Competition mindset

It’s been just over a week now since I started competition prep and I wanted to talk a little about my mindset and how it has changed since I competed last year.

I realized only now that by the time I actually started “prepping” for the show that I did last year I had already attempted 7 weeks of prep 5 months earlier when I injured myself, AND I had essentially been dieting (i.e. restricting calories and monitoring exercise and food) for 13 months… that’s a long time. What I have come to realize is that I was already a little burnt out by the time I even started my prep, so while I was definitely excited and committed to compete and do well, I felt deprived and restricted.

This time around, I have essentially been off dieting for about 9 months. Albeit there were always a few weeks here and there where I attempted to lose some of the weight I had gained in the off season, but never for long and never very restrictive. Going into this prep now I feel so excited and determined. I do not feel limited so far and have not craved a cheat meal. I have so much more knowledge and a huge support group that I have met through this blog, the show, and Team SiS.

I am, however, slightly terrified that I am coming into this prep too heavy and won’t be able to lose all the weight before the show, or at least not without dropping my calories lower than I want to and doing some long cardio sessions. I know that this is weighing heavily on my mind (pun intended) because last night I had my first competition nightmare. I was in some sort of airport/mall and everyone was eating ice cream. Ice cream is my FAVOURITE! So I had some, I didn’t ever have a lot, and I didn’t feel bad about it in the dream… until I remembered I was competing. Then I started trying to calculate how many calories were in it and if I could work it off etc. etc.

For the record, I am not craving sweets in real life, not do I try to “work things off” if I choose to have something that is not part of the diet.

I think, more than anything, this was about feeling that I have a lot of fat to lose in a short amount of time (please keep in mind that I’m only talking about competition prep here and not normal life in which I’m perfectly happy with my weight).

Me looking very sweaty from running sprints this morning.

So, this morning when I didn’t want to get out of bed, I did anyways. I went and did my 15 sprints, and then did 1 more for good measure. But I will not reduce my calories, or car cycle out of fear. If at the end of this week I have not dropped weight, I will re-evaluate my plan and determine if I should make an adjustment. That is what I do at the end of every week.

I will stick to the plan, and I will not do anything drastic, because I want this prep to be an example that you can compete while being healthy. Not to mention that I personally want to remain healthy in all aspects throughout this prep.

I’m sure many of you have felt this way at some point or another. You are following a plan, but the scale isn’t moving… or it’s not moving as much as you want it to. So you panic and you do something drastic, and then you rebound and you fell off the wagon. Well I won’t succumb to the temptation and I hope you won’t either.

We all need to work at being more moderate with our approach to our bodies and remember that this takes time. So I will wait and see what this week holds. I will do all of my scheduled workouts, and I will eat the way I had planned. And we shall see!

 

 

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Not diet food – but delicious!

Birthday dinners don’t have to be healthy right?

Well tonight was the celebration dinner for my boyfriend’s birthday. Last year I made him a chicken parmesan, pasta and caesar salad dinner. He liked it so much that he made me promise to make it for his birthday every year… which I agreed to. So his birthday rolled around this year and it was time to make the dinner again. I decided to up the ante this year and make even the pasta sauce from scratch. Then to cap the night off I made a triple berry crumble. Here is what I did:  

Chicken Parmesan (original recipe from Simply Recipes)

Ingredients

Sauce:

  • 1/2 large yellow onion
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 1 can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes (we use Muir-Glen)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano

Chicken:

  • 3 chicken breast cutlets
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs  (use plain)
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp dried oregano
  • mozzarella cheese, sliced (enough to top the chicken with)

Directions

1 Prepare the sauce. Finely chop the onion.  Heat olive oil in a saucepan on medium-high heat.  Add the onions and sauté for 2-3 minutes.  Add the minced garlic.  Cook until fragrant, about a minute more.  Add the tomatoes and oregano.  Bring to a simmer, reduce the heat to maintain the simmer.  Cook, uncovered while you prepare the chicken (about 10-12 minutes).

2  Preheat oven to 400°F. With a meat pounder (or heavy bottomed skillet which I have done in the past), pound the chicken pieces to flatten them to an even thickness – between 1/4 – 1/2 inch.

3  In a shallow bowl (large enough to dredge the cutlets), mix together the breadcrumbs, 1/2 cup of the Parmesan, and oregano.  In separate shallow bowl, whisk together the eggs.

4 Heat 1/4 cup of olive oil in a large sauté pan on medium-high heat.  The oil should be shimmering, not smoking. Dredge the chicken pieces 1 piece at a time first in the egg mixture, then in the breadcrumbs.  Then lay the pieces in the hot sauté pan.  Turn the heat to medium, then gently fry the cutlets until they are golden brown, about 3-4 minutes per side.

5 Spread enough tomato sauce to coat the bottom of a casserole pan or baking dish (that will fit however many chicken breast you have easily).  Once the cutlets are browned on both sides, arrange them on top of the tomato sauce in the baking dish.  spoon some more sauce over each of the cutlets.  Sprinkle the tops with sliced basil.  Then top the cutlets with slices of mozzarella and the remaining 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese.

6 Bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes, or until the mozzarella begins to brown.

Serve with pasta using the remaining sauce for the pasta (or not if you are like me and can’t eat pasta because gluten is evil) and caesar salad. I like renees caesar dressing and made about 5 slices of bacon cooked extra crispy to mix in with the salad and croutons.

My dish which has no pasta as you can see

Andre finished his meal pretty quickly and even had a little bit more of my chicken since they were huge servings. For reference, he NEVER stuffs himself. He is one of those lucky people who just eats until he’s comfortably full and then stops (god I wish I could do that so easily!). But both this year and last he finished off the huge portion I gave him AND still had dessert.

Look at that smile… and clear plate!

For dessert I used this recipe which I have used before with much success for…

Triple Berry Crumble (makes enough for a 9×9 dish)

Ingredients:

Filling

  • 1/2 pint each of fresh (you can use frozen if you need to but the crumble will be way less liquidy and much more stable if you use fresh) raspberries and blackberries
  • 1 pint fresh strawberries chopped to approx. same size as the other berries (you could also use blueberries I just didn’t have any)
  • 2 tbsp. pure maple syrup

Crumble

  • 1 c. spelt flour (or other flour of choice such as gluten-free, coconut, almond meal, or plain whole wheat flour)
  • 1 c. large flake oats (GF if needed)
  • 3/4 c. brown sugar
  • 3/4 c. butter (softened slightly, but still hard)
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg

Direction

Side view of the layers of crumble:fruit:crumble

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  2. In a large bowl, gently toss together blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, and maple syrup
  3. In a separate large bowl, combine flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
  4. Cut in butter until crumbly – if you don’t know how to do this here is a tutorial. It can be done with a pastry cutter which makes life easy, except i couldn’t find mine today so I just used a knife and occasionally my fingers to break up stubborn clumps.
  5. Press half of mixture in the bottom of a 9×9 inch pan and cover with berries, then sprinkle remaining crumble mixture over the berries.
  6. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until fruit is bubbly and topping is golden brown (I once forgot about this for an hour and a half, so 50 additional minutes in the oven and it still tasted fantastic, it’s seriously indestructible as long as you use fresh fruit).

I love serving this with a good quality vanilla bean ice cream, but some heavy cream or some greek yogurt would be great too.

Delish!

Confessions of a (former?) binge eater

Confession time people: I have been bingeing 😦 this is soooo bad. Like not as bad as I used to do, and not completely mindless shoving food in my face kind of thing, but definitely not “mindful eating”. In case you don’t know what that is, mindful eating is where you think about what you are eating, you savour your food and appreciate each bite. By doing this you are aware of how much you are eating, when you get full and whether you actually enjoyed your food. It’s both satisfying and effective to control portions.

In the last few days I have gone from portioning out my food super carefully, weighing and measuring everything, to plopping on the couch and eating ice cream straight from the tub. No I didn’t finish the tub in a sitting or anything crazy, but I don’t actually know how much I ate, nor was I doing my usual slow savouring of the ice cream. I also inhaled far too much Smartfood popcorn while watching a movie or 2 straight from the bag… noticing a theme?

Vice #1

When you don’t put things in a bowl or on a plate, you don’t give yourself a portion. You don’t give yourself that automatic stopping point where you have to think… do I really want more? Instead, you just mindlessly stick your hand back in the bag and shove your cheddar covered fingerfulls of glorious popcorn in your face. (I have a problem… I know).

I have been using the fact that I did the competition as an excuse to randomly add calorie laden things to food. I am putting cheese on things that don’t need cheese, sugar instead of sweetener and cream instead of milk in my coffee, I got whipped cream on my Starbucks, and I put an extra dollop of honey on my yogurt bowl in the morning. These things don’t add significant joy to my taste buds, they’re just me being crazy because I’m finally not restricted… this is not a healthy way to look at things! I wouldn’t have done those things before the contest prep, so why would I do them now?

Bad Rose! Very bad Rose! On the bright side… I am acknowledging it, and I’m stopping it. Instantly. Not tomorrow, not after the weekend… NOW! Because that is what you have to do. You cannot let yourself fall into the trap of “I’ll diet tomorrow” because then you (or at least I) will want to shove your pie-hole full of every calorie dense food you can get your hands on while you are still “allowed”.

After I had this realization last night I made a plan, because that’s what I do, I plan, and list and write things down, and then I don’t follow it, but it makes me feel better. ok?

This November is packed full of events on the weekends and a lot of people want to do dinner now that I’m out of hiding so to speak, so my general plan is:

  1. Get back to eating good high protein, low-ish carb meals and healthy fats 4-6 times per day
  2. Go to the gym 3-4 times per week focusing on heavy lifting and moderate amounts of cardio
  3. Limit alcohol to 2 times per week (preferably 1 time, but there is the wine and food show and my boyfriends birthday, so I’m being realistic)
  4. Choose healthy options at restaurants and don’t order dessert “just because”
  5. Don’t have treats at home, if I am going out to dinner or drinks with someone, that is fine, but no eating treats all by myself!

That’s it, nothing crazy, I’m not going back on a “diet” I’m just trying to remind myself to be good to my body. Make healthy choices and live my life in a healthy way.

Changing gears here: last night I made Red Snapper with Bacon tossed baby bok choy and zucchini. It was heavenly… bacon makes everything better. I cooked up some bacon first, drained off a little fat and put a little in another fry pan. I then cooked the snapper in the small amount of bacon grease, and sauteed the zucchini and bok choy in the pan the bacon was in. When the veggies were done, I added back the bacon all chopped up and tossed it all together. It was spectacularly flavourful.