Priority vs. Passion

If you ever get a chance to read any of Mark Manson’s articles, I highly suggest reading them. Not only is he a talented writer, he’s direct and to the point. Brutal honesty. I love that, cause at the end of the day what else is left?

One of my favorite articles was from October 2015  titled “Screw Finding Your Passion.” In it he discusses the disillusion we have in regards to finding our passion. What we all fail to realize is it’s already in us, we’re just ignoring it half the time. My favorite quote from the article reads:

“Seriously, you’re awake 16 hours a day, what the fuck do you do with your time? You’re doing something, obviously. You’re talking about something. There’s some topic or activity or idea that dominates a significant amount of your free time, your conversations, your web browsing, and it dominates them without you consciously pursuing it or looking for it.”

See. Brutal truth. So, this is how I arrived at baking and fitness.

I literally have ALWAYS been doing these two things on some level my whole life, without even recognizing it.  With baking, I was the little girl who would pretend play at her kitchen cooker for hours cooking and baking up a storm. I was always by my moms side as she made a million Christmas cookies to deliver. I was the teen who did Ski Team in High School and the Cindy Crawford video in her living room on weekends. And not even one time  did this occur to me this was a passion of mine, until recently. Like, wow, holy shit….this is my thing!!

Lucky me, right? Not really. It comes with work. It comes with diligence and making it a priority. Sure it makes it more fun, but I also have to make it a priority. Cause let me tell you, there are plenty of days I wanna sit my butt on the couch with pre-made cookies and a glass of wine and do a whole big bunch of nothing. Problem is….that won’t get me anywhere.

So how does this apply to fitness with someone who’s passion is to sit on the couch with pre-made cookies and a glass of wine doing absolutely nothing? Well, just because fitness isn’t your passion or you have zero drive for it, doesn’t mean you can’t incorporate it into your life like any other priority. Shouldn’t one’s health be at the top of your priority list? Like if you’re walking around feeling like crap all the time, wouldn’t you wanna fix that? We all have things on our priority lists that aren’t also on our passion list. I mean, lets be realistic, paying bills isn’t exactly a passion. Yet we find a way to get the bills paid.

I think we have a tendency to feel pressured to love fitness. All of us on the other side, who really do love fitness, seem to take it on as our moral obligation to help all those others see the light. We cheer, encourage, support, throw out lots of “atta girls”, coach and coddle you through each rep. We want you to wake at 4am bright eyed and bushy tailed ready to get your sweat on!!

No. Just no.

I love working out, but that still sucks ass. So there’s that. But, I choose that because I make exercise a priority. There are days that I know that 4am is my only opportunity to get it in, so I go. So, sometimes we don’t have to love it. We don’t have to pretend to be that person who’s all excited to be up and at it with the sun. You don’t have to fake it if you hate it. However, you still need to do it. You can go screaming and crying all the way through, but you still have to get it done. If you want to look and feel a certain way, then you better put those cookies away, put a cork on the wine and get your ass off the couch.

Truth is, you may never love fitness the way I do. You may have to drag your tired, lazy, whining ass to the gym every day, but  you’re making it a priority. You’re doing something that’s putting you first. You’re doing something you can at least take pride in. And maybe in the daily grind of making it a priority, you’ll find an acceptance of it, but never love it. And that’s ok.

V~

On Giving Up

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I’m an eternal optimist, with a dash of sarcasm and cynicism. Above all else, my continual outlook on life is through rose colored glasses. Full of hope! Hope for this blog to take off. Hope for the awesome six pack abs. Hope that someday I will have someone who will do my laundry for me and I will never have to fold a stitch again! (that would be the sarcasm)

Sure I have doubts. Sure I have bad days that make all those hopes seem like far off places. It doesn’t mean they aren’t possible. Even the laundry service. Like that’s a real thing, right? It COULD happen. So why give up on my dream? .

Most of us drive cars. I’ve been in an accident before. It was not a pleasant experience. Scary, painful. Totaled my car, gave me whiplash, lost my bike rack and bike etc. AND it was my fault. Not a great day. Luckily the other driver came out unscathed. However, I did not wake up the next day and say “yep, over that! Not driving ever again!” I could look at myself as a failure. I could say I was stupid, made a huge mistake and drop out of the game. That’s not how life works.

We’ve all seen the stories of people who have overcome really adverse conditions to reach their goals. Whether it be the boy who came from the streets to be the first college graduate in his family. Or the triathlete who overcame a physical disability. Or the severely overweight woman who fought her way to be healthy. All these people had in common DESIRE. A desire so strong they would go to great lengths and fight some harsh realities to reach their goals.

So why,when it comes to fitness, are we so “all or nothing” about it?

Maybe we feel as though fitness is not necessary. Makes it easier to let go perhaps? That’s crap, because your health and well being are absolutely necessary. Maybe we feel like it’s not as important as other areas of your life? Again, crap. It is completely necessary to take care of ones self. Maybe you don’t really feel like vanity is that important. Who said this is for vanity?? That’s a judgy reason to not be healthy. There a millions of people who walk around daily without a six pack who are perfectly healthy individuals. Me included. Maybe we feel unworthy in some capacity. As if we aren’t good enough or capable enough to reach our goals. Now that is an area worth exploring and likely the culprit.

I do feel like there are two big issues at hand when it comes to the reasons we give up. One is desire. The second is self worth. I’ve had this particular blog entry sitting here for the better part of 3 weeks. I got busy with life (first excuse), had a small health issue pop up (excuse number two), kids (#3), I wanted sleep (#4) and the list goes on. Bottom line is I was blatantly choosing not to write. Although I desire to get this thing off and running, at the end of the day (which is usually the only time I have) I was choosing to go lay vertical and watch the back of my eyelids. So clearly my desire to do the work it takes wasn’t there. I have zero hesitation with waking up at 4am to get to the gym by 5am to start an intense workout. You’ll see me popping out of bed faster than you can say “swim suit season”. But to stay up late AND have to get out of bed at 4am? Nope. That’s what desire for more sleep looks like.

What I found, though, is the longer I went, the easier it became to come up with excuses. Then the easier it became to go straight to “I’m not good enough. This isn’t working. I don’t really know what I’m doing here. What direction am I going?” Blah, blah, blah, blah. So I stopped and applied the same focus, attention and desire I give to fitness (Which is zero fucking excuses) to my blog. Yes it’s going to take a long time to get it where I want it to be. Yes this is a huge learning curve for me. It’s wrought with new things I don’t necessarily want to do or have the skills to do, but I’m going to have to figure that shit out. I wanted it, now I have to work for it. Put up a fight for it. Even if it’s me who I’m fighting.

Same with fitness, you actually have to work at it. Put effort into it. Be present to make good choices. It’s hard, tiring, we get all whiny about it (me included). So what if  we have one bad day? Should we go all sideways then give up? No!! Let’s say one day I had more than once piece of cake, more than one glass of wine, on top of some other horrific food choices AND no workout. GAH!!

Oh well! Oh. Fucking. Well.

I kept moving forward because it was necessary. If I had given up right then and there, I’d still be stuck with no abs. If I had given up on driving after I crashed, I’d be paying Uber to drive me around. If I had given up on my blog, I wouldn’t be here to inspire one person to not give up. I desire it. I desire to have the abs. I desire to be fit and healthy. I desire to have a blog. I desire to drive.  So I do the work. Pretty basic, right? If you want something bad enough, you’ll make it happen. There is nothing more to it. You’ll trudge through the uncomfortableness of learning something new. You’ll suffer through the pain of a new workout. You’ll be successful at making appropriate food choices. You will do ALL of those things to get to your goal because now you want it. Put up a fucking fight for what you love!!

Your desire to change has to be greater than your desire to stay the same.

Then you’ll feel the shift happen. You won’t give up because you can’t.

V~

Can’t or Won’t

Don’t you hate it when someone says you CAN’T do something? I mean that right there is fighting words. Maybe I “can’t”, but that sure as heck doesn’t mean I don’t want to!! The moment we say “can’t” it triggers something in our brains. That fight or flight. The “Don’t tell me how to live my life!” mechanism goes into full swing for me.

What about won’t? That too, is a strong response. There are several things we’ll come across that are deal breakers. Things we just won’t do, like base jumping perhaps. That is something I won’t do. Ever. It’s definitely not that I can’t. I could totally go through all the steps it takes to learn how to successfully hurdle myself off a cliff. Plenty of people do it. That’s not my style.

Then there’s the lovely grey area between can’t and won’t. The can’t becomes more about that we “shouldn’t”, or the won’t is forced. Where we won’t do something based upon fear, rather than a knowledge of ones self.

I hear all the time: “I can’t eat that!” or my favorite “no, I really shouldn’t have that honey”. All the while you’re looking at someone who clearly says “yes” to everything else. Wait, is that mean? It’s not my intention. It is my intention however, to draw a direct correlation between desire vs. something they just won’t do.

So, lets say you’re in the early stages of a fitness plan. You’ve made the commitment to make healthier food choices. You go to a birthday party. You know there will be pizza, cake, sodas, beer, the works. You can choose to say “I won’t have the pizza, because I don’t want to” vs. “I can’t”. Which sounds better? The first phrase, right? It immediately empowers you with the choice. You’ve said no. You’ve set the tone for your commitment. Whereas “I can’t” feels self deprecating. Feels like you haven’t been given any other option other than NO.

When I set out to bake a cake (or any other thing I do for that matter) I ask myself what do I want to do? Do I want it or not? I never give myself the “can’t” option. Cause really, it’s not about that. Either I want the piece of cake or not. I go in knowing I will be eating the cake. I go in with a plan. I don’t feel guilty. I don’t feel bad. I eat the damn cake and enjoy every bite. I did get some looks though, at a birthday party when I didn’t want the pizza. I don’t know, sure I could’ve had a piece or two, but I really didn’t want to. Wasn’t in the plan for the day, so I said no. Sorry to the people who feel like they had to food shame me, but I didn’t want the Fing pizza! If I’m going to eat pizza, it’s not out of a cardboard box. It’ll be out of a hot deep dish.

So the next time you’re faced with a food choice (especially if your goal is to start making healthier choices), think about what it is you really want. What do you want more? The cake or the results of a healthier choice. It’s ok to want the cake! What’s not ok, is to have all the guilt, shame, resentment for wanting the cake. So once you say to yourself “yes I want the cake, but I won’t eat it” it’s SO much more empowering than saying “yes I want the cake, but I can’t have the cake.” Big difference!

Sometimes we use “can’t” to talk ourselves out of something we are just not willing to put the work into. I can’t do a pull up, so I’m never going to try again (that was me after many failed attempts). Little did I realize I could totally do a pull up, I just needed an action plan to get me there and a little courage to get over my “I can’t” crap. I would never, ever tell my child they can’t do something. EVER. They literally can do anything they want. Why would you limit yourself with so many cant’s? The question you really need to be asking is: “why won’t I do it?” Then you start to dig into the real issues behind the can’t.

So, here I’ve gone into the 3rd and final phase of my Jessie’s Girls 3K challenge and I haven’t filled you in yet! My stats: weight is maintaining at 128. I am noticing some leaning out though. I’ve dialed in my nutrition as promised! Watching my sugar. You may want to sit down for this……no alcohol. Yes, that’s right. Not even so much as a small glass of wine. Not that I can’t, I just don’t want to. I know how adversely it affects me. My carbs are going to stay at 185g per day. However, my sugars go down to 10g or less per day. I am doing triple drop sets now. Which means, first set of 5 reps is my heaviest weight load. Then the following two sets, you drop weight down to where you can lift as many as possible until you reach total failure. I aim for at least 15 reps before complete failure. If I bust out more, that’s a bonus!

It’s been a bit of a mental game more than anything. Figuring out what “to failure” feels like. It basically feels like hell. It hurts, I want to cry. Maybe even puke. But I do it. It reminds me of those times where I had to get a shot as a kid. You’re sitting there and you know the pain that is about to come your way. My mom would always say, “you can scream and cry as loud and as much as you want to, but you have to sit still and get the shot”. So I would. I would scream and cry bloody murder, but I sat perfectly still while they gave me the shot. It’s like that. I’m loving the challenge. It’s those moments of pushing yourself beyond what you thought possible is where growth and change occur. I live for that shit!

So I go along choosing this crazy life. I choose to bake and not eat. I’m choosing to not have the glass of wine after a long day (for now). I try not to base my decisions on whether or not I can’t do something. I simply ask: Is this what I want?

If you want to see what I’ve been up to this week food wise and see my progress, follow me on Facebook at Fit To Bake or on Instagram, @Fit_to_Bake_

Thanks for checking in!

V~

Success Rates

A friend and I were discussing the failure rates of blogs, especially fitness blogs. Suffice it to say……I may not be here in a couple of months. Yep, everything seems to go downhill quickly for us bloggers. If you think about it, there’s plenty of us to go around….some 164+million blogs. So there’s that. But then you add in the fitness blog world and the success rates are even lower. So I got to thinking “why?”

Well, if you think about the number of people who start a fitness routine, they usually quit within the first 3 months. Any connection there? Hmmmmm……(scratching my chin).

You know, its tough, right? You jump in all excited. You get your first bit of results, then things start to taper off. The discouragement settles in and next thing you know the bottle of wine, the couch and TV start to look more appealing. No different from us bloggers here. It can get tedious. You have to work at it. It takes time. It takes effort, research, planning, typing, late nights. Blah, blah, blah.

The food portion of blogging seems relatively easy. I mean, who doesn’t like to talk about food? We all like to look at pretty pictures of foods we want to try. What’s interesting to me, is I find the food part the most challenging. To find a way to be creative, not repetitious, is really, really difficult. However, what makes blogging about the fitness so difficult is this: You. The reader. It’s my job to keep coming up with ways to keep you motivated.

From an honest,” I love you to death, I want you to succeed and I will do anything to get you there,” point of view……how many ways do we have to say “Just Fing do it already!!!!” ? Right? Maybe…just maybe…it’s not the blogger so much as it is, we literally run out of ways to say: stop eating the pizza and eat a turkey burger instead! Put the wine down, get up off the couch and start moving!!

So then WE let it go, start drinking wine and watching TV instead of blogging. It’s a slippery slope my friends. That’s why I kind of feel like there’s a balance out there. You know, that beautiful world where you can have your cake and eat it too? Oh, wait…I’ve said that. That’s me.

That’s all I’m trying to do! Help people live a life in balance. Maybe, just maybe, that’s what will set me apart!

Ok……my progress. I’m starting week 8 today! Has it really been 2 months??  This last week has been fairly good. Could my nutrition be slightly more on point? Yes!! No excuses!! Gonna dial that in. And when I say more on point, I mean watching my micronutrients. I’m pretty spot on with my macros…its those sneaky sodium and sugars that get me. I need to resolve to take less BLT’s (bites, licks, tastes). I always hit it hard at the gym, so nutrition is going to take it all the way for me.

With that said, I’m down to 129 on the scale. Which I’m slightly indifferent to. However,  I’d actually like it to be higher. I’m hoping it stays the same with more muscle gains. I think going into this next phase I’m going to keep my carb load the same, 185g a day. This will help me continue to gain more muscle in the final phase of the program.

 

There is not huge progress week over week. I *try not to get too in my head over that. But it’s hard sometimes. I put a lot of effort, energy, time, tracking, weighing, measuring, sweating all day, everyday. I want to see it!!! I know it’s all there. It’ll show up. Patience. Consistency. Never giving up!

Thanks for coming along on this ride!!

V~

 

 

The Heart of the Matter

I’m a few days short of Valentines Day, I know. I had the privilege of spending some one on one time with my daughter while she recovered from pneumonia. It’s a stressful time. Routines  are thrown off, eating is thrown off, sleep, workouts….everything gets disrupted. Often times this leads to emotional eating. Which leads to emotional drinking. Which leads to cake, cookies, caramel, pizza, maybe a burger and fries. You know. We’ve ALL been there. But alas we forget the logic of it all. We get wrapped up in the emotion of it all. We let our heart strings pull us away from our brains!

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This is is SO me. I live by the rules of my heart most of the time. Although I can think logically (Victoria, you know how much those lulu’s cost. Put ’em down girl!) my heart (aka: emotional need for lulu’s) (yes, it’s a real thing) gets the best of me. Sooooo, then I come home with my bag of lulu’s. Sure they’ve made me happy, but often times there is some guilt associated with it as well. Now, I’ll be the first to admit that emotional eating has never been a huge factor for me. However, I definitely have my moments!  I used to do it more before I started eating a macro based diet. Other areas of my life get the best of me way more than eating does. Lucky me? Nope. But I’ll go through what my brain process looks like.

I’ll use this weekend as an example. Daughter gets sick………

Emotion: I could run a train on that cake right now

Logic: Throw the cake away Victoria. Eating the cake will lead to guilt, feeling worse, you’re just stressed, eating something healthier will help you, not hurt you.

Me: makes two Van’s waffles with peanut butter and a banana all weighed and ready to roll out the door to the doctor. Still satisfying and I can log it! Happy!


 

Emotion: I want everything in the store. The cookies, the crackers, the chips, cereal, ice cream, wine…….ooh looky here, Valentine’s chocolate!!

Logic: Listen, Victoria. You’ve got a sick kid, you’re stressed. You will likely end up not being able to work out. Think this through. How will you feel if you eat all this AND you can’t work out? Like a heffer. Just get some almond milk and some rice cakes please. It’s just a Hallmark holiday. You can do this!

Me: Buys almond milk and some Greek yogurt.


 

Emotion: I NEED an entire bottle of wine

Logic: Really? A whole bottle? No.

Me: ok, a glass will do.


 

So as you see,  I’m thinking through the process. How will I feel as a result of my actions?  Sometimes I just don’t care. Like, at all. But that’s usually only about 2% of the time. I rarely, if ever, mindlessly eat. It just doesn’t happen. Maybe I’m an over thinker. I am thinking about my goals a lot. I am considering the aftermath of my actions. All. The. Time. So there’s that. But if I didn’t, my weekend would have become a free for all of take out and sweets. That would have led to guilt, shame and a really bloated belly. Um, no thanks. Instead I sit here relatively well fed, only one missed day of exercise, not bloated, yet still satisfied.

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So, that’s one part of the puzzle. I just work through the emotion of it. I bring myself back to the logic of it. Food is Fuel for my body.

There’s literally no other person in the equation. It’s just a game between you and food. No one else. There are so many other areas in our lives that are controlled by things other than ourselves, which can make decision making damn near impossible sometimes. But food? NO. No way! Don’t complicate food when SO much of our lives already are. No one is out there force feeding you cake. Not even me! Sure, you may be thrust into situations where food choices suck, but you can choose to have only one slice of pizza and a glass of beer, rather than 4 slices and an entire pitcher.YOU call the shots. End of story!

Today I have no progress pictures to post. This weeks progress comes in the form of these thoughts and the fact that I didn’t throw my macros out the window of the 7th floor pediatric unit.  Thanks be to people who live my lifestyle and came to the rescue!

I felt successful this week in reducing my carbs. It wasn’t a huge adjustment for me, but I do see the results of it. Going into week 6, all my macros and calories stay the same. Workouts stay the same with the exception of increasing the weight amounts. Looking forward to hitting the ground running this week!

So, before you grab the biggest spoon in your house to enjoy whatever confection you desire……let your logic speak to first. Think before you eat!

 

V~

 

 

 

What One Year Can Do

How long is too long to see results? One month, three months, one week? When we evaluate our expectations of how long it takes us to achieve certain goals (especially fitness related), I find we become really impatient. Most other things we are forced to be patient in like college, pregnancy, baking a cake perhaps. We’re forced to wait with all of it. Sure it can be tiresome, but I’m pretty certain there’s not one doctor out there that would say “Wow, that class on prescription drugs was a complete waste of time.” What if I pulled a cake out of the oven too early because I just decided I’d had enough? Ridiculous.

So why is it when it comes to fitness goals, we’re all whining a month in, frustrated about our progress? Then we quit and wonder why we continually have to start over.  Just think if you didn’t quit in the first place! It just takes time!! Some peoples bodies take longer to respond than others. It really does require a certain amount of patience and determination. All good things come to those who wait AND work their ass off! (literally)

My fitness journey over the last year has been tremendous. I look back and think if I’d never started this new adventure. I would NOT be where I am today. I would NOT have started this blog. I would not have seen the potential my body has. It’s been very empowering. If I had stopped when the going got tough, it would’ve been, well, a month in.  It would mean not getting the booty I wanted. Not getting the shoulders I dreamed of. Would’ve been me and my baby biceps running all around town. That clearly was never gonna happen.

How did I do it? I didn’t give up. That’s how. Oh…and I work at it. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.

So there’s that.

This is my years journey following Jessie Hilgenberg’s e-book programs. First picture is beginning of February 2015. Second photo is after completing the Muscle Building e-book in May of 2015. The third picture is after completing the Bikini Body program in June of 2015. The last picture was taken just a couple of days ago, 4 weeks into the Muscle Building 2 program. By the way, in all of these pictures I never gained or lost one pound. Not a single one!! Pretty awesome.

This progression of pictures is me working every single day. Not just lifting weights, but working at making progress in some way. Tracking my food. Weighing my food. Being mindful of my choices. Working through illness. Working through injury and pain. Working through exhaustion. Waking up at 4am to get the workout done. Overcoming fear and failure. Not letting those railroad me into quitting. Spending an obscene amount of time figuring out my macros. How to get food to fit and fit my lifestyle. I need wine. So I have to make it work!

This is a progression of being consistent. Not quitting. Never giving up. Not getting caught up in the time it was taking me to achieve certain goals. Time will pass regardless of what I chose to do with it. So, I may as well just keep working. ANY progress is movement in the right direction. So just do something. Anything! Every day.

So, where do I stand today? Well, I’m still sitting at around 130lbs. Since going into phase two of the Muscle Building 2 program I have dropped the amount of carbs I’m eating. This helps in the leaning out process. I’ll be gaining lean muscle, while losing some body fat. So my calculations are as follows: 185g of carbs, 58 g of fat, 164g of protein, for a total of approximately 1925 calories.  Cardio will increase slightly and our weight lifting pattern has changed as well in a way that will speed up the leaning out process. Really looking forward to some big changes in the weeks to come!

 

We’ll get to cake later on this week!

Don’t let time dictate what changes you see. Let progress be the predictor of your success. Never lose sight of the small victories. It could be as simple as making a better food choice, when in the past you would’ve had all the pizza. Or perhaps last month you could only lift 10lbs now you can do 15lbs. Its all progress and with those small victories, the transformation will begin. Keep going!!

~V

 

 

Too Busy? Think Again. 

This has been one heck of a busy week. Painting. Kids. A Dog (a puppy to be exact), carpool, baking, working out, life. It’s just life. But we all give certain things in our life priority. For me, kids come first. Lately, the puppy comes in at a close second. Food. Then exercise. You’ve all heard the “there’s 24 hrs. in a day, you can find one hour to exercise” shtick. Although that statement is true, it’s actually more about what we are giving priority to. You say you want to lose weight or perhaps build a stronger physique. However you’re giving priority to other things. What do your TV viewing habits include? Perhaps there’s opportunity there. What does your lunch hour look like? Can you squeeze in 30 minutes of some weights? The dreaded 5am wake up call is daunting, I know that. I’ve done that. But if you want to make fitness a priority and your day is filled full of all the other responsibilities of life, perhaps that is your best option. Point is, you’re filling your day with something. What is it? Evaluate and adjust.

I make exercise a priority. Everyday I have to evaluate my day. What are the kids schedules? What school priorities are there? What needs to be done at home? What work needs to be accomplished? THEN I decide…..ok, what time will I go workout today? Is it that 5am alarm clock or is it a 7pm workout? I prefer to keep it regular times everyday, but that is not nearly as important as just getting it done. Maybe I have to break my workouts up. Weights in the morning and cardio at night, or at home. So, it’s just part of my everyday scheduling I do. We all schedule appointments every day. This is no different. Life gets busy and we need a way to be flexible, yet, not give way to our priorities.


 

I’ve reached week 4 in the Jessie’s Girls 3k Challenge!! I’m seeing progress. Although it may be small, it is progress. It’s in the little things you may not see, but can feel. My strength is increasing. My endurance is holding up longer. People come up to you at the gym and tell you that they didn’t recognize you because your arms are getting so big. Funny, but true. We tend to not see our changes quite as quick as others do.  So there’s that.

Week over week, here’s the difference. Last week I was around 131ish (I don’t weigh myself ever), I stepped on the scale this morning just for this and it read 130.4lbs. I’m currently eating roughly 2000 Calories a day. What’s more important is the macro breakdown of those calories. I consume 164g of protein per day, 59g of fat, and 203g of carbs. I also try to keep my sodium at 2000mg or less and sugar 30g or less. It’s funny because I’ve been feeling like a busted can of biscuits lately, which can be from any number of things. Sodium, carbs, water intake…you name it. I’m a woman, so you never know from one day to the next what’s going to happen. Which is why consistency has been the key for me. Every damn day. Gotta work at it.

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I have been changing things up a bit lately with my meals. I have a tendency to get stuck in a rut. I like routine, which has me eating pretty much the same thing every day. Which is ok, but after a while, that same bowl of Cream of Wheat and protein powder starts to taste like gross warmed up baby food.


I recently made some great purchases at Trader Joes. First off was their Fire Roasted Bell Peppers and Onions. I cooked up one pound of lean ground turkey with the entire bag of roasted veggies. I divided it up into 4 equal servings and would eat each serving in a flour tortilla. It literally took me 10 minutes to make up four meals! So fast and good!

The other finds were the Frozen Shredded Hash Browns and the Spicy Jalapeño Chicken Sausages. I’ve been using the Hash Browns as part of my pre-workout meal. Mixed with some egg whites, they are a low fat, high carb, high protein meal. Exactly what I need.

One of my favorites recently was a combo of the hash browns, chicken sausage and some whole eggs. This was higher in fats (not ideal for a pre-workout) but still a good mix, macro wise.

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I also purchased the riced cauliflower, which is good, but really low on carbs. This will be fine as I near the end of my challenge. Right now I need foods high in carbs……I’m eating a bowl full of oatmeal every night before bed for Pete’s sake!! Cauliflower isn’t working for me now. However, talk to me at the end of the Biking Body Program and I’ll be gobbling that stuff down!

I also had a fellow Jessie’s Girl post a recipe using the Trader Joe’s Buttermilk Biscuits baked with the Trader Joe’s Brie Bites in the center and topped with the Trader Joes reduced sugar strawberry jam. That was so delicious and one of the easiest things to make!

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Overall, it was a good week. Although it was busy I made the time to get my workouts in and plan my food accordingly. Having a well stocked kitchen is key for that. Making a daily plan was key for that. Making it a priority for my life was key to getting it done.

V~

For the Macro Counters

Ok. I’m the first to admit, not much on here has been “macro friendly.” But what makes something “macro friendly?” In reality if you really, really want something you can make that shit fit. End of story.

I was talking with a friend about this whole notion of macros, sugars, negative calorie foods etc. We both came to the solid conclusion that food is all about balance. You must find the right balance for you. In fact, I remember having a conversation with my mother about this very thing. If you eat too much of any one thing, no matter how “good” for you it is, it will eventually throw you out of balance. Kale is an example of this. Cruciferous vegetables are an example of this. When eaten in high amounts, it may affect your thyroid. Oh, you’re eating Kale at the rate of 100g a day cause you thought it was good for you? Let me offer you a brownie instead.

Put. The. Kale. Down.

So in comes the Macro crowd (yep, me included). A macronutrient based diet consists of calculating the correct amount of macronutrients (proteins, fats, carbs) to fit your body’s needs. So for example, my goal is to build muscle. Currently it’s to pack it on!! So, that not only requires protein, but larger amounts of carbohydrates. You can look up how to calculate your macros very easily on the web. It’s not magic. It’s science. You can calculate your nutritional needs based on what you want to do; build muscle, lean out while building muscle, maintain, loose weight, gain weight. It’s all about what you eat and the balance of it. What’s really great is you can adjust it as time goes on. If you feel you’re not seeing results, adjust the balance. If your body is having a hard time with the amount of protein, change it. Nothing is set in stone and every body is different, so it’s always important to listen to your body.

All foods have macronutrients and micronutrients (sugars, sodium). ALL FOODS.  So although a food may metabolize in your body in such a way that it burns more calories than what’s in the food, it still has macronutrients in it! There’s still fats, proteins, carbs, sugars and sodium. So in some way that food will affect how your body functions. Where are you getting energy from if it takes more effort to digest the food then the food has??!! The MACROS!!! All food has energy to provide. If all you did was eat food all day every day that required more energy to digest it than the food actually offered, well you’d quickly waste away. So clearly you can’t do that. You have to balance your diet to offer your body actual fuel for living. Again, science people.

We are all searching for that easy way out. That magic diet where miracles happen.  The other thing my friend said to me (in another conversation about another subject, yet it still applies) “it’s never gonna happen. Ever. So just move forward” She was right, unfortunately.

So forget the notion that there’s some super spectacular diet that’s going to change your life. Nope, YOU will change your life by eating only one brownie and not the entire pan. So there’s that.

Today, I’m going to talk about some healthy snacks!! I know. Crazy. But don’t fear, I’ll be back to my regularly scheduled baking soon. As in this weekend soon. So be ready.

I don’t often bake savory type snacks. It just doesn’t occur to me. However, the same friend had recommended I make Jamie Oliver’s Sweet Potato Muffins.  So happy she did! These were really good. Very dense. Very filling and really good for you! IMG_4578

One glance at these ingredients and you know they will be really satisfying and healthy. The sweet potato’s are the star of the muffin providing much of the bulk. Which then helps reduce the amount of flour you need in the muffin. The eggs provide the protein and fats. There aren’t any added oils or butters, making this heart healthy. The cheeses provide some added protein and flavor.

The process of making this muffin requires grating 600g of sweet potato. Say What?? That’s not going to work after arm day. Oh no! You’re going to break out the food processor with the grater attachment.  Other than that bit of work, the rest is really simple.

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I whisked the eggs a bit in a separate bowl, then added that to the sweet potato mixture. Added in the cheeses and flour and mixed all together. The original recipe calls for self rising whole grain flour. *If you can’t find the self rising flour, just add 2 teaspoons of baking powder per 1 cup of whole wheat flour and sift well.

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These little muffin tins were packed full!! Also, another little helpful hint is to use regular baking cups, but spray them with a nonstick spray. I used my coconut oil spray. He calls for parchment paper cut into squares and put into the muffin tin. No. No one has time for that. Especially after shoulder day. Just use the baking cups, you’ll never get that time back cutting all those little squares out!

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On top is a sprinkle of sunflower seeds and poppy seeds. Adds some crunch which is nice. Overall they are a really great little snack. Or if you’re like me and have to eat all day everyday, these are part of a larger meal, not just a snack.

I’ve also found some great buys at the store recently that are super macro friendly and are very tasty. First is a wheat berry, quinoa, Farro and Barley dish. Really hearty, low in sugars and high in carbs, with a good balance of protein and fats.

I like to add a little shredded chicken to this or as a side dish to salmon. I found this at my local Costco the other day. So far this is a keeper! The other find is a granola from Kind. It is also low in fats and sugars, yet has a decent amount of carbs, great for a pre or post workout meal. I’ve been adding it to my Greek yogurt for a mid afternoon snack.

It’s really crunchy with bits of raspberries. I found it at my local grocery story in the cereal isle with the rest of the granolas. Granolas are usually really high in sugars and fats (super tasty, but don’t necessarily fit my daily plan), so when I came upon this I was excite to give it a try. It was really good. Satisfying that granola craving without all the sugars!

Sweet Potato Muffins

  • Non stick spray
  • 600g sweet potatoes
  • 4 spring onions
  • 1-2 fresh red chilies
  • 6 large eggs
  • 3 Tablespoons cottage cheese
  • 250g whole wheat self-raising flour (*see note above)
  • 50g parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon sunflower seeds
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds

Directions

Pre-heat the oven to 350º

Line a 12 hole muffin tin with baking cups. Spray each baking cup with non stick cooking spray. Set aside.

Peel sweet potatoes and coarsely grate by hand or with a food processor. Transfer to a large bowl. Trim and thinly slice the spring onions and add to the sweet potatoes. Finely slice the chilies add half to the bowl and reserve the other half and set aside.

Whisk eggs in separate bowl, then add parmesan and cottage cheese. Add egg mixture to sweet potato mixture then add flour, stir until combined. Divide the mixture evenly in the muffin tin then sprinkle with sunflower seeds, poppy seeds and dot with the chilies.

Bake in the middle rack for 35 minutes or until golden and set. Cool on wire rack and enjoy!

Macros for One Muffin:

169 Calories ·23g carbs· 5g fat ·8g protein· 3g sugar· 150mg sodium

Enjoy the food you eat! Make healthy balanced choices and you will always come out ahead. It’s not magic…..its science. 🙂

V~