A week in review – week 3 of the reverse diet

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The rest of my trip was pretty amazing actually.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I tried some new to me foods this week.

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

Sarah understands my desire for all the peanut butter.

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

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

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

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

Friday brought more experimenting in the kitchen.

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

Caramel Turtle Oats for lunch

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

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

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

 

 

Lunch at Durgin Park

Farmer’s Market outside the Public Market

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August 2012 versus May 2016

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

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

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

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

Surgery is in 4 days. The countdown is real.

❤ Cristina

 

 

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Competition prep check-in: 13 days in, 101 days to go

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/eef/66154586/files/2015/01/img_3372.jpgBefore we begin with my check-in. Let’s take a look at a quick comparison. To the right are two photos. The left is me in June 2014, when I started my first prep for first show in November 2014. The photo on the right is the 7th day of my second round of prep for my upcoming shows this spring. This is a 15 pound difference in my starting weight.

I’m feeling really confident this round for sure. I lost 25 pounds the first time I prepped, and then gained about 10 pounds post show (thank you holiday cookies!) While I had been eating in moderation, I wasn’t paying attention to my macros and was definitely eating over my nutritional goals.

Below is a photo from day 7 workout. Seriously, I’m really excited with where I’m starting with this time. I’m focusing a lot on my weight lifting, and trying to minimize my cardio to strictly HIIT sessions. I’m going to be doing more double days like I did last prep. This helped me fit in my workouts without feeling like I wasn’t effectively using my time. Tomorrow is a good example, I’m doing HIIT in the morning before work and then lifting legs tomorrow night.

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I’m 13 days into this prep and I’m down 3 pounds of the 10 gained post show. Not too shabby. I’ve already discussed with myself (because I do that) weighing only on Wednesdays like I did last prep. This gives me consistency without over checking. It also gives me a goal to look forward to.

I’m hoping to lost another 22 pounds on top of the 3 I’ve lost for another 25 pound loss, which will be a 105 pound total loss. Crazy, I know.

I’ve been taking pictures like a looney, but I love the comparisons of how I’ve come. It reminds me that even on bad days, I’m still  far ahead of where I was. How may people can say they were a 24 and are now a size 6? I have 101 days to go and I can’t wait to share this part of my journey with you all.

Well I’m heading to bed. It’s 0 degrees outside, but it feels like -22, when I wake up for the gym it’ll be -7 with a windchill of -29. Hello winter! I hope you all stay bundled up!

❤ Cristina

New classes, new food, new goals

It has been a great week of workouts, conversations and new food; and hell am I sore! I officially announced on my Facebook page that I’m going to be prepping for the bikini competition in Boston this October. I know I have some fat to lose before I can really lean out, but I’m going to try my hardest. Looking at a calendar today, I have 16 weeks to get my body in shape and ready. I think I can do this, but at first I didn’t. Let’s back up to the beginning of my week.

First here’s my Transformation Tuesday picture. Halloween of my Senior Year of college in 2010 and June 10, 2014. Definitely visible changes, especially in my face.

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Day 36: fruit on sale. I love watermelon! #sweetsummertime

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I talked with my good friend Caryn on Tuesday and I mentioned that I was interested in taking two different classes at my gym that night, but wasn’t sure which one. They’re back to back so Caryn suggested I go to both. So I did. Zumba and then yoga. I forgot my heart rate monitor, but with my age, height and weight, I should’ve burned 754 between the two classes. I was definitely happy that I went. Below is a picture post classes. This was also my Day 37 of 100 Happy Days. I’m happy to be making more changes, and hopefully, my body will start reflecting them.

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I definitely think this quote is going to play a huge role over the next few months.

I had Wednesday night off, so I scheduled myself to take a small group training class at my gym. I signed up with a trainer named Matt. I’ve taken his classes before and I was skeptical I would be able to keep up, but I did. I recognized some of the women from the class I took with Tiana Ta and they all said if I could take her class, then I could handle this one. Holy circuits! We did all the workouts on the floor, which usually would make me feel awkward, but there were 8 of us doing them together. So I didn’t feel so bad about it. Below is a picture of my HRM post class. I couldn’t believe I survived this class, but I would definitely do again!

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Small group training with Matt

I had yesterday and today off from my full-time job (yay for vacation day hoarding!) so I tried to be as productive as possible! I did Bikram yoga in the morning and a class called “Kick and Flex” similar to cardio kick boxing with my friend Sarah. She’s seriously such a great person and she’s willing to try crazy classes with me! We’re taking “Body by Matt” this coming Wednesday. Matt is the same Matt that taught the group training class I said I took this past Wednesday. Oh yeah, we’re going to be dead! Since I’m taking this class with Sarah, I won’t be doing the small group training. The photo of Sarah and I was also used for my Day 38 of 100 Happy Days.

 

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Heading to Bikram Thursday morning

 

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Me and Sarah post Kick and Flex class Thursday night

After speaking with a childhood friend Glorianna, who has also been on her own weightloss journey and runs her own social media for it, about old clothing I decided to dig through a box of old tees I kept with the hopes they would fit again. Glorianna had shared a picture from when we were 12 and in the 6th grade for Throwback Thursday. She kept the shirt and now she swims in it! It’s crazy. Check out the photo she shared herees

This was my Throwback Thursday photo. The tee is from September 2007, my freshmen year of college. So while it wasn’t 13 years old like hers was, a 7-year-old shirt still feels pretty damn good.

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I took today off from the gym, but I’ll be back in the morning. I did have a productive day anyway though. I met with a woman my age, who has competed in two bikini competitions. Her name is Immy and she only lives 25 minutes from me. I couldn’t believe it because I found her on Instagram and then I found her Facebook page. Talking with her was awesome. It validated that my decision to try competing in a bikini competition is the right thing for me. It will give me a goal to help push me with my weight/fat loss, it will help me build confidence and it’s something I know I will be proud of in the end, no matter if I place or not. She told me about how she got started and how her past relationships effected her workouts. We talked about the mental aspect of working out and eating well. I’m so glad I found her and I’m glad I was daring enough to message her. I definitely think it’s going to be a great friendship and I’, so glad to have her support.


 

Along with new classes and new goals, I have new foods that I’m going to be incorporating in my diet as well as a new carrying case to do so. The beauty below is a 3 meal bag from 6 pack bags. It holds 3 meals, supplements and 4 full sized water bottles. It came with the food containers, supplement container and ice packs to keep it cold. It’s completely insulated like a cooler and I can’t wait to use it this week at work. Talk about a life saver.

 

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Before I started eating paleo, my friends Kristy had me try this granola and I thought it was fantastic, but I could never find it when I went to the store. When I started eating paleo, I cut all grains and gluten or most, out of my diet. Since my goals have changed for prepping for this competition I am adding some grains back into my diet, but trying to stay as gluten free as possible. I don’t have a gluten intolerance, but I feel less bloated when I don’t consume gluten or processed carbohydrates likes pastas and breads. I don’t eat dairy either, partly from the paleo diet and partly I’m lactose intolerant, but I do eat plain Greek yogurt. This is the only dairy that doesn’t bother my stomach and the enzymes help with gut health. So what does Greek yogurt have to do with the new grains I’m adding to my diet? I bought the granola just for my yogurt since I get plain.

This specific kind of Bare Naked has 130 calories, 5g of fat, 13g of carbohydrates (3g dietary fiber, 6g sugar)  and 10g of protein. This will help make my yogurt snack more rounded.

 

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I’ve tried quinoa one time and I was NOT a fan at all. After some conversations, I’m going to give it a try again. I found this blend at the store and I figure it might help with the texture issue I have with quinoa. I’m excited to pair this with some of my chicken meals.

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Brussels sprouts. One vegetable I’ve never tried before. They’re low in calories and fat, very high in Vitamin C, there’s also a little bit of carbs Band protein in there. I bought a bag from the frozen food aisle and I checked before buying it. It’s only ingredient are the Brussels sprouts; you’d be surprised at how many frozen veggies have salt or sugar added when it’s not necessary.

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All these food items were made into a collage for Day 39 of 100 Happy Days. I love trying new things, hopefully I figure out the best ways to cook these new items.

I’m super excited to get the ball rolling. I started using My Fitness Pal to help calculate how much food I’m consuming, mostly so I can keep my ratios of protein, carbs and fat. I’m trying to keep it at 40%, 40% and 20%. When I can get the hang of that and my weight routine down, I will change it to 50%, 30%, 20%.

I hope everyone else had a great week. Fingers crossed for a great weekend too!

❤ Cristina