Healthy Mind + Body

Weekly Goals #2

20190203_130709346_iOSAlthough many of us (myself including) suffer from the “Sunday Scaries”, it’s not an excuse to lay around in bed, wasting away your precious energy on whatever it is that Monady may hold.

Over the last month I have been setting myself up for success by creating “SMART” weekly goals:

Specific: state exactly what you plan to do

Measurable: provide a way to quantify/evaluate your progress

Achievable: make these realistic and within your abilities

Relevant: set a goal that makes sense within your current goals, scope of practice, ambitions

Time-bound: state when this will be completed–deadlines!!

Silly goal: “I want to lose weight” This sets you up for failure because you literally have NO plan of action set behind these words. When? What’s the deadline? What are the specifics?

SMART goal: “By the end of March, I will have lost at least 3 pounds of body fat” This is a specific, time-oriented goal. You know what you want and when you want to have it completed by.

Although I’ve been a planner and list maker my entire life, I too suffer from the “I’ll get to that later” syndrome, and end up putting it off for months. By creating 2-4 SMART weekly goals, I’m allowing myself to “get to it later” but also providing myself a doable deadline.

How did last week’s goals go over?

  1. Update my FedLoan account for the 2019 year: Got this acccomplished right away on Monday. This is something that literally takes 5 minutes max, but is one of those “it’s so easy I’ll get to it later” situations. DONE!
  2. Donate my clothes: I’ve had these clothes bagged up for about 7 months in the corner of my living room. Knowing I was going to walk right past the donation bin on my way to the store, I brought them with me and completed this on Wednesday. DONE!
  3. Complete 2 chapters of my Ex Phys book: I am working towards my C-EP certification (more on that later), so I’m making realistic goals of how many chapters to get to each week. So far, I completed one….but hey, there’s still daylight to finish the second chapter. (almost) DONE!

Let’s see what this week’s goals consist of. These ones will be listed in a more SMART fashion:

  1. By Sunday of next week, I will have ran a minimum of 20 miles at a 9:50 pace or below.
  2. By Sunday of next week, I will have read 2 more chapters from my Ex Phys book.
  3. By Sunday of next week, I will have gotten my car washed/vaccuumed (thank you unnecessary snow days for making my car disgusting…)
  4. By Sunday of next week, I will have cleaned out my entire kitchen of any unused food/baking supplies/plateware that I have not used within the last 3+ months (I have so many unnecessary containers, pots/pans/shaker bottles that take up wayyyy too much room–they all need to GO!)

What are your weekly goals? 

Dietitian Talk

10 Things To Know BEFORE You Become a Nutrition Major

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With  hundreds of colleges to choose from, and hundreds of majors to declare…it all comes down to the questions of: What College? And most importantly, what will you study?

I lucked out and knew what I wanted to do from a fairly young age, so choosing a college that carried the major of dreams was simple. For many (and most) people out there that are still questioning what path to take, don’t rush it! Having to select a major and then switch over halfway through can be a long and grueling process.

Among the long list of majors…if you scroll down to the “N” section, you might find something along the lines of “Nutrition” or “Nutrition Sciences” or “Nutrition and Health Sciences”

When I first started my undergrad career, I had a decent amount of students enrolled in the major of Nutrition. By the end of the first year, many ended up switching majors or dropping out altogether. I’m not saying nutrition is a walk in the park (hello there biochemistry and organic chemistry) but you will find a lot of concepts quite easy to grasp and understand as well.

As a Nutrition Alumni to IUP who will still be on campus working with the undergrads, I have a lot of incoming nutrition freshman asking me questions regarding tests, classes, social life, study life, etc.

So, to all of you considering pursuing a major in Nutrition:

Here are ten important facts you need to know before selecting nutrition as your major:

 

 

1) You need to know more than just the food pyramid:

Be prepared for in-depth science courses regarding enzymes, digestion, bacteria/viruses, the chemistry of food, as well as classes regarding business/management, counseling patients/clients, the mathematical equations used in food service functions.

 

2) You’re entering a competitive field

If you are choosing to major in nutrition in the dietetics track, you will basically feel as though you’re competing against everyone in the room. Upon graduation when it’s time to apply for internships, it feels as though it’s a dog eat dog world. The match rate for receiving an internship is about a 50-55% due to the increasing number of students with a lack of internship opportunities.

 

3) You’re going to school for at least five years

If you’re majoring in nutrition and going down the “dietetics” track, chances are you’ll take 4 years to complete your bachelors + a fifth  year to complete an unpaid, 8-12 month long internship in which YOU have to pay them. It’s necessary to become a dietitian, so sadly you can’t skip that last part.

4) You’re going to have the stigma of being a food nazi

If I had a dollar for the amount of people who were afraid to eat with me, claim I only eat salads, or tell me “not to judge their food” …. I’d be out of college debt.

5)  You’re going to learn more than just the five basic food groups

A lot of misconception regarding classes has become prevalent to me. I get asked all the time if I learned about food labels and the food pyramid (now known as MyPlate). Of course we do, but we also learn about vitamins and minerals, how the digestive track works, the monotonous glycolysis and TCA cycle lectures and also medical nutrition therapy. If I don’t stress this enough, I probably should…but nutrition is not a walk in the park as it may seem.

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6) You’ll probably get mistaken for being a “chef”

 

I’m not the best cook—I swear. I can probably estimate the amount of carbs, fats, and protein in your meal using the exchange list, but I probably am not the best cook you’ll meet.

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7) Be prepared for everyone asking you for a meal plan/diet evaluation

Most people assume that because you’re majoring in nutrition you can whip up a meal plan and that’s all you’re good for—haha! Our courses range from microbiology to anatomy/physiology, to organic chemistry. We know a lot more than just what a person should eat.

8) Expect to have specific GPA minimum requirements

Nutrition isn’t the major you should choose if you plan to just snooze through class. For my school we had to maintain a minimum of 3.0, which sounds quite easy but the fact that most internships won’t even consider you unless you have a 3.25 is something else you have to think about. If a specific course is a prerequisite to another course needed for the major, you have to get at least a C in the class. My tip is to take class seriously—it’s going to be your profession!

9) Start looking for volunteering opportunities as soon as you can (if you haven’t already started)

Start building your resume as soon as you can! If you’re heading down the dietetics track of nutrition, volunteer and work experience in the field of health/nutrition is ranked high the list the internship coordinators want. Whether it’s a job/volunteer work at a local hospital or nursing home, teaching children about fruits and vegetables, or being able to shadow a dietitian for a few weeks, anything counts!

10) You will have endless opportunities to do with your degree:

Do you want to be a registered dietitian? Or maybe you want to start a health and wellness business. How about opening a gym? Doe working with athletes in the collegiate and professional level sound enticing? Or maybe you’re leaning towards research and labwork. There are ENDLESS opportunities, and the great thing to know is that our field is expanding every year!

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Most importantly, know that if you’re passionate about health, wellness, and nutrition, you ARE on the right path by choosing this career! Smile

contact me with any questions/advice at: tdaley91811@hotmail.com

Healthy Mind + Body

New School Year, New You: 2016-2017 Goals

Good morning everyone! In my last post I mentioned how important journaling is, and how it can really help you reach your spiritual sense of happiness, so I’ve decided to get back on my blogging game as this is a sense of journaling for me. I had my cup (or two) of coffee paired with my bowl of oatmeal + 1 scoop of cinnamon protein powder, and now I’m just typing away before I set off for the typical eight hour work day. Life’s been moving at a fairly fast pace lately. I feel like it was just last week that I was crying in Shawn’s arms when he left for basic military training, but that was over 3 MONTHS ago already! Now it’s time to really buckle down lately with so many upcoming events:

The start of the new semester

The start of a new job working under two professors

The start of a new major (exercise science)

The start of a whole new type of relationship (long distance)

Prioritizing people, places, events, and ideas has always been a struggle with me. I tend to put academics over everything, which sounds like the best thing in the world…I mean hey it’s gotten me this far, but mentally it’s a struggle bus.

I put together a simple list of goals that I aim to achieve and nail for the 2016-2017 upcoming school year.

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Some people may look at my list and think “ok laugh..that’s easy to do. and eating when you’re hungry? Come on that’s easy too” But when you’re mind works like mind, sometimes those two things happen maybe once or twice a month. Making a list of things you want to accomplish based off of YOUR needs is key. No matter how little or silly they may be. Sometimes it’s just the feeling that you can cross it off at the end of the day—that accomplished feeling, that makes everything that much better.

 

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Healthy Eats + Treats

Back to School Essentials: Snack Edition

Living in a college town, it’s quite obvious when school is either IN session or OUT for the summer/winter breaks. As the summer begins to wind down, slowly and slowly I see more and more college age students walking downtown at night, grocery shopping, or simply walking through the campus grounds. With relationships, social life, parties, academics, and extra curricular taking over a students life, usually nutrition and what is going into their mouth is the last thing on the priority list to care about, am I right?! Three top reasons as to why I believe what you eat is SO critical and important:

  • Weight Control: Being mindful of your food choices is an important factor in maintaining a healthy weight. Eating in excess will cause an increase in weight; and if the weight gain continues, potential health concerns may arise (next bullet!)
  • Disease Prevention: Not only may obesity cause potential health problems, but consuming too little or too much of nutrients may create health concerns as well. Examples may include too much saturated fats or too little calcium.
  • Efficient Energy: Fueling your body with the right foods will, in the end, provide your body with adequate energy to stay focused and keep trekking through those 3 hour long seminars Eye rolling smile

 

As an undergrad in college, nutrition and eating healthy was a no brainer to me (being a nutrition major and all), so I never really could understand how people could just pack on the pounds and eat whatever their heart desired without giving a single care in the world. As time went on I realized that not everyone saw food as numbers, percentages or specific values like I did…but they just saw food as well, delicious! Although I do believe in the whole “everything in moderation”, I think it is important to be eating whole, healthy foods 75-80% of the time.

Coming back to a new school year gives most people the “new year new you” vibe—so why not start that whole new you in the kitchen? Here’s some great snack ideas that are college friendly/easy on the go for classes/crazy schedules Smile

  • Greek yogurt cup + piece of fruit (my fav is the Oikos Triple Zero collection)
  • Cheese stick + serving of whole wheat crackers
  • Overnight oats—legit the smartest idea in the world for busy mornings!
  • 1/2 a PBJ sammy on whole wheat bread
  • granola bar + piece of fruit
  • packet of tuna + whole wheat crackers
  • serving of whole grain cereal + milk in a small tupperware
  • 1/2  a turkey & cheese sandwich on whole wheat bread

 

What are some of your favorite snacks/meals to bring on the go?

Dietitian Talk

My Experience with the RD exam

So, after years of schooling…and an internship that consists of over 1000 hours of supervised practice in long term care, acute care, management, and intervention rotations, it all comes down to passing or failing the 125-145 question exam.  Now of course I’m not going to go and tell you whats on the exam, because everyone’s is different. Before I took my exam, I went online to look up “how to breathe during the exam” and “how not to puke while taking the RD exam” because in my opinion, it’s a really HUGE deal. Yes, you totally can take it again. and again… but the $$  you spend taking it plus the time you spend studying…let’s just say it’s better to pass it come the first time around.

So I’m just going to give a brief perspective of my experience taking it and how I prepared for it myself!

My class graduated from the internship on Wednesday May 25th and I took my exam Tuesday July 19th. That gave me about eight weeks to prepare, but realistically I didn’t start preparing until say 3-4 weeks out. I enjoyed my Memorial Day weekend (Shawn left for basic that weekend so I was glued to HIM, not so much my notes), and I did take a spontaneous trip to Florida with Christyna for a week, in which I didn’t study at all for the exam. Originally I scheduled my exam for August 9th, but when June 15th hit I was like okay Tabitha, let’s start studying and move your date closer. By making my date sooner it really got me to studying and actually not procrastinating.

 

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How I studied:

  • I am SUCH a visual learner; listening/audio never helped me. I was lucky enough to go to one of Jean Inman’s 2 day course in  Pittsburgh and be given her book of information regarding what to study and know for the exam (essentially a bible for any person who is taking the RD). If you can go to, her course OR simply purchase the jean inman book (pricey I know, you will be happy you did so.
  • I went through Jean’s book and everything she told us to note or highlight I put on flashchards. I had over 500 flashcards! Writing the notes on the flashcards helped me remember it better than simply reading the book over and over.

 

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  • After all my flashcards were made I had about 1.5 weeks until my exam…so I really had to kick it in full gear. I spent 5 days doing the 1000 practice questions and reviewing the answers from the Jean Inman book she had given us. I circled the ones I got wrong and went back to see why I had gotten them wrong.
  • The last 4 days before my exam I spent reading each of the four domains out of that book of hers. Each day I read 1 domain each and made sure I understood the concepts. Reading outloud to myself was very helpful.
  • The morning of I had to drive 1 hour to my closest testing center and my heart was just beating the whole time. I arrived 45 minutes early (they recommend 30 minutes early) and I was able to sign in and wait outside the door. The room I would be using consisted of several people, yet I was the only one sitting for the CDR exam. Everyone else were waiting to take their 7 hour surgery board exams (thank god my exam was only 2.5 hours!!)
  • I had to lock up all my stuff, turn my phone off, have my finger prints and palms scanned and then she let me begin my exam at 8am. She provided me with headphones and ear plugs, which ever I preferred use. The headphones worked so well.
  • During the entire exam I was just clicking the next button and wanting to cry because I felt like each answer was wrong. 80% of me thought I failed, and the 20% was just hopeful I passed. As I finished the exam within the hour, I clicked finish and had to take a short survey at the end regarding my exam and man…although It was “short”, it felt like FOREVER since I couldn’t get my results until the end of the exam.
  • I got my results saying pass and I just sat there in shock, and rose my hand to be dismissed. She came in and asked “all done?” and I just looked at her and said “….I passed……” still in disbelief!!
  • She printed out my results and I called my mom right away crying as I walked to my car. I sat in my car for about ten minutes because my hands were still shaking from the fact that my ten year goal of becoming an RD was accomplished!!

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What’s on the list for the next goal I need to accomplish?? Hopefully this helps anyone considering the exam!

Healthy Eats + Treats

Traveling healthy? Is that a thing?

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OK OK OK EVERYONE! BIG NEWS!

I am now a REGISTERED DIETITIAN!

How this differs from the “nutritionist” you may ask? A nutritionist can be ANYONE: i.e. your mother can call herself one, your grandfather can call himself one, an accountant can be one…you don’t need a certification for that. HOWEVER, a dietitian on the other hand requires the following (info taken from eatright’s website:

  • Completed a minimum of a bachelor’s degree at a US regionally accredited university or college and course work accredited or approved by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
  • Completed an ACEND-accredited supervised practice program at a health-care facility, community agency, or a foodservice corporation or combined with undergraduate or graduate studies. Typically, a practice program will run six to 12 months in length.
  • Passed a national examination administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR). For more information regarding the examination, refer to CDR’s website at www.cdrnet.org.
  • Completed continuing professional educational requirements to maintain registration.

 

Anyways, this means I am now a professional, and have to abide by the code of ethics and am actually well, legit. I must say that exam was SO tough for me….another blog post about that later tonight. This post is dedicated to traveling, and how to not kill your diet while flying. Diet is SO important to me, and traveling/being away from my own stove/microwave makes me super anxious. So, as I prepare to fly down to Texas this afternoon for Shawn’s graduation, I’ve decided to write a post on how I’M sticking to a relatively relaxed yet still healthy diet.

Tips on Traveling Healthy:

WARNING: So I still have my competition prep mindset to an extent, so my diet still consists of the sweet potatoes, broccoli, and chicken staples, but these rules can apply to aything!

  1. I’m flying  to Texas for 5 days with 1 carry on, 1 little lunch bag, and 1 security bag. In my security bag is most of the food ill be eating: I packed oats and protein powder in my isolator fitness containers, several cans of tuna, light wheat bread, a container of BCAAS, peanut butter, a bag of almonds (natural of course hehe)
  2. in my lunch bag I prepped: 4 individual bags of 4oz chicken and 1 bag of 1/2 sweet potato. I wasn’t planning on doing this, but because I am extras left over in my house I didn’t want to toss them out! These went right through security and I’ll be eating that right before my non flight and at my connecting flight at 3pm. I also packed a quest bar and tuna pouches (couldn’t bring a can opener on the plane, so ensuring you have easy to eat food is key)
  3. The first time I flew, I had a 7am flight and I went nearly all day without eating because I didn’t want to buy airport food and ugh I don’t even want to think about it. it was the worst! AWLAYS PACK FOOD!
  4. My hotel is within walking distance of a Walmart, so I luckily have access to food when I get down there to buy (like more tuna!)
  5. Take advantage of any fruit/yogurt that your continental breakfast may have…seriously! Apples, pears, anything and keep in your room for a healthy snack! From 6:30 am until 5 pm I will be in the airport/flying/no access to electric cooking devices. Here’s what my day will look like with how I packed:

 

6:00AM: breakfast (before I left): oatmeal with protein powder and 2 cups of coffee (because coffee = life)

9:00: 1 oz nuts, quest bar

12:00 pm: 4 oz chicken, 1/2 sweet potato, 4 oz chicken

3pm: 4 oz chicken

By the time I get to my hotel it’ll be 6pm and I will be able to hit walmart for anything dinner related (veggies).

 

Important note: If you’re traveling to a new area, chances are you will be eating out occasionally…and that’s OK! This weekend is Shawn’s basic training for the air force graduation, and I am definitely going to go out and treat him and have him show me delicious places to eat. Just be mindful when you’re eating out. What do you guys pack when you fly?

Healthy Mind + Body

10 things my parents taught me by age 21

20160430_132216630_iOSGoing to college wasn’t a choice for me: it was mandatory for me to succeed in my goals.

Going to a college six hours away from home? Now THAT was a choice.

Leaving my family was a choice. Keeping in touch or choosing to pick up the phone or even answer their messages was a choice. Staying close was a choice.

Growing up, I lucked out. I grew up in a family that sheltered me, guided me, cared for me, fed me, yelled and punished me when necessary but celebrated me when it was necessary as well. Disagreements arose and frustration occurred often between my parents and I, but so did jokes, laughter, and family outings.

I remember in 2012 my parents dropped me off to college with my roommate and boyfriend at the time and all I could say was “Ok bye, see ya, leave…NOW!” And was off doing my own thing. Sure, my family and I were close, but it wasn’t to where I planned to call them every day or check in weekly. Homesickness seemed non-existent to me. Seeing them only twice a year at Christmas and my birthday in June didn’t seem as though it would pose a problem.

Throw in a heartbreak that I never thought would happen, 40 + hour workweeks while attending an honors college, and the depressive thoughts that could prevent anyone from leaving his/her bed and you change your mindset real quick.

Looking back at that, I’ve been out on my own for nearly four years and my relationship with my parents has changed for the better. No, I don’t call them everyday and update them on my every move, but maybe once a week or so I’ll let them know I’m still alive. I’ll fill them in the latest date I’ve been on, talk to my dad about the latest workout I’ve been trying or maybe some new ways to alter my diet, and maybe even post on their face book and actually acknowledging their existence Winking smile 

 

So Sue and Luke, this post is a shout out to you guys. Here are the top ten things you both have taught me that I’ve realized at age 21.

 

10. Don’t underestimate yourself:

The hundreds and hundreds of times I’ve applied and been accepted into programs, leadership groups, awards, and scholarships still blows my mind. My self esteem and confidence has always been on the low side, but you taught me to believe in myself.

9. Pick up your things and put them back where they belong

Dad, remember that time you threw my baby doll’s ballet slipper in the trash because I didn’t pick it up when I was done with it?  I cried (and I’m still not over it!) Now I’m 21 and I’m not over the fact that my friends, room mates, partners, and co-workers cannot simply use something and put it back where it belongs instead of leaving it lye around the area. Thanks for making me development this trait!!

8. Don’t fear change

Moving nearly every year gave me the opportunity to learn from new environments and make friends with new faces. I’ve learned that pursuing new career paths and taking up new and unfamiliar opportunities can get me further in life than I believed it ever could.

7. You are beautiful

Beauty is more than the physical traits of a person. It’s their mannerisms and quirks; their personality traits. My parents made sure I knew that I was beautiful whether I believed it or not.

6. Watch what you say and who you say it to

Every time I vented or gossiped about a certain girl/boy growing up, my mother remembered every detail of it. Years later when I would bring him/her up, she could remember the previous stories I told about that person. So watch what you say about someone and who  you say it to—once it is out there, there’s no getting it back.

5. Never discourage someone’s likes, dislikes. If anything, encourage it

My mother never turned her head when I told her I wanted to dye my hair. From black hair, to red hair, to black tips, maroon tips, blue streaks, she was there when I wanted these things done. She encouraged my all black wardrobe growing up and would even find clothes to add to the collection. My dad came with me to get my lip pierced although he thought it was the farthest thing from a good idea. All of my likes and interests never aligned with my parents, but they never once told me how “wrong” it was to feel a certain way about things. Now I live everyday listening to people’s perspective and interests and finding and enjoying why they feel certain ways. I’ve learned to be accepting and encouraging because of my parents.

4. Work first, play later

This is NOT the case for everyone, but I hope my future children develop this mindset. Jumping off the bus in elementary school, I would come home and immediately empty out my purple Winnie the Pooh backpack and begin my homework before I even THOUGHT about knocking on our next door neighbor Sara’s house to see if she wanted to play outside on the swing set. fifteen years later and I still have that mindset—do all my homework, email all my clients, prep all my meals BEFORE I even think about going on pinterest and getting lost in a world of recipes for an hour (or four…hehe)

3. Always wear your seatbelt

Every time someone comes in my car, whether they are significantly younger or older, or whether I get in THEIR car, I always make sure the seatbelts are on…even if we’re just going from one parking spot to the next. Growing up with a police officer father will really engrain things in your mind. other similar ideals include: do not drink and drive, do not get in a car with someone who has been drinking, always wear your helmet (even when you’re a 21 year old biking to class…) and never talk to strangers (unless you’re in a grocery store helping them choose the best type of cheese or BBQ sauce)

2. Your true love may be someone who is your complete opposite

Everyday I wonder how in the world my parents ended up together. A ginger and a brunette…an overall health and fitness enthused man and a “I’ll eat what i like” perspective woman…a short tempered and “one hour early is late” mindset filled man with a relaxed tempered “5 minutes early is good enough” woman…where are the similarities? I’m only 21, but I’ve spend countless times X’ing out people who had no similarities to me, or who fell into my mold of the ‘mohawk –tattooed-fitness enthused alpha male that chances are I passed up several people that could have treated me way better than I have ever been treated previously. with that being said I also learned to let love find you, and not push for something that isn’t there anymore.

1.  Try your best in all that you do

Perfectionism can really mess with your mindset, but after hearing my father constantly tell me that as long as I try my best, that’s all that matters, I’m slowly becoming more accepting of that thought. Sure, I’m still hard on myself when I don’t get the highest grade, or get the award or whatever it is that I am aiming for, but as long as I learn from my mistakes and try my hardest, that’s all I can really ask of myself.

Healthy Mind + Body

Bikini Competition through an Eating Disorder Victim’s Perspective

20151109_231323000_iOSIt sounds pretty ironic right?

“Let the girl with disordered eating habits, low self-esteem, and 10 year history of yo-yo dieting compete in a bikini competition”

 

 

That was my first thought as well. How could I, the girl who after months of therapy sessions and dietitian visits and doctor visits, be “okay” enough to compete in a sport that revolved around rigorous training and demanding calorie needs and restrictions.

Sure, my dietitian told me I “graduated” from disordered < 500 calorie/day eating to a healthier, daily eating schedule. But did she know I just lied and made my food journal look like ideal, perfect American diet with 50% of calories from carbs, 30% from fat and 20% from protein? Did she know I wasn’t mentally healthy yet? No, but in order to end those monotonous and silent sessions with Carol in which I never wanted to speak at and to free up my Wednesday afternoons from dietitian visits, it had to be done.

 

And it was stupid.

Because ten years later and I’m still where I was. Except I’m not the same emaciated 90lb girl. I was a regular BMI, starving girl who would gain weight after anything more than 1000 calories due to the starvation mode that I’ve been stuck in. I was sick and tired of being well…sick and tired. I was tired of the fear I had behind food: behind rice, and peanut butter, and potatoes, and oils. And that sounds extremely silly; as my gym owner called it; “the killer carbs!”

 

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But you can’t laugh at my fears; you can’t laugh at the disorder that’s fueling these fears. You certainly can’t laugh at my attempt to wake up everyday and fight it.

So what in the world would force me to change? I was tired of striving for a feeling of happiness through health that I wasn’t obtaining; I was tired of being afraid. And maybe it was egotistical of me, and maybe it was selfish, but I wanted to look and feel better. So I contacted a friend regarding bikini competitions and how to get involved.

Now, I was about a BMI of 24 in the beginning of prep, close to the overweight zone due to muscle mass and some excess fat.

I was given a meal plan to follow and weekly check ins to see how the diet worked and if we needed to tweak it. Now, following the diet was key to success. A lot of people found it hard to follow because it eliminated so many things. But for me, following this diet added more calories than I was already eating; more carbohydrates and fats than I was already eating. And the anxiety began there, but I put trust in my coach that it wouldn’t lead to a weight increase.

Trust is key, that’s an important element I learned.

Seeing that I had to eat pastas and sweet potatoes (yes—they are healthy complex carbs which take longer to digest and are full of fiber & key nutrients…but tell that to a girl with an ED or someone recovering and they won’t listen) made me nervous, but like I said…trust.

After weeks went by, I started dropping some weight and losing some inches; a very healthy progression. Sure, I plateaued several times, and I won’t lie, I’m fairly certain it’s due to the fact that I overtrained several days a week and sometimes I chose not to eat that extra carb choice in the day because I was too afraid too, and that’s my own damn fault—you LEARN from your mistakes.

My diet included several different foods all laid out with relative times an portion sizes, such as broccoli, sweet potatoes, tuna , chicken, oils, salads, rice cakes, etc. I wasn’t used to eating all of these different foods–I mean I was a vegetarian prior to this, so it was a whole new experience!

Now I sit here and type to all of you as I eat some egg whites and 1/2 a sweet potato in prep for Saturday’s competition. Yes—I chose to compete again. Why? Because this whole journey…this experience…this six long ass month experience of 3AM gym sessions, two a days, “no I can’t drink” speeches, HELPED me. How did it help me you ask??

  • I don’t fear carbs like I used too. Actually, I want a freakin bowl of my mother’s ziti (ground turkey and low fat cheese of courseWinking smile ) and a turkey sandwich with whole wheat bread.
  • I found the connection to food, your body, and your energy output—I see how important food choices are to your body for athletic performance
  • I found motivation in myself that I never thought I had
  • I found a new appreciation for food and health: FUEL your body with healthy choices. In other words, eat better not less.

Doing this competition (along with my desire to please everyone and to not let someone down), I wanted to win. I wanted to be the best. Weekly/Bi-monthly check ins’s with coach to ensure I was on track really helped me well….eat. It also helped me change up my workout routine and learn the importance of strength training. I no longer am that cardio bunny–but a strong woman–both mentally and physically.

Sure, my mentality is and always will be skewed. I feel as though I will always see a plate of food and see numbers instead of deliciousness; calories/fat/protein instead of how aesthetically pleasing it looks

 

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But that’s just who I am. If it becomes a problem and interferes with my social life like it used to (sorry girls from the 8th grade soccer team…I really did want to get that pizza after the game I just mentally couldn’t go!) then  I know I need to get help. I think it’ll always be with me, but more so it’s the actions I can control and how I go about dealing with it that can change.

Overall, many people think competitors, whether you’re doing bikini or figure or you’re a male doing bodybuilder or physique (or one of the other trillion classes they have…) that you’re going to have tis disordered mindset and that you’re diet is just super unhealthy and blah blah blah. Well PERSONALLY lemme tell you—this saved my life. This saved my mindset. And I can’t wait to continue to compete.

 

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Healthy Mind + Body

Mondays: How to Deal With Them

Monday written in letter beads and a coffee cup on table

 

 

20160425_134251319_iOSOf all of the days of the week, Mondays are notoriously known for being the most dreaded one. The majority of people have the weekends off to relax, unwind, and essentially do more “fun” things instead of “work things”. As sunday winds down though, we are all struck with the fear of the returning Monday. My question though is why.

Why is it of all days, Mondays are the worse? Why not Tuesday? or Thursday?

Many people find it harder to wake up on Mondays than all other days.

I’ve compiled some things that I personally do that really help prevent and ward off the Monday Strugglebus!

1. Wake up at the same time everyday (or close to it):

Yes…I know…waking up early on the weekends if you don’t have to is never fun,but your body will thank you. Studies have shown that waking up at a similar time everyday has been beneficial for health. By keeping yourself on a set schedule, you won’t have that “I can’t sleep in tomorrow” mindset because you’ll be on the same sleep pattern all week.

2. Setting aside “me time”

This goes for ANY and EVERY day of the week: I find me time SOOO important, mentally and physically. Although many people aren’t considered a morning person (my room mate being one of them hehe Winking smile ) Finding time for yourself before you have to get in the work mindset is so important. For me, I go to the gym in the AM and enjoy my cardio: that’s the time where all my good thoughts and ideas come in. I let my brain wander to what I need to do for the day, who I need to email, what clients need to be seen, what I’ll make for dinner, etc. I follow that up with some coffee, a post workout meal, and a few minutes of instagram and pinterest Smile . and THEN I get my day started.

3. Prepping the night before:

This also goes for ANY and EVERY day of the week, but Mondays especially. I always get my clothes out, keys laid out, lunch packed, breakfast pre-prepped (as in dry oats measured and placed in a bowl, coffee all ready to be brewed, etc), so my mornings can go nice and smoothly.

4. Make a Monday Playlist:

So this may sound silly, but it works! I usually listen to music as I’m showering, getting dressed, or making breakfast (or all of the above!).Making a playlist that gets YOU pumped and excited and in a good mood is a great way to ward off any negative vibes that could be brewing early in the AM. Somedays I’m really feeling the mellow acoustic tunes, like Jack Johnson, but when I really need a pick me up I tune into Spotify’s “Hit Rewind” playlist and start to jam out. It’s also great to play in the car if you have a long commute.

5.  Making a to-do list the night before:

Set aside time on Sunday to plan out all of the tasks you want and need to get done. Prioritize them however you ‘d like. For me, I make a list of the things I need to do followed by the tasks that I would love to do if I have time. I break it down by times and time allotments. Having it written and laid out the night before helps you when the morning comes

6. Enjoying a “cheat” meal on the weekends versus an entire “cheat” weekend:

I’m not a fan of the word cheat because I believe in everything in moderation for the average American, but many people choose to eat a healthy diet throughout the week and splurge/go hard on the unhealthy food during the weekends. NO NO NO! Having this all-or-nothing attitude during the week and over-indulging on the weekends can make you feel fatigued, bloated, tired, and crampy on Monday. By enjoy a “cheat” meal on the weekends is perfectly fine, but be mindful and be sure to have some healthy snacks and meals on hand as well.

7. Plan something fun and exciting for Monday:

Many people dread waking up on Mondays due to several reason, work and school being the two most popular. But who would dread waking up for a coffee date with a friend? Or knowing they have dinner plans with their best friends? Or even a date to the newest movie? Having something to look forward to on a Monday can make them seem a little less dreary. For me, my plans today consist of work followed by a bike ride and park trip!

How do you make your Mondays easier??

Uncategorized

Nutz About Peanut Butter!

20160421_233033705_iOSI used to be a peanutbutter-holic…and yes I still am. after only eating peanut butter and bananas last year and nearly blowing up 30 lbs in a few months, I  needed to re-evaluate what the heck I was doing!!

 

Although there are so many different and delicious companies out there that sell peanut butter and PB like alternatives (PBco, nuts-n-more, buff bakeJustin’s Almond butter, P28), I do enjoy the powdered peanut butter when I’m on prep and watching my fat intake (or just when I’m feeling that peanut butter should be in every meal!!! ) One of my favorites (and cheaper ones) is PurePB + by Crazy Richards. I love a lot of their peanut butter products, so I was really hoping that their powdered peanut butter would be delicious as well.

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And yes…yes it was.

Here are some of the benefits from this powdered protein:

No added salt or sugar

6 grams of protein/serving

No GMO’s and gluten free

High quality, great tasting U.S. peanuts

Less fat & calories than traditional peanut butter

Decaffeinated Green Tea Extract

Natural Astaxanthin B Vitamins

 What are some of MY favorite ways to use powdered PB?

  • in my oatmeal
  • in my protein shakes
  • on toast with chia seeds + banana
  • paired with an apple/pretzels 
  • substituting in recipes, such as the one below!

Check out a quick and easy recipe using powdered peanut butter!

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup Crazy Richards Powdered PB
  • 1/2 Tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 Cup quick oats
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/4 Tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 Cup Skim milk
  • 1 Tsp Vanilla
  • 1 Cup Seedless Raisins

Makes 4 cookies

Instructions

  1. Sift together PB2, baking soda and cinnamon. Stir in the oats. Combine egg whites, milk, vanilla and raisins. Mix well. Drop batter a teaspoon at a time onto a cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes.

 

Here are some other peanut butter spreads that I find delicious. No, these aren’t all “diet” foods, but everything in moderation is a-okay Smile 

 

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