Sunday, April 15, 2012

What YOU Want

Because of my interests, I've amassed a large amount of social media contacts in the fitness field. Some of them more knowledgeable than others, and many of them, like me, still figuring things out. A lot of these people can be very intense at times. They set very lofty goals and go full throttle after them. That's great. I have nothing against people attacking their dreams with all they have. It's important to remember though that their goals and their methods to achieve them are just that - theirs.

I am bombarded daily with posts about double workouts, number of calories burned, number of calories eaten, temptation foods avoided, clean diet modifications and motivational sayings. I constantly see pictures of women with flat and defined abs, very little body fat, big boobs, tight butts, toned arms, glowing skin and shiny hair. Every day I read about the newest supplement, the newest diet, going gluten free, eating organic, plant based diets and cleansing. And admittedly, I'm a part of this. I talk about this stuff frequently as well. So I'm not saying that there's anything wrong with these sort of posts - there's not. But when it's the majority of what you see every day, it can definitely start to warp your thinking.  It just leads me to remind everyone, including myself to

Make sure the body you're working to achieve is the body that YOU want. 

At least once a day, I will see someone post a motivational picture of a woman with toned-to-the-T abs. You can see each and every defined section of her stomach and it looks as though her waist is actually too tiny to wear even a size 0. And that's wonderful that she worked to achieve that body and completely fine that someone else wants to work to achieve the same results. Personally, I don't want defined abs. I like a softer look on women. I like the look of being toned but still having a little fat to squeeze. That's my preference. I can't let what other people see as the perfect body affect how I feel about my own results.


   All of these tummies look great to me!

For those people who have the time, energy and willpower to do two-a-day workouts - that's amazing. I've done it for short periods of time before and it is certainly tough. My hat goes off to that kind of dedication. But just because they are down on themselves for not getting to their second workout of the day, I'm not going to feel bad that I worked out once. For 30 minutes. And that I may not get to a workout tomorrow because I have work and have school for 14 hours out of the day and sleeping is more important to me than cardio. It doesn't make me a bad person if I only do 5 workouts a week and if I think that that is a perfectly fine number of workouts to complete on a weekly basis. It also doesn't make me a bad person if I decide that instead of lifting today, I'm going to stay home and study for my test on Friday because at the moment, that is a bigger priority for me. And that's ok, it's allowed to be.

When it comes to achieving your perfect body, it does not need to be what other people think it should be. It should be where YOU will be happiest. If getting down to a size 10 has been your lifelong goal and you are in a healthy weight range with a clean bill of health from your doctor, then who the hell is anyone to tell you that you don't look good enough? Not everyone was made to be a body builder and it's not in the cards for all of us to have a washboard stomach. Is it possible? Yes. Of course if that's what you want to achieve and are willing to work for, it's definitely possible. Is it necessary? No, it's not. Not if that's not what you in your heart of hearts want for yourself.

Thank God we live in America. A free country. Where you're allowed to want what you want and feel what you feel and for the most part do what you like. If you want abs, go get 'em. If you just want to drop a few pounds, then lose 'em. If your idea of fit doesn't "fit" with what everyone else seems to think, so long as it fits with your medical stats, then eff 'em.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Be Prepared

We can all learn a lesson or two from Scar.
I'm a full time student with a part time job. On weekdays, most often I'm leaving my house in the morning around 7am and not returning home until 11pm. The idea of purchasing most of my meals randomly throughout the day is unheard of for me. Buying food a la carte, whether it's fast food or healthy food adds up. It will never be as inexpensive as food shopping for the way I eat. I eat 5 to 6 times a day. Also, when I prepare my food myself - I know the ingredients, the nutrition content and the calorie count. Or at least I have a better general idea than I would if I was getting all of my food elsewhere. So - as a nutrition (I care about what I eat) student (I'm extremely poor), prepping and taking my food with me daily is necessary.

Although it may be necessary, that doesn't make it easy. I'm not a morning person at all. The fact that I have to be exiting my home at 7am is already quite a stretch for me. There is no way much of anything productive gets done before I leave in the morning. So not only do my meals for an entire day need to be prepped, they need to be prepped the night before. As you can imagine - with this kind of schedule, I don't have much time for cooking during the week. I pretty much need everything to be as "grab and go" as possible to make it work. So, for any of you in a similar situation, I though I would share with you what I do to prepare for my week.

1) I happen to eat the same basic things every day/ every other day which makes my prep slightly easier. If you have to have completely different foods daily, I don't know how to help you. That's not cost effective for me and I also don't have a problem eating the same things daily so I just stick with that. It's not the exact same every day, but it's the same general pool of food choices that I'm pulling from.

2) Cook everything. For this week's prep - I cooked chicken and turkey bacon, made egg quiche and steamed quinoa in the rice cooker. For the egg and the quinoa, I didn't even have to do much except wait for them to cook. The meat takes slightly more effort but I just cooked that while the quiche was in the oven and the quinoa was in the rice cooker. Multi-tasking.

3) Slice stuff. If you have veggies you'll be using as snacks or in a salad, slice them now if they'll make it the week. If they can't make it that long, slice what you need for the next couple of days. I sliced my tomato for my breakfast sandwich.

4) Store stuff. Tupperware is your best friend. Once you've cooked all this food, you need somewhere to put it. Buy a bunch of tupperware of appropriate sizing you can use to store your food for the week. Make snack bags for anything that comes in mass quantities like pretzels or nuts. Make several bags now so they're ready to grab and go during the week.

Oatmeal is quick, semi-convenient
and nutritious meal choice.

5) Prepare your meals for the next day the night before. I structure my meals/snacks into my day so I can plan the night before what I'll eat when for the next day. Whatever is non perishable can be packed in your lunchbag and ready to go. Place the other stuff in one location in an easy grabbable spot in the fridge.

6) Pick your battles. I know this method is not always the "freshest" or the the most palatable for everyone. Again, for my lifestyle - this works and this is the way it has to be. I try to minimize the amount of processed food I eat, but there is still some. And I don't beat myself up for it. I need to find a way that I can eat what I can afford, what fits into my schedule and what also fits my personal guidelines for health. Buying locally farmed, organic only food would be heaven - but it's not realistic for my lifestyle. The tomato that I buy may not be of the perfect quality, but it's still a tomato and not ketchup. And technically you should use the entire tomato the same day that you cut it. I sliced mine and will use it throughout the week. And I'm not gonna feel bad about that. Don't get so anal with your rules of food that you begin to think that the tomato you're eating was a bad choice. It's not.

Here's what I prepped for my week.

Cooked 6oz chicken
Cooked 1 package turkey bacon
Cooked one rice cooker of quinoa
Cooked 4 cups of egg white quiche
Bagged 5 bags of 1 serving of almonds
Bagged 5 bags of 1 serving of oatmeal

Other stuff I have:
Granola Bars
Sparkling Water
Protein Powder
Frozen Fruit
Whole Grain Bread
Carrots and Parsnips
Frozen Vegetables
Black Beans
Peanut Butter
Sugar Free Gum

And here's what a typical day of meals looks like for me:
Breakfast: Egg Quiche (egg whites, spinach, mushroom, onion, pepper) on an Ezekiel 7 Grain Muffin with a tomato slice, turkey bacon and mustard

Snack: Cliff granola bar (not the meal bar, the granola bar) and a small apple

Lunch: Quinoa with broccoli and black beans

Snack: Chobani plain greek yogurt with fruit or fruit jelly, almonds

Dinner: Plain oatmeal with peanut butter and banana

Post-Workout: Vanilla protein with sparkling water and frozen fruit

I bake an egg quiche for
breakfast for the week.
Now, also important to remember is that my diet is not your diet. My choices are based on my palate, my nutrition preferences, my physiological needs and my time and budget. I eat meat, dairy and carbs. I don't have a gluten sensitivity and I'm not morally opposed to animal products, so I do what I do. There's not a right or wrong, there are choices. And we are all free to make our own. Ain't it grand! And you're not locked in to any one way of doing things. Try something out, and if it doesn't work for you CHANGE IT. How will you know unless you try it first though?

So, what are your tips for being prepared? Do you do something differently? Any other pieces of advice to help us busy but wanna be healthy people? Would love to have you share your thoughts and questions below!

Sweet C