’s my spring results. They were done in March when I was about 2 and a half, almost 3 months into prep. I weighed 135 pounds.

Today according to their scale I weighed 129.7 pounds. I’m down .1% point from the spring, with a full pound of fat lost. I also lost some lean muscle mass, but again, according to their scale, there’s a 5.3 pounds difference between these two readings.

As Ally explained to me this morning, the ratio of lean to fat is really good and it was probably maintained because even though I reversed slightly before surgery and started to reverse post surgery – nutritionally, I was in a deficit still and I could’ve potentially pushed further calorically.

So what does this mean for me?

  1. No wonder I can see abs most days. Seeing your abdominals means you have a lower body fat percentage, and they typically start becoming visible around 18% body fat for women.
  2. Something needs to change. At the bottom of the sheet you can see my RMR or resting metabolic rate. This is how many calories I burn at rest during the day. On the right hand side you see a list of calories and activity levels. While I’m lifting 6 days a week and for the past 3 weeks had cardio scheduled 3 times a week as well, I don’t know if I would truly believe that my body is being very active. I do have a desk job and sitting during the day has an impact on your body. I would believe that I probably have close to the active caloric daily expenditure of 2,284 calories.
  3. I have a really good starting place and time on my side. Easy as that.


What’s going to change?

  1. I started a volume block this morning. The past 3 weeks I had been working on lifting heavier, getting my strength back to where it was and having a little bit of fun with some different structure. Strength blocks are necessary because they can help shape your body differently than a volume block. My volume block focuses on the opposite – a little lighter weight with more reps. This block my daily reps for a total workout will be between 300-400. Today’s leg day was 340 reps from 28 sets. Legs are going to be toast in the morning.
  2. Cardio – I like running. I like the stair stepper. I don’t mind cardio, but I also don’t love it. It’s a necessary evil though for weightloss, fatloss and overall being healthy. The past 3 weeks I’ve had 3 cardio days: steady for 20 minutes, tabata or HIIT for 15 and intervals for 15. Last week I decided to move my cardio sessions to during my lunch hour, if time allowed, this also allowed me to increase the time of my sessions slightly. I added 5 minutes to steady and 10 minutes to HIIT or Tabata. Last week I cardio’d for a total of 65 minutes. To help increase my deficit without having to adjust nutrition too much, I’m adding a 4th day of cardio – 10 minutes of HIIT. So my cardio schedule will look like this: Monday  – 25 minutes of HIIT or Tabata, Tuesday – 15 minutes of intervals , Thursday – 25 minutes of steady and Friday – 10 minutes of HIIT. A total of 75 minutes.
  3. Nutritionally – I love food. Don’t get it twisted. I like volume food, I like dense food. Pass the 80/20 beef burger this way. If it fits my macros, I’m probably going to eat it, but I’m also serious about my goals and that means that this will be slightly effected this week as well. To help the cut nutritionally, I’m lowering my fat by 2g or 18 calories, I’m also lowering carbohydrates by 5g of 20 calories. This brings my macros down to: 48F/175C/140P or 1,692 calories. Again, still a ton of food. Pancake Monday and Waffle Wednesday can still fit, I can also supplement with a 1 carb waffle for volume. Many of the veggies that I love can also provide volume – broccoli and cauliflower were on sale this past week  – you should see my freezer! Having a slight caloric deficit and a deficit created by my activity level should help progress. I’ve said on Instagram that it is frustrating not seeing the scale move, but when I’ve done side by side comparisons there’s a difference. I’m tighter and leaner and after today’s test, I’m not really concerned like I was before about leaning out. There’s 10 weeks until show day, 9 weeks until peak week. There’s time for adjustments and trust me there will be adjustments – that’s how this sport goes.


I’m excited about what I learned because it’ll help me be more strategic to get me into a deficit more effectively without feeling like I’m in the gym for the whole day or that I’m missing out on foods. Sadly, JP leaves tonight and we’re not sure if he’ll be visiting until September. We do know we will be home for our 2 year anniversary on September 9th. Happily though, that means I can eat how I need to without taking his reverse into consideration or if he wants to have date day. I just need to focus on my meal prep and planning and my own work schedule. Which by the way is taking me to New Jersey on Tuesday night and I’ll be back on Wednesday afternoon. This won’t effect my workouts at all, but it does mean that when I’m prepping tonight I will need to research where I will be and make plans for what I can pack with me. I will probably have waffles in my 6 pack bag because Waffle Wednesday is life, unless interrupted by doughnuts.

Anyway, we’re going to head to the poolside in the backyard, then to the airport. Let’s get this week started!

❤ Cristina

Coming Home Bikini Prep Series: Post 10 “Week 3 Mid-week Full Day of Eating”

The other day I said that if some of you were interested I would do a full day of eating during this week. Typically those in competition prep are cutting fat by steadily lowering their nutrition. So please keep that in mind when looking at this post. I am also toward the end of Week 3 of prep and these won’t be my macros during the whole time.

Breakfast: 7:08 am

Egg white bowl

  • 9T of egg whites (1/2 cup +1T) cooked
  • 1T of fat free cream cheese (store brand)
  • 1/3 cup cacao cashew butter Bearnaked Granola
  • 1T brownie batter D’s Natural’s almond butter
  • dash of sprinkles

Total Macros: 14.1F/27.6C/26.5P

This is one of my favorite ways to have granola with breakfast. It also helped me finish a bag and make some space in the pantry. I say this a lot, but here it goes. Egg whites are sweet when there is no yolk, so they pair well with other sweet things like peanut butter, almond butter or jelly or jams. I don’t eat things I don’t like, so before you ask: yes-it’s good, yes-you should try it and I’m sorry you may think it’s gross, but you don’t need to eat it :]

Meal 2: 11:00 am


  • 1 packet of steel cut plain oats from Better Oats
  • 1T of sugar free salted caramel syrup

Macros: 3F/21C/5P

I keep this brand at the office because it’s very inexpensive for the box of 10 bags. The steel cut and rolled oats that I have at home measure out for a 40g serving or about 1/2 cup. That’s what I typically eat when it’s for an actual meal. This was more like snack time to make sure I had something to eat before heading to the gym around noon.

Lunch: 2:10

Big Ass Salad

Macros: 3.5F/31.5C/32.4P

  • 1 whole bag of Italian blend salad mix (romaine lettuce and red cabbage) – about 3 servings
  • 95g of sliced strawberries
  • 62g of blueberries
  • 75g of grape tomatoes
  • 4.15 ounces of chicken breast (not seasoned)
  • 1T of Salsa Ranch Bolthouse Farms dressing

By now you all know that I actually like salad, but I also believe that for a salad to be good for you it needs to be nutrient dense. I add berries to my salad because they have a lot of awesome micro-nutrients like fiber and vitamins while allowing for volume. When available I also add mushrooms, onions and peppers because again, they add volume and for me are filling.

Meal 4: 4:15pm

Fit Joy Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Protein Bar

Macros: 7F/25C/20P

As many of you know, I have an hour commute to work and in the summer with the popularity of the Cape traffic can be hit or miss even if you leave a few minutes different than your normal schedule. I try to be flexible and I keep a few protein bars in my purse – each with different macros so I can accommodate the rest of my eating for the day and adjust as necessary. I knew I was going to eat this bar, but wasn’t exactly sure when. Lately, I have been eating a snack of sorts on my car ride home because I’m not eating dinner immediately. I’ve been going for a walk before dinner so I can hit my 10K steps during prep goal. The car ride snack helps get me to dinner.

This bar had a great flavor, but the texture was definitely a miss. It’s my second FitJoy bar and I loved the first one so I’m kind of disappointed, but they do have a number of flavors I need to try so I’m sure I can continue to find another one or two that I like.

Dinner: 6:46 pm

Turkey Tacos and roasted veggies

  • 4 ounces of 94/6 lean ground turkey
  • 1/4 tsp taco seasoning
  • 1 tsp habanero hot sauce
  • 2T diced green chilies
  • 1/4 cup jalapenos
  • 1/3 serving of Cilantro Avocado Bolthouse Farms Dressing (full serving is 2T)
  • 1 white corn tortilla
  • 3 ounces of broccoli and cauliflower mix*
  • 75g of yellow summer squash *

*veggies roasted using cooking spray not olive oil

Macros:8.9F/ 24.3C/30.8P

I do eat beef, I promise I do, but in moderation. Ground turkey is typically on sale along with chicken so these are the two lean meats I prefer to eat. I also eat a lot of tuna (on the go packets are life savers) and deli chicken or turkey breast – surprisingly there are a few brands that are lower in sodium, don’t have nitrates, super low in fat and make for an excellent sandwich or wrap. I had texted JP earlier in the day to tell him there was ground turkey in the fridge and that we could make burgers or tacos or make burrito bowls if his macros allowed for it. He opted for tacos, so we taco Thursday’d!

Dessert: 8:30 pm

Protein Ice Cream Sundae

  • half a serving of Elle’s protein ice cream (we used salted caramel Quest) – recipe here
  • 1 serving of mocha chip Halo Top
  • half a Peanut Butter Lenny and Larry’s Complete Cookie
  • sprinkles

Macros: 9.2F/42.4C/25.4P


Remember, I plan my meals ahead of time for the most part, so the L&L cookie was already planned. Before I knew JP would actually be home last night, I was planning on having the other half of the white chocolate macadamia nut cookie, but I figure I would let him pick the cookie and we could split it. I had more carbs at the end of the day then I realized – I know such a terrible problem to have, so I figured a serving of Halo Top was the way to pad my dessert. I also realized that I still had a good amount of protein too. JPs macros weren’t as accommodating and I suggested that I make Elle’s protein ice cream for him to try. He really does eat anything so he was willing to give it a go. e then learned that we only had enough cashew milk left for one serving so he kindly said he would share and then have a scoop of another protein as a shake to hit his protein goals. God I love that man!

Second dessert: 9:08 pm

S’more Goldfish Grahams – 10g or a 1/3 of a serving

Macros: 1.5F/7.6C/.7P

Well, after first dessert I still had carbs and fat left over and there’s not a whole lot that I keep in the house that have those two macro-nutrients in them in lower amounts. I’m a lover of carbs and I probably have the most ridiculous carb collection ever in my pantry and the first thing that came to mind was goldfish – a full serving has only 1p so I knew I would really go over the nutrient since I was already at 0p left for the day. This flavor also has about 4.5F and 23C for the full serving. I knew a portion of a serving would help me hit carbs and being a few grams under on fat doesn’t really bother me. No the left over grams of nutrients don’t roll over like cell phone data or minutes, but I’m also not going to sit there an eat butter to hit a fat goal.

Final macros for the day according to My Fitness Pal:

  • Consumed: 47F/179C/141P
  • Macro difference: 3F/1C/-1P
  • Calories consumed: 1,638
  • Calorie goal: 1,730

Now if you do the math, you’ll see a difference in actual consumed calories. fat has 9 calorie per gram and both carbs and protein have 4 calories per gram. I ate 1,703 calories. While I double check the macro-nutrients in My Fitness Pal, some items change caloric value because the app may take fiber calories out or alcohol sugar calories out. I count macros and not calories for this reason.