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Finding the balance of physical and mental health through adventures and fitness

Tag Archives: weightloss

This week my manager and I were talking about my weightloss journey. He’s bulking and I’m cutting again. There’s also another employee who’s cutting for figure. We work at a supplement store so I assumed it would be common practice for the employees to be this way.

I showed him a transformation photo. Actually, I showed him this one.

He looked at it and then looked away. Then he asked to look at it again. He said it didn’t look like me, and I agree. I think there’s features that you can see of my current face in my old face. But it’s not me anymore. I’ve talked a lot about the mental growth that you can’t see in the photos that we all share. I’ve talked about the struggles that you can’t see either.

For me, this whole journey was about re-gaining confidence and pushing myself to new limits. Not only telling myself I can accomplish great things, but then actually following through. It was about proving myself wrong because more importantly this is for me and no one else. Taking risks and  learning a lot of new things along the way. I’ve told you this before. This isn’t anything new. This is what the journey is about.

But I guess something that we’ve never really talked about is happiness. We’ve talked about how goals evolve and how methods need to be flexible to support new and evolving goals, but what about happiness. What does happiness look like at different stages?

My manager kind of asked about this. He said you’re smiling in the photo, didn’t you know you were that big. Had this been someone online, I would’ve been pissed because that’s such an odd thing to say. But since there was some context to our conversation, I just explained – it was the Senior Ball during Senior Week in college and it was a lot of fun, I was still happy as a heavier person. As a fat person I was still happy. Size doesn’t dictate true happiness.

This I believe wholeheartedly.

Today I pull happiness from a latte or a homemade cookie from the farmer’s market. I pull happiness from a cup of tea waiting for me at the end of a long day. I find enjoyment from hearing that a client believes their week was successful even if there were a few bumps in the road – they are learning to not be so hard on themselves.

Before, I remember being excited for a nice day to be outside with friends on campus drinking a beer. Not wanting to miss a moment and being pissed when I was stuck in biology lab on a Tuesday night because night class sounded like a good idea at the time. I didn’t want to be left out. I found happiness in all experience – good and those to never be re-visited.

When people tell us that we’re fat or were fat or are getting fat, they’re not telling us something we don’t already know. I knew I was getting heavy, but I chose to not care. As my waist grew so did my defensive humor, and now as a more fit person my comebacks are fast and I’m considered witty. Go figure that was used to deflect before. When I started losing weight, I started for find happiness in places I never thought I would like the gym or trying a new recipe modification.

Clearly, I have always loved food and I am a self proclaimed foodie, but I had never been this creative in the kitchen before. Now, I’ve set boundaries. Not everything should be healthy, some things are best when the stick of butter stays or you sneak in extra peanut butter. Happiness is when JP will try some random creation and actually enjoys it.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t be sad sometimes. Go ahead and cry if that’s going to help. Scream if you need to, but try to not break your cell phone – nothing is worth a cracked screen.

We all experience sadness differently. Don’t think just because someone shows you highlights online that they are never sad. Some are just better at hiding it. I think frustration can fall into that as well. I still get sad or angry or frustrated when I don’t do something well that I know I’m capable of doing. Again, I don’t think size dictates how you feel about anything – you don’t lose your emotions when you lose weight. You may gain some perspective, but I don’t think you completely change your emotional thought process.

I look back on photos and try remembering what was happening when it was captured. Some smiles are genuine and others are cheesy, some have terrible angles because that’s how I thought I could make myself look thinner. No, Cristina, that’s not how that works at all. You just look like you have a broken neck – oh well, lesson learned. Also, duck face, not cute. Try again. I never thought about if I was unhappy. Of course I had times of sadness and times I didn’t like my size, but I don’t think I would’ve ever allowed that to consume everything I had. I had a lot of sadness and anger and frustration this fall and that was exhausting. Kitchen floor and all, but comparing my old life to this one including the fall – nothing can compare. I am the fittest I’ve ever been and something still triggered me.

I believe I’m the happiness I have been in a while and that’s exciting and scary because I love this feeling and I don’t want it to go away. I also know that means I’m going to have to work at keeping it. Finding happiness in the perfect cup of coffee and reminding myself that a 5-hour class on a Monday night is going to be worth it when I hold that degree. Look forward to each day at work because I truly love what I’m doing. It’s not just a job, it’s the hallway to greater opportunity.

I’m lucky that while some shitty things have happened, I have also had some opportunities line right up.

Today, look for happiness in places you don’t always seek it from. Maybe it’s five minutes of quiet until you realize the kids trashed the living room. Or maybe it’s not cooking the yolk all the way through – I hate when that happens. I hope you can wear a smile on your face because happiness looks great on everyone, at every size.

❤ Cristina

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You Are Enough.

That’s what this series has been called. It started with feeling in between. Feeling that I was in between going through the motions and picking myself up off the ground.

Dragging myself out of bed and crying on the kitchen floor.

blacking out. flashing back. struggling to be present. be mindful.

In the past seven and half weeks I’ve watched a lot of Disney, colored a lot of mermaids, eaten a lot of cookies, drank or drunk…hmm… consumed a lot of almond milk lattes. Tried a few burgers, walked around a lot, lifted more than I ever thought I could and working towards enough.

It’s more than just saying you are enough. I mean of course you are. But enough of or for what? If we eliminate the external validation, which partially caused the start of this mess, then you only need to be enough for you. But where is your bar? How high did you set it? Why is there so much prove to just yourself? When did the bar get that high?

I’ve been working on leveling the playing field. Bringing my own bar just a tad bit lower and working on building up to reach it without standing on my tip-toes. Does this mean I’m not capable? Did I say that is the better question? No, I’m capable, but when you set yourself up for failure it doesn’t matter if your WonderWoman, you’re going to burn out.

The expectations I set for myself professionally and personally were higher than the ones that others placed upon me. I know I can do great things when challenged and the bar before was too low. I was able to jump over it and that wasn’t the game I wanted to play. But it was more than the bar not being where I believed it belonged. It was the external forces that kept pushing the bar up and down and not allowing me to keep it steady.

The build up that became the trigger. I know, we’ll get to that later, maybe no today, but later. I promise.

The past few weeks I have found structure again through implementing PH3 from Layne Norton that bodybuild.com offers. I’ve modified a few things such as eliminating blood flow restricted sets because I would rather take them out than do them wrong. Even with the elimination of some of these sets, I have added volume to my total and I can feel and see change occurring. Structure makes me feel secure and looking back to September I was losing that security. It’s not that I lost the drive or motivation, inside I still had it, but when mental illness is another factor it doesn’t necessarily matter how much drive and motivation you have. Sometimes your knocked on the shower floor struggling to wash your hair. I’m not ashamed to admit that. I’m not ashamed to say that there were days that getting out of bed was the first step and getting the shower was a win, but getting out of the shower was triumphant.

Incorporating this lifting program took the task out my hands and provided me with something to follow while I focused energy on other things. It’s something I found challenging, something I found interesting. I can’t wait to get back to designing my own programming, but for the past 7ish weeks utilizing this program allowed me to take a slight backseat while I took the reigns on my nutrition and mental well-being.

I’ve figure out the appropriate ratios of macro-nutrients to maintain and sustain myself. It took a lot of playing, but I’ve figure out where my body likes to be and what that means for living life as well as what that means for when I do jump back into the pool and prepare to compete again. Understanding your body’s chemistry is powerful. This is something I’ve been working on with some of my clients – how are you feeling during the day, how are you feeling after eating specific foods, are you hitting your macros or nutritional goals? Health is more than the scale and in some cases more than measurements. It’s a feeling. It’s being able to step back and say “I feel good overall”. Acknowledging that the decisions you make can have an impact on your whole body like joint pain or bloating or fatigue.  As important as being a “healthy”body fat percentage is, these things I believe are just as important. If you can feel good, that’s half the battle.

As I’ve figured out my nutritional goals for this phase of my journey, I’ve been able to take more control of my feelings and look at myself most mornings and say “I like what I see, I like how I look just living life and lifting all the things.” No, I’m not in a bulking phase – I’m not 100% comfortable with that kind of eating and gaining right now. I’m in a slightly higher maintenance, but since I’ve minimized cardio, the total of calories in and calories out is pushing me into a very slight caloric surplus most days. Also, #cupcakes. I want to try all the cookies and cupcakes.

I’ve found purpose again. I’ve said this a bunch of times before. I never thought I would want to coach. I never thought I would be good at it. But, as more people have asked for help, I’ve reflected on what I’m capable of helping with. I know some people don’t understand health or life or goal coaching and that’s fine, but it helps people people realize their potential. This kind of coaching helps them create a plan or strategy for the week, breaking it down to be manageable – taking their whole life into consideration, not just the goals.

That’s what makes someone successful right? Checking off the tasks on the to list, no matter how small. No matter if the goal is to monitor body feelings or go to the gym three times this week where it fits, checking those tasks off makes you feel like you’re building onto something to reach something bigger.

I’ve been baking and writing and figuring out if I can truly eat enough cookies in the week while maintaining my measurements #thelimitdoesnotexist

More importantly, I think this series is coming to a close. I’ve been enough this whole time, I knew it in my heart – somewhere, but it was something I needed to determine for myself. Because my head and heart don’t always talk to each other. It was something I needed to measure in white chocolate cranberry cookies and almond milk lattes. I need to connect the lines and color in the mermaids to make the ocean look less intimidating. I needed to see if I could pick up the heavier bar and move it around without a lot of support to guide me.

I am enough every day. Even when I don’t believe it. Even when those around me don’t make me feel it.

So, please don’t stop dreaming. Please don’t stop reaching.Please don’t ever think you can’t. Please don’t ever think you aren’t worthy. You are all that and more. You are more than enough.

❤ Cristina

 


Last week was the third week in my reverse diet to maintenance. I’ve already  surpassed the macros that were prescribed when I was 3.5 weeks into my reverse before surgery. It’s pretty damn exciting to see what the body can do when it has proper nutrients. It’s also crazy to see how much food one can actually consume. Obviously the foods your selecting determine the quantity that you’re eating, but regardless, I’m eating more and maintaining my weight. Well, I was until the end of the week.

Let’s review shall we?
This was the week of the big move. Stress levels were high, I cried more than a normal person should and I had a little more fun with my food than I normally do. But it did start out good, well kind of.

If I could ignore Sunday I would. Holy hell, what a cluster fuck. We started to load the larger items into the storage unit to then break the key in the lock and get locked out of our storage unit. Way less than ideal and led to tears and yelling.

But then something kind of cool happen in the midst if that. A bunch of my Instagram followers have started using my coach as their trainer because a lot of them have seen my progress and then done their research on her. Cool and weird, but maybe it’s a sign that she’s a great coach. Someone gifted me a month of free training with her. I had already paid until July, but now I’m good until the end of August when we start prep. I cried because 1. I was already frustrated, but 2. How freaking crazy is that? Someone told her that I was inspirational and impacted them so this was their way to pay it forward – not the exact words, but yeah. I say it all the time- I’m by doing anything special, and I’m still always surprised when people say things like this. Maybe one day I won’t be so surprised, but until then I’m just going to be in the corner with my jaw on the floor.

Sunday night resulted in burgers and calamari. We had our first date at this place, it’s called Brew City. They have the beer selection for draft beers, but after the Sunday we had beer was not happening. From sweating through the day and trying to keep up with water both JP and I threw off our electrolytes. So salty food was slightly necessary and that point we didn’t really care about tracking.

It’s equally possible that we didn’t care so much that we also picked up a cupcake to share too… Oops, #sorrynotsorry.

I’ve moved on from my lack of tracking and I hope you do too. Anyway, Monday.

Monday was A BIG DAY because I got cleared to resume everything. My surgeon doesn’t want to see me until April 2017. We will take photos then of the progress. I was also cleared to not wear my garment unless I felt like I needed it. This made me so excited. I would be able to run again and not die in the 80 degree heat this summer. Everything is healing nicely and my scar looks great. However, I have decided to wear it during hard cardio because the impact of hitting the ground during a run or sprints is pretty damn uncomfortable at the moment. I also wore it while we moved because I swell with the heat and last week was HOT.

Tuesday was a more eventful day in a positive way at work; I had a luncheon in downtown and that meant I got to throw on my heels and put on a fancy dress. I bought this dress in March, when I was 135 pounds and toward the end of competition prep. It was at that point I knew surgery was what I wanted. I love this dress, but wearing it in March, in Florida with spanx on underneath was not ideal. I didn’t want that to be my normal. Wearing this dress on Tuesday made me feel like a million dollars. It fit how it should and hugged where it should. I never felt weird wearing it except when I had to remind myself that sitting down wasn’t making me look bad.

Tuesday night we cupcaked! After a successful day at work, this seemed right. I’ve become friends with the owner of Kadoodles near Worcester and after seeing her Heath Bar Crunch cupcakes over the weekend I was like I need to obtain those this week! I posted on their Instagram asking if they would have more, so she made two for me and JP and set them aside. So Tuesday we had 1.5 cupcakes because I didn’t realize the gave me two Heath Bar and I picked up a Samoa Cupcake too. Well, you can never have too many cupcakes, right? We had these while we took down the Christmas tree. We both were a little emotional about the tree coming down unwillingly, but this was the perfect way to celebrate. So we packed a lot on Monday and Tuesday we packed some more and the tree came down. Close to that chapter. 

Wednesday was a standard rest day. I wished I was at they gym in the morning, but instead I cleaned and packed. Then we celebrated Waffle Wednesday. I’m weird and I don’t care who knows it. I think Waffle Wednesday, Taco Tuesday are life. I have Pancakes EVERY Monday too. Yes, Pancakes get capitalized. As soon as these were devoured, we cleaned and packed away the waffle iron. It was a sad moment.

I had a work retreat during the day, which made the day go by fast, until out of nowhere I was exhausted. Maybe it was the packing and lack of sleep finally catching up to me. The stress certainly wasn’t completely released at the gym. Mid-week was kind of rough. But I stuck to my guns and packed my snacks and lunch.

My coworkers watched me eat 5 different times and drink 100 ounces of water. One clapped when I finished the jug off, he was impressed. My boss looked at him and said “you know she does that every day, right?” I laughed because I do drink a ton of water daily, but we all have offices so it’s not noticed as much, however, they all know I eat a lot of food.

Wednesday night was still as warm as it was during the day and we needed to escape the apartment. It was soul sucking to say the least. We took a 2 mile round trip walk to the grocery store. Picked up a diet soda and Powerade and then walked home.

My second leg day falls on a Thursday and during the move I wasn’t super thrilled to be leg lifting, but it needed to get done. So I threw on my crazy clothes and fit in my morning workout before the day got busy.

On the way to the storage unit we stopped for coffee because that’s what helps make the world go round. InHouse Coffee is a gem that many don’t realize exists. They make their own grounds and have ridiculous flavors like: Brownie Toffee Crunch. What do you think I got in my cup? So good and helped kick off the morning.

More craziness ensued when the bank started being difficult, but we had also stopped by the post office on the way home to find a lovely package from Alicia with the perfect note and goodies to get us through the next week. I’ve already tried two of the bars she sent me and I’m planning the others for this week.

As it turned out, the bank’s errand runner couldn’t come on Thursday after all, since the agreement never specified that I needed to be out by 11 am on Thursday, instead of the afternoon like had been discussed. We were able to stay another night and get the rest done on Friday. That gave us more time and meant more could be moved directly into the apartment. We wouldn’t need to get a hotel room like we thought we might and stress could go down a little bit. To relax, we showered then headed for the Farmer’s Market and dinner.

At the market I found a mermaid Cristina cookie and yes that’s what I am calling it and have been calling it since I saw it.

Since we knew dinner was going to be heavy, we decided to not eat it Thursday and instead we had it on Friday. The prettiest sugar cookie ever and it tasted amazing too! Dinner was from Mezcal, a restaurant also in Worcester. They have the best guacamole and even though we kept saying we didn’t need it, it came down to “Fuck it, I want it.” So we picked buffalo chicken guacamole out of a plethora of flavors to choose from. Sadly, it wasn’t spicy enough so we asked for some hot sauce and I poured it on. Sometimes I just want my mouth on fire.

My entree was my alternative go to – chicken fajitas. Typically, I eat all the meat and veggies. I don’t eat the tortillas, or I’ll only have one. I usually kill the salsa and guac too. That’s exactly what I did because yeah, I had already gone over my macros for the day, but I had also walked almost 7 miles and lifted for 10 hours. No reason to add more damage to the nutrition, but I also couldn’t get too mad at myself either.

See FitBit stats from Thursday below.

See? I really couldn’t be mad.

Friday was THE BIG DAY. After my workout, I came home to find JP already packing the van and cleaning. We were rushing around and I was already exhausted. My workout had invigorated me and then I felt knocked down again. I made breakfast, which was a special treat. I had ordered Doughbar Doughnuts and they had come in. So these were quick and easy to eat along with our egg whites before really getting the show on the road.

After some crap and people being ridiculous, we were out and at the new place around noon. We unpacked a ton and got a lot set up. We stopped by Birchtree for lunch and to pick up bread because they are closed this week for vacation. It’s very sad, my heart is breaking. We both agreed to keep it lighter for Friday night dinner, so we had Panera. Salads for both of us with chicken for protein.

We were so close to being able to relax. Then I checked my FitBit.

Yeah, thank God that was bed time for us.

Saturday. Well, I have never liked rest days and I had never been more thankful for one. So naturally I slept until 6 and woke up. I mean that’s late for me since I’m up at 430 during the week for the gym. Sleeping in is actually tough for me.

I did my check-in with Alaina keeping in mind macros had been shit the second half of the week. And aside from some lower swelling from the heat and lifting boxes all day, I felt ok enough. I think the photos weren’t too bad.

The scale, however, reflected the swelling, the increase in sodium and lack of proper balance with hydration.

Whatever, it’s one week. Shit happens. The guacamole was good. The cookie was good and my legs were sore AF from everything we had been doing. Something had to give a little and this was going to be it.

Surprisingly, Saturday’s meals were excellent, water was better and because EVERYTHING was moved into the new place, we had a lot less to worry about.

FitBit check?

 

And somehow 7 miles happened on a light day.

We did take a break from unpacking and cleaning to shower and check out the local car show that JP had been talking about for a few days. It was pretty cool. It’s mostly muscle cars. Lots of Mustangs in lots of colors. Of course, whenever something looked interesting JP stuck his head in to see the details of the interior and the engine.

After a day of not being as stressed, along with a much better following of my nutrition, I felt like a lean bean on Sunday when I woke up. I weighed myself just to see what the difference was and it was a pound. So down a pound from the morning before and up a pound from last week’s check in.

While I’m excited about my reverse, I emailed Alaina the Sunday weigh in from my phone and suggested that we hold of this week from an increase because I wasn’t hitting my nutritional goals last week and I know that if I do this week, it’ll balance out. I have new workouts in hand, I had emailed her in the middle of the week asking to add some specific exercises back into the routine and great minds think alike because she already had added almost everyone I asked for.

It’s going to be a better week. Last week, all things considering wasn’t terrible, just stress levels were high, I wanted to cry and there was more yelling than normal. I am still tired and slightly cranky like a 5 year old who missed nap time, but I’m optimistic about this week.

I dropped JP off at the airport a few hours ago and I’m actually sitting in a cafe in Wegman’s writing this. I do need groceries and I promise I bought a snack so I wouldn’t mooch their internet. It felt good to sit down and just brain dump the past week.

So overall – macros: on point until Wednesday and not so much again until Saturday. Workouts: pretty solid every day. My body kind of caught up to the pain on Saturday, but thankfully leg day on Sunday did help with stretch the muscles again.

I’m meal prepping some things tonight so nutrition can be on point. Bella is with my backpack so she can help pick out snacks. It’s weird not having JP here, but I guess this was our normal before and hopefully it won’t be our normal for too much longer. I’m heading to check out and see what Halo Top flavors are available. I hope everyone had a great Monday and that your Tuesday doesn’t drag ass like Monday’s normally do.

 

❤ Cristina

 


I’ve been doing this weightloss thing for over four years now, and I’ve learned a lot. I’ve learned about science and nutrition, I’ve learned about weight lifting and endurance, I’ve learned about myself and more importantly, how what you’re doing can attract both positive and negative people.

The past few days I’ve gotten a lot of direct messages on Instagram about my weightloss. I’d rank them like this:

  1. Most messages – asking if I want wraps to “fix” my stomach”

No, I don’t want your wraps. I don’t want your creams. I don’t want to be solicited. Many of these messages are coming from people who either don’t follow me/know my story or have been following me for a few seconds before determining they should message me about wraps. Clearly, almost all of these people are trying to get my business, don’t really care about my journey and truly don’t understand weightloss and the affect it can cause on the body.

  1. Many messages – asking how I’ve done, what’s the magic secret

First, these people are looking for a quick fix and think I have the answer. Most of them don’t follow my journey or haven’t follow for very long so they don’t realize that I have worked for over 4 years and that my journey has taken many turns, has had ups and downs and that I’ve had to change my approach many times to fit my lifestyle. The beauty about weightloss is that there is actually a science behind it. Everyone’s body reacts differently to different methods. There is no cookie cutter plan that will work for everyone because of a variety of factors. So when these people message me, I’m honest and I tell them I’ve focused on my nutrition plan a lot and that I’ve added cardio and weights as necessary. That I started with just getting moving and that I’m constantly setting new goals. For most, this isn’t what they want to hear and that’s ok, but that’s my story to tell.

  1. Some messages – thanking me for sharing my story, telling me that they can relate to parts of it and that I’m brave

Well, kiddos, let’s get one thing straight, I am not brave. There are a million accounts out there sharing their lives, sharing their weightloss, sharing their meal plans. This isn’t new. I use social media as an outlet to share my journey to:

  1. Hold me accountable to my goals. If I say it aloud then it’s reality.
  2. Show others that I’m a normal person, with a job and goals. I want to show people that to reach their goals, you can’t make excuses. I travel for work and I show how I plan for those times that it’s not convenient to be concerned about being healthy and my goals.
  3. Show others that weightlifting is one of the best things that have happened to me. Not just physically, but mentally. I can quantify weightlifting easily – I can tell you that when I started squatting I was using a 25 pounds pre-weighted barbell and that last Sunday I PR’d 150 pounds. That progress that makes me excited about lifting. It shows me how strong I am and that I am capable of more than I thought I was.
  4. Show others that every journey is different and mine happens to include flexible dieting. That I believe in true balance – even though by my dessert photos you would never know it. I believe in the powers that are pancakes, asparagus, chicken breast, protein ice cream and guacamole. I don’t believe in restricting and that progress is very possible with this balance.
  5. Maybe change the minds of those who believe that beauty is a thin figure without imperfections. I may be the most fit I have ever been, but I have a number of imperfections. Those that are visible are my loose skin, stretch marks, and deflated breasts from large weightloss. Those that can’t be seen are the negative thoughts I have about my stomach, the concern I have about going back to binge eating, and not thinking I’m good enough or strong enough to accomplish the goals that I created for myself.
  6. I want to change how we talk about weightloss, weightlifting, body expectations placed on us by ourselves and others.

I use social media to face my own fears and to help others as well – maybe they’ll embrace their imperfections or think differently about what it means to be healthy.

I’ve made a few posts that are really vulnerable, but that’s how I face my fear. I am going to be stepping on stage in 3 weeks. It’s not the first time, but this time there’s more loose skin. I do have a much better package, but that doesn’t make me any less frustrated that I don’t look as fit as I feel. There are 4 posts that truly stick out me that have received some positive feedback and as well as some nasty feedback. They’re pretty much the reason for this post and it’s length.

  1. Video of my stomach from April 7th

This video was taken post-gym and post-breakfast, but really shows how much loose skin I have in my middle. It’s received over 13,000 views and over 300 likes. The positive comments are:

  • how brave I am
  • how women who have had babies also look like this and hope that one day they are as comfortable with their bodies like I am
  • people are proud of me for the hard work I’ve put in
  • I am still beautiful with the loose skin.

The negative comments are a lot more fun, so here are some screenshots.

negative 1

not so bad

There are a few things I want to address with this video and the comments, even some of the positive comments.

  1. I have never said that I’m not beautiful. I know I am because my boyfriend tells me every day. Most days I feel beautiful. Some days I think I look like hot shit in my clothes and some days I don’t. We should not equate our weight or skin with beauty because you will constantly find imperfections and reasons as to why you are not as beautiful as the girl whose profile you just looked at.
  1. I have never compared my loose skin to someone else’s. Telling me that it could be worse only makes you looks like an asshole. I am 5’4”- my profile says so. I have lost 107 pounds over 4 years; length of the time of the loss doesn’t make it any less dramatic. Yes, I weightlift, but where I hold my fat and weight affects how my body looks. My loose skin is mine, it’s a reflection of my journey and at first I didn’t think I would want surgery because I did this to myself. However, over the last few months it’s been a bigger conversation because I have truly fell in love with competing and I want to be able to win in the fall season. I also become very self-aware when I’m active such as running, bending over and yes, being intimidate with my boyfriend. There are some clothes that fit funny because of how the skin sits on my body. So yes, maybe there is someone out there who has it worse than me and maybe they are coping better or worse than me, but I would never make them feel like they shouldn’t feel good about how hard they’ve worked or bad about how their body looks just because there’s a possibility of someone, somewhere working harder than them or with more imperfections.

There’s a lot I’ve learned going through different phases on my weightloss journey and the biggest one is that being fit can mean a lot of different things and weight is relative. I feel sorrier for those who think that how my midsection looks is funny because they have a skewed view of the world. This is my reality, it’s not pretty and it’s not always sunshine and rainbows. I gained weight and now I’ve lost it. This is the effect of that loss. Yes, it makes me sad sometimes and yes, it frustrates me, but that’s why I’ve decided to have surgery. Many choose to do that too. Does that mean that we can laugh because I’ll have a scar or a new belly button? No. Comments like this almost don’t deserve to be acknowledged, but at the same time its society that has led so many to believe that women specifically can’t have imperfections and must look a certain way. Men have their own standards too, but they’re not talked about as much and there is certainly not as much emphasis on them.

I would say: think before you comment. Read the caption to gain understanding of the post.

  1. Comparison of side profile – before lifting and last week’s check in

side by side

Please don’t compare your body to mine – I will forever say this over and over and sometimes to myself even. The comment has since been deleted, but a woman commented that she had the body I used to have and she wants the one I currently do. Again, I’m short so my fat is relative and so is my muscle. I’m in competition prep and that’s a very different lifestyle. I weightlift and I track what I eat just like I breathe. Everyone has different goals and methods. We are all at different stages of our lives. I’m 27 years old and I don’t have children – I never intend to. I travel for work and to me health and fitness is more than a hobby. This is my lifestyle. I have embraced it with wide open arms.  Comparing your chapter 2 to my chapter 50 is only going to make you feel like you’re never going to accomplish your goals.

Have patience because it’s going to take time.

  1. Morning ab shot

ab shot

Two things. 1 fat doesn’t turn into muscle. That’s not how science works.

I’ve gotten messages in response to this photo and I’ve seen some photos where people, both men and women, talk about how they want to turn their fat into muscle. Well, I believe some of you failed health because fat and muscle are two totally different things. You can maintain, gain or burn fat just like you can maintain, grow or burn muscle, but fat cannot physically convert into muscle. When you burn fat, you are just now able to see the muscle you already had. Loosing fat means that the number on the scale will go down. Gaining muscle also means that the scale will change. It may go up because muscle takes up less space than fat, but a pound of muscle still weighs a pound. This also means that if you lose a pound of fat and gain a pound of muscle you may appear thinner or fitter or whatever word you want to use, but the scale will be the same. At this point in my weightloss, if I wasn’t in prep, the scale wouldn’t matter much if at all. At this point, my coach asks me how I feel about how my body looks, how do my clothes feel and how do I feel during my workouts.

When I first started losing weight, it was 100% about the scale because at 5’4” and over 240 pounds, I needed that number to go do to see progress. At different points of my journey, different methods to measure progress have had more or less weight – per say, than others. Don’t tell me that the weight I currently am is your goal weight because I remember saying I wanted to be 150 pounds and a size 10 because I didn’t think I was capable of more. Well at 180 pounds I was a size 10, I knew I needed to reevaluate. I’m 133.6 and a size 2 right now.

  1. Stop being so surprised at what the body can accomplish. I need to be better about this too.

According to a post on Built Lean, there are a few things that should be considered when discussing abs definition and visibility. First, your body fat percentage. If you have a lot of fat, you’re not going to see a lot of definition or any at all. For women to start seeing ab definition they need to be between 20-22% body fat. This is typically the fit category and there will be some definition on the arms and legs. Women with 15-17% body fat, many bikini and fitness models, muscle definition will be apparent and there will be some vascularity as well. Women with 10-12% body fat, bodybuilders for example, will show striations and separation between muscles. Second, where is your fat place? If you hold your “weight” in your midsection, you’re less likely to show abs, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. We all have abs, some may be less strong than others, but when there’s no fat over them you can see them clearly.

For me, I have skin over mine. My body fat was tested a few weeks ago – I know we’re all so sick of me talking about my stomach and my body fat, but I was in the extremely fit category at 16.2% at 135 pounds. I’m 133.6 pounds as of this morning, so aside from skin, there should be ab definition. So don’t be surprised that you can see it. Also, on that matter, don’t be surprised at your own accomplishments. NSV’s and all, you set your own goals, if you accomplish them then be excited, not shocked. You know how much effort you are putting in, there should be no shock. Again, I need to be better about this because most days I wake up and I’m like “yep, wow, this is my body. Yep, I lifted that weight.”

  1. Comparison of my backside – before weight lifting to last week’s check in

butt

Time is usually on your side. Most people aren’t trying to win a trophy or medal. Most have goals to just live a healthier lifestyle. I am not trying to necessarily live a healthier lifestyle right now. This comparison like the side profile is almost a 2 years difference. It shows what weightlifting and tracking my macro nutrition has done for my body. This was not an overnight change. The day I started lifting and tracking was with the goal of competing 5 months later. I did take a break from the prep lifestyle, but I never stopped lifting or tracking my meals. Since January this year, I have been training for another bikini competition. I will have been in prep for 4 months when I compete.

Don’t say because my backside changed someone else will. The commenter below doesn’t follow me and didn’t look through my other comparisons that day, all he saw was that my backside is smaller, tighter and there’s definition in my back. My motivation is probably different than his friend’s motivation. My methods and body are my own. Comparing what I’ve been able to accomplish to what he believes his friend can accomplish is not the best way to go about supporting and motivating his friend.

comparison

  1. Protein gelato sandwich with a Complete Cookie

ice cream cookie

I don’t believe in cheat meals. I believe in flexible dieting. I also believe in balance – saying not right now, but maybe later. The moment you start using terms like cheating is the moment that you start to creative a negative relationship with food. I used to binge and it would be from being too restrictive. There are also emotional triggers, but that’s something a little differently – but still reflects a poor relationship with food. I admit, in the beginning eliminating things out of my daily consumption was necessary. These eliminations included chips, pasta, soda and random candies. They have no nutritional value anyway and aren’t very filling. It was easy to eliminate them. But when I log on, I see people who are almost apologizing for enjoy dinner last night or indulging in a cupcake. I think we know how I feel about cupcakes so indulge on. The problem comes from having a cupcake every day if it doesn’t work for you plan. You can’t get upset at your own results if you own actions prevent you from reaching your goals. That being said, if you can eat the cupcake every day and still reach goals then eat the damn thing and celebrate. I count macro nutrition (fat, carbs and protein) because it allows me to be flexible in what I want to eat day to day; it also helps me reach my goals effectively. I’m nourishing my body with specific amount necessary – no more, no less – for my goals. I do look at some micro nutrients as well such as fiber and more recently potassium and sodium, but not as closely. If I can eat gelato and cookies every night I will, but I also know that during the day I need to eat some veggies too.

Have I gone over my macro goals before? Yes, definitely. I eat out for work and while I track and make the best decisions possible, it’s hard when you’re not preparing the meal. Have I under eaten? Probably, again, if I’m not making the meal it’s hard to be perfect. Hell, it’s hard to be perfect anyway, but I’m usually within my goals. I’m dedicated to my sport and to my goals and that’s why prep hasn’t be hard for me, but my journey as a whole, has been up and down with both workouts and eating. That’s normal, that’s human. But I call it what it is, balance and life.

I’m probably going to start rambling, but I want to say that what I’ve learned is that it doesn’t matter how good you’re doing there will always be someone there to bring you down. I believe that you need to learn all you can because science doesn’t lie, just read everything. Treat yourself well because no one will treat you better – for me that means what you say to yourself and what you “allow” yourself to do, say or eat. Own your journey, be proud for others’ accomplishments, but don’t beat yourself up for not being farther along than you are. Evaluate your goals and create high standards, dream as big as the moon, but keep in mind the chapter that you are in. Lastly, put sprinkles on everything.

❤ Cristina


Being on prep you need to be creative with your ,even if you follow flexible dieting because it can’t be all Oreos and ice cream all the time. I eat a lot of yogurt, specifically Greek yogurt, even outside of prep because it’s a great source of protein and it’s one of the few dairy products that agrees with my stomach. It’s also flexible enough and can work as a dessert.

In college, I developed a sensitivity to dairy – I was tested and it wasn’t a full blown intolerance, but I’ve identified things that make my stomach very upset such as soft serve ice cream, milk and cheesecake. The last one kills me because if you’ve ever been to Cheesecake Factory you know that those are so hard to resist. There are so many possibilities of flavors and styles and now I miss out, but not quite.

A lot of people make protein yogurt or a protein pudding because it has a taste and texture like dessert. This is something I do often and depending on my macros I’ll add granola or fruit to it to round it out and make it more filling.

A few weeks ago, I found mini graham cracker pie crusts at the store and I thought it would be interesting to see how a pro-yo pie would be. My favorite pro-yo to make has cinnamon swirl whey in it and when made with a few other ingredients, it tastes just like cheesecake.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • vanilla extract
  • water
  • plain Greek yogurt: 5.3 ounce container or 150g
  • Splenda
  • 1/2 scoop flavored whey – the kind and brand will change your macros
  • mini graham cracker pie crust
  • Optional items: sprinkles, oreos, whip cream

 

Directions

  1. In a bowl, scoop your yogurt out of the container. I buy the individual yogurt cups when I make this so it’s easy to measure. I also use fat free yogurt, but you can also use 2% if you need the fat macros.
  2. Add 3 tablespoons of water to the yogurt and mix slowly. This will thin it out and make it easier to add the whey later.
  3. Once the yogurt and water are mixed out completely, add a teaspoon or two of vanilla extra. This is more to your own taste. You don’t need a lot, but I like a little more vanilla than most.
  4. Add in whey. This is completely up to you on the flavor and the amount. When I made this a few weeks ago I used 7g of chocolate chip cookie dough whey because it was the last of the container – I added a little more vanilla. Tonight when I made this recipe, I used half a scoop of cinnamon swirl. So if you want more protein then add a little more whey, but remember to add a little more water because it’ll be really thick otherwise.
  5. This is the part I usually taste the mixture and decide if and how much Splenda I need to add. Half to one teaspoon is usually enough.
  6. You can either choose to mix in other things like sprinkles or a crushed up Oreo if you want to, but if you don’t, just scoop some of the mix into the pie crust. Not all of the mixture will fit, but that’s why you have a spoon.
  7. Set in the fridge for about 30 minutes to an hour. I usually make this the afternoon I know I want it for dessert.

The macros for the basic recipe are: 5.3F/20.5C/28.5.

Below are some photos of a variation I made adding in half an Oreo and using the other half as a decoration.

My friend gave me this because I “had”to try the flavor, but she knew I didn’t want a box in the house

 



 


 

❤ Cristina


No matter the task you’re taking on, there will be challenges of varying levels. This is a given, nothing is easy. When I started my weightloss journey, I didn’t have a support system or any one person who had verbalized that they believed in me. It was clear to me that to be successful, this had to be about me, for me, and I had to believe that I could accomplish the goals I was creating for myself.

Let me say, that this journey should be about you anyway. It shouldn’t be about getting someone to notice you. It should be about your health, how you feel about yourself and you should be slightly selfish in your goals. No one will make you successful, but they can help support you and give you tools that will lead to success when combined with hard work.

The simple definition of a support system from Merriam-Webster is:

 A group of people who someone help, encouragement, etc.

A more complex definition is:

A network of people that provide an individual with practical and emotional support.

As my journey has evolved and my goals have become more complex, I’ve learned that I can’t do this on my own. It took a lot for me to admit it, but while I had been flexible dieting and macro counting for over a year, I knew I need more guidance when it came to determining when and how to adjust my nutrition. I also had hit a wall in my lifting. I felt great about my lifts, but as far as configuring optimal workouts, I didn’t feel confident that I would have much success.

It’s okay to ask for help

I’ve talked about working with a trainer on my instagram page. We started working together in October and not only has my body changed, but mentally I feel like I’m in a really great place. Working with her has been a partnership. She listens when I say there’s something wrong, like the time I had a tendon rolling over in my wrist and it hurt to curl or the time I had lactic acid build up in my shoulder and it was preventing maximum mobility. She adjusted my workouts while I worked with my chiropractor to fix the physical issues.

When it comes to eating, as long as it fits it gets eaten. This creates balance because ice cream doesn’t always fit, but it also means I don’t need to overload on the veggies either – I learned this hard way. This means that she lets me experiment in the kitchen as long as I’m hitting my macro nutrient goals. Bring on yogurt bowls and vegan stuffed brownies!

*side note – according to the latest nutritional report from the CDC the average American only need 14g of fiber per 1,000 calories consumed – I was consuming way too much for the amount of food I was eating and it was causing some digestive issues.

She does more than just design my workouts and adjust my macros based on my progress. She’s there when I have questions or concerns about my progress. She’s reminded me to trust the process and to not freak out – or at least minimize the freaking out during prep. She is the professional that I hired to keep me on track, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t try to turn to my friends too.

You learn who supports you at your craziest

Throughout this journey I’ve learned who is here for me and who isn’t. Those who are here for me have been willing to listen and learn about why I’m competing or why I’ve lost as much weight as I have. Those who weren’t truly supportive, well, they’re no longer in the picture and it’s not my loss.

My friends have been extremely important in this process. Educating them can be fun and it can be a pain in the ass. The fun part is when they’re willing to experiment with food with you – thanks Jessica for enduring my burrito bowls, protein pancakes and scale portioned meals. The pain in the ass part is when they forget that you’re in dry prep – yeah JP, no bourbon. Or when they don’t realize that brunching in town may kill all your food for the day – looking at you again babe. But the fun part again, is when they tell you that they don’t get it, but they’re proud of you because they know it’s important to you – oh those college friends of mine.

It’s also ok if you don’t have friends physically close to you that don’t understand what you’re doing and why. This isn’t just about my journey, but all journey’s. Because of the stereotypes out there about weightlifting, some of your friends may try to tell you to not try hitting the weight room. Because of other myths about nutrition, some may tell you that you can only clean eat or only calorie count to lose weight. The truth is we are all different and we need to try different methods. For some it’s seeing or doing it that confirms if it’s the right step for them.

I tried macro counting with a clean eating focus during my last prep – by the end I wanted all the limited edition Oreos, that’s when I decided to just macro count and try to make good decisions. I’m down almost 36 pounds from macro counting: the first 24 from clean eating, then I gained 10 pounds back post-show when I wasn’t clean eating or tracking as carefully, then lost 22 with 100% flexibility. I had to learn that it’s ok to stare at the Oreo’s and eat them in moderation. But I wouldn’t have tried being 100% flexible if it hadn’t been for some of the lovely friends I had made on social media.

My friends mostly live in my phone

While I agree, there are aspects of social media that are damaging the new and even some of the older generations, I also believe there’s a lot of good coming from it. For me, it has been about connecting to like-minded people with similar goals and dreams, but maybe different methods. I met Sarah, you probably know her as @fit_badger15, in September 2014, but we started texting and sending each other care packages in December 2014. It’s been over a year since that started. Every month we send the craziest things from protein bars and hot cocoa to t-shirts and mugs. We’ve exchanged Christmas gifts and she sent me goodies from her trip in Ecuador. I also send her postcards while I travel for work. It was Sarah who introduced me to the Bikini Body Guide, or BBG. It’s circuit style training and at the time I needed something new – it was pre-Alaina and post-1st bikini competition. I wasn’t 100% sure what I wanted and with her assistance, I dove into BBG and got to my lightest weight at the time 149 in June 2015.

I met Tresa or @not_a_runner in the summer of 2015 and I met her as she was determined to be a powerlifter. Now she’s not so sure, but she knows she loves lifting and that her health is equally as important as her strength. Similar to Sarah, Tresa and I send each other care packages and text more often than I do with friends I’ve known longer. She’s helped me get comfortable with lifting, but also push myself to lift heavier and be confident that I can finish a set. Because of her my squat max increased 25 pounds throughout the fall before I started prep.

The other day on instagram I had posted about the army of people behind me, most of which I have never actually met in person. Maybe I log on too much, but sometimes I need a little reassurance – I believe we all need reassurance sometimes. We need someone there who will believe in us when we don’t. People, who will equally tell you to act like an adult, put on your big girl pants and get your shit together, while in the same breathe tell you it’s okay to feel like crap every now and then.

The support system, whether made up of people you see every day or people you can only “pen pal” with, is important for success. The journey needs to be about you, but it needs to somehow encompass people who can help push you when you want to stand still and help give you the confidence you need when all you want to do is sit on the floor and eat peanut butter. My hard work has gotten me this far, but it’s been paired with someone else’s guidance the past few months and support that I have found in the most unlikely of places.

❤ Cristina

 


I have a sweet tooth, but I try to keep it tame. I had been researching protein mug cakes on Pinterest because where else would I look for recipes like that. In my time searching I found two different pre-made, buy it now microwave muffins. The first is made by the fabulous people who bring us Power Cakes and Kodiak Cakes Pancake mix.

With a number of flavors on the shelf, my basic white girl came out and I immediately grabbed the pumpkin muffin… I may have also grabbed double chocolate because YES. Keep in mind this isn’t a type muffin that you bake in the oven. It’s much more dense and wayyy more moist. Add a little water, stir and microwave for 1 minute, give or take a few seconds and viola! Perfect pumpkin muffin and it’s only August.

Makers of Kodiak Cakes now make muffins!

The second muffin is one I actively sought out because it’s from Flap Jacked the makers of protein pancake mix that I buy religiously. These take 30 seconds in the microwave and are super fluffy and moist. They’re a lot more filling than you would imagine, but I suspect all that protein has something to do with it. Now if only they had a carrot cake one or pumpkin one with that much protein and I would be in heaven. These are new to their product line up, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed for new flavors in the future!

❤ Cristina


Today closes the first week back into BBG mode. I’m pleased with the circuits and totally forgot how much leg and cardio combo day kicks my ass. It’s not that I can’t handle squats or lunges, but the design of the circuit is definitely a mind-fuck for your legs. Before they realize what they’re doing, you’re done with the circuit and wipe out. My legs were a good sore until about Tuesday, but so be it. Progress doesn’t happen from sitting on your peach.

For two cardio days, I worked on running intervals. I have a timer that I use to set rounds. I do 20 rounds, 45 seconds of running with a 15 second break. Depending on how my legs and hips feel – mostly my hips – I vary the pace. Most days I start with a 6.1 or 6.2 on the treadmill and add .1 mph every few rounds until about 7.0. Other days I will stay between 6.2 and 6.7 and be happy. Regardless I try to get at least 2 miles in, even if it means a good run when the rounds are done. 4.14 miles added to my shoes this week.

My goal is to make all my cardio days, running days. I also want to start adding a few more rounds every few weeks to the intervals. I like how I feel when I run and finish a solid distance in good time. It’s the same feeling I get when I hit a new PR in lifting. Completely satisfied and ready to set a new goal.

I’ve planned out my meals for tomorrow and Saturday, and I will be working on Sunday’s meal plan tomorrow – since I do my grocery shopping on Saturdays.

Here’s my week in photos. What have you accomplished this week that you’re excited about?

 

#TransformationTuesday

#yolkporn

Post-run “my outfit is awesome” selfie


Baby biceps


#ThrowbackThursday post: Left- 240+, Middle: 175, Right: 153ish


Two weeks difference: July 21 v August 4

 

New goodies to try

 
❤ Cristina