Week in Review: The Final Week of the Reverse Diet 

Yesterday closed out the end of an era – the close of the 7th week of my reverse diet post-surgery. I’ve mentioned before that I started a reverse diet into maintenance as soon as the Cutler was finished, but my surgery was scheduled for 3.5 weeks into it. While I was on bed rest my macros were adjusted to 1. the amount of movement I would be doing and 2. the amount of food that I could handle. My appetite wasn’t truly lost, but a few medications prescribed made me feel nauseous. I also had more nap times than a kindergarten. At 13 days post-surgery I was cleared to go back to the gym and start incorporating upper body lifting. We started increasing my nutrition at this point.

Yesterday when I did my photos and documentation for my start of prep, I weighed in at 127.2 and had been consuming 50F/210C/125P. To start prep I have adjusted my macros to 50F/210C/135P. I increased protein because it keeps me full and I also like protein. Many use .8g to 1.0g of protein per pound they weigh, but you can go up to 1.5g of protein per pound you weigh depending on your goals.There is a lot of conflicting information about protein consumption and what you should consume. All the articles I have read, have said that protein is helpful for weightloss in general and that the lower your daily calories the higher the percentage should be dedicated to protein. The articles also talk about the importance of protein for muscle recovery and muscle loss prevention.The only definitive answer I have found about protein consumption is  from the Dietary Guidelines for Americans – 10 to 35% of calories should be dedicated to protein and factors to determine can include: age, gender and activity level. So yeah, I increased protein for the upcoming week because I think my body won’t mind and my activity level is changing.

So here’s a brief recap of last week. I think I had a pretty good time with my meals and I’m excited to see what I can do this week and the 12 succeeding it. Bring on the cut!

❤ Cristina

 

First outdoor run of the summer and since surgery

Bella got a new dress!

We went and saw Finding Dory

Post-Movie Fro-Yo was a success

Sock game strong

Vascularity coming through!

 

Chocolate Peanut Butter cupcake

Drinks with dinner

Waffle Wednesday was glorious

I worked on some posing

And had to make sure my butt still looked okay

I finished another pint of Halo Top and Keebler helped make it awesome with Birthday Cake Cookies

Because carbs are life

The last cupcake

I thought it was vanilla, nope -angel food and strawberry

Sprints were on point: 7:30 average pace

Some new goodies and some old goodies

 

May have enjoyed this grilled cheese and bacon more than I should have

The weigh in before prep

It’s like the abs want to come out

Lenny and Larry stuffed with Forte Gelato ches make every thing better

That new FitJoy bar tastes like peanut butter fudge

Bell was questioning the statues around the garden

I tried a roasted asparagus and feta salad

Bella helped me eat this sugar cookie from the farmer’s market

 

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Week 6 Reverse diet check in

Today finishes my sixth week into my reverse diet since surgery. For those of you who are new around here, a reverse diet is the intentional increase in nutrition to your daily consumption. After my show in April, we had slowly been increasing my daily nutrition weekly based off of how I had been maintaining and reacting to the macros we increased. I got 3.5 weeks into my reverse and was maintaining before I had my abdominoplasty or tummy tuck or excess skin removal  – whatever you’d like to call it.

Since surgery put me on bed rest, which for me went from going lifting 6 days a week with 50 minutes of cardio to nothing at all, I spoke to Alaina about a nutrition plan so we could adjust my macro nutrients accordingly. Another concern I had was loss of appetite. Hitting macros perfectly or close to is like a puzzle, but since I knew I would be sleeping a lot and some of the medications I was prescribed would effect my appetite, I wanted to make sure my eating goals were also reasonable and not a mind fuck.

I was cleared to go back to the gym at 13 days post surgery. Again, working with my coach and bringing information from surgeon to determine workouts appropriate. This meant a lot of upper body in the beginning, then adding lower body and walking at 5 weeks post surgery adding hard cardio like running and HIIT back into m schedule. As soon as I got cleared to go back to the gym, we started increasing my macros again to meet the level of activity.

Last week after checking in with Alaina both fat and carbohydrates were increased while protein remained at roughly 1g per pound I weigh. She initially wanted to eliminate my 10 minute HIIT session, but it’s only 10 minutes and I asked if keeping it in meant more fat, then let’s do it. So last week I hit the 200 club – eating 200g of carbohydrates daily. My fats were also the highest they’ve been in a while. Overall calories – which I don’t track, but obviously are associated with macro nutrients – are higher and are almost as high as they were when I was cutting back in October at 157 pounds, they’re just shifted – less protein, more fat and carbs. It’s exciting and scary at the same time. I love food, there’s no doubt about it and I make my treats work with my goals, but I can’t remember the last time I intentionally ate this much food and had it working with me, not against me.

So this week, I had a little more fun with my flexibility, but I also added volume where necessary. So let’s recap with pictures.

 


Pesto Bacon on Foccacia from Cake Shop Cafe


Orange Creamsicle Cupcake from Cake Shop Cafe


Waffle Wednesday with a chocolate stack


Big ass salad trying out new hot sauces


S’mores and a S’mores Porters

 

Egg white bowl with maple pecan granola

 

 


Egg white and yogurt omelette


Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcake from Kadoodles Kupcakes

Mocha Espresso cream cheese on whole wheat toast with an egg from Birchtree

Check in photos – Weight: 127.6, Waist: 25.25″

This upcoming week is the last week before prep starts AND we’ve increased my carbs again, so I’m at 210g daily for the week. I can’t wait to see how I handle the 10g or extra 50 calories, however you count. I’m also super excited to see how my body can change with a higher macro count during prep. Last season my calorie totals didn’t fall below 1400 and I lost 20 pounds over 17 weeks. The focus will be more on leanness rather than weightloss, but I’m confident that we can keep food intake higher in relation to how lean I am now and what I can handle post-surgery.

I have some fun things planned for this week like shrimp tacos and a cheese danish for an office welcoming we’re hosting for a new member of my team. Remember that coworker with the brownies? Yeah, she told me we were having a welcoming breakfast-y thing and asked me to pick out my pastry. FUCKING LOVE THIS WOMAN. She also knows it’s my last week before prep and we’re getting cupcakes together at a bakery near our office that I’ve never been to. She knows the way to my heart and understand the short term restriction.

Cheers to Saturday night and the upcoming week!

❤ Cristina

 

No really, that’s not a compliment

My next session with my therapist is on Tuesday. I’m not sure if I’m going every week, but he knew that he didn’t want to wait longer than two weeks between our first two sessions. Fine by me.

At our first session he gave me some homework. He wanted me to email him a list of things that made me anxious. I do have anxiety and I do get panic attacks, but it also takes a lot to trigger them. Anxiety is a side effect of my PTSD. He told me the list should be at least three ideas or events that trigger me, but no more than 10. I came up with 8.

I’m writing this post because I’m trying to get better at just deleting a negative comment and blocking the user. I think that’s a good step toward eliminating the haters as he called them. Just erase their message and move on. Well, not all the comments are directly negative and I’m not 100% positive that they all need to be deleted, but in some way I think something needs to be addressed with those comments. Number 6 on my list is: people projecting their own insecurities on me by pointing out weight issues  (too thin or too fat) or trying to compare their bodies to mine (why doesn’t mine look like yours if we’re the same height…). Number 8 on my list is: when people point out parts of my body that they believe to be imperfect (my scar from surgery) or provide backhanded compliments by telling me how thin I am, how they don’t believe the person in old photos is me or “I looked good before.”

It’s clear that my number 6 and number 8 go hand in hand. The others on the list are related to perception, ability and things that are out of my control, but impact me or the relationships I have. I’m bringing up 6 and 8 specifically because there have been some comments lately that I have fired back at because they are not compliments at all, but in reaction to my feisty-ness the commenter becomes defensive telling me I can’t take a compliment. Here’s an example of a comment that I didn’t respond to at all: “you looked beautiful the way you were…”

I have said it so many times, MY BEAUTY HAS NEVER BEEN AN ISSUE. SIZE DOES NOT EQUATE BEAUTY. There are days and events and clothes that I can remember in technicolor that made me feel like a GODDAMN PRINCESS. I felt beautiful. I felt perfect. There are moments in my history that at every size I have felt beautiful and I have felt ugly. You can be miserable at any size. I think the fact I am trying to emotionally connect to my physical body says that even the girl in the next squat rack doesn’t necessarily have her shit together.

The rest of that comment: “…But you did it for you not the world! Congrats and it’s nice to see you want to improve yourself.” WHAT THE FUCK KIND OF COMPLIMENT IS THAT?! I’m going to tell you that you didn’t need to change yourself, then I’m going to say that it’s great that you did it because you wanted to, but I’m going to close with I’m giving you my approval for wanting to be a better version of you.This journey has always been about me and not seeking approval of others until recently.

Now you don’t need to tell me I’m over thinking this comment. I know I am, but that’s my point. Lately, these one off comments have made me question if I should’ve continued my journey. The answer is YES, OF COURSE I SHOULD’VE. I wasn’t at a healthy weight before. I was healthier than I had been and I was always looking to improve, but I’m 5’4″, my weight wasn’t healthy. I also wasn’t happy and more importantly, I wasn’t comfortable. These comments have made me question if I’m too thin. The answer is NO, I’m at a good weight for my height and I’m maintaining pretty damn well. An example: JP’s mom met me when I was about 150 pounds and we don’t see each other too often. So for her it seems like every time she does see me I’m more compact, thinner, insert whatever word you want to here. Her perception is that I’m thin because she never knew me to be thin before.

I know this her perception; however, prior to surgery she looked at me and said “do you really need surgery? The skin can’t be that bad.” I proceeded to lift my shirt up in the kitchen and move my belly button to the side. I may have also bluntly told her that having sex with her son was embarrassing for me because this moves when I’m on top. Well, it doesn’t anymore, but it did and I hated myself for it. My point with this little story is that perception is huge. They way we perceive the photos online dictates how and what we comment. What we don’t realize is how our comments will be perceived or reacted to. I’m sure the action of lifting my shirt was shocking to her, but I believed it to be necessary to get my point across.

When people tell me that “other women would kill to have my before body” the voice in my head says, I’m sure they would, but I didn’t, so I don’t. Whether it’s meant to be or not, this is a put down. If not to me, then to others who aren’t me. You are comparing me to women I’ve never met and I’m sure the commenter is sitting there comparing their own body to mine. It shouldn’t, but this makes me feel horrible. Like why am I so different to accomplish the goals I have set for myself. Partly, another side effect of my PTSD is obsession. My therapist said that this is most likely why I am capable of goal setting and being successful. I’m an all or nothing person, but I also benchmark myself and set both small and large goals. He also said this is why my career has been successful and I’ve progressed well there too.

Recently, I was asked what do I do when I can’t find the motivation to workout. I was honest and said that doesn’t really happen to me often if at all. My motivation to workout isn’t the issue. My stress and anxiety impact my desire to binge eat, it also makes me want to sleep sometimes. I also told her that when I can tell the urge to hard core nap or the desire to binge is coming on I’ll write down how I was feeling when the attack started, what was happening at the time as well and see if it was a trigger or something reminded me of a trigger. She also said she journals sometimes and she thought it helped too. I felt bad that I couldn’t help more than telling her to write everything down and talk to a therapist because that’s what I’m doing. I couldn’t help much more than that, but I saw a post from her today that proved to me that I may have helped more than I thought. My perception is that she needed more, but what she needed was an ear of someone who could be honest and say I don’t know how to help you, but I can listen and I hope that’s enough.

So we all need to work on how we perceive things, but also what we say.Like I said, I’m trying to get better about deleting and blocking the negativity out and reminding myself that I am the healthiest I have ever been and that these comments negative, directly or not shouldn’t impact how I like myself. I also need to remind myself that the comments that are backhanded are just the insecurities of others that don’t know how to keep their mouths shut. If they’re something to me as a stranger on the internet, they’re probably saying things to real people around them too.

❤ Cristina

Why can’t I be capable of greatness?

This post has two parts. The first was written before my first session with my new counselor and the second was afterwards.

Before

I feel like I’m kind of going through the motions. I know I’m not alone in this. I’m not having an identity crisis, though, I wonder sometimes who I am. When I think of the labels I use for myself and the ones I used specifically this morning when talking to my co-workers, I find myself asking why these labels, why these words. I know very philosophical.

So here are some of the labels from just this morning:

  • fat Cristina
  • fit Cristina
  • fit girl
  • lifter
  • bikini competitor
  • runner

I am so much more than these labels. I know it, and I think many of us out there know that we are more than the buckets we put ourselves into. We preach YOU ARE MORE THAN THE SCALE! Or… YOUR FAT DOESN’T DEFINE YOU! These are both true, but looking at the list above makes me wonder why I don’t use other words to describe or define myself more often. Why does everything revolve around fitness.

I was fat Cristina and I am fit Cristina now, but aside from a lifter, a runner and someone who enjoys competing; I’m a writer, foodie, girlfriend, crier, jokester, adventurer, fundraiser. I’m even more than that list too. There are other sides to me and I know that to be true.

The time after prep was a time for adventuring. JP wasn’t here and I had time to explore and try new food and see new things. We were reversing from competition prep and I had even more flexibility. While I didn’t necessarily have more hours in the day, I felt like I did. More trips into Boston were made than ever, even though I had lived here for just over 4 years at that point. Since I have made it my mission to get to the city once a month – try a new restaurant and explore something. Learn something new. That’s where this deep investment in lifting and fitness started. I want to learn something new. I want a new challenge.

I know I’m having issues with coming to terms with my body; how small it is. Yes, small because before I only used the word big. I’m not big anymore. Seeing clothes fit differently or well is mind blowing. Many of us reach for larger clothes at the store out of habit, but it’s been almost two months of maintaining a three pound fluctuation, I was hoping to be more used to it by now. This aside, the physically feeling and connect is clearly disconnected. My capris this morning felt like they fit fine, but when I got into the office I realized that they were loose and at least an inch off of my stomach. I physically couldn’t feel this and now I’m thinking I may need a belt and new pants.

While the weightloss was a lot and could impact anyone mentally, I know that post surgery I’m having a harder time because I’m finally seeing how my hard work reflected, but I’m struggling to accept that I made this. I built this. I mentioned in my video last week that I had gone to therapy for other issues – life transition such as moving and family. Normal people ask for help when they need it. I also mentioned in my video that I had been told I would never accomplish my goals over and over again – in almost all aspects of my life. I told JP that this issue was a bigger issue than the weightloss. There’s something else making me feel this way – why can’t I give myself the credit I deserve for working this hard? Why does it feel like there’s more to prove.

After

“He swears like a sailor. We’re going to get along just fine.” That’s what I told Alicia after my session. Turns out I can talk and so can he. We talked for an hour and 45 minutes. I don’t know if he had that planned or not, but that’s how long we talked for. I don’t know where the time went.

So what it comes down to is this. There’s a lot more shit from the past coming up that I hadn’t anticipated. This journey started with wanting to get healthy because walking up stairs left me breathless and not in the sexy “oh he’s beautiful” kind of way. Running came into my life because I wanted a new challenge, something quantifiable. Lifting happened because I had found all these amazing women who were pushing and pulling more than their body weight. They looked fantastic and healthy and some of them competed. Some were powerlifters and some were bikini competitors. I only knew the myths about lifting, but I figured I could learn. It was a learning and growth opportunity. The last two years of lifting and eating and competing have been 100% about me. Which today I learned is also 100% okay. It’s good to be selfish, it’s not good to be self centered.

Starting this journey was completely about me. So let’s get a little more personal. I talk about JP and Bella and Hippo. I talk about lifting and eating and running and loosely about work. I never talk about my family because the truth is, they’re not much of a family. They are just people that I may share a few DNA cells with and that’s it. So many of us, say there’s someone that we cut out throughout our journey because of the toxicity that the relationship added. Well, it’s sad to say, but that’s my family.

I haven’t talked to my older sister in three years because the last “adult” conversation we had was one-sided with her telling me how selfish I was and how I wasn’t actually an adult. According to her, my selfishness was how I was able to focus on getting a master’s degree and loose weight, I wasn’t actually an adult with responsibilities. Now I could go on and list all of the responsibilities I had at 23 (car, rent, career, degree program..) but it’s a long ass list and I know many of my responsibilities have been yours or are yours… I know there are some college-y age folks out there. I know you are more than college students. Anyway, this is how many conversations were with her. Because I was taking my education, career and health seriously I couldn’t be anything else, but selfish. My therapist called her a hater.

I haven’t talked to my dad or younger sister in just over two years, a few months before lifting started. And really, it’s been almost two and a half years. The conversations with them were similar, “that’s great you got an A in that class, but your program isn’t that hard.” or…”Thirty pounds is a good amount, but you could lose more…” Yeah, no shit I could lose more, that’s what I’m trying to do. I went on to lose another 80-something pounds after this conversation. My therapist also called them haters.

I told my therapist that while they weren’t the reason I started to get healthy and lifting has never been about them, I felt now that I kind of wanted to be able to rub it in their faces. In some way, I want to say, “hey look at what I did, that I did on my own, that you said I couldn’t do.” I also told him that I didn’t think about them or that until after surgery. I also said that I feared that something I love because it’s quantifiable and constantly challenging is going to become about them.

Because he has friends who bodybuild and he was able to distinctly remember one friend, he asked me is it ever going to be enough. Will I always challenge my physique because the sport is so subjective. I told him, what I have told you all many times. The first show was about pushing myself, learning and challenging myself. Ultimately doing something that many aren’t willing or have the desire to do. I wanted to push my comfort zone. I wasn’t the smallest, but I wasn’t the biggest. My second show was about being better than the first and that we set moderate and what I believed to be realistic goals based on the nutrition planning and training. I admitted I blew them out of the water and that actually made me nervous for the upcoming prep because I didn’t do anything special. I listened to my coach and got involved in the process by asking questions and trying to learn more. I told him this show will be about being better than the last and I’ll have the opportunity to move around without the loose skin. I also told him that if you don’t have an internal cause for competing you will be sorely upset when you don’t bring home a little bronze lady. Yes, many want to win. Yes, I would love to be in the Top 10, but it’s a subjective sport – you don’t know who will show up to compete, you don’t know who the judges will be and you don’t know what they will want. If you can’t just be happy with crushing your last physique and smashing PR’s in the gym you will be disappointed every time a judge says the other competitors are better than you. If it’s your personal best, that needs to have some weight. That being said, he has no issues with me competing this fall.

So saying that out loud, why do I have trouble giving myself credit with having the best physique I’ve ever had, even when I was thin before. Even when I danced competitively or was a cheerleader. Why can I say that out loud and mean it for competition, but I can’t mean it for the rest of my life.

There have bee many voices this whole time telling me I would fail. I remember one time – the first summer I started bodybuilding – that someone actually posted about me on an online chat board. They shared my blog URL and talked about how annoying I am and how I would fail. In retaliation, I wrote a blog post and since they had shared my URL, I had 900 hits when it launched. My therapist said that it seems that while I’m in a new chapter of my story, there are other characters from past chapters coming back. Like I keep looking and rereading without realizing it. I keep questioning my own ability to be great.

I’ve said this to JP before – “why can’t people believe they can do great things on their own. Why do they need to believe that a higher power provided opportunity, why can’t they say they worked hard and accomplished something because they were dedicated and they were ambitious.” So yeah, why can’t I believe that with all of the voices telling me I couldn’t, I actually did.

We talked about some other things related to family that I had talked about with my last counselor that I believe are important for background, but not important enough to broadcast to all of you. We talked about my PTSD and the possibility that obsessive tenancies may or may not be something I’m exemplifying as part of that. We talked about anxiety, which I know I am not alone in having. Weightloss or not, 1 out 6 adults experience anxiety or depression according to the CDC. If impacts 16 million Americans every year.

I told him that I felt there were a lot of things to work through and I wanted help to problem solve through them, but that I don’t believe I need to be therapy my whole life. He questioned who told me I couldn’t problem solve – so that may be in my head from being told  “I can’t” so many times. I’m just assuming I can’t.

My goals going into this were: I want to feel happy about what I’ve accomplished. I see it in the mirror, I know it’s there, but physically feeling it and emotionally/mentally feeling it aren’t connecting. Aside from being given some homework to email him, I’ve thought about my goals for going to talk to him.

  1. I want to be able to emotionally feel connected to my physical accomplishments i.e be happy with my progress/weightloss/body
  2. I want to believe that I am capable, to be able to fully disconnect from the voices of haters past, and maybe haters present

We talked about his philosophy on therapy and I believe we’re on the same page. How do we partner together to figure out how to help me with this problem so I can move on and help myself. We haven’t decided how many sessions until the problem at hand is solved or fixed or whatever you want to call it, but we did determine that we should probably have another session within the next week to week and a half.

I felt good today and I felt better after meeting with him. It could’ve been the fact that I cried because I do that anyway, but I feel good about going to see him today and scheduling a second visit.

Well, it’s Taco Tuesday and it’s almost dinner time. So I’m going to get my taco on and try to put a few things away around the apartment. You know, try to make it more like home.

❤ Cristina

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am not…

I talk about this often enough, but I’ll say it again. This adventure started as a blog. My background is in journalism and public relations, and as a professional I missed writing because it’s not in my daily job. Blogging is my outlet and when I got into fitness it made sense to document my journey. I’ve had an Instagram for about three years and it’s ALWAYS been my personal account. I see every comments, follow and like. I try to respond to everyone – which is a job in its own. I started adding some videos when I thought topics were too much to write out – because be honest, who reads that.

Someone yesterday said I’m relatable. Well, I fucking hope so because I’m a typical 27-year-old with a full time job who likes cupcakes and doughnuts and lifting and bikini competing. Maybe it’s not so typical because I’m really into fitness and health, and I don’t know many in person who feel the same, but I am relatable because I’m a real person. I share my journey as honestly as I possibly can. I share things that impact me like my long distance relationship with my boyfriend. I also share parts of me that many would keep secret like my history with binge eating and body dysmorphia from large weightloss and surgery.

I am a runner because I like to run. I enjoy 5Ks and sprinting. I am not the fastest, but that doesn’t make me less of a runner.

I am a lifter and have been for two years as of June 20th. I am a self-taught lifter. I Googled everything I wanted to know. I have also asked questions when I could lot determine answers. If you want to see the resources I’ve used check out the Educate Yourself tab above.

I am a macro counter and flexible dieter. I have been for two years since June 20th. Again, I researched eating styles and came across IIFYM when I decided to start bodybuilding and bikini competing in June 2014.

I am a bikini competitor and honestly, I think that makes me different than many who are looking to lose weight and just be healthy. The way I train and the way I eat is different than most. I am okay with that and I know the difference between stage lean and “off season” living. But I don’t think many of you do.

I like engaging with people globally about health and fitness and flexible dieting. Like I mentioned, I try to answer questions, but I also get frustrated when I answer the same ones over and over again. I also get frustrated when I’m asked subjective questions that are 100% dependent on the individual.

So, here’s what I am NOT:

1. I am not a trainer.

I started with cardio to get moving because that worked for me. Zumba was cardio of choice. I slowly added classes then running and then lifting. I coached myself for my first bikini competition, which took place fall 2014. I started working with Alaina Sanders in October 2015 after doing it on my own for quite some time. Partnering with Alaina meant that I could have someone else focus on my training while I focused on my career. Like cooking, I follow the directions and sometimes ask questions and make suggestions based on taste. I knew I could do the eating, but creating my circuits was time consuming.  That’s where working with Alaina has been extremely helpful.

If you want to know more about lifting and training, check out the educate yourself tab above or contact a trainer that you feel confident can help you with your goals. Look for someone certified who will give you time and patience. Ask questions and don’t just follow along because they say to. You should be educated to ask “what is this doing for my body.”

2. I am not a nutritionist.

I educated myself about flexible dieting and nutrition. I don’t believe in food timing, but some do. I believe in not labeling food as good or bad because it’s further creates a negative relationship with food. I eat enough fat, carbs and protein for my body. That’s what macro counting is – counting macro NUTRIENTS, not calories. Every nutrient has calories anyway. Working with Alaina hasn’t been an education about what I can eat, it’s just an education of how and when to adjust my nutrition. I have learned from her the benefit of refeeds during competition prep. ONE BIG SCIENCE EXPERIMENT – let me tell you. If you want to know more about IIFYM and refeeds, check out the Educate Yourself tab.

3. I am not a doctor/surgeon/nurse/medical professional

I know that sharing my experience with my plastic surgery and a standard abdominoplasty has educated a lot of you. It’s helped ease the mind of some who have been questioning it. I has also prompted many SUBJECTIVE questions. Here’s a short list of questions I get, that I DON’T feel comfortable answering and will always respond with talk to a doctor.

  1. Why is your scar so high?
  2. How long was recovery?
  3. How long do I need to say out of the gym?
  4. What garments should I wear?
  5. I’ve been cleared from the gym, what exercises should I start with?
  6. Do I need to take the full dose of pain killers that my surgeon prescribed?
  7. I’m having pain at my incision, what should I do?
  8. Why don’t I have drains like you?
  9. Why is your scar symmetrical and mine isn’t?
  10. I’ve lost a lot of weight, should I have surgery like you?
  11. How much was your surgery? I don’t want to spend too much.
  12. Will my insurance cover the surgery?

That’s just a few of the questions I have received. As you can imagine, I’m flattered that people feel comfortable enough to ask me because I think many don’t want to talk about their bodies usually. The flip side, I bet some of your are reading that list and saying “shit, how does she deal with these questions?” I ask myself that too.

If you want surgery, but are unsure, here is what I suggest:

  1. Talk to your primary care doctor. If you’re losing weight, there are chances you’ve been going to a general doctor already. Start the conversation with them. Ask their opinion and ask who they trust and respect in the community to conduct this procedure.
  2. Research the surgery and surgeons in your area. Look at their portfolios and their backgrounds. How long have they been a doctor, what is their specialty, where did they learn their skills?
  3. Call your insurance carrier and find out what the guidelines are for this procedure for your specific insurance policy. I didn’t qualify for coverage, but there are guidelines to meet to get it covered, so i understood why I couldn’t have mine covered.

If you’ve had this surgery and have questions:

  1. CALL YOUR DAMN DOCTOR.

You’ve invested a lot in this surgery. You’ve invested a lot in your body. It is not an inconvenience to call them and ask about the changes happening to your body. I followed my surgeons protocol to a T and that’s why I’ve been successful even with a small complication between days 5-8 post surgery. Your surgeon can tell you every thing you need to know, no matter how long it’s been since your surgery or the time of day. If they aren’t available right away, they have a nurse or staff that are. Utilize them. Take control of your body. They’re waiting for your call.

4. I am not a therapist

It’s true. I’m not. I am 100% a proponent of counseling/therapy. Sometimes the world is a lot to take on alone. I have and am seeking counseling for various issues from my parents being split to life transition like starting a new job as well as my own eating disorder. I am not in a position nor do I want to be to give advice about what there’s should do about their own relationship with food – other than seek professional help. If you don’t like the first person, break up with them and find someone new who meets your needs. You can find someone who specializes or you can speak to a generalist.

Insurance should cover behavior health, but you can also call your insurance carrier and ask what your policy allows.

I am a normal person who was interested in her own health enough to seek information and educate herself about what changes could be made in order to move forward. I also acknowledge when I can’t do it all on my own. That’s a huge thing for me. To say, I can’t and I need help. I will try to figure it out on my own as much as possible, but sometimes it’s okay to say, I can’t, but who has experience and expertise that can. That is why I have a trainer and that is why I am seeking counseling for body dysmorphia.

Do I want to be a trainer or licensed health coach one day? Definitely, it’s something that I am passionate about, but right now is not the right time and since I have NO EXPERIENCE other than what has worked for me, I don’t think I’m qualified to assist a lot more than help you understand the resources your reading and using.

I think social media is an excellent tool to create community and be inspired. But I think so many of us forget that everyone, or mostly everyone out there is a person who doesn’t have all answers and also has bad days.

Try to utilize my blog as much as possible.I share resources that have helped me, but remember that there is so much information out there – good and bad, you might need to invest more in yourself to learn what works for you. What works for me isn’t necessarily right for someone else and I am a bikini competitor, so my structure and training aren’t supposed to be for everyone. My why, my motivation – won’t necessary be yours, but I hope it sparks a fire in your to figure yours out.

❤ Cristina

 

Travel Hacks for Staying on Track Nutritionally

I’ve shared about my work travel before (see DC post). I’ve showed some of the snacks I pack when I’m on airplanes and trains. But I don’t think I’ve ever written a comprehensive post with my hacks.

On Sunday, I posted that I was packing JP some snacks for his business trip. He checked into his flight to learn that it was at 8:30, not 6:30 pm. He was traveling to Phoenix, AZ, and his landing time was estimated for 4 am EST. Arizona isn’t the only place he will see this week. Over the week, he’s going to see Minnesota, Wisconsin – a trip to Toronto, Canada might be happening on Friday. For his trip, it’s not reasonable for him to pack fresh foods, but a few protein bars and carb snacks can help him supplement when he needs it.

So my hacks for when I travel.

Like I shared in my post from February linked above, I always research where I’m going. We all have different priorities in our journey’s when we’re traveling so you need to determine how you can stick to those priorities. I was traveling during competition prep whenever I hit the road from January to April, which meant working out and sticking to my nutrition plan were equally important.

This post is just about nutrition, how do I stick to it?

Here’s a list of my favorite travel friendly snacks and brands broken out into their categories:

Protein: Quest Single Serve

Not only are these already portioned out, TSA has no reason to question them. These are carry-on and checked baggage approved. They are a whey and casein blend, so keep that in mind if one of these doesn’t make your stomach happy. If you are checking a bag, it’s not unreasonable to pack protein in ziplock bags, but make sure to label them.

Aminos: Cellucor’s Alpha Amino 5 serving bag

This is great for airplane travel because it’s a resealable bag. Many amino powders are bright white, with a serving bag like this there’s no arguing what it is. It’s also a great amount for short travel. In a week, I can consume the whole bag.

Pre-packaged non-perishable food:

  • Any protein bars
  • DRY oatmeal – you can get oats through TSA as long as water hasn’t been added. If it’s something you want to eat in the airport, you should be able to find a microwave at a bistro-esq stand or if you ask nicely, sometimes the people at Starbucks will heat it up for you.
  • Starkist Single Serve Tuna – these don’t need to be chilled and since they’re air vacuumed, they can handle the travel.
  • Fruit + Ziplock – When I travel by train to the New York I usually pack an apple or banana, a napkin, a ziplock along with travel pack of WetOnes. I can eat the fruit, wipe my hands and use the ziplock for trash and store in my bag until I find a place to dispose of it.
  • Rice Cakes – I usually will wrap these in a shirt or two to prevent breakage.
  • Pancakes – Yes, I have traveled with pancakes that I have already made and packaged in tupperware. Pancakes as a solid aren’t an issue and because they’re baked they last a few days without a fridge. I’ve traveled with these in both my checked and carry-on bag.
  • Walden Farms Single Serve Pancake Syrup – I don’t like many of the Walden Farms products, but I do like some of the fruit and pancake syrups. It also happens that on their web site you can purchase travel packs. I usually put one of these in the tupperware along with my pancakes so it doesn’t get smashed open in my bag.
  • Single Serve Peanut/Nut Butter: D’s Naturals, Justin’s, Barney Butter, Wild Friends and Buff Bake all have excellent nut butter that can be purchased in single serve/sample packets. This is a great resource for fats and protein. I have traveled with these to add to my oatmeal as well as to toast or English muffins that I have been able to get at my hotel. Also, rice cakes partner well with these.

Perishable Food:

When traveling on a train it’s easy to carry my 6Pack Bag, obviously not everyone has one, but something insulated works just as well even if it’s not as big. On a train there’s no concern about ice packs, but when flying it’s another story. The trick is that gel ice packs can get through security if they’re frozen, if you know you will be hopping from airport to airport this may not be the most reasonable to keep your food chilled. I carry MANY ziplock bags with me when I fly. Their purpose isn’t just for trash storage, but once your through TSA it doesn’t matter if you have liquids or frozen liquids on you.

I have gone to Starbucks, bought myself a latte and asked for a large cup of ice. Many places will give you a cup of ice for free. The purpose: to put in a bag to chill your food. I will have my chicken in one bag, and then rebag it with ice and then use a third bag to prevent leaking. I know that sounds kind of wasteful, but I reuse bags that haven’t touch food.

Here’s what I have packed this way:

  • chicken breast + veggies
  • sandwiches
  • yogurt
  • snacking cheese
  • ground turkey
  • dinner sausage

If you’re limited on space in your carry-on and checked baggage, it can be hard to make room for food, but you can make up for it once you’re settled. If you call ahead to your hotel you can find out if guests have access to a mini fridge directly in the room. Some will come with the fridges available  and some hotels will require you to ask for one. During the Cutler, I was able to get a fridge in my room for an additional $10. This let me keep my food overnight for the day of the show as well as food/drinks post show.

When I was in Florida for work in May, my hotel came with a fridge already and this allowed me to keep a case of water stocked – because Florida is very hot in May and dehydration in those temperatures is dangerous. I also was able to go to the store and purchase yogurt, fruit, veggies and deli meat. I had already packed some pitas in my checked bag, but I was able to assemble a wrap with what I purchased once I was settled and relaxing in my room.

Aside from knowing your hotel, you should know your surroundings ahead of time too. Sometimes I book my hotel for work travel based on what it’s near. This allows me to figure out if I can run to the store or if I need to improvise with restaurants near me. When I determine that the on site gym facility isn’t up to par, this also helps me plan a gym location in the city I will be in.

Since I travel for work and not necessarily fun, I have been know to write down restaurants with food options for each. Again, DC and Florida were both big trips during competition prep, so it was important that I pre-determined restaurants and meals. I know many of you aren’t as strict with your tracking as I am, even in my off season, but peaking at menus and making a few calls prior to your trip can help make the decision a little easier. Many chain restaurants are required by law to provide nutrition information, so even if it’s hard to find online, you can email them for it. I have been able to obtain more in-depth information from places like Starbucks by sending a quick email explaining why I am reaching out.

Again, you need to ask yourself when you’re traveling: what are your goals. When you can list them out, you will be able to determine the steps you need to take.

Don’t forget, when flying you can search TSA’s web site for things you can and cannot bring through security. Don’t ever be afraid to ask questions and get clarification.

Happy travels!

❤ Cristina

 

A Week in Review, Week 4 of the Reverse Diet and a Boston Day Trip

I can say with 100% confidence that this week was better than last week in a number of ways. The biggest difference is in my stress levels. Everything was moved into the apartment last Saturday and since then the focus is unpacking slowly and making this new place feel like home. The second biggest difference is tied with the amount of sleep I have been able to get and the level of my activity. Last week, towards the end at least, my sleep was lacking because we were up late packing and unpacking, but I was also sticking to my workouts. Which meant even if we were up until 11 at night, I was up at 430 for the gym. I knew if I didn’t stick to the mornings, my workout would never get done. Friday morning, JP actually had to make me go because he knows that it makes me happy. There was also a lot of extra activity in the form of walking and lifting boxes. While I gave it my all in the gym, I know this impacted my gym activity and I could feel it on leg day Sunday morning.

This week I was able to control my bed time and my level of activity. My walking has come way down to a more normal level for myself. I wear a FitBit because last July when I quit my part-time retail job, I noticed that my activity level – even going to the gym, was minimal. Wearing a FitBit let’s me monitor how much movement I’m getting and how that impacts progress – whatever the goal at the moment is. I have a daily goal of 7,250 steps because I sit at a desk. Last week I was hitting well over 10K every day, this week most days were under 10K.

Needless to say, I’m better rest, I’m less stressed and macros were on point since I had no excuse to not meal prep and have my shit together. So here’s how the week went in pictures.

I kicked off Sunday with some posing. A follower messaged me about posing because she’s getting ready for her first bikini competition and she’s nervous about it. Posing can make or break you. She does have a coach that she just started using, but I told her I would post a video of my posing so she can see how fast I move and how I place my feet so I don’t fall. Here’s the screen shot in my suit. Not too shabby.

Sunday was my last full day with JP. He went back to Indiana on Monday, which was heartbreaking and necessary. I had my first wax appointment since my surgery in Cambridge and I usually make a day of it, so we went together and decided to brunch in the city.

Funny enough that while we were talking about brunch, I was looking at Phantom Gourmet’s instagram and found the perfect place: The Breakfast Club in Allston – literally 8 minutes from the salon.

 

Bomblette with steak + cheese + onions + peppers with homefries and sesame toast

After brunch, we explored Cambridge because we had some time until my appointment. JP really wanted to check out the Curious George store, so we did. It turns out that Curious George and I have a lot in common.

 

With Monday being a holiday, the gym was open slightly later and I had the opportunity to get a little more sleep. I magically convinced JP that going to bed early on Sunday was a good idea, so I was well rested on Monday and was able to hit the gym appropriately.

Cardio was prescribed so I wore my garment because it’s been helping me during hard cardio. I’ve talked about some of what I can describe as a shock to my middle when I hit the treadmill belt. Monday was a HIIT session and I got it done. That’s really all I can say about that.

Since it was the 4th of July and you know I have a strong passion for sprinkles, I don’t think it came to anyone’s surprise that Pancake Monday consisted of patriotic sprinkles to partially celebrate. Adding berries to the stack just seemed like the stereotypical thing to

In the last apartment JP and I had put up our first Christmas tree as a couple in November 2014. As many remember or most have been told, the first rule was it couldn’t come down until he moved home. The second rule was I could buy whatever ornaments I wanted with JP’s dollar since he created the first rule. The tree had stayed up since that Thanksgiving and obviously its removal was forcable. We didn’t have time to set it up and after some tears and talking about him leaving, we decided to set up just the tree and the tree skirt. I know it sounds silly to be so emotional, but we always thought it would come down when he was moving home, not because of this move. We’re hoping it’s a sign of some kind and if it’s not – I need to at least start looking for a new ornament to put on it.

Post-lunch, pre-airport ride, we cupcaked for the last time of this trip. We found this beauty at Whole Foods and while it’s not the support local kind of thing we usually go for, it was adorable and we thought was a fun way to pretend we were at the beach while many of you actually were.

Since we still didn’t have internet, Bella and I stopped by Wegman’s to do my check in with Alaina and have some excellent sushi as a snack because #carbs. She was well behaved and we got a lot done. There’s also a high chance that we spent 2 hours in the cafe area of Wegman’s working on the blog too… oops #sorrynotsorry.

Post-blogging grocery haul was excellent and included a lot of Halo Top. The previous week, Michelle from Halo Top’s social media outreach team contacted me and sent me a coupon for 4 free pints. Her favorite is mint chip and that was the first I tried. It’s a great flavor and it was my first time trying it. I still need to try Birthday Cake, but when I do, trust me everyone will know. I’m more than excited about sprinkles in my ice cream and we all know if there aren’t enough, I’ll just add my own!

The only exciting thing about Tuesday was dessert. Vanilla protein gelato and mini Nutter Butters. Enough said.

Wednesday’s have been my rest day since recovery started post-surgery. Prior to surgery I asked Alaina what she thought about working out 5 days a week in the summer instead of 6. Aside from recovery, I knew that there would be days I would want to be up later or days I would rather be concerned with summer fun than hitting the gym. She was skeptical, but said we could give it a try. I think 5 days a week for the recovery period has been very helpful. Especially with last week being as crazy as it was. I’ve been able to have a break in the middle of the week to sleep in – if my body lets me and also, I have enough time to get my waffle on.

Wednesday’s waffle adventure was dark chocolate with peanut butter. You can never go wrong with peanut butter.

After breakfast, I adventured to a bakery that I found the other day while driving. It’s 1,000 feet from my front door. Dangerous life I lead.

Their hours are very short and they’re during the work day, so I knew that I would need to go before work to be able to try something during the week. They are open on the weekends, but I’m impatient and I had already decided that I would be day tripping in Boston.

As excited as I was to check out the new bakery, the events that followed that morning brought the excitement way down. The plan was for Verizon to come by and install the wireless so that I could not only be connected on my computer, but use my smart TV. They arrived at 8 am, which was earlier than had anticipated so I decided to stay instead of having my landlord let him in and get the work done. Well he didn’t leave until about 11:30 am and my landlord wouldn’t have been much help anyway. The wireless still didn’t work and resulted in me sitting on the phone with a service member for 45 minutes and not going into the office after all. Thankfully, I was writing a post about a day of eating. I’m not the only one who creates these posts, many YouTubers make videos of a full day of eating. So that kept me focused into between cleaning and unpacking the apartment.

I also had an excellent dinner and dessert planned. I always manage to find a dessert of some kind when I’m shopping, maybe it’s a skill, maybe it’s a downfall. At least I know how to plan it for later. Mini desserts are adorable and are much easier to fit in. I present the perfect blueberry tart that took 4 bites to eat and didn’t disappoint.

Thursday morning was a pretty good morning for a few reasons. the biggest reason was that JP told me during our morning phone call that he was coming home for the weekend. He needed to go to a suit fitting and I would get to see him. He wanted to surprise me, but he also needed a ride from the airport. Of course he did. It would’ve been much smoother had he just surprised me, but at least he was coming home. When I got into the office on  it was like Christmas and my new PEScience protein was waiting for me on my office chair. I couldn’t help myself and since my cinnamon swirl Cellucor it made sense to make the purchase. I also had a discount code and shipping was minimal. I saved more buying online than had I tried to find it in person.

Thursday night was a time for cupcakes! At the new bakery, I bought a s’mores cupcake and nothing says summer like toasted marshmallow fluff!

I eat my cupcakes in half and this one was no different. The toasted fluff was fantastic, but I really do like my cupcakes stuffed with frosting or mousse or carby goodness.

This one had something that was soft like mousse; it was rich and smooth. Not too sweet and just enough filling to compliment the cake. It was such a good cupcake and now I’m questioning how easy prep is going to be with a bakery down the block. Not really, but talk about tempting!

While I’m not big on using food as a reward, this cupcake was well deserved. The week was HOT every day, and not just hot, it was muggy too. The heat and muggy combination caused a lot of swelling and not only did I walk around in my underwear most nights after work. I wore my garment almost every day and every night to bed to help minimize the swelling. Thursday night had the worst swelling. Before bed, I weighed myself and the scale read 133.0. I felt that. The swelling last week was painful around my scar and my scar was raised. The fact that I didn’t have a melt down was reason enough to scarf down this cupcake.

Friday in the office was a mix of “wow, where did the morning go” to “oh, I have a ton of errands to run in the afternoon and there’s no time.” After a not so spectacular visit to my new OBGYN, the afternoon picked up and I headed to the airport to pick JP up at night. Surprisingly enough we stayed up until 11 and I felt like grandma. I feel like that shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone, and I should stop trying to be a cool kid and just come to terms with my early bedtime.

Saturday morning check-in was so much better than I could have hoped for. Like I mentioned, I had been having issues with swelling all week so even though macros and water were amazing every day, I wasn’t confident that the scale and my measurements were going to leave me satisfied. Also, since I had some issues with swelling and I am leaner, I texted Alaina earlier in the week to ask about other methods of progress tracking. Going into prep in August, I don’t foresee much weightloss reflecting on the scale really at all, but I do think I will see a change in appearance and inches.

So starting at my Saturday check-in, I gave her  the scale and my measurements. So here they are. After 4 weeks of reversing my macros for maintenance purposes:

  • Weight: 127.4
  • Hips: 35″
  • Waist: 25.25″
  • L thigh: 21″
  • R thigh: 21″

 

The real fun for the week came just after breakfast. On Tuesday I had made the executive decision that while I was sad that JP left after being here for so long, I needed to adventure and keep myself busy doing things I enjoy and that I can do alone. This was before I knew JP was coming home, but it worked out since he had plans for suit shopping.

Boston is a city that I have explored much more often in the past few months, than ever before in the 4 years I have lived in New England. I discovered the Public Market just before my surgery and fell in love with the idea of wandering around the city in the morning, picking up produce inexpensively for the week ahead and finding something new to try.

This trip’s plan was to get produce and donuts. That was really all that had been planned.

As always, Bella joined me for a day of adventuring and sight seeing. Practicing how to not be such a tourist in a city that you’re still learning.

First we experienced the Boston location of Kane’s Donuts. We were introduced to them at the Cutler Classic when they graciously gave every competitor a free honey dip. JP and I have been to their flagship location in Saugus, but this is 3ish blocks away from where I park for my day of exploring – it made perfect sense to check it in.

The goal is to try every donut at least once. So far (before this trip) we had tried the honey dip creme brulee and the snickers. Bella helped me choose the s’mores donut (seen below).

I did make the mistake of texting JP to show off what I was seeing. It resulted in taking two donuts home and us splitting them for dessert. I didn’t actually mind because then I got to try two flavors instead of one.

With a coffee in hand, we made our way towards the very touristy Fanueil Hall, which is EMPTY at 10 am on a Saturday. You can walk through the marketplace and the eating area with no one around. It’s beautiful to say the least.

Red’s Apple Farm Fudge stand

She wasn’t happy about it. She never is. Someone tried to pet her. By the running tally – from airports to day trips – someone has tried to pet her at least 37 times since we got her almost 2 years ago. Not really a bad number when you think of how long that is, but still. 37 times.

While discussing Sam (@baconbarbellsandbikinis) pizza decisions for later that night, it was appropriate to send her this photo and remind her I support all her carb heavy decisions.

We found random things to take photos in front of at the marketplace.

Lunch was eaten sitting at the bar, but the food was much more than bar food. Chicken fajitas never disappoint and I thoroughly enjoyed the chips and salsa I decided to try since I had never been to Zuma before. A chips don’t hurt progress.

We made the second stop back to Kane’s to pick up the second donut to bring home to share with JP. The employee was surprised to see me back so quickly. If only he knew that if I could, I would be there every morning eating a different donut.

With the asparagus in the oven, the final grocery haul, parking, tolls and lunch was just under $60 for the day. We tried a new restaurant for lunch, picked up produce to prep for the week and killed over 13K steps on a rest day.

Donuts for dessert anyone?

 

I can’t wait until next weekend to explore something else and try something new. Lifting started out as a way to get healthy, it became a hobby and a passion. Sometimes it’s a distraction from everything else going on. It helps me goal set and keep a certain amount of structure without feeling like I’m too structured to have any other fun. Exploring keeps me learning. New experiences feed my soul in ways that lifting doesn’t.

I haven’t received my feedback from Alaina yet about last week, but this morning’s leg day was great and with JP gone I’m already getting my meal prep on and determining what I’m doing for the week. I have a good feel it’s going to be another successful one. The weather is cool today and I have no swelling. A few more boxes to unpack and hopefully this place will truly start feeling like home.

I hope everyone else has a great Sunday and feel confident as the week kicks off.

 

❤ Cristina

Full Day of Eating: week 4 of the reverse diet

I get asked all the time what I eat, how much, what are my macros. My response is usually “have you looked at my Instagram page? I post tons of food pictures!” My second response is “whatever fits my macros.” My third answer is usually “I don’t share my numbers because they’re not going to work for you and I don’t need to be judged on how much or how little other people think I’m eating. I’m not starving, thanks.”

Well, maybe this post will give you an idea of how flexible I am with my food in a given day. So this is everything I’m eating. It’s Waffle Wednesday and I have some tasty things planned for myself, at least I think I do.

Breakfast: 5:57 am

Dark chocolate waffles using 1/2 cup of Kodiak Dark Chocolate Power Cake Mix + 1 egg white.

Topping: 1T of D’s Naturals Tiramisu Peanut Butter + Walden Farms Pancake Syrup and Fat Free Whip Cream and sprinkles.

Side items: 40g of raspberries + 3/4 cup of egg whites.

In my cup: Chocolate Truffle coffee + 1T of Italian Sweet Cream.

Total Macros: 13f | 38c | 42p


Snack 1: 9:48 am

2.1 ounces of coriander raisin bread from Birchtree Bread Company (locally owned).

Topping: 2T of Fat Fee Cream Cheese and Pumpkin Spice Sugar blend

Total Macros: 2f | 32c | 8p

*macros for bread were estimated looking at nutritional information for similar breads. See this post for how to estimate macros on local products.

Lunch 11:57 am

1/2 cup oats +1/2 cup of water + 2 tablespoons of Sugar Free Strawberry Jam + splash of vanilla extract and cinnamon

Topping: 50g of fresh sliced strawberries

Total Macros: 3f | 41c | 5p


Snack 2: 2:06 pm

2 ounces of steak + 37g of sweet potato with pumpkin spice + 104g of Brussels sprouts

Total Macros: 8f | 40c | 17p

Dinner: 6:04 pm

5.82 ounce Lemon Pepper Panko chicken cutlet from the meat counter topped with 6g of Sriracha mayo + 100g of roasted asparagus with a little cooking spray and salt

Total Macros: 15f | 15c | 35p


Dessert: 8:15 pm

Vanilla Forte Protein Gelato Cup topped with Walden Farms Chocolate Sauce + Snack Pack Nutter Butter + Fat Free Whip Cream and Rainbow Sprinkles

Total Macros: 8f | 40c | 17p 


Total macros for the day: 45/45f | 184/185c | 124/125p – so 0f | 1c | 1p left for the day. My Fitness Pal breakfown below. 

Variety of fruits and veggies consumed: 5 

Water in ounces: 192 ounces

Other drinks: 1 can of diet Ginger ale, 12 ounces cup of coffee 


Again, please keep in mind I am reversing to maintenance still. While I was initially reversing after cometition the first of May, macros were adjusted for zero activity/appetite during my initial recovery after surgery. I have been reversing for 3.5 weeks at this point and because last week was such a crazy week with the move I asked to keep my macros the same and see how I handle the nutrition before increasing again. 

This post is to give people an idea of how flexible I am with my nutrition plan, it is not an opportunity to tell me to eat more or less or differently. We all have different eating style and this works for me as you can see from my results. 

If you have questions that CAN’T be answered by the links in the education tab feel free to email me at runsweateatrepeat@gmail.com.
❤ Cristina 

Social Media and an Increase in Cyberbullying

It seems like as we connect to each other online more, cyber-bullying is more prevalent. Kids have been making fun of each other forever, and even adults have been caddy within their friend groups. But as I’ve been more active on social media, it seems like the golden rule has been thrown out the window. I’m not the only one that has experienced bullying or harassment online. Again, watch the news and you’ll see. Even a few weeks ago, a fellow instagrammer took his account down temporarily because of the nasty comments he was receiving for his 200+ pounds transformation photo.

I know many of you will read this and say 1. ignore them – I’m pretty sure I was told the same thing in grade school; 2. block them – I do that, trust me I do that. 3. back to number 1 and don’t engage with them.

Well, here’s the problem. So many of them think they’re telling you something you don’t know. Many of them don’t seem to have an issue with being rude or mean to a stranger. Many of them don’t even care about you, your story, etc. So if they’re going to put themselves out there in that way, why shouldn’t I at least acknowledge that they exist? I was teased and made of as a kid. I was pushed down the stairs and called names. Teachers told me to ignore the bullies because it would stop. It wasn’t until I was in middle school and actually swung back, resulting in a suspension, that the kids in my grade stopped messing around, until we moved to a new school district – same thing all over again. But that fight, I remember that fight. I remember when my dad told my nanny to take me to dinner, anywhere I wanted because he was proud that I finally stood up for myself. The second fist fight didn’t end in pizza, but they were still proud that I stood up for myself.

So online. I have a public profile because I want to share my story. I have nothing to hide. I have told you about my history with binging. I have shared ups and downs. I have shared competition prep and meals and my boyfriend and surgery with you all. This started as a blog because I love writing, but many don’t read, they just see. It’s not hard to jump to conclusions when you don’t read a caption, but only like or see a photo. There’s a reason I post on my visual blog (IG) when I have a new post on my blog.

Below is an exchange from today on this morning’s progress photo.

I am feisty because seriously, who gives a shit that much to tell someone that they need to wax or shave or “be kept” – whatever the hell that means. Now, am I truly expecting her to have seen last week’s progress photos where I actually said I can’t wait to see my waxer? No, I’m not, but at the same time she’s just talking to talk, so why can’t I? It’s clear that she doesn’t follow me, but that’s something that I think is important to emphasize. I’m not making anyone follow my journey, look at my photos, like or comment.Also, I love that little middle finger emoji, I don’t use it enough. I also appreciated the opportunity to say vagina. VAGINA. There I said it again.

For someone who doesn’t follow me, it’s interesting that her initial comment says I always looked unkept.So clearly, someone doesn’t have Saturday plans because she must have dug back into my feed. For someone who doesn’t follow me, she felt compelled to say something. She also failed to read because you all know I’m moving and that’s why the apartment looks worse than normal. You also know that I do a lot of travel for work so I don’t typically care how the place looks – I just need a path to the bathroom and fridge and back to bed again. But I guess I can relate to her, I hate when people have better lives than I believe my own to be, I sit there and pout and think of all the ways to be a dick instead of all the ways I can improve my own life.

*please note Tracie is being ridiculous in response to this woman’s ridiculousness… I don’t actually color on my crotch like Tracie suggests.

Cool, so now we attack the only true visible feature on my body. Beautiful. Like I say in my response, there’s more to life than dwelling on imperfections. I have had so many women tell me that they are scared to have surgery because of the scaring. Not all scars look great. Not everyone heals perfect. But if I had let the possibility of poor scaring prevent me from surgery then I would be unhappy. I ultimately would always feel that I couldn’t enjoy the body I had worked hard for. I wouldn’t want to compete anymore. Being intimate would still be terrifying. I would still be stuck in spanx in all kinds of weather, not that my compression garment is much better at the moment, but I know it’s not permanent.

She states that my butt is flat, well I can assure you that it’s not. It may not be as big as Kim K’s, but mine is real and I built it with squats and deadlifts and carbs oh my! I can shape my body by working on features that do displease me, but those who choose to be nasty to strangers have a lovely black heart and a strong dislike for themselves. You can’t make someone develop self love, especially when they don’t realize that the hate they spread is a result of self hate.

I have blocked her account along with so many that can’t just see a photo and keep scrolling. We all make judgements, but many of us know when to keep our opinions to ourselves.

I may open up myself to comments because I’m a public account, but people like this open themselves to being acknowledged because they started it. That’s really all there is. That rubber and glue stuff can only go so far. It’s been pretty stressful the past few weeks, I haven’t hid that from you at all. So yeah, I may be more feisty than normal because there are other things going on that are stressing me out, but as a 27-year-old I’m going to stand up for myself and let people like this know that their words have an impact, even online and even to strangers. Someone else may not say something back, but I believe I owe it to my 7 year old self and my 12 year old self and my 16 year old self. Fuck, I think I owe it to Cristina from 2009 when she was 20 years old. Bullying never ends, but if you never speak up people will never start reflecting on what they say to others.

So speak up, if not for yourself, for the person you see being bullied.

❤ Cristina