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

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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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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Dietitian Talk

Things NOT To Say to an RD/RD2Be

Since I was 12 years old, I knew what I wanted to do with my career path: I wanted to be a registered dietitian. After going to one myself, the passion was instantly instilled in me. Throughout the course of nine years, I’ve come across SO many new areas of interest with the nutrition field. At first, I thought I made up my mind: a private practice. Yes thats’s exactly what I wanted to do and no one will stop me!!!

 

Well, times can change. Opinions can change. Goals, motives, and desires….those can all change as well.

I’ve learned how important the clinical side can be. How important knowing your lab value ranges is, knowing how certain vitamin and macronutrient intakes can affect the disease of a patient.

I’ve learned how incredibly AWESOME research is!! I remember sitting in a class as an undergraduate snoozing through my research class, memorizing the material just to pass the final exam. But seriously, dabble in a topic that you really like. For me, I’ve become invested in looking up topics regarding athletic performance and diets, or supplement use versus non supplement use on the athletic performance, or simply…how beneficial is fasted cardio?

 

I’ve learned that having clients can be super exciting, but at the same time super difficult, especially if they have their “my way or the highway” attitude.

I’ve also learned that managing and being in charge is extremely fulfilling to me; I like to be in control, so possibly managing a business or food service is in my future? Who knows.

 

Another thing I learned throughout my many experiences in the food and nutrition field…..what NOT to say to RDs and RD2bes.

We’re human too…we don’t eat perfectly or know everything by heart, but here are a few things that really get under our skin:

1. Can you make me a meal plan??

We do more than just the stereotypical meal plan. Sometimes this isn’t even a part of the dietitians job. We asses, diagnose, treat, and evaluate patients depending upon the career we choose to enter with our credentials and degrees. Meal plans are more than just “okay let me tell you what you should eat and write it up in ten minutes”. It’s a lot more complicated than that. Instead, we can help evaluate your current diet and help you make better choices depending on your needs.

2. What’s the healthiest fruit I could eat?

No such thing as the “healthiest” fruit, and don’t even get me started on this “superfood” rant. All fruits have benefits to them, some more than others. Incorporating fruit in your diet is important, the recommended amount being about 2 cups for women/men under 50.

3. I just started this drink detox….

We have a liver to do the detoxing for us. Drinking, whether its fruit juices, broths, smoothies, or what have you, still contains calories. You might lose a little weight if that is your goal, but it’s potentially water weight, plus chances are once you go back to consuming whole foods (cleansing/juicing is not a sustainable, healthy diet plus chances are you are doing this as a 3-7 day phase and are not learning proper eating  techniques), your weight will be gained right back. Talking to a dietitian about healthier lifestyle changes would be much more beneficial.

 

4. Oh don’t look at what I’m eating!

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It might have been funny the first time, but it’s not funny after every person says it. It’s frustrating going out to dinner with friends when they think we’re going to judge every bite they take. We aren’t –we’re just as human as you are!

5. I only buy natural products

natural products do not mean “healthy” or “calorie free” or “sugar free” or even, ‘better’ for that matter. Natural products can still contain sugar, because sugar IS natural. Be sure you are reading the nutrition label when buying products, not just the health claims on the front of the package.

6.  I only eat gluten-yeast-dairy-free

gluten, yeast, dairy, and all of the other trending “free” diets aren’t necessary for the average american unless you have to follow these diets due to medical reasons. Cutting food groups out of your diet can be detrimental to your health if you aren’t making up for it in other areas. For instance, cutting dairy completely may decrease your intake of calcium, vitamin d, and protein. It’s important to go through your health care team if you decide to omit certain food groups from your diet.

7.  I avoid carbs, they’re bad

Women below 50 needs about 6 one-ounce portions of grains while men below 30 need 8 one-ounce portions and men 30-50 need about 7 one-ounce portions. Carbs are not the enemy, it’s excess calories and refined carbohydrates that we need to be weary of. Make sure half of your grain intake is whole grains. Great choices would be whole wheat pasta, whole wheat bread, brown rice, quinoa, and oats.

8. I’m starting my diet tomorrow!

Diet is word that means a short lived food intake. Dieting is only for a period of time, and something we definitely do not recommend. How about starting your “lifestyle” change NOW. Why wait for tomorrow? There is no time like the presence. Sure, may you have plans to go out tonight or go to a party or whatnot, but you can still make healthy choices no matter what.

9. I can eat whatever food I want as long as I burn it off in the end, right??

Errr, essentially, when you burn more than what you eat, you do lose weight. But we as dietitians aim for quality over quantity. So that means, yes you can have 300 calories worth of chocolate chip cookies (about 6 cookies), or you can have 4 oz of chicken breast, 2 cups leafy greens, and one baked potato which will completely fill you up and satisfy you all for the similar amount of calories PLUS loaded with nutrients! Choosing healthier food choices will help you feel better mentally and physically. On a side note, eating your days worth of calories in cookies, for example, versus a balanced diet of carbs, protein, and fats, will affect your body on a chemical level differently.

10. Eating healthy is expensive

Sure, buying everything organic, gluten free, and fresh everyday can be pricey…and that’s because many Americans feel that is what “healthy” means. But healthy does not equal pricey. Buying frozen vegetables and fruit, and not purchasing pre-cut, pre washed produce can cut down on costs. Plus, medical bills from an unhealthy diet are WAY more expensive than buying and planning healthy meals…am I right?! Winking smile 

11. Dr. Oz said that…

All I have to say to this comment is the following:

Uncategorized

3 ingredient peanut butter no bakes!

 

That’s right… three small ingredients + no baking = a task anyone can do!

Occasionally I’ll visit a retirement home and talk about a nutrition topic of their interest. The other day and they were asking me about health and wellness along with quick and easy desserts. The chocoholic in me wanted to scream PB CHOCOLATE NO BAKES!!! You know…the ones with the sugar…butter….PB…and did I mention a lot of sugar?? The ones that mom makes when you come home from college on holiday break Winking smile

 

 

But the dietitian in me said I would look into healthier alternatives for easy desserts, and I think I made a good find on this one:

 

Peanut butter…honey…and oats…how much easier could it get?

Try not to eat them all at once! Smile

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Ingredients:

1 cup Peanut Butter

¾ cup of Honey

3 cups Quick Oats

Directions:

1. Line a 9×9 pan with foil. Spray lightly with non-stick spray.

2. Add honey and peanut butter to a large sauce pan and place on low heat. Allow to cook until liquid consistency.

3. Stir in oats. Mix until well incorporated.

4. Pour mixture into 9×9 pan.

5. Store in the freezer or fridge. Cut into squares and serve. Serves 30

Per serving: 97 calories, 5 g of fat, 12 g carb, 3.4 g protein

 

 

The older population felt that these were a hit! They were all scrounging around for the recipe cards I provided. This is PERFECT in the summer time when you don’t want to turn on your stove.

 

Tip: add nuts, chocolate chips, coconut birrs, or dried fruit!

 

Would are some of your favorite easy desserts?

Uncategorized

Reflection Friday: What I learned from my First Bikini Competition

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20160330_215030000_iOSI’ve slacked this whole week with posting due to the overwhelming schedule I’ve had, but I think this post may be one of the most beneficial ones I write.

Friday: Driving down to Pittsburgh for my spray tan:

After my meeting with the interns and clearing up all of the odds and ends of things, I drove down to the pittsburgh area where I was spray tanned by Olympia Tan. I chose to do the tanning through the venue that was affiliated with the show. Pricey? Yes, but it was ENTIRELY worth it. The day of the show that provided us with more touch ups, shine, bikini bite, and they were such a nice group to work with. They ensured I looked my best and that there were no drips or lines. They even got me in a whole hour before my appointment was scheduled! Talk about luck right?? After my tan I waited around the hotel for an hour or so until check in/weigh in at 6pm. I was so nervous that I dropped my coffee and it landed on some girls feet! Luckily she was so sweet about it and we started talking; she told me how this was her second show and that I shouldn’t be nervous. We got some cool swag bags and t shirts at check  in filled with lots of supplements and protein bars that I couldn’t eat…..#peakweekproblems. It was about 7pm and all I wanted to do was go to sleep, so I did haha! My coach told me how I’d be in bed early and I didn’t believe her. All of the carb depletion really got to me.

 

Saturday: Show time!

I went back to the hotel at 8:30AM to get some bronzer/touch ups done on my tan. I also got dressed in the hotel bathroom and did my makeup there . Some people get their hair/makeup done, but I chose to do it myself. I don’t usually wear makeup or do anything to my hair, so I was too nervous for anyone to do an awful job and ruin my day! I drove on over to the venue and waddled on over with my huge isolator fitness lunchbox and carry on bag that contained my shoes and suit and other paraphernalia and found a seat in the back. In an hour was the competitor meeting, so  had some time to change and practice posing and redo any mascara that smudged, which is inevitable with my unsteady hand. I came back to a few guys that were sitting near my lunchbox and ended up having a great conversation with them. The competitor Matt had done about six shows and is really progressing in the bodybuilding field, and his friend Chad came as support. I looked like a loser sitting all alone but soon enough I knew my friends and fan club at the gym would show up. Tip I learned: TALK to people!! seriously—go network! Talking to Matt and Chad ended up being the highlight of my day! We discussed different diets an techniques, as well as personal stories that weren’t non-fitness related. It was so nice to have my nerves calmed before we all headed backstage to get ready. Lacey and the gym women showed up relatively soon, just in time for me to go on stage!

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As a first time competitor, you can say I had NO idea what I was doing! Without a posing coach I was all alone up there, but I think I did fairly well for going into this whole show blind. Prejudging  I entirely failed haha, I think I was so nervous I could feel my smile shaking the entire time on stage. But I didn’t trip, I did remember to move my hair to the side, and I was always smiling Smile  The two classes I competed in were True novice (never competed before) and collegiate (<25 years old and taking college classes). What really pissed me off was that there were 3 girls who competed in true novice who actually had competed before….and competed with Lacey in previous shows!!! Entirely unfair! But hey, I can’t be salty forever! After I got off stage I was like wow…..that was SO easy. I can’t believe I was so nervous! Prejudging ended around 2:30 and Lacey and I had 2.5 hours to kill before finals, so we sat and chatted with Matt and Chad for a while, until Matt wanted to get coffee.

So that began our journey to find a coffee shop in a town we had never explored. And this involved walking around (luckily it was 66 degrees, because I was walking around in a bikini and a robe) for about a mile looking for this coffee shop that I googled…which ended up being this run down shady looking place in the middle of nowhere. But nonetheless, it was the best time of my life. Walking in, all of the african americans in the room looked at me and were complimenting my tan, stating how black is beautiful. The tan and outfit was a great conversation starter. All of the people in the room were interested in what was going on in town this weekend. We all grabbed our coffees and sat down and just relaxed until finals at 5.

 

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20160330_215032000_iOSSaturday: The end result and take away message

Getting 2nd in the collegiate division baby! All of the girls on stage in every class looked phenomenal! It was bad to say that I was ashamed with how I looked because everyone else topped me big time! After watching all of the women, it only makes me want to try harder and eat better to become like them. I’m so proud of everything that I accomplished and I’m looking forward to my next show in April. Going to bring it even better (and more posing practice is needed). We all celebrated by grabbing food at Red Robin afterwards as a cheat. Mine was a grilled chicken sandwich with unlimited broccoli (accompanied by an entire row of cinnamon bun oreos Winking smile and chocolate covered pretzels…and some of Laceys french fries obviously)

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Things I will take away from my experience as a first time NPC bikini competitor:

  • Practice posing….more than you think you need too. Posing is so important! Doing things the right way will hide as well as accentuate the areas you want.
  • 80% nutrition, 20% exercise: dieting is key. Cheating is ineveitable in small doses, but staying on track on your diet is so important
  • Get a coach: Unless you feel confident in your abilities regarding nutrition, I suggest getting a coach
  • Talk to people! Talk to people in your class, the judges, compliment the girls, everything. Not everyone will be nice of course, but it doesn’t hurt to try to network
  • Smile—no one likes someone who is flat faced on stage
  • Don’t overcheat the night after the show—my cramps after my meal was awful!! Well worth it of course Smile but driving 1.5 hours home after that meal was painful!!
  • Take as many photos as possible—you’ll want to remember it forever.

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Weekend Wrap-up #3: and Pinterest, and Peak Weak!

20160318_133248527_iOSFriday: The Iron chef competition I posted about was a SUCCESS. I created this segment of taste testing, where the students involved in the competition would volunteer to be blind-folded and sample a unknown beverage (sour, sweet, bitter, salty, and umami). The first group was all teenage boys, so you KNOW that it was going to be a good time. I used the samples of lemon juice, sugar water, coffee, salt water, and teriyaki sauce to describe the five tastes. We were able to get the students interested as well as teach them about the science behind taste buds and where they are located in the mouth. I truly was pleased with the event, and so were the teachers and staff!

Afterwards I went home, prepped some trail mix for a few upcoming events (65 sample bags to be exact…) and then hit up the gym. This weekend was a huge drinking weekend for my school (IUPatties weekend) so I was hoping not many people would be at the gym…and I was  right! Although busier than my usual 3:30AM sessions, it was nice to get an extra hour of sleep. The rest of my night was spent pampering myself by shopping at TJ maxx and spending time on Pinterest, and who DOESN’T love pinterest! The amount of cool things I found to bake with protein powder, plus DIY ideas was insane. Find me on pinterest: Tabitha Daley

 

What do you all blog about on pinterest???

 

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Saturday: Work work work—I got to the gym and killed my workout. With peak weak approaching the next day I really felt as though I needed  to give it my all. Work in produce was the typical job—making fruit trays and cutting up more fruit. Nothing super exciting in my eyes. All of the college students were parking in the grocery store lot, so we had to mark our cars as “Employees” while the manager towed everyone else! Ha! Soon enough I can guarantee students caught on and started putting a sign in their car.

Sunday: PEAKKK WEAK! this is it, show week! No cheating, no mess ups! I worked 7-2pm without eating or nibbling on a single piece of fruit!! I was so proud Smile I love fruit, it’s so hard to work in a department which screams your name all day. I worked out before work, so when I got off I was able to go home, prep a few meals, and relax. The weather in PA this weekend was all cold, dreary, and snowy—aka totally was not in the mood to get things done! BUT I was so relieved to have gotten all my assignments done plus get ahead Smile 

 

You know how amazing it feels to get things done? Last night I was laying under my electric blanket, falling asleep at 7PM. I remember this because my roommate Christyna was talking about her new bedspread and I couldn’t even recite what she said because I was drifting off to sleep….at 7pm! I still had one more meal to eat so I got myself up and cooked—and man I was motivated after that. The initial “moving” part is the worst, but after that it gets easier—trust me!

Currently my new diet has a lot more carbs that I am used too, so I have been enjoying this extra energy. Two more ricecakes here I come!Angry smile

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Motivation Monday: mindless thoughts,

20160314_125201000_iOSI love those mondays (or days in general) when waking up isn’t tough. I was able to get right up, drink my pre workout & head on over to the gym despite the rain. Although I started with my 30 minute cardio session, I really didn’t want to complete it. The lack of progress I have been feeling lately in regards to my competition are affecting me mentally

why am I not sleek, fit, and ab-showing yet?

is this normal?

is my diet the right one for me?

I was getting too flustered this morning with negative thoughts so I did my best to drown them out and ended up having a fairly successful leg day!

Body image: we are all so self critical and nit-pick at the smallest things about ourselves. Focusing on our best features deems us as “cocky” or “self-absorbed”,  but once we start nit picking on the worst we’re just looking for attention apparently. There’s no winning in society! I decided to stop thinking negatively about myself this morning and focus on the positives that will happen today:

  • I will finish this cardio session strong
  • I will go home and stick to my diet all day
  • I will inspire people to be healthy as I teach about fiber benefits at a local community center
  • I will make connections with parents at the regional hospital’s family health night tonight
  • I will laugh a lot
  • I will enjoy my cup of coffee (or 2 heheh)

 

It can be tough to stay positive, but surrounding yourself with positive thoughts and people can truly affect your mood for the better.

20160314_105852980_iOSOn a positive note, one of my favorite supplement companies RSP Nutrition is letting me be a sales rep for them!

From BCAAS, to whey protein, to creatine, RSP has a long line of products!

 

 

USE RSPTabithaD for 25% off your purchase!!

 

 

Off to get ready for some fiber lessons!