The Argument Against Scales

Yesterday, when I was weighing myself at the gym, a woman was standing behind me. Usually this bugs me. If I’m weighing myself, I probably want some space and not for someone to be looking over my shoulder.

I got on the scale first and I saw that I weighed 142 pounds. The woman behind me looked at me and said “where do you keep that! I’m bigger than you and I only weigh 130″. At the time, this was not a flattering statement.

I don’t really like the fact that I weigh 142 pounds, three months after I stopped taking steroids. I’ve been working out and eating really well so I keep getting upset when I notice that the scale doesn’t even slightly budge.

I’ve noticed that I look like I’m making progress and I definitely fit in my clothes better, but I was still bothered by my weight staying the same.

Then, this morning I took my body fat percentage.

Three months ago I weighed 144 pounds and was 27% body fat. I was in the “acceptable” range, even if it didn’t feel like it. Today I am 142 pounds and 21% body fat, putting me in the “fitness/athletic” range.

Realizing that I put on about 6 pounds of muscle made me feel a lot better about the weight on the scale. While I’ve been trying not to weigh myself for the most part, sometimes my curiosity gets the better of me and I check anyway.

Taking my body fat percentage today made me realize that there really is no point in weighing yourself to determine your progress, especially if you’re lifting. From now on, I’ll be tracking my body fat percentage, with a goal of 18%.

So today I say goodbye to the scale once and for all. Wish me luck!

KBF

Healthy, Not Jacked

Every time I start to diet, I get into the same rut. I’ll restrict myself so much that I get sick of what I’m eating and I end up binging. That binge will result in me diving face first into a tub of ice cream, never to be seen again.

What I’m realizing lately is that there needs to be a balance between “I’m going to be so strict with my diet” and “eat all the carbs!”

The biggest problem that I’ve had so far with my “dieting” is that I force myself to eat things I don’t like. It turns out that I really hate eggs. I hate the smell, I hate the texture, and I hate the taste. There are very few things that I can put in eggs to make them taste good, and after forcing myself to eat them for about a year now, I just can’t eat them at all.

I ate eggs because I felt like they were the only breakfast food that was packed with protein. Now that I’ve pretty much sworn off eggs, I’ve been drinking protein shakes for breakfast with yogurt and peanut butter. I’m usually sort of nauseous in the morning, so drinking my breakfast is probably the best option anyway.

I also was eating a ton of plain grilled chicken and vegetables. I like grilled chicken, but it’s by no means my favorite food. Besides being bland, raw chicken freaks me out and slightly overcooked chicken is rubbery and gross. I’m not a bad cook, but I’m also not overly attentive when grilling.

My new solution has been to find alternative protein sources that don’t disgust me as much. Chicken sausage and chicken meatballs have been a pretty solid option, especially because you can buy them precooked from awesome brands like Applegate naturals.

Chicken also started to get kind of played out because I was ordering it in restaurants. Billy doesn’t eat seafood, so I never make it when we eat at home, but I’ve been ordering more fish and shrimp when I go out now to mix up the protein I eat.

The biggest thing that I’ve been trying to do is to not deprive myself, but to not just say “screw it, I’m eating this”. I used to not eat hummus because I felt that it was too high in carbs, and now I basically eat some every day. I also wasn’t eating fruit because it’s high in sugar, but I’ve been buying more lately to get extra fiber and nutrients.

I still eat dessert sometimes, and probably more often than I should, but that’s okay. I was so focused on losing the most weight I could, as fast as I could, as I wasn’t enjoying the process. Every workout was calculated and every meal was selected meticulously.

I’ve come to terms with the fact that I won’t have a six pack in two months, or maybe not even ever if I don’t want to. I would rather eat food that tastes good and be in good shape, than eat boring, bland food and be shredded.

KBF

How a Change in Priorities Can Lead to Progress

When I first started to work out, my main goal was always “skinnier. get skinnier”. I mean, isn’t that what everyone’s goal is at first? 

I got down to 114 pounds from taking about 8 spin classes a week and being a vegetarian.  I thought I looked great, but I’ve heard that at that point I was too skinny and even looked unhealthy at some points.

Between taking steroids and not going to the gym frequently for a few months, I was pretty discouraged at what I looked like. Actually, at one point I was up to 148 pounds, a realization that made me cry in the gym.

As I keep working, I’ve come to a few realizations. The first is that my priorities have definitely changed. If I was trying to get down to 110 pounds again to be as skinny as possible, my method just wasn’t going to do that.

But I don’t want that again. 

I want to be strong and look strong. I want to be able to sprint and pick up heavy things and move like an athlete, even though I’m not one. How many athletes do you know (besides long distance runners) who are just skinny? I don’t know many.

My second realization is that I am not built to be skinny, truly skinny. There are girls out there who are long and lean and who can get away with being thin girls. I’m not one of them. I have bigger legs and an overall “thicker” frame, as much as I hate that word.

People can tell you all they want that everyone is built differently, but until you’ve seen your body at all stages, you’ll never actually believe it. You’ll continue wanting to look like whichever Victoria’s Secret model is currently dating Leonardo DiCaprio, even though you’ll never be 6 feet tall with a 26 inch waist.

It’s once you become realistic about how you’re built and what your goals are that you’re able to make the most progress.

I will never be 114 pounds again, and I’m damn proud of that.

KBF

Carb Cycling and Other Revelations

For a few weeks, I was attempting to eat 100g of carbs a day. This made me feel restricted and somewhat angry at times.

Then Billy told me that I could carb cycle so I could eat more carbs on days where I actually needed them. This led to the construction of a chart, based around workouts:

Monday: Lift (100g)
Tuesday: Conditioning (80g)
Wednesday: Lift (100g)
Thursday: Conditioning (80g)
Friday: Lift (100g)
Saturday: Off (60g)
Sunday: Lift (175g)

By having a couple of low days and medium days during my week, I can have one much larger day to reboot my metabolism and just have fun with what I eat. Yesterday we had an unexpected date day, so I ended up eating 175g on Friday instead of Sunday.

It worked out though because I had 60g on Thursday, positioning a low day before a high day as originally planned. 

The biggest thing yesterday was that I didn’t overdo it. Usually when I have a heavier carb day I feel like death for a few days after. I had a really big lunch of shrimp tacos and chicken nachos, with a margarita for good measure. Then we went to the movies and had popcorn and half of a bag of Reese’s pieces between the two of us.

Usually, when we would get dinner after, I would figure my whole day had gone to hell so why not just get a huge plate of pasta. I broke this mentality last night when we chose a Persian restaurant for dinner and I chose to substitute the rice for grilled vegetables. 

Everything about that meal felt good and enabled me to feel pretty good this morning too. I started my day off with eggs, spinach and feta and a slice of white bread, and I’m going to have a protein shake before going to see King Lear at BAM at noon.

Hopefully by loading up on protein this morning I’ll be able to make better choices in choosing a restaurant after sitting through a three hour play.

The concept of planning a higher carb day (but not recklessly high) breaks the idea of having a “cheat day”. Cheat days always end up as “cheat weeks” and even “cheat months” for me. It might work for some people, but I can’t just go crazy one day a week and expect to go back to normal the next day.

The cheat day mentality signals that you’re doing something wrong for your body, while increasing carbs to boost metabolism is actually benefitting it.

KBF

Eating Crap Will Make You Feel Like Crap

For the past few days, I’ve been a little more lenient with what I eat, and by lenient I mean I just ate whatever I felt like eating. I actually danced the entire way to Carvel last night for an ice cream cone. It was bad.

I somehow passed up the bag of bagels on my mom’s kitchen table this morning, only to go to brunch and have donuts for dessert. In my defense, they were homemade donuts. Then I went to my aunts house and ate EVERYTHING there as well.

As much as I regret eating poorly these past few days, I realize that it needed to happen. I needed to feel like absolute crap to realize just how important it is to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

I’m exhausted, bloated, extremely thirsty, and kind of a jerk. I also get hungry a lot more frequently. The sad part about this whole thing is that I realize that this is what I used to feel like all the time and it’s a very real every day for a lot of people.

The way I feel now shows exactly what it feels like to be undernourished and overfed. It’s not always about what you look like. Sometimes it’s about not wanting to feel like you’re food hungover and wanting to punch everyone in the face, because trust me, when you start to feel bad enough, the rage monster just comes out of no where.

Having a great body is awesome, but it’s hard to have one if you eat crap all the time. Eating junk food sometimes is great, especially in moderation but it’s when it starts to become a more consistent thing that it starts to effect you.

Food is supposed to give you energy so why consistently eat something that’s actually going to take your energy away? It doesn’t make sense and yet we continue to do it just because it tastes good or feels good in the moment. It’s after that moment passes that it starts to catch up and you start to feel the effects of a poor diet.

Looking in the mirror and not liking what you see sucks, but so does being tired all the time and not feeling full from the food you eat. Although these things aren’t fun, they have an easy solution: eat good food that makes you feel good and the rest will fall into place.

KBF

 

Health Shaming: Don’t Let Others Guilt You Into Eating Garbage

Does anyone else ever find themselves apologizing for eating healthy? I know I do.

A few days ago I saw this photo that summed it up perfectly: “Eat a whopper, large fry and soda…No one bats an eye. Eat chicken and brown rice out of tupperware and everyone hohpr1loses their mind.” It resonated at the time, but the more I think about it, the more I see the truth in it.

When I bring my own food to my classes, everyone seems to be looking at me funny. Meanwhile, the kid a few seats over with the value meal from Wendy’s isn’t getting a second look.

I remember in one class, a girl sat next to me who was very overweight. She had a bag from McDonald’s and she was talking to me about all of her various health problems. During that time, I took out my lunch: spaghetti squash and meatballs. Without skipping a beat, she looked at me and said “I could never eat like that”.

At the time, I felt uncomfortable that she had said that. My food was delicious, but was there something wrong with me for not eating what everyone else was? No. Quite the opposite actually. We’ve all been so programmed to eat overly processed, high carb, high fat meals and overlook the fact that it’s actually killing us.

The girl sitting next to me that day had such bad asthma from her weight and was Type 2 diabetic starting at age 16. She had a million reasons for why she was so sick, but the real answer was that her food was killing her and that she either didn’t realize, or more likely just wasn’t willing to stop.

When someone makes a decision to not eat these things, especially in public, people look at them like there’s something wrong. I believe that it’s because when someone choses the healthy option, it exposes just how unhealthy others are being.

The best way I can describe it is like being the only non-smoker in a smoking section. The people who make up the majority of the group feel like it’s the outlier who is doing the wrong thing, but deep down it’s a response to what they feel is judgement. It’s almost like they are saying “if you’re not with us, you’re against us.”

For a while, that mentality bothered me. It made me feel uncomfortable and often led to me making less healthy decisions for the benefit of others. But how stupid is that? It’s just like everyone’s mom always said “if everyone else was going to jump off the bridge, would you do it too?” Obviously not! So why do we let the pressure from those being unhealthy impact our own wellbeing?

I think the best answer is that no one wants to be an outsider. If everyone else is doing it, it really does make you want to do it too. It’s just easier to say no when the stakes are higher, like jumping off a bridge or doing drugs. When it’s food, it’s easy to just say “screw it, how bad could it be?”

This is not an argument to miss out on great, delicious food at a party or other kind of social gathering. It’s a declaration of our ability to make our own choices. The food may be killing you, but you’re ultimately the one putting it in your mouth. Don’t let others make that decision for you, and especially don’t apologize for not letting them.

I’m sick of being treated like there’s something wrong with me because I don’t want to eat junk food that I wouldn’t enjoy all that much anyway. If I eat fast food, I tend to feel sluggish and just downright sick after. For me, food should taste good and make you feel good, and I see no reason why we should sacrifice one for the other.

Food is fuel, and it’s time that we start treating it like it.

KBF

Frequent Meals to Avoid Getting “Hangry”

Yesterday I did a really tough workout. It didn’t feel like it at the time, but today I definitely notice some soreness.

I also learned a really valuable lesson: I can’t eat three meals a day and expect it to be photo-53satisfying. I could eat the perfect amount of calories, but if I ate them in three meals, chances are I’ll feel like I’m starving to death around 8 o’clock.

I’ve always just kind of ate smaller, more frequent meals but yesterday I ate three bigger ones. I had an egg sandwich from the deli in the morning, a burrito bowl with barbacoa and minimal rice from Chipotle, and Italian sausage and pasta salad for dinner.

Not exactly low carb, but not crazy either. 

What really killed my day was the Chipotle. It wasn’t overly high in calories or carbs, but I ate it all in one sitting. During my workout I was already starting to think about how hungry I was and by the time we were leaving Chipotle I was “hangry”.

When we got home, I realized that I had eaten the entirety of my meal without saying a word, or even looking at Billy, who had eaten only half of his to save some for dinner. He’s way better at planning ahead than I am.

So two hours later, when we were both hungry again, Billy got to eat the rest of his deliciousness and I had nothing. 

I was so hungry by the time I went to my parent’s house to feed Sheldon that I “casually snacked” (read: ate all of) the sausage and pasta salad that I originally wasn’t going to have any of.

pugs love protein

pugs love protein

By the time Game of Thrones came on, I had made up a Hungry Song. 

While some people can definitely eat three meals a day and feel fine, I think my blood sugar drops too much for me to do this. When people say that you should eat as a source of energy, they probably mean “a source of constant energy”.

That doesn’t mean that you have to be constantly walking around eating food, but for me small snacks in between slightly larger meals just feels better. It usually means the difference between overeating and feeling hungry or eating just enough and feeling awesome.

Smaller doesn’t have to mean deprivation. It actually should mean quite the opposite. It’s easy to feel like you’re not trying as hard when you don’t have to think “just finished breakfast! Only 5 more hours until lunch!”. It can also add a ton of variety to your day that wouldn’t otherwise have been there. I loved everything I ate yesterday, but I never truly felt satisfied.

When I had an awesome omelette for breakfast, then get to have a chocolate protein shake two hours later, it’s like I get all of the benefits without all of the willpower. It’s photo-54awesome.

Although yesterday wasn’t perfect, today’s a new day, so I’m going to start off with a high protein breakfast. Egg whites and goat cheese here I come!

What are some of your go-to snacks for in between meals?

KBF

I Ate 4,000 Calories and the World Didn’t End

When I had my cheat meal, I left the restaurant pretty satisfied. It was when I got home that the guilt started to set in.

I had worked so hard to lose the weight that I had put on so easily, so when I finally broke it felt like I had failed. I went to bed feeling like I had destroyed everything I had worked so hard for and I woke up angry at myself for doing so.

As the day went on, I kept stopping to look at myself in the mirror. I looked exactly the same.

“How could that be?” I kept thinking. After all, I had eaten EVERYTHING the night before.

Despite the feeling of a stomachache and a little bit of a food hangover, I didn’t even really feel that bad. But as the day went on, I kept imagining the sun to black out and the world to end. But it didn’t.

I made it through yesterday looking exactly the same as I had the day before, give or take some bloat. I didn’t suddenly turn into a 1,000 pound bed ridden woman in a special on TLC. I didn’t suddenly become a diabetic and my stomach eventually returned to normal. But most importantly, I was able to resume my normal, healthy eating.

photo-2

A lot of women believe that they can never eat any kind of junk food so they deprive themselves for so long. When they finally do indulge, they binge eat and feel guilty about it. That feeling of sickness and guilt is punishment for a lot of us, it says “I can have my cake and eat it too, as long as I get it with a side of guilt”.

I learned this from my aunt. I had never thought of it this way but it really makes a lot of sense. Why else would we eat to the point of feeling sick? That guilt is a punishment, and an unnecessary one at that.

I eat healthy because it makes me feel good. It gives me energy to exercise and do the things I love. But we can’t all be perfect, all the time. I truly believe that in order to have a healthy relationship with food, you have to have a healthy relationship with yourself. Realizing that food does not define who you are and that everything can be consumed in moderation was a defining moment in figuring that out.

That is possibly the most important thing I’ve learned from gaining 20 pounds.

I put the weight on with guilt, I don’t intend to take it off that way.

KBF

Death by Date Night

Let’s just start with saying that I feel disgusting right now. While clean eating may not always be “fun”, it tends to not come with stomach aches and mental fog.

That being said, I regret nothing. I ate about 2,500 calories at dinner last night and a week’s worth of carbs, but the whole thing was delicious.

meal_hate_myself

We went to a restaurant in our town that serves exclusively small plates. They come out in sizes a little bit smaller than you would usually find in an appetizer and they recommend getting about two per person. We got 3 per person, and dessert.

The restaurant used to only have ten tables and it was usually impossible to get a reservation unless you called a week in advance because the food was so good. They closed down about six months ago to expand and finally reopened last night! It was possibly the best unexpected surprise a girl could ask for.

10388572_10152036358430881_7989053062608418717_n

We started off with crispy Thai calamari, which since trying it there months ago, has become one of my all time favorite foods.

photo-45

Then came chicken wings, which I tried to take a picture of, but Billy just moves so fast! These had some kind of weird lime sauce that was possibly made with honey. I’m not sure, but they were awesome.

photo-46

Then mac and cheese came out. It had orzo pasta, peas, and bacon. I actually just ate out of this container after Billy took some for himself.

photo-47

Then we had sliders. These tasted like Christmas. Instead of ketchup, they had a sort of cinnamon flavored tomato jam on top. The burger was perfect, but they weren’t my favorite.

photo-48

THESE were both of our favorites. Pork tacos. Apparently I’ve been in a corn taco mood because I got way too excited to see these on the menu. We both agreed that we would come back specifically for these, and only these, for lunch one day.

photo-49

Finally, ribs came out. Again, not sure what these were cooked in, but I was super happy with them. They had little garlic chips all over them, which were delicious. I thought they were plantain chips so the expectation/reality gap definitely threw me off, but in a good way. Billy didn’t like these, but I think that he was just too full or crazy because they were delicious. I had two.

photo-51

We also ordered chocolate cake, which I did not take a picture of. It had “strawberry salad” on top. It had basil in it. We didn’t like it. I don’t think that we’ve escalated to a level of fancy eating that enables us to eat vegetables on our cake.

photo-50

Immediately after leaving, I knew that I was going to be uncomfortable for the rest of the night. I mean, I consumed whole day’s worth of calories in about an hour and twenty minutes. Impressive? Perhaps. Disgusting? Absolutely. 

Going to dinner last night definitely made me remember why I can’t have full blown cheat days. I just end up feeling too sick afterwards, which may be fine for some people, but I photo-1don’t like being uncomfortable.

That doesn’t mean that I think that indulging sometimes is a bad thing, you have to indulge sometimes or you’ll go crazy. But I think indulgence should be something planned, controlled, and completely enjoyed, like a piece of cake at a birthday party or your favorite meal at a restaurant.

The grand re-opening of my favorite restaurant definitely felt like a justified occasion for indulging, but I really think I overdid it. It’s not like the restaurant is closing again any time soon, so I probably didn’t need to order almost half of the menu or finish every thing on every plate. I also probably didn’t need, or really want, the cake.

The best thing to remember after a big cheat meal is that although it was something that you wouldn’t normally do, you have to move on from it quickly. It’s so easy just to fall into that rut of “well I ate bad last night, so screw it! Brioche french toast for all!”. That rut usually results in way more overeating and weigh gain than you had previously planned for.

That’s how I gained all of the weight.

Today I’m going to jump right back into my clean eating habits and do a SERIOUS conditioning work out in my driveway. The sun finally came out after 4 days of threatening rain clouds, so I fully intend on taking advantage of it.

How do you get back on track?

KBF

 

Carboholics Anonymous Made Easy: Recipes and Tips

If you’re anything like me, saying no to bread, pastas, and desserts is one of the hardest things that you’ll ever have to do. There was actually a point in time where I HOPED to develop Celiac’s disease so I physically could not eat those things. Sick, right? I know.

But it actually turns out that it doesn’t have to hurt to give up (read: consume in moderation) these things. There are a ton of delicious ways to change up your carb heavy meals and keep them delicious, actually delicious, not kale chip “delicious”.

Recently, I discovered that I LOVE barbecue. When this passion developed, I have no idea. While barbecue is usually dripping with sauce and just flat out artery clogging, I’ve found a few ways to make it lighter on your heart and the scale.

Hickory Bourbon Pulled Chicken Tacos with Vinegary Slaw

Lets just say, I love these. The only thing that they were MAYBE missing was some chipotle aioli, but they were thoroughly delicious without it. The best part was that it took me probably 5 minutes of active cooking time and just as little clean up time.

Aside from the fact that they’re so easy, they’re also pretty good for you. The Stubbs BBQ sauce only has 40 calories for 2 tablespoons and 8 total carbs. For a while I had been buying Mission Carb Balance tortillas for tacos, but decided to change it up with corn photo-43tortillas instead. These are lower in calories, have less ingredients over all, and just taste better.

Recipe:
Pulled Chicken
1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs (you can use breasts too, I just like how these shred)
1 bottle of Stubbs hickory bourbon BBQ sauce

Vinegary Slaw
1 cup shredded red cabbage
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
2 T olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Warm corn tortillas for serving

Place chicken thighs in the slow cooker and cover with BBQ sauce. Cover and cook on high for 3 hours, or until the chicken shreds easily.
Mix cabbage with vinegar and oil and let sit for at least an hour.

If you want to crisp up the corn tortillas to make them even better, add a little butter or coconut oil to a frying pan, slightly wet the tortilla and heat on medium high for about 30 seconds per side. I highly suggest opening a window while doing this if you don’t want to irritate your smoke alarm.

Zucchini Linguine

I love pasta. I have tried every single alternative to the real stuff that you could possibly imagine. Gluten free, Dreamfields, spaghetti squash. With the exception of the Dreamfields, none of the alternatives are as satisfying as the real thing.

Then I came across zucchini linguine. I first had it in a restaurant that prepared it in a really watery sauce so I didn’t really feel the need to make it again. Soggy noodles are gross no matter what they’re made out of apparently.

Then, a few weeks ago, my grandmother called me to say that she bought a container of zucchini linguine from a local farm stand. The best part? She got me my own!photo-42

I had no real plans for how I was going to make it, until I got really hungry yesterday and decided to have it for lunch. I just sauteed it in olive oil in a frying pan until it was hot, then added some left over grilled chicken, spicy tomato sauce (Classico), and sprinkled some feta on top because I was out of parmesan.

It was exactly what I’ve been looking for. Apparently there’s a contraption for making the linguine, so tracking that down is going to be my next project.

Eating cleaner seemed a lot harder in theory than it is in practice. That being said, I have not had a cheat meal in two weeks now, but we are changing that in about an hour. Our favorite restaurant just reopened after being closed for expansion for about six months and tonight is opening night!

KBF