How to lose 5 pounds in one day

First, gain 10 pounds in one week.

Second, freak the hell out because you are now well past you’re “comfort zone” and verging on “OMG how did I get fat?” territory.

Aside: Ha, I know! You were all “OMG what is this miracle that she has come across that is going to revolutionize my life?!” Well no, this is not some post about a miracle diet, I apologize for suckering you in with that headline. Moving on.

Third, decide that some of that has got to be water weight from a combo of 1) the grotesque amounts of sugar you have ingested in the past week and 2) you are having a visit from aunt flo (TMI? Sorry).

Fourth, use your knowledge of manipulating your body to decide that going low carb will at least shed the excess water weight and make you feel less horrible.

Fifth, eat low carb and low cal on January first just to be stereotypical. Also decide not to weigh yourself until next Monday.

Sixth, wake up the next morning and weigh yourself… proceed to be absolutely dumbfounded by the fact that you have lost 4.4 lbs in less than 24 hours… and discover you have no will power when it comes to the scale.

I mean I knew I was retaining water, and water weight is super easy to get rid of, especially going low carb, but still… that’s a lot of weight! I now consider this morning’s weight to be my true-ish start weight, pending tomorrow’s weight because if it fluctuates wildly again either way I’ll have to wait for next week when it’s more stable.

This is not how I normally operate. In fact, I was telling my boyfriend’s Mom about this over the break. Normally I diet for a week BEFORE I weigh myself. The reasons for this are:

  1. I know that if I have been eating gluten, sugar or lots of dairy like an idiot that I will retain water like a mo fo and my weight will be unstable.
  2. I like seeing a steady, stable progression and not get all crazy because my weight jumps around day to day.
  3. Seeing how much I’ve actually gained before a week of dieting is just depressing and I try to avoid that.

But an unexpected benefit of the initial horror that was my stepping on the scale on January 1 only to discover I have gained 21 pounds in the 2 months since my competition, is that I am now almost ¼ of the way back to that weight… that’s right… I play mind games with myself. Fractions and absolute numbers and all sorts on fun to be had in order to trick my brain into not beating itself up too much.

Am I crazy? Probably.

Does this work? YES.

Think about it. If I had weighed myself today instead of yesterday I would have thought I had gained 16-17 pounds. This is horrifying; it’s almost as horrifying as 21 pounds. By Instead I got the shock of 21 pounds.

Then 24 hours after that horrifying moment I got to experience the joy of having already lost 4.4 lbs and being closer to my goal weight.

I make no sense sometimes, but meh. This was really just an excuse to confess to you all that I have gained an inordinate amount of weight over the last 2 months. Yes some is muscle, but let’s get real, most of it is fat. 😦

But, you may ask, what exactly did I do to get rid of nearly 5 pounds in one day?

Well I’m pretty sure a lot of it had to do with drinking like 6 litres of water and taking all my vitamins (that are usually diuretic in nature), but also I was pretty careful with my food.

It broke down like this (I use Sparkpeople.com to track my food if you are curious):

1400 calories… that’s about 300 less than my normal “diet” calorie level for reference. I.e. pretty low calorie for me but not going into starvation mode unless I keep doing that… which I won’t 🙂

45 grams of carbs – not quite Atkins, but still extremely low.

140 grams of protein – aw yeah, getting 1 gram per pound of lean body mass!

70 grams of fat – these were good fats mostly, like nut butters and such.

My meals were:

Breakfast – 1 egg, 3 egg white omelette with 2 slices of peameal bacon on the side

Snack – 1 oz pecans

Lunch – Bowl of lean beef chilli

Dinner – Chicken breast with sautéed baby bok choy and onions

“Dessert” – Protein sludge (1 scoop protein powder plus 1 tbsp of macadamia butter and a bit of water, then freeze)

I would have gone to the gym too, but apparently my gym doesn’t acknowledge the whole resolutions thingy, so I’m going extra hard tonight 🙂

Happy New Year!

This whole good carb bad carb thing…

Yesterday was great. I bought my competition shoes (below), did a leisurely back workout with my friend (I don’t think she considered it leisurely) and went to my parent’s for dinner where I had the BEST sweet potato ever. It was so sweet that it actually carmelized a bit. It was supposed to be a low carb day, but for a cheat, sweet potato is a pretty reasonable one… I also ate significantly more chicken (and skin) than I normally would because my mom’s cooking is awesome and things just somehow taste better when she makes them.

Some practice will be needed walk confidently in these.

While I’m on the topic of carbs I would like to point out something that has always bothered me; this whole labeling carbs “good” vs. “bad” is just wrong!

Yes there are higher nutrient carb sources which I would consider BETTER for you, but that is not the division I typically see.

More often is goes “complex carbs = good and simple carbs = bad”, but it just doesn’t work like that. That puts raisins and pixy stix in the same category of bad and sweet potatoes in the same category as cereal as good. I do not accept that!

Simple carbs have their place in a healthy diet, especially one that has high intensity exercises. Complex carbs are just slow releasing carbs, they provide energy to your system slower over a longer period of time which is great in day-to-day life. They also have a slower insulin response and will keep you full longer. Simple carbs have a high insulin response, you probably all think this is bad, but there is a place where you want this as insulin is an enzyme that transports carbs to be used by the muscle. Simple carbs are great before high intensity work where your muscles will need the fuel; they are also great after a tough weight session when you are trying to build muscle because the sugar will help to muscle use the protein you should all be having post workout. Artificial and chemically processed foods, sugary foods, candy and white flour might meet the definition of complex or simple carb but they have little to no nutritional value like vitamins and minerals. Stick which whole natural foods to meet your simple and complex carb needs.

OK rant over.

Yesterday I had my friend take some pictures of my back while we were working out and was quite pleased with the level of definition.

A little blurry but you get the idea

I love working back, it just makes me feel so strong! What are most people’s favourite muscle groups to work? I feel like for women it’s usually abs, and men seem to love chest and biceps. I’m a little weird I guess.

It was supposed to be a low carb day, but as I mentioned above, I was at my parents’ for dinner and my Mom made awesome sweet potatoes so I had a nibble of one and quickly decided that it could be a moderate carb day instead. Sometimes that just needs to happen. I had deliberately eaten a little less throughout the day knowing that I cannot resist bigger servings at my parents’ house so I was still right at my target calorie level and in a good range for protein and fats and less than 100 grams of carbs.

Today marks my first day of 2-a-day workouts. This morning I did a 25 minute fasted interval run and some pretty intense ab work. This afternoon I will do steady state cardio and a shoulder workout. I will try to do 2 cardio sessions every other day and 1 on the day in between (with one full rest day each week) in an attempt to push my body to shed a bit more weight as I’m starting to freak out that the show is so close! But I’m so excited at the same time. I don’t like cardio, but it definitely has a time and a place in competition training.

I feel like this post has been a little all over the place, which is probably reflective of my state of mind… crazy diets and exercise make my brain do funny things, sorry!

Train hard!

Saturday cardio and self sabotage

I currently sit here drinking a lovely post-cardio shake that I did not take a picture of because it doesn’t look like much, but this is a similar shake from a post of Eat Clean Diet. I looooove chocolate and raspberries together and this is absolutely delicious plus super simple and quick to make.

Raspberry Chocolate Protein Shake

Ingredients:

1 scoop protein powder of choice in chocolate or vanilla (I like BioX Power Whey Complex in Rocky Road)

2/3 c. frozen raspberries (if using fresh, just add ice)

1 c. unsweetened, unflavoured almond milk (or milk of choice)1 tsp. cocoa powder

1 pkg. Splenda or sweetener of choice

  • Directions: Throw everything in a blender (I use my magic bullet) and blend until smooth.

Nutritional Info: Cals – 230   Carbs – 14 g    Fats – 6 g   Protein 28 g

I really didn’t feel like making a huge meal and dirtying up my kitchen at 9 PM but I had just done about an hour of cardio and needed to have something nutritious with a good mix of protein and carbs (only a few).

After my progress pics yesterday I was feeling pretty good about the whole competition diet. But as I start to lose my body fat I find myself getting tired easily. It probably doesn’t help that my workouts are getting longer and I’m adding more cardio. Yet I’m decreasing my food intake. No wonder I’m feeling sluggish. Today was supposed to be a carb up, and I did eat more carbs than on a low carb day but I would call it “moderate” carbs at about 120 g for the day because I really did not feel like hitting the gym hard and couldn’t justify the higher carbs on a lack luster gym day.

Today I went to a baseball game, out to eat and was back at my house around 6 feeling like taking a nap and lamenting the fact that my legs (particularly my bum) were rather sore from yesterday’s glute and hamstring centric workout. The gym by my place closes at 8 PM on Saturdays so I had a decision to make: stay at home and lose a day of working out or drag myself to the gym and get in some kind of workout, good, bad or ugly. Since I was planning on meeting a friend tomorrow to work back and abs, I decided to just do a long cardio session. Not much thought involved in that. A trainer I have been talking to highly recommends the stair mill so that is what I had in mind. I changed into my gym clothes, grabbed a water bottle and my iPod and headed for the gym. It’s about a 15 power walk there which got my heart rate up but also gave me time to think… why was I feeling so lackluster today? Why didn’t I want to go to the gym when it’s usually something I look forward to?

Is this what they are talking about with Self Sabotage???

I really think it is!

Not that I don’t want to succeed, but it’s so much easier to stay on a couch that to walk to the gym and workout for an hour when you are already exhausted. There are a million excuses to not go and a lot of them go through my head daily but normally I love the gym, so it’s not hard to overcome those negative thoughts. Today was a little harder because, well, I hate cardio as I talk about here. So what pulled me through?

A major thing was that I still need to drop my body fat down and only have 4 weeks before the competition. Do I really want to get up on stage in a tiny bikini and not be where I want to be? NO. But that’s not really useful to you guys since most of you don’t have a competition looming, but goals can be incredible motivators. If you set yourself a deadline to achieve something, not sticking to the plan might/will end in you not achieving that goal. I don’t know about you but I HATE failing. Do you have a vacation planned? A fancy event? A birthday coming up? Why not set a fitness goal to achieve by that day? It will help hold you accountable.

The other thing that got me out the door, and this is corny, so I’m sorry, but it was those stupid motivational posters that say things like the hardest step in the one out your front door, and no matter how slow you go, you’re lapping everyone on the couch. I normally don’t need a tonne of help motivating myself. But just thinking about those things made me realize that once I’m at the gym, the tiredness will probably disappear. So I made a deal with myself that I would go for 10 minutes on the stair mill (my goal is to do 50 minutes on cardio days) and if I still felt awful, I could stop. But once you start going it seems like such a waste! You’re already there, you are already sweaty, you already have your heart rate up… just keep going… and I did. I did the whole 50 minutes! It was not my best workout, but I was sweaty and felt much better for having done it. Plus, now I don’t feel like I’ve wasted my carbs today!

So no more self sabotage. Every day counts, I have 4 weeks to go and I will not let myself get in the way of success!

But speaking of carbs… I have another delicious oatmeal recipe from today 🙂

Apple Cinnamon Oats

Apple cinnamon oats

The ingredients are:

  • 1/3 c. large flake oats
  • 1/2 c. water
  • 1/2 c. egg whites
  • 2 tbsp. unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 a medium apple, diced
  • 1 tbsp real maple syrup
  • a generous amount of cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Combine water, egg whites and oats in a sauce pan and bring to a boil over high heat stirring frequently.
  2. When boiling, turn heat to low and simmer until thick while stirring frequently.
  3. Add the applesauce and apples (i left a couple out to put on top for the picture but if you want a crunchier texture, leave all of them out and stir them in at the end) and stir to combine.
  4. Bring back to a boil until desired thickness is reached.
  5. Serve in a bowl and top with the maple syrup and cinnamon and mix it all in.

Nutritional Information:     Cals – 340     Carbs – 49 g      Fats – 0 g     Protein – 28 g

1 month to go to UFE Halloween Mayhem!!!!

Ok so I’m a little excited. Firstly this morning started off fantastically with a 1 pound weight loss after carbing up (I am seeing a pattern that I actually drop weight the day after the carb up… weird) and secondly I added pumpkin pie spice to my morning coffee which is about 2 cups of coffee + 1/4 c. skim milk + 1 pkg splenda and now featuring a dash or 3 of pumpkin pie spice. Love it! Thirdly, I have one month left to my first ever fitness competition!

Coffee with pumpkin pie spice

This last month is so crucial to success and I have a big to do list/plan that I will share with you. Please take this in the context that this is my first competition, I am designing my own diet and training plan and everything I do is based on lots of research but little to no experience other than talking to helpful people. So with that in mind this is my plan:

  • Cardio 5 – 6 times per week, at least 3 sessions of 50 mins on the stair climber and 2-3 other sessions including sprints on high carb days
  • Weights 5 days per week
    • Legs – 4 rounds of super sets with a hamstring and glute focus, 1 minute rest between sets, keep the weights as heavy as possible
    • Push and abs – high reps (12-20) of push-ups and lighter weight exercises plus 2 heavier sets and 3-4 sets of ab exercises hitting all different areas
    • Pull – start with heavy weight in 8-12 rep range doing one set each for lats, rhomboid and combination, then 3 sets of 15-20 reps lighter weight, same grouping
    • Legs – circuit of 6-7 exercises at least 2 plyometric moves and only 30 seconds rest between exercises, 2 mins rest between circuits
    • Shoulders and abs – 5-6 exercises alternating high and low rep ranges depending on type of exercise hitting all three deltoid head then 3-4 sets of abs
  • Diet
    • Continue carb cycling with 2 days low carb, 1 day high carb, 3 days low, 1 day high
    • Focus more on timing the carbs on the high carb days around breakfast and pre- and post- workout with lower carbs the rest of the day
    • Currently eating 1600-1800 calories per day, drop range by 100 calories per day each week going no lower than 1300 calories on a low-end day
    • Absolutely no gluten
    • Cut out milk/dairy 2 weeks pre-contest
  • Tanning 3 times per week with a tanning accelerator
  • Use a pro tanning product day before the show (maybe Jan Tana?)
  • Make sure bikini fits and bling it out
  • Find/make a costume for the costume round – IDEAS PLEASE?! – I was thinking of being a flower fairy or a super hero… thoughts?
  • Buy clear plastic heels and practice walking in them toe to heel (yes I apparently have to re-learn house to walk
  • Decide on poses and practice them

If this looks like a daunting list that’s because it is! I feel a little overwhelmed, but I have come this far so there is no turning back.

I will post more progress pics tomorrow,  I think I will start posting them every friday so that you can see what the progression is leading up to the competition.Now, I promised you a recipe for the awesome Oatmeal that I had on my carb up day yesterday… so here it is:

Raspberries and Cream Oatmeal

Raspberries and Cream Oatmeal

The ingredients are:

  • 1/3 c. large flake oats
  • 1/2 c. water
  • 1/2 c. egg whites
  • 1/4 c. skim milk
  • 1/2 c. raspberries (frozen or fresh)
  • 1 pkg. splenda (or sweetener of choice to taste)
  • 1 -2 tbsp. 2% plain greek yogurt

Directions:

  1. Combine water, egg whites and oats in a sauce pan and bring to a boil over high heat stirring frequently.
  2. When boiling, turn heat to low and simmer until very thick while stirring frequently.
  3. Add the splenda and raspberries and stir to combine and break up the raspberries throughout.
  4. Add the milk which will thin in considerably and bring back to a boil until desired thickness is reached.
  5. Serve in a bowl and top with the greek yogurt and a couple extra raspberries if you want to be fancy.

Nutritional Information:     Cals – 340     Carbs – 43 g      Fats – 5 g     Protein – 32 g

* if you use caloric sweetener remember to add that into the calories and macro count.

Mind games and the scale

I love this quote and yet sometimes I feel like I’m tethered to the scale, especially right now leading up to the fitness competition. I have an incredibly difficult time losing weight and my day starts off with a gamble on whether the scale will move up or down. Down and I feel great! I feel like I succeeded the prior day and that I can keep going… Up and I start wondering what the hell I did wrong the day before that it’s no going the right direction and will probably have a not so great mood for the next hour. In reality the day to day fluctuations don’t really matter, but even looking at the weekly fluctuations, hitting a plateau can really take the wind out of your sails when you are working yourself so hard. To deal with this i try to do the following:

  • Take progress pictures like the ones I posted here and compare those to the befores… did I change or not? I probably did so ignore the scale.
  • Measure you chest, hips, waist and thighs and see the changes
  • Get your body fat measured; I have a body fat scale but it’s not very accurate, I usually ask the gym if I can use theirs which will give me an idea if my body fat is decreasing. If that number isn’t moving that is a bigger problem than the scale number.
  • Look at how my clothes fit, as long as they are getting looser (except for the thighs which are always tight on me) then we are moving in the right direction
  • Look in the mirror… notice anything different?
  • Think about what you ate yesterday if the scale went up… did I have a lot of salt at dinner? was yesterday a carb up? maybe I’m retaining water.

These can really help you deal with the psychology of scale weight. But the biggest thing I can recommend is DON’T USE A SCALE! I’m serious! Hide it somewhere and only use it if you think you need to. I don’t normally weight myself, but this competition requires a bit closer tracking than just the mirror. I don’t really care what I weigh, but if I’m pushing myself to the limit and not losing weight that can be really upsetting. So for everyone else out there that gets upset at the scale… chuck it out the window… I bet you’ll feel way better 🙂

Now, that is not to say that I haven’t been losing weight. Carb cycling has really pushed through this last plateau and I am down 2.5 pounds in about 1.5 weeks, which is pretty good and I’ve been loving it. Last night I made the most awesome low carb dinner ever! It was a bit salty so the scale went up about half a pound this morning, but per the above, I’m dealing with it. This was the:

Low Carb Burger from Heaven

Low carb cheeseburger with a side salad… happy low carb day!

 Ingredients:

  • 1 Portobello mushroom cap
  • 1 5 oz. extra lean burger patty  (I bought some frozen “Popeye” burgers which are made from extra lean grass-fed beef, mixed with onions, spices, spinach and cottage cheese)
  • 1/2 tbsp oil
  • Toppings of your choice – mine were:
    • 2 tbsp homemade guacamole (avocado, tomatoes, onions, chile pepper, lime juice, cilantro)
    • 1 handful spinach
    • 1 oz smoked cheddar cheese
    • 1 tsp cheddar ale mustard

Directions: (Really these don’t need directions other than maybe the “bun”)

The “bun” and toppings

    1. Slice mushroom cap horizontally so you have 2 circular pieces that can be used as the bun
    2. If you have a barbecue, grill it on the barbecue and I’m sure it will be delicious, otherwise heat a pan to high heat and pan fry the mushroom cap
    3. Cook the burger in your desired fashion, I did mine in a pan and added the cheese so it got nice and melty
    4. Construct your burger using the mushroom as the bun like this.

Nutritional Info (without toppings): Cals – 325     Carbs – 5 g     Fats – 16 g     Protein – 40 g Nutritional Info (with toppings): Cals – 490     Carbs – 9 g     Fats – 29 g     Protein – 47 g