It's February!

february 2012 calendar

Ahhh February.

Not quite spring and in our minds we still have time to get those arms we want before we go sleeveless.

Oddly, you could have probably gone sleeveless just last week when it was 60 degrees! We can only hope that in the months before Spring arrives "officially" that we will not have to deal with any harsh Winter. Let's cross our fingers!

How are you doing with your New Year's Resolutions?

If you've had some setbacks, regroup and get back in the game.

My setback?: I have had two of my lumbar vertebrae literally twist to the right. Not curved, but twisted to the right like on an abacus. As crazy as it sounds, the first question I ask my chiropractor is: "Do I have to stop working out?" He advised me that, that's the worse thing I could do, however, I have chosen to modify and restructure my workouts to regenerate my energy and maintain focus so I can continue on my path safely. I do have to see him 3x's/week as well as receiving therapeutic massage treatments. Although I have been feeling almost 100% better, I'm not so silly enough to jump right back into things, not without discussing it with him first.

I cannot compete again until late summer, or early fall which gives me plenty of time to visualize and work on some other things that have been on the back burner.

Stay on your path, don't throw in the towel, just find another way around it.

Are you committed?

I don't mean are you ready to be committed, but are you committed?

You know, there's nothing more disheartening than watching someone give up too easily when you see that they're right there knocking at the door, ready to make lifelong changes to make them want to stick with it forever.

My husband, who is a firefighter/paramedic says that the worst thing is to go in and find someone in a house that's been burned down and find a deceased person sitting by the door or window to see that they almost made it out. They were right there before they were disoriented/panicked and overcome by the smoke (not the flames). Even though that kind of situation to you may seem far more tragic than adhering to a nutritional plan/lifestyle, I don't see it as being any different, especially when you know the changes you encourage people to make has immediate, longterm, life-altering benefits.

A commitment is made in a moment, but can have the benefits of lasting for a lifetime. With a commitment comes accountability and responsibility. You have to be accountable and responsible of how you let obstacles affect your life and your outcome. It's easy to blame and find comfort in blaming the world for our misfortunes.

      Commitment = Outcomes
      Responsibility = Results

We reap what we sow and cultivate. While we can't predict our challenges or what lies in the road and days ahead, we have to be willing to take responsibility of how we choose to respond to unexpected obstacles and setbacks.

Do what you've always done = get what you've always gotten.

Unless you are willing to take responsibility and commit to the outcome you want to achieve, you'll be wishing, not achieving.

I'm not pointing a finger, but as someone who relates wholeheartedly. I don't think they come more hard-headed, or S-L-O-W as I do, but I have learned to never give up. The devil can take on many forms, and once you conquer or master something (and goodness knows he DETESTS mastery), here he comes again taking the shape of another distraction/emergency/person/obstacle etc. Ugh. New level, new devil. You don't even have to believe in the devil to know this to be true.

figurine jumping through finish line

I've been accused of not having a life because of my firm commitment to my lifestyle which correlates directly to how I look. While this has no bearing whatsoever on the actual truth, it breaks my heart because it distances you from what you can achieve, as if what I do is unattainable to you. You can very well create the same habits, it just depends on if you're committed. They are witnessing mastery. I've simply mastered one element of my life. DO NOT fool yourself in to believing that it's somehow easier for me than it could possibly be for you.

Things will come up that will challenge your commitment and no one can force you to respond positively except for you. If you choose to take responsibility, you are in the driver's seat as far as your physical destiny is concerned and light years ahead of those still waiting in line for the magic device, pill, or fountain of youth.

      Stay in the game.
      Trust yourself to get through it.
      Don't expect perfection, aim for excellence.
      Try to do better today than you did yesterday.

Gluten for dinner anyone?

So, gluten is the new buzzword these days. I've seen everything from coffee, to toothpaste, canned diced tomatoes, underwear, name it, it's all claiming to not have the horrific gluten. I mean things that have never even had gluten in them to begin with are claiming to be "gluten free". I think I recently saw it on a pack of licorice.

Sales of gluten free products have grown 30% a year from 2006 to 2010 (mercola,2011) This sends out a radar alert to the food industry that this is a gateway to getting the American public to open their wallets. This is why you see everything from dog food to toothbrushes claiming to be "gluten free".

I'm not trying to make light of people who have very real intolerances to gluten, but lately people have been using this as the next weight loss miracle. Can you lose weight if you avoid gluten?

Let's look at some facts:

      We know that gluten is a protein that can be found in wheat, barley, rye and many other food additives. This accounts for the weight loss that's experienced when eating gluten free. Most of the gluten is found in processed foods and if you stop eating the processed foods, then inevitably there will be weight loss that occurs. So I guess the answer to the weigthloss question is yes.

      Those that are particularly vulnerable to gluten products are those with Celiac's disease. These people have an inability to digest the gluten.

      There's also been evidence that ties phychosis and schizophrenia to gluten and that a substantial reduction of this protein in the diet results in decreased symptoms (Kraft et al, 2009)

      If you cut gluten out of your diet, it isn't a quick and easy fix. It could take as little as 30 - 60 days for inflammation to subside and as long as 9 - 12 months before the lining of your small intestine will heal.

Here are some grains/flours that are nauturally gluten free:






      *Flax & Amaranth

Do I think it's worth it to avoid gluten? I'd say you have to be the judge. If you have the patience and are willing to cut out all things gluten and want to wait to see how it affects, or has been affecting you, I'd say go for it! It would require that you take all things gluten out for 90 days and then re-introducing it back into your diet and see if it has an ill effect on you. If all is well in your digestive tract right now, then I'd say carry on.

What do I eat in a day?

[note: anytime I refer to macros, I'm talking about macronutrients and these are proteins, carbohydrates, and fats]

I'm probably asked this question on a daily basis. Or the question will come in a form 'how do I get those abs', or 'those arms' etc.

First of all, rather than thinking of it as your 'diet', think of it as a lifestyle change. If you try to start off doing too much too soon, you will be miserable. On the other hand, if you are an all or nothing person, then go for it. I chose to take baby steps. Think of your lifestyle change as an evolution.

corona bottle of beerI started off drinking a six-pack of beer every weekend, and during the week, I would probably throw back a couple of glasses of wine. Hey, I worked out regularly…why not? The only staple that remained a constant for me from the very beginning was that I was working out.

I started by eliminating all weekend drinking, then eventually the wine during the week.

Next, I took out all processed foods (ie: white flour, high fructose corn syrup, anything boxed, and essentially anything with labels or had things on the label I could not identify), but I would eat anything I wanted 1x/week, also known as the cheat meal. It could be a meal, or a cheat as an addition to my normal supportive meal. It would not be an eating orgy from morning to night - although I will admit to starting off that way - and that made me miserable.

A little story, or confession...I recently bought some of those miniature dark chocolate peanut butter cups from Trader Joe's and tried popping a few in my mouth before I got home to eat and I arrived home cross-eyed and had to take a nap by the time I got there, seriously. I was satisfied, but so nauseous.

The truth is, it starts and ends in the kitchen. You can't outwork a crappy diet in the gym. Ya just can't. Please stop trying. Nutrition is 80% of the equation. You may be able to get away with 1 or 2 bad meals a week, but the quality of your macronutrients is key. Quality is king. Don't get me wrong, the gym is a strong component, but ya gotta eat well.

If you ate supportively 80% of the time, your body becomes adept at burning through food, your meals are thermic -but only if you feed it supportively. (If you don't know what eating supportively means, you need my seminar).

Positive physical change is very simply a process of forced adaptation. When you nutritionally support the body, and face it with a new physical challenge, the body adapts to make the new challenge manageable. Then, over time, it gets good at burning through less supportive meals, but it all starts with quality macros 80% of the time.

Muffins, donuts, cheeseburgers, and corn dogs are not going the build the same body as lean beef/buffalo, salmon, and slow roasted turkey breasts, sorry. I hope we can at least agree on that! All calories are not created equal.

I don't know anyone who eats perfectly all the time. Anyone. I don't care what they tell you.

Here is a day directly out of my weekly menu:

Breakfast*: (pre-workout)
Dry Oat Bran
Papetti Foods Quick Whites 100% Egg Whites
banana (goal dependent***)
dash of cinnamon
[these first 4 ingredients are blended together in a blender to create a 'pancake batter']
Trader Joe's 100% Pure Maple Syrup
Unsalted Butter
Trader Joe's uncured applewood smoked beef bacon
Benefiber powder**
1/4 gallon Water

Morning Snack (post workout)
Trader Joe's Greek Style Yogurt 2%
Trader Joe's Greek Style Vanilla Nonfat Yogurt
1 packet of stevia (mixed together with the yogurts)
Trader Joe's Pecan Praline Granola (whole grain oats sweetened with Maple Syrup)
1/4 gallon Water

Ground Buffalo Meat (taco flavored)
1 Ezekial Sprouted Grain Tortilla
steamed broccoli with Molly McButter
1/4 gallon Bottled Water
Benefiber powder**

Afternoon Snack:
Lettuce - Spring Mix
Dried Cranberries
Trader Joe's Candied Walnuts (goal dependent***)
Roasted Skinless Turkey Breasts
Stella Gorgonzola Cheese
1/4 gallon of water

boneless, skinless chicken breasts
brussels sprouts

...and yes I do eat bread - usually Ezekial Sprouted Grain Bread, just not on this day, so don't go there!

* breakfast changes dependent on the time of day I workout; morning or afternoon…absolutely no reason for you to be this specific!!

** I only use this as a way to reach my fiber goals for the day (and frankly when I get tired of chewing), so the amount varies from day to day and sometimes not needed at all. I also use meal replacement and bars to reach goals.

*** this just means that whether it stays in or taken out depending on if my macro goals are met and realistically, all amounts are goal dependent

Please keep in mind that I am a competitor! All my meal amounts are directly dependent on whether or not I've reached my macro goals. I have a very specific profile I aim to reach day that's prescribed by a nutritional expert doctor specific to my sport who prescribes my nutrtional plan and evaluates it weekly and amends it as needed. I have an off-season plan and an in-season plan. Sometimes I can fit all my macros into 4 meals, sometimes 5. My caloric intake can range anywhere starting at 1500 - 2100 per day. I am religious about preparing all of my meals in advance, I don't like to think in the morning, so everything is prepared the evening before and I put it into my fridge, so all I have to do it throw it into my soft sided lunch bag in the morning with a few of those ice pack thingies. How much I pack depends on how long I am away from the house.

Is this a pain? It started off that way, but now I have it down to a science. If you think this sounds complex, you should try Weight Watchers;o)......or have you already?

You can be just as effective by simply sticking to the way I lost most of my weight to begin with before I started to compete and eat this every 3 - 3 1/2 hours:

A lean protein:3 - 4 oz (fish, turkey, lean meats),
a starchy carb:1/4 cup - 1/2 cup (brown rice, potatoes),
and a fibrous carb:virtually unlimited amounts (essentially any vegetables),
and supplement with 1 tsp/day of flaxseed oil.

If you try to count calories rather than being concerned about the quality of your macronutrients you will fail miserably and results will not be long term.

As always, if you have any comments, thoughts, or questions don't be afraid to CONTACT ME!!

In the meantime, please take care of yourself. You're worth it and you deserve it! - Velma