Competition Update: 3 weeks in to prep

Happy Hump Day!

As promised, I am trying to keep peeps up to date on prepping for my “stage debut” as it is called :) It’s not because I think people are preoccupied with my lifestyle choices, but because there are probably some ladies thinking about competing (or even just taking part in prep) and may find this helpful. So here we go…

OK, so last week I took my official measurements (wowza! but I didn’t cry!) and entered into an online competition that coincides with the date of my upcoming stage comp. My hopes are that this will keep me FOCUSED! Yeah, that’s the plan. So, let me break down what’s been happening since last week:

  • First of all, can I be painfully honest? I wake up every morning thinking this is a HORRIBLE idea! :) True story. I say this because there are many of you reading who think once you have a “fit” lifestyle that it’s easy to maintain. NOT. I am sore every day and always on the verge of chucking it. Hey, I said I would be honest. So, what keeps me going? Well, once I get moving the soreness really isn’t all that bad. I strive to work smarter each day, not harder, and I’m trying more preventative techniques. It really does help to have a specialty in corrective exercise! The main thing that keeps me going is my family though. My husband supports me 110% and has even started joining me on track workouts (along with the new puppy). My kids tell me they believe in my and my daughter even made me an awesome sign to hang up in my home gym to keep me moving forward. Focus on the end goal, not the little things in between.
  • My nutrition has taken a hit as I have shown some oddities when it comes to certain foods. In short, I’m showing signs of intolerance to egg whites and dairy. I said EGG WHITES people! Egg whites and show prep go together like rice and beans. So, I’m adjusting and re-calculating. It’s times like these that I can fall back on protein powders (whey doesn’t seem to bother me) instead of real food. Protein powders are awesome and have their place, but real food needs make up the majority of the diet.
  • The new dog ate my glasses this weekend…doesn’t have much to do with prep except I’m feeling exceptionally old as I cannot see and must remember to make an eye appointment :)
  • My seasonal boot camp has started! I love this time of year as hopeful ladies come together in one room with the goal of improving not only their quality of life, but their outlook as well. Due to boot camp, my schedule if being played with until I find what works best for me. This morning I did yoga instead of cardio. Why? I taught kickboxing from 7-8 last night and though I felt like a true rockstar while teaching, my body felt like an aged rockstar this morning :) Again, the world was coming to an end UNTIL I got moving and worked the kinks out. Upper body and boxing are on deck for this afternoon in between clients.
  • I’m still trying to manage the inflammation my body seems to really dig. I woke up yesterday morning with a full body rash (lovely) and swollen face and limbs. Chalk it up to something ingested and since my diet is bland, I blame something along the lines of supps or environment. At any rate, Benadryl knocks me clean out!

So, as you can see, competition prep certainly has its ups and downs. I am attending a SUPER FUN Fitness Expo at my hometown prep gym Metroflex Houston this weekend. This will help keep my motivation up. Just remember, whether you’re competing on the stage or simply competing with yourself…always keep your eye on the goal because you’ll never know if you CAN until you actually DO.

Peace, love and lunges!

Michelle

20140122-094446.jpg

The glasses-eating dog after booty day :)

20140122-094515.jpg

Track workout! I even let him have my water

Be a Calendar Girl!

One of the biggest issues we face in the kitchen begins at the grocery store. Do you know your seasons?

The majority of your time (and basket space) should be taken up in the produce section, but it can be difficult to know what is “in” and what’s out. Nowadays you can eat just about anything in any season you want right? I know here in South East Texas we usually have Summer, about a week of possible winter and several weeks at any given time of the year that may feel like Fall or Spring :) So what’s a fit gal or guy to do? I have that covered with this handy list of in-season produce to get you through your warmer months.

Spring:

  • Apricots
  • Artichokes
  • Asparagus
  • Broccoli
  • Red Leaf Lettuce
  • Chives
  • Collard Greens
  • Swiss Chard
  • Honeydew Melon

Summer:

  • Tomatoes
  • Raspberries
  • Garlic
  • Strawberries
  • Bell Peppers
  • Butter Lettuce
  • Eggplant
  • Grapes
  • Green Beans
  • Peaches
  • Blueberries
  • Zucchini
  • Endive

These are just a few of the staples for the warmer seasons. A good rule of thumb when shopping the local grocer is to shop on the cheap. No really, look for bargains in produce! If it’s in-season then it is producing like crazy. The more of these types of produce, the fresher they are and the cheaper the cost. Why? Well, since it’s in-season the store gets more of it. Think about trying to grill asparagus in the dead of winter….it can be super expensive for one little bunch! But come May you can grab asparagus on the cheap AND enjoy more health benefits since it’s actually in its season and didn’t need any intervention to grow. Right now, strawberries are going down slightly in price, but they are still a bit tart in taste. Their season will come in the Summer and prices will cheaper while the fruit is sweeter! It really is a win/win situation when it comes to buying in-season.

Apples are a staple in my home, but did you know that they truly don’t come in season until Fall? So, what if you subscribe to the “apple a day” adage? Choose the ones on sale at the grocer. These are usually a different variety of apple (shipped from up North to here usually) and can come into season just a bit early.

The most annoying thing about produce is dropping your hard-earned cash and then it goes bad right? That’s another reason to know your seasons. Unless you live in the tropics (lucky you!) bananas are shipped in and can ripen and rot SUPER quick in the Summer. You don’t have to stop eating them, just buy smaller bunches. If you notice they’re ripening before you’re ready, peel them and pack them for the freezer. Frozen bananas make great smoothies and really awesome ice cream for finicky taste buds. Frozen fruits and vegetables work well when you can’t find what you need in season. They are usually cheaper and last longer. I encourage everybody to keep them on hand, just don’t replace all your fresh food with them!

Eating Clean doesn’t have to be super expensive and it certainly isn’t boring. When you eat in-season, your menu is constantly changing. Go with the flow and celebrate nourishing your body. Your body will then thank you later :)

Stay healthy,

 

Michelle

 

A Great Place to Start

I think I was raised in a typical household. Both of my parents worked hard and there was little emphasis on eating healthy. I dare say we really were unaware of what healthy eating entailed. My mom was a chronic dieter with a terrible body image, so I began to associate certain foods as “diet” foods. In other words, I only ate my veggies when mom was on a diet :) Many of us were brought up this way as it was truly the norm in the 80′s and 90′s. You couldn’t flip through the television without infomercials of the latest fad diets being thrown at you. Well, this altered perception of “nutrition” has lead┬áto an even trickier path. Many who were raised during this time (Gen X gimme a WHAT?!?!?) have developed severe issues with health and many are suffering from disease brought on by non-nutritional intake and obesity. Many have even turned to surgery and most bariatric┬ásurgeons are all too willing to accommodate and even go so far as to tell patients that surgery is “Their only hope”. That is a whole other post entirely…..

So, in the wake of the ill-health avalanche we find ourselves in, there are others suffering even worse fates: let’s not forget about the kids. I know I’ve said this before, but this IS the very first generation that is predicted to die BEFORE their parents. Do we grasp that reality? We tend to push it back in the back of our minds and allow Johnny that dessert since we really don’t feel like putting up a fight about it right now. Sad, really. So, how do we know that this generation is in trouble? Well, the CDC gathered up the data: children as young as 2 years old are now being diagnosed with heart disease, high blood pressure, clinical obesity, type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, and joint issues associated with poor nutrition and obesity. Now, before we continue I think it is important to address one issue that I see arise all the time: a lot of people think that if their child is “skinny”, or not holding extra weight, that they are in the clear. WRONG. Just because a kid has some weight on their bones doesn’t make them unhealthy, and a seemingly slender child is not always the healthiest. It’s not what you look like from the outside, it’s the lifestyle as a whole.

So, why all this information again? I find that due to a lack of nutritional understanding, many are unable to truly instill a healthy lifestyle into their children. In other words, you let your bad relationship with food seep into the next generation. Before you shake your head and say “not me” read through this:

  • Do your kids have their own “special foods” on hand regularly? Foods that you try to stay away from like candies and cookies?
  • Do you reward your kids with food? Good grades=dinner out
  • Do you bribe your kids with food? Good behavior=candy bar, chips, coke, etc.
  • Do you punish your kids using food? Bad behavior=no dessert
  • Do you allow your tastes affect your kids? Your kids don’t eat certain veggies because you don’t
  • Are family outings/trips enhanced with food?
  • Do you give in to fits for certain foods?
  • Do you label foods as “good” and “bad”?

These are some of the basics of poor nutrition leading to more serious eating and health problems. I have seen this situation so many times: a mom decides to take control of her own health and fitness. So, she begins a plan, and it can be a healthy eating plan, but continues to buy the “kids food” that does their growing bodies no favors. People tend to think that since children are “growing” we can allow for more diet “mistakes” since they have time to figure it out later. Let me ask you this: if you have struggled with food and weight issues your whole life, would it not seem better to equip your child for success rather than continue to shovel bad habits into their psyche so that they end up in the same boat as you IF not worse? THINK BEFORE YOU DO! If you wouldn’t eat it, why do you give it to your kids? Right now, we are being faced with the fact that children are not as resilient as we once thought. So, what can we do?

First, don’t panic! We can change the face of the future one small step at a time :) Pick 1 or 2 of the following to start doing each week and look for the changes:

  • Let your kids help plan the menu
  • If your kids can (usually 18 months and older) allow them to help prepare food. Even small children can wash veggies with some supervision. Yes, it means a little more work for you, but mounds of experience for them
  • Incorporate a new food once a week
  • Try a new way to prepare veggies once a week
  • Teach your children about nutrition! This will require you to learn a little about it too :)
  • Allow your kids to ask question. If you don’t know the answer, be honest and then find it through a trusted source
  • Never refer to foods as “good” or “bad”, it’s food and it’s all fuel
  • If you have dessert/sweets around the house regularly, let the kids help you find healthy alternatives
  • Instead of rewarding behavior with food, reward with activity
  • Let your kids pick a new recipe to try (children as young as 3 can do this)
  • Talk about how you feel about your new foods and realize that it takes time to evoke change

Prepare yourself for some bumps along the road. Everybody’s palate is different and it changes about every 7 years, plus preparing foods in different ways will change the taste as well. Also, experiment with different spices. Just remember that most little ones don’t care for really spicy foods (although my son has been enjoying jalapenos since he was 2!).

Here’s the honest truth….we can stand up and take a little extra time to help our children overcome the cycle that many of us have been sucked into or we can turn a blind eye and simply hope for the best. I for one have not been called to hope, I have been called to initiate change and give our youth a fighting chance. That chance starts with those that have the power: the power to buy the groceries!

Here’s to living the FIT life, with your Whole family,

Michelle