It’s Not Them, It’s You

There are a few things in life that when face to face with them, it’s really, really hard to say No to them. Case in point: Red Licorice. Red Vines to be exact for me. I love it. Everything about it. Soft, chewy, fruity.  I mean, lets be honest…who can only have one strand of licorice?? Just like, why would you only have one glass of wine?

But licorice doesn’t treat me well. It never gives back what I want. And it doesn’t really fit my macros. So a girl has to do what a girl has to do. She ignores it. I see it in the grocery store and I’m forced to turn the other cheek. At Costco there’s huge pallets of Red Vines in gigantic tubs; dream come true, right? No. Its torture.  I will turn on my heel, avoid the isle and go down the next one. I swear the ropes reach out to grab my hand. But I can’t. I just can’t.  At the movie theater, I turn up my chin and walk straight past the concession  stand. It may wink and nod, but alas, I cannot go there. If I pick up the pack I will never want just one strand. I will always want more.

See…they literally jump out of the gallon jug at me!

 
So when you realize this about yourself you have two choices. Either you give in to your craving, realizing that you will inevitably eat the whole pack OR you avoid it like the plague. I choose the second option.

I’m not much of a binge eater, however I do have a few red light foods. I get asked frequently how I can have all these baked goods in my house and not eat them. Well, I do eat them, just not in an all night binger kind of way. However, I rarely make the foods I have a hard time saying no to. Like cheesecake. Its bad. I’ll pick at that all day and all night long I love it so much. Carmel, well, we’ve been over that, it’s all the love in a jar.

Red light foods are simply those you cannot say NO to if face to face with them. The ones that once you start eating them its hard to stop. Hard to stop the picking, biting, mouthful, plateful madness that seems to take hold of every part of you.

Know your red light food list. We’ll use mine as and example: Red Vines, Caramel, Cheesecake, and Red Wine (no one can use this list against me in future interactions).

Ok, now how will you manage these? Not bring them into your house? That definitely works! Avoid the hell out of them. It may be what you need to get over the hump. It’s not them, its you. They likely won’t care. So there’s that.

If you absolutely need to have some, buy a small portion. Enjoy it at the movies or a friends house. For instance I would make a cheesecake for a special gathering where the majority of it will be enjoyed by others, not just me. Its a win/win for everyone! When I get the desire to whip up that perfect batch of caramel, I do so with the intention of eating some and sharing the rest. I hand it out the next day. It cannot linger on my shelf.

Lastly if it makes its way into your home, control the portions. Divide it up into small portions and store them away. If it’s freezer friendly, store it in the freezer. Put it up out of reach and out of site. I know. This seems unrealistic. I get it. I’m there with you….If the tub of red vines makes it into my cart, then into my house, they’ll find their way into my hands…and then, well, you know the rest of that story. But I thought I’d throw in a few tips just in case they happen to work for you. Avoidance. It’s my option of choice.

So if by chance your red light food, catches your eye with its charm, perhaps it even blows a kiss, that warm smile….Keep walking. There’s nothing there for you. ♥

V~

 

 

 

 

 

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~

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

 

 

Should-ing Accountability

What I SHOULD have done is gotten up super early today and published this post by this afternoon. I want Monday’s to be my accountability post from here on out. Especially as I  lift and bake my way through the Jessie’s Girls 3k challenge. However, I wanted to sleep. So now I’m up late doing it.

My decisions as of late seem to be at odds with one another. Where (I think) I should be and where I could be. Like this post for example. I thought I should’ve had it done by today. I was a little hard on myself for not getting that done. This was not from any external pressure. No one told me I had to have it done today. No one gave me a deadline. It was my own self dialogue. My own internal battle.

In todays world there *seems to be a lot of external pressures to be/act/live a certain way. However, I’ve yet to have person hold a gun to my head saying, “Victoria, you must build those biceps or we’re not going to love you.” Right? How we process all those external pressures, is how we arrive at our “should.”  Everyone I surround myself with is supportive of me (and the size of my biceps). When it comes to big life choices, no one was there telling me I “should” do any thing. It was me who was “should-ing” myself to death.

So, are we Should-ing our accountability?

I should’ve done better. I should’ve lost more weight. I should’ve met ALL my macros. I should’ve made that weight heavier. I should’ve not eaten that extra brownie. Well, you know what? Should-ing isn’t going to change any of that.  Instead own it.  It’s ok that all those things didn’t happen. No one really cares!! We care because you care about it. We care because of your health perhaps. But beyond that, it literally does not matter!! Own it and move forward.  It’s our own internal dialogue that gets us into this spiral. We can get stuck there for a time. Even when everyone is telling you, “you don’t HAVE to do this!” you do, because you think you “should”……….. and there you stay. Stuck.

And lets not get need confused with should. You’re probably saying, “That’s all well and good Victoria, but there are some people who SHOULD lose weight.” No, it’s not should, they NEED to. For their health. For their life. It’s like saying someone with cancer “should” get treatment. No, they NEED treatment. So the fact that you should’ve lost weight is a cop out. Did you need it or was it just a “should” statement?

I don’t exercise and count (almost) every morsel of food because I think I should be doing this. I definitely don’t do this because I think this is what I should look like. I’m doing it because I WANT to do this. I like doing it. I find it interesting and challenging. It’s really hard to be in any position when you think you “should” be there. Its miserable. So if you don’t want it, maybe you need it. Change that thought from “I should” to “I need” until you can get to a place of acceptance. Tough. Trust me, I know. But it’ll come round. Even if its “I need to do this for my kids.” or  “I need to do this for my health.”  Anything to get that “should” from stealing another moment.

Ok….On that lovely note…..Let’s have some fun at my expense, shall we??

So when I started my fitness journey WAY back in the day, circa 1995, I believe the heaviest I ever weighed was 155lbs. Now, on a 5’5″ small frame female that’s heavy. Plus it was NOT muscle. By 2002 I was down in the 125-130 range. That was my “I just want to be skinny” stage of life.

Then after having my first baby I was able to get down to 135 and maintained that for a very long time. But after my third baby, I was back up to 156 and wanted to get back to my normal self again. (read  the post “My Fitness Journey” for a more detailed explanation)

Last year when I started the Jessie’s Girls program, I was at 126 and I maintained that weight all the way through. My current weight is 131….meh…you know, a little fluff, some added (intentional) weight, PLUS muscle….that all adds up to about about 5lbs! I rarely weigh myself anymore. I’ve come to learn that the number on the scale is merely an exercise of learning what my gravitational pull on the earth is. I look at myself. I asses how my cloths fit. I assess before and after pictures. Progress pictures all the time.

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Far left hand was from February 2015 I weighed 126lbs, the last picture was June 2015 I weighed 126lbs.

So here I am today. Like literally only moments ago at 12am in the morning. After a long day and night of food and water……you can see why I chopped my head off of this picture. No need to frighten people away from my blog. I believe my current weight is 131lbs. A little extra fluff around the mid section as I take on eating a higher amount of carbs in this beginning phase of the Muscle Building 2 program.

 

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I’m currently in week 3 of the Muscles Building 2 program. I lift 5 days a week with steady state cardio 3 days a week and 2 days of HIIT (high intensity interval training). Each week I have increased my weights. At week 5 I will reduce my carb intake and continue lifting just as frequently. So that’s where the leaning out process will start to happen for me. I will start to really see all the muscle I put on during this first phase of work. Consistency and dedication is all it takes!

So as the weeks and months press on, you’ll get to follow me along this journey. Follow my progress and set backs when they happen. I will not work on what I should be doing, but rather what I need or want to be doing. What I need is all around me!

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~

It Starts With One Step

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I had the pleasure to hang out with a dear friend of mine over the holidays. We drank, we talked, we laughed and inevitably we talked about exercise. But it wasn’t what you may think. It wasn’t the typical treadmill, stairclimber, deadlift conversation. She only told me a simple story of how she had to walk to her car, up a hill in the cold, for quite a distance. She was surprised at how well she did! I said “Heck ya!!! Now do that every day and when that gets easy make it more challenging!”

It got me thinking…..does starting an exercise routine really need to be that complicated? I believe it does not!

So let me ask you?

Have you walked today? Walked up stairs? Up a hill recently? Lifted a milk jug? Picked up your child perhaps. All of these things are forms of movement. There’s really no need to complicate it. The ONLY thing that needs to happen is you actually doing it! Everyday. Anything. Something. Move. Bend. Shape. It’s what your body was designed to do!!

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When I was in my early 20’s the only thing I knew to do for exercise was to walk. So I walked! When I wanted to start running, I just ran. Wait……that sounds really Forrest Gumpish. Anyway, I went slow, I mean really slow, but I ran. I did it until it was easy. I did it until I could run up, down and all around anywhere I wanted. It wasn’t complicated. I didn’t need a gym. I needed shoes, weather appropriate gear, and my own determination. Easy. Right?

Yes. And no.

Yes because it’s not complicated. Like at all. No, because at first it’s hard. Really hard. For some of us, the fact that it’s hard and uncomfortable is hard and uncomfortable to get past. It hurts. It feels like you’re gonna die sometimes. You’re not sure if you’re doing it right. It’s exhausting. Blah, blah,blah. Having kids has the same affect come to think of it.  But they’re SO worth it, right? Well, so is exercise.

Anytime we learn something new,  it’s hard. It’s painful, like algebra for example. I SUCK at math. It was painful, but necessary, so I learned how to do it. Same thing with working out. It’s a learned skill that then becomes habit. Once learned and used everyday, it becomes something you don’t have to even think about, you just get up and do it.

Let’s talk about the basic skill of walking, which clearly we are built to do. How far can you walk? How fast can you walk? Get that heart rate up and steady for a good 30 minutes and you’re making a change. Do that until it’s easy. Then add in a hill climb. Or walking lunges. Or a small jog for one minute. You just build on it. Keep adding to it as it gets easier. One day, what was once your workout, will be your warm up. Don’t over think it. Keep it simple and just add on to what you’re doing.

Take my friend for example. She walked that distance up a hill to her car, right? Now,  she can take that same walk, (in her neighborhood or recreate it on a treadmill) and keep doing that exact thing for a week. Then add in another hill climb (or up and down the same hill twice). Increase her speed perhaps.  Just think,  if you kept building on that, how quickly you would build up your endurance!

Start finding new ways to get your body moving. Maybe a yoga class. Pilates is an awesome way to get started strengthening your muscles. Especially those with injury.  So good for the body! Get online and research ways to build muscle. That’s all I did. I was a total Pinterest stalker. I found all kinds of info there. Go to Bodybuilding.com…..great amount of info. Next thing you know you’re deadlifting 250lbs! (hey, don’t knock it till you try it).

You just have to do it. That’s all it takes. That is truly THE only difference between those that succeed at reaching their fitness goals and those who don’t. There is no in between.  Nike didn’t come up with the multimillion dollar “Just Do It” campaign for nothing. Simple and affective. Just Do It. So there’s that.

The other thing that I’ve found (especially over this last year) is to surround yourself with like minded people. If not to work out with, just for support. A little camaraderie. Those “atta girl’s” and “atta boy’s” go a long way. Someone to vent, voice, and brag about your success to is so helpful. It can really aid in your success. It’s amazing when you can talk to someone about that awesome sholder pump or that you hit your macros spot on all week. They not only understand exactly what you mean, but they know exactly how you feel because they’ve been there too!

Hearing an “Atta Girl!” is music to my ears!!

And let’s not forget about fear. It’s a huge stumbling block. Fear of failure. Fear of succes. Fear of what people think. Fear of pain. Fear of the alarm clock having to wake us at 4:30am. I’ve felt all those fears. Still feel all those on some level. Especially the 4:30am wake up call. What stops the fear is my desire. My desire to change regardless of any of those things. Failure is only in the eye of the beholder. So is success. Some may say, “but I didn’t finish the program all the way through. I was a failure.” Other’s may look at that and say “but you started. That’s half the battle” So make it about the journey. Make it about starting a new lifestyle, rather than a beginning that has an end. If you start and can’t finish a program, find something you can do. It’s not a failure, so much as it may not be a good fit for your life at the moment. If you make fitness a part of your life, there will always be a style of fitness that works for you.

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Also, self love. Speaking from a woman’s perspective, we have a really hard time with this. We find ourselves on a fitness journey because we are not happy with ourselves. We aren’t happy with the way we look, feel, move. We judge ourselves and others. Lets shift that way of thinking. Instead, start to make a change out of self acceptance. Do it because you care about your body. Do it because you love yourself, but know you can make a change. When you look at other women, don’t compare. All of our journeys are very unique. You may see the fittest, strongest woman out there, but until you know the struggles she’s been through to get there, don’t judge. Also don’t compare your beginning to someone’s years long journey. Often times the people we see on fitness magazines have been living this lifestyle for years. And it could take you years. I know its taken me a long time trying all kinds of things!!

So, I’m embarking on a new challenge myself! As some of you may know, I have followed Jessie Hilgenberg over the last year. I have followed both her Muscle Building 1 and Bikini Body programs. Loved them. They changed me both physically and mentally. It was a very empowering experience. She has started the Jessie’s Girls 3K challenge, which starts today! We had to pick a program (I’m doing her Muscle Building 2 program)  and do it all the way through it’s 12 week course.  The three winners get a visit from Jessie herself, $1000, Jessie’s Girl swag and have the opportunity to become an ambassador to all the Jessie’s Girls out there!

I had to think twice about that. Not about doing the program. Or even finishing the program. I know I can do that! What scares me is, what if I succeed? What then? Will I be good enough? What if I fail at it? All those silly little worries that creep into your head. Well at some point you gotta just kick that noise to the curb and follow your own advice! Take it a day at a time. One rep at a time. One step at a time. And just see where it takes you.

In the wise words of Dave Matthews (because I love the hell outta that man): “To change the world, start with one step. However small, the first step is hardest of all”.

And my friend? Well she’s taken that first step and still going!

Take your first step. You never know how it could change your world!

V~

 

 If you want to follow my progress through this 12 week program you can follow me on Instagram @fit_to_bake_    fair warning…..there’s a lot of pictures of cakes!!