Posts tagged diet
As you may have heard, or seen on some of my social media posts, I am in the first phase of the Atkins 40 Diet. What is Atkins 40? Basically, Atkins 40 the new Atkins that lets you have more (healthy) carbs, even from the start.
You may think of Adkins as the no-carb diet, but Atkins has changed over the years, and is also misunderstood (I admit I was one of those people). An all-too-common misconception is that this first phase of Atkins is the whole program, but the key to Atkins is finding the maximum number of grams of carbs, known as your personal “carb balance”, that you can consume while continuing to lose weight, keep your appetite under control, and stay alert and energized.
In this first phase, the Atkins 40 allows you to start the Atkins program with 40 grams of Net Carbs, which is a new entry point into the program. This means you can eat from all food groups from day one on the program, and still enjoy the weight loss success on a fat burning metabolism.
What are Net Carbs?
“When you follow the Atkins Nutrition Approach, you count Net Carbs, which means the total carbohydrate content of the food minus the fiber content. The Net Carb number reflects the grams of carbohydrate that significantly impact your blood sugar level.”
You can calculate the approximate number of Net Carb grams of a low-carb product yourself by looking at the information provided on a food label:
– Dietary Fiber
– Sugar alcohol
= Net carbs
For example, I ate 2 cups of spring mix, 6oz of chicken, ½ an avocado and balsamic vinegar. My total carbs was 25.3gms of carbohydrates and my fiber was 8.8gms of fiber, totaling only 16.5gms of Net Carbs for that meal. By labeling carbs, and getting dieters to really look at fiber too, it teaches you the us the difference good carbs vs bad carbs.
More On Carbs:
The Atkins 40 Diet
“Increasing health fat and protein means you stay fuller longer and you have more steady energy through out the day.”
On Atkins 40, I’m eating:
- More vegetables than the USDA recommends
- Proteins including meats, fish, poultry and plant-based proteins
- Healthy fats including olive oil, avocado and nuts
- Dairy including whole Greek yogurt and cheeses
- Variety of fruits and whole grains
With Atkins 40, I’m learning:
- The difference between good carbs and bad carbs
- How to eliminate added sugars
- How to incorporate healthy fats
- How easy it is to adapt to a low carb lifestyle
- How to lose weight, feel great, while enjoying healthy delicious foods with a wide range of food choices.
The Diet: Pfiester Approved!!
I honestly can say I have really enjoyed my meal plan. It isn’t much different than I have been eating, which is higher in protein and lower in carbs, with a good dose of healthy carbs. I only had to make a few minor adjustments.
1. I can eat BACON!! Yahoooo!! (granted, I can only have 2 pieces occasionally, this has been like striking gold for me!! YUM!). This was my breakfast yesterday – 2 eggs scrambled with bell pepper and 2 strips of bacon. What’s funny is I don’t even like eggs, but anything tastes amazing with Bacon! haha!
2. I am eating more meat. Instead of eating 3-4 ounces of chicken, I’m now eating 6 ounces!! This has definitely helped me stay fuller longer and is helping me get the protein I want with very little supplementing.
3. I am reducing my carbs a little. Since I already don’t eat a lot of carbs, this wasn’t a big shocker (even though I admit I was a little freaked out about having only 50gms of carbs a day!). Truthfully, I have been just fine without them. When I normally would want some popcorn, I cut a few slivers of some light sharp cheese and nibbled on that instead. It satisfied my salty craving and my growling tummy.
4. I am paying more attention to fiber. I have always known fiber is good, but I’ve never tracked it as much as now.
5. I am being more generous with fats. Normally, I would barely drizzle a teaspoon of oil on a salad (if I used any at all!), but now I fill up that entire tablespoon of olive oil! I used to only eat egg beaters, but now I’m eating one whole egg with 1 egg white (even though it says I can have 2 whole eggs – I’m working my way up to that. lol).
6. I am eating more simply. Now that I am following a diet plan, I am using fewer ingredients and making better choices than even before. Following the Atkins Diet is teaching me to be OK with simple meals. For instance, yesterday I ate the salad I mentioned above in the Net Carbs section. The salad was only 3 ingredients – chicken, greens and avocado. Before, I would feel like I needed a fruit or something else to “dress it up”. This time, I stuck with what Atkins said (like a good girl) and it was plenty yummy and completely filling.
CLICK HERE for a comprehensive list of all the foods you can eat in this 1st phase.
Week 1 – Getting Started
Atkins has free diet tools, including an online downloadable starter kit, mobile app, recipes, meal planners and trackers. Explore all the Atkins tools, tips & info at Atkins.com. Follow them on Twitter and Facebook to get more tips and news. Get recipes and other healthy ideas on their Pinterest.
Week 1 Meal Plan:
Here is a sample of my first week’s diet plan.
Keep checking in for more tips and feedback on my Atkins diet experience!!
This post is sponsored by FitFluential on behalf of Atkins.
As a fitness professional, I enjoy trying different diets and products so I can intelligently give feedback to our clients – and having an opportunity to try the Atkins Diet couldn’t come at a better time!
After a week entertaining house guests and another week in Atlantic City with my mom (for Ms. Senior Florida), all shortly after going to the Epcot Food and Wine Festival, I am SO ready to put the Atkins diet to the test next week!
5 things I didn’t know about Adkins.
The truth is, I thought I had a grasp on the basics behind the Atkins Diet principles. However, the more I studied it, the more I realized how much misinformation is out there. Since you can eat fat on Atkins, I think many people are under the impression it’s an all-you-can-eat bacon and sausage kind of diet. A big surprise to me, someone on Atkins eats a lot like I do! Here are just a few things I’ve learned so far.
1. More Calories - The average amount of calories in an Atkins diet is 1,500-1,800 calories, which is 25% higher than a typical diet. The truth is, I normally average 1,400-1,600 calories a day when I’m dieting to lose weight. I only drop to 1,200 if I’m at a standstill or not losing as fast as I’d like. Most people should easily be able to lose weight eating 1,500-1,800 calories a day.
2. More Filling – Atkins frozen dinners are the same amount of calories I already budget per meal when dieting, which is around 350 calories. While you can get lower calorie meals, Atkins’ meals are high in protein and fat, and low in carbohydrates, so the meals will stick with you much longer than a standard frozen low calorie meal.
And don’t freak if you look at the fat in their snack bars. This bar has 10gms of fat, 16gms protein and only 19gms of carbs (only 3 net carbs). Again, because it does have more fat, this bar will keep you fuller longer.
3. More Healthy Fat - Atkins doesn’t just encourage dieters to eat fat, like many people may believe. Atkins encourages you to eat HEALTHY fats, like avocado, nuts, olive oil, Greek yogurt and dairy. I think a lot of people who don’t know much about Atkins think Atkins is all about steak, bacon, sausage and greasy food – I know, because I was one of them!! This is the Atkins pyramid, to give you a better idea of the structure of this diet.
4. More Vegetables - From day one, Atkins encourages the consumption of vegetables, recommending more servings than the USDA guidelines.
5. Atkins is 100% FREE – there is no cost to do the program. Atkins offers an online community, resource center, recipes, tools and meal plans at Atkins.com. You can get some of their yummy bars, snacks and food in stores and online. Click HERE to learn more.
As I was typing this, Steve just text me this text. That stinker dove into MY Atkins bars! I have a feeling we’ll both be doing Atkins next week!!! I better go stock up! haha
Why It Works
Click HERE to get more info, like this video, on why it works.
Here is a great page on more common Truths & Myths (and, again, I admit I believed some of those myths myself!). I am always learning!
Did You Know?
- A low-fat diet is almost always a high-carb diet. When these carbs are low-fiber, the body becomes most vulnerable to blood sugar highs and lows that leave a person hungry and low on energy.
- The Atkins Diet is designed to “flip the body’s metabolic switch” from burning carbs to burning fat. Graduated carb introduction helps avoid blood sugar and insulin spikes, which cause hunger and cravings.
- When eaten in large amounts, carbohydrate (not fat, not protein) is the macronutrient responsible for raising blood levels of saturated fat and triglycerides.
- Excess carbohydrate consumption is responsible for raising triglycerides and lowering “good” (HDL) cholesterol. Have you seen Fat Head? OMG! So interesting!!
- Atkins improves cholesterol profiles and blood sugar levels, as well as other health markers. Following a low-carb lifestyle can also reverse metabolic syndrome and even slow down the progression Type 2 diabetes.
- Atkins is the weight loss plan of choice for the millions of people who have a reduced ability to process carbohydrates – those who have varying levels of “carbohydrate intolerance.”
- The Atkins Diet is backed by more than 80 independent, published, peer-reviewed studies conducted over the past several decades. Recently published medical journal articles that reinforce the unsurpassed effectiveness of the Atkins low-carb approach have appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Association, New England Journal of Medicine, Annals of Internal Medicine and Lancet.
Follow Atkins to get more tips, facts, news and motivation.
This post is sponsored by FitFluential on behalf of Atkins.
“I tried every diet in the book. I tried some that weren’t in the book. I tried eating the book. It tasted better than most of the diets.” Dolly Parton
When I think of Dolly’s quote I think of how my mother also tried every diet in the book before she finally lost her weight. I know she must have felt like she spent her entire life dieting. The truth is she just made a few common mistakes that just continued to prolong her results – and it happens to so many people. That’s why so many American live their all their life dieting.
10 Tips to Break the ‘Never-ending Diet’ Cycle:
- Avoid diet hopping. Some people never stick to a diet long enough to get results before they hop on the next diet that comes their way. If you chose a diet plan, stick to it.
- Never attempt an unrealistic diet. I can’t help but think of the Cabbage Soup Diet, which I was on for all of four very long days. A successful diet is one you can stick with for the long haul.
- Don’t rely on the quick fix. We all know better, but our patience often gets the best of us. Don’t give in to weight loss gimmicks. A quick fix is just a temporary fix and only postpones the inevitable.
- Be realistic. If you are on a mild diet and exercise plan, expect mild results. The more intense the program, the faster the results. Be realistic when setting and working toward your goal.
- Be honest with yourself. People seem quick to recall all the healthy low-calorie foods they eat but get amnesia when it comes to unhealthy choices. The scale will tell on you so, in all actuality, you aren’t fooling anyone but your self.
- What you don’t know can hurt you. I find most people who have failed on their diet have been guessing their way through it all. Other people just don’t want to know the truth. I can’t tell you how many times my husband has taken a bite of something and as soon as I begin to read off the calories he plugs his ears saying “lalalalalalalala, I don’t want to know, lalalalalala”! The fact is the calories are there whether we know it or not.
- If you aren’t dieting, you should be maintaining. Even if you lose the weight, you still have to be accountable for what you eat in order to maintain your new size. Many people who hit their goal end up right back where they started because they went back to eating poorly.
- The “Weekday Diet” doesn’t always work. Many people diet all week, only to erase their hard work each weekend with poor food choices. Although this may work while in maintenance, this diet faux pas is what makes people feel like they are dieting all the time and never reaping the reward.
- Never underestimate the power of the calorie. Weight loss boils down to one thing – calories in vs. calories out. You can’t expect results if you are not sure how many calories you are eating.
- Commit to dieting the right way. A lack of commitment just prolongs the amount of time it will take to get results. You can live on a yo-yo diet for the rest of your life and get mediocre results, or you can commit to working hard for a while and live the rest of your life enjoying your results.
Losing weight can be very challenging, especially if you aren’t prepared for trials along the way. Since everyone experiences trials and failure on the road to success, the best way to conquer them is to be ready for them. Luckily, most people struggle with the same challenges. Here are 5 of the 10 common stumbling blocks I shared in an article for Answers.com. Click HERE to read all 10 at Answers.com.
You can’t fix a problem you haven’t admitted to. This is why admitting your problem is the first step in addiction groups. If you can’t be honest with yourself, you can never overcome the problem you aren’t willing to admit you have.
2. Lack of support
If you had an alcohol problem, your loved ones wouldn’t keep alcohol around. However, people don’t think about having a weight problem as having a food problem. If you suffer from obesity, you likely have self-control issues with food and need more support. If you want success, share your concerns with your family and friends. Be honest with your loved ones about your weaknesses. Explain how much you need their support and protection against temptation. The more your family can understand your needs, the easier the process will be for you.
With everyone’s crazy schedules, you shouldn’t be surprised when fatigue strikes. Instead, you should expect the temptation to skip your workout. As soon as that thought crosses your mind, remember how energized your body feels after a workout. The same way laziness breeds more laziness, staying moving helps you keep moving. The best way to get energized is to get moving.
The easiest way to conquer temptation is to avoid it. It is difficult to eat junk food if there is no junk food around. Sadly, many people start a diet plan with all kinds of unhealthy foods still in the pantry. Even worse, many people continue restock the pantry with foods that aren’t on their diet. Even if your family is not overweight, junk food is unhealthy food and should be replaced with healthier options. Purge your kitchen of anything that would be a temptation for you. If it’s out of sight, it is easier for it to be out of mind.
People make mistakes. It’s easy to miscalculate calories, cheat on your diet and skip workouts from time to time. Regrettably, you can let one small slip keep you down if you aren’t careful. The best thing you can do is forgive yourself and plan your comeback. As the silent film actress, Mary Pickford, says “If you have made mistakes, even serious mistakes, you may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing we call “failure” is not the falling down, but the staying down.” Failure is almost inevitable, so expect to fail along the way. Your weight loss success will be determined on how fast you recover from each fall….READ MORE
One of the things I hear a lot after someone has lost a lot of weight is that someone gained all their weight back. It’s a big fear for most people. They join a boot camp or do a competition and they reach all their goals, and a few months later they are right back to where they started – or worse.
While, in our gym, there are more people that keep it off than people who gain it back, it happens – and I sure didn’t want that to happen to me after my competition so I sat down with Steve and we made very specific rules. Here are the parameters I plan to put in my life to help me maintain my weight during our “off season”.
Whether you are in between trainers, boot camps or competitions, you can apply these same rules to your own life to make fitness a lifestyle instead of a phase, and make your new goal weight your new normal weight.
5 Tips to Maintaining Your Weight
1. Decide on your new ideal weight. If you haven’t reached your goal yet, your ideal weight will be a lower weight. If you have reached your goal, your ideal maintenance weight should be your new weight (unless you’ve just competed and dehydrated – then your weight should probably be 5-7lbs heavier than your stage weight). This weight is what determines whether you should be dieting (eating fewer calories than you are burning) or maintaining (eating the same amount of calories than your burning).
At 5’9″, my ideal weight used to be 144 for me. If I started rising above 144 (my NO! STOP weight was 148), I would diet back down and get my weight back into control. Now, my new normal weight is 136. After the show I stayed in the high 130s and hit 140 and I immediately jumped right back on my diet until it went back down. Today, I weighed 135 today. I will continue to weigh in to keep me accountable.
2. Set a new goal. Whether this is a race, a bikini or bodybuilding competition, a weight loss contest, a cruise or a photo shoot, you must put some kind of goal into place. Goals give your training purpose, and make it easier to say no to high-calorie foods and the temptation to skip a workout. My goal is to come into January at a specific body fat percentage, muscle weight and fat weight. I want to know I am starting my diet ahead of where I started it last time. I also want my skin to stay tight and continue tightening up. I can’t do that if my weight fluctuates too much, so my goal is to avoid weight gain so I can improve my skin texture. Plus, I just feel a million times better in all my clothes!
3. Make a recovery plan. What do you do if you bounce a check or max out a credit card? Do you keep spending what you can’t afford? No. You start making a plan to pay it off and get back in the black. The same goes for dieting. As soon as you go over budget, you have to start paying it off because you can’t afford to eat that much anymore. This is when you step up your cardio (work off your past debt) and reduce your caloric budget (learn to be more frugal with your calories). This is just checks and balances – but you have to make a plan ahead of time. As soon as you get back to your ideal weight, you can afford to have a cheat meal, you can afford to skip a workout. But, until then, you have to stay disciplined and get your body back in control.
4. Cheats are treats. What I mean is, cheat meals should be a treat, not a habit. There are certain things Steve and I decided we would not buy and bring into our home. This forces us to go out and get it if we want it (which requires more planning and reduces the chance of impulse eating). For instance, we will not buy ice cream. If we want ice cream, we’ll make a date out of it – but I’m not going to have something that available to me. Same goes with chips and other high-calorie snack foods. As soon as I bring them into the house, they can work their way into our daily lives. Then it becomes a unhealthy eating habit. We will continue to have limits on how much we eat out and how much we “treat” ourself. And, we will continue to cook healthy, low-calorie meals and have low-calorie snacks at home.
5. You’re never “off”. One of the biggest mistakes people make is doing a boot camp or competition and then taking “off”. They work hard for 3 month and then they stop completely. You should never be “off” – you are either in weight loss mode or maintenance mode. While a competitor can gain a little weight in off season while they try to build muscle, the more fat they gain, the harder they have to work to get it off when they are in season. Why not try to keep your fat under control so you start your season ahead of where you started it last time.
Stop right now and make a plan of how you plan to control your weight over the holidays so you don’t start 2015 behind where you are right now. If you fail to plan, then plan to fail. Planning is key to success!
Everyone who knows me, knows I was VERY resistant to competing. Steve has asked me to compete with him for years, and I finally (reluctantly) said YES (with a grouchy face and all). haha! Well, now that I’ve done it, one of the most common questions I get is “will you do it again?“
A matter of fact, one of my friends (Susy B, who’s thinking about whether or not she wants to compete or not) asked me Friday night after weigh-ins, “would you do it again?” and my answer was “ask me tomorrow!”. At that point, I could honestly say I loved the whole process. I loved putting science to work. I loved being pushed to stick to my diet and training. I loved having goals. I loved the challenge – and I loved the results. I just wasn’t sure how I’d like the stage. And, at that point, I was pretty sure I’d hate it.
What have I got myself into?
I really DREADED the stage. I dreaded being half naked in front of everyone. I dreaded the stress. I dreaded the unknown. I dreaded the posing. I dreaded standing there all alone. I dreaded the attention. I dreaded the awkward long moments where you have to hold a smile forever and pretend you are completely comfortable torcing your body into a pretzel to look your best (yes, we may look like we are standing normal, but there is nothing normal feeling about posing). I dreaded the “judging”. I pretty much dreaded every single thing that could possibly happen on stage.
Here I go!
I woke up that morning already feeling like a winner. I met and surpassed all my goals. I was in the best shape of my life. I could have just stopped there, but I knew I was supposed to step out of my comfort zone and finish this. I never anticipated doing well. I knew it was a big show and there would be a lot of girls up there who worked just as hard as I did. I would have been happy with 12th place, because I was at my personal best. Then I got the call out. Wow! Top 5!
Then I waited as they started announcing places. “5th place goes to…. 4th place goes to….” and was just waiting for them to call my number. At that point, I was just stoked I got a call out. Truth is, I hadn’t even looked at the other girls, so I had no idea how we’d all place. Then they called out the 3rd place winner and then the 2nd place girl – and it wasn’t me! I remember making a funny face as I processed “oh my gosh, I’m the only one left!”
Then they called “24, Bonnie Pfiester” and I heard, “THAT’S MY GIRL!” from the audience – and that’s when I really felt like a winner. I made my husband and trainer proud. I made myself proud. And, sure, there could have been someone more fit that could have showed up to beat me, but none of that matters. A trophy doesn’t make me a winner. My hard work did – whether I took 1st or 5th!
So, the million dollar question: Would I do it again?
The answer is (drum roll…….) I’d do it again in a heartbeat. Don’t get me wrong, I still am not fond of the stage. However, the stage is a necessary part of the process. It’s what makes you get up early and do one more cardio. It makes it easier for you to say “NO, I’m not going to eat that”. Did I like being on stage? It honestly wasn’t nearly as bad as I anticipated (you can’t hear or see anything with all those bright lights, so as far as I was concerned I was up there posing for no one! haha). Nevertheless, the results, the discipline I learned, the experience I had with Steve and the things I learned about myself and my body were SO worth enduring the stage for 2 minutes.
First, I like the new improved me. I like the higher level of discipline and I like having parameters with my eating and weight. Basically, I’d like this to be my new norm. My new top weight (the highest weight I want to be) is now lower than it used to be. I’m now officially in maintenance mode. I am already thinking about next year – not for the purpose of getting back on stage, but to set new goals to hold me accountable for the off season.
My first goal for the fall is to keep weighing in regularly to hold myself accountable so I don’t gain weight back. I will diet (which means count calories and eat clean) during the week and allow myself some more freedom on the weekend as long as my weight doesn’t creep up. If it goes above my mark, I will go to competition diet until I get below that mark and then go back to maintenance again.
The next part of my goal is to continue sculpting. There are spots that still need work. I need to narrow my backside and also maintain a smaller size so my skin continues to tighten up. I need to work my abs more and I want to practice and improve my posing. I’m not doing this to win, I’m not doing it to look better than anyone else. I’m not doing it because I’m vain – because no one sees my butt and abs except for Steve and the few people who may see me at the beach! I’m doing it to have training goals, to keep myself in check, and so I don’t find myself aimlessly going through the motions at the gym. Competing gives my training purpose, and helps me stay more disciplined. Now, I better get off this computer and get to the gym!
A big thanks to all who supported me through this journey.
Thermo Heat – for their killer fat burner system & new pre-workout!!
Sewn In The Sun – for making my awesome suit (in the middle of giving birth!) & my jewelry!!
Designer Whey – for providing me with low-calorie protein!
Train Like A Freak Apparel – for workout clothes that made me feel like a winner in the gym
LoseIt – for giving me all the tools I need to track my calories
Energy Spa for tanning our team
Frankie J at Cloud 9 – for doing my hair!
The Shoe Lady – for my awesome insoles that helped me run pain-free and melt fat!
Misty Lundeen – for the best photo shoot ever!!
Kristie Gallagher – for believing in me and praying for me, that I could do this and still honor God.
Team Max – for all the support each team member offers each other
Muscle Papa – for capturing the memories on camera & posting them on your Facebook so we could see pictures SO fast!!!!
My Mom and Dad – who drove all the way up to support me, just to be there long enough to root me on & fly back home as soon as I left the stage because they had to be up early to lead worship and preach. What sacrifice!
I was blown away by the people who made the drive down to watch us compete. The last time I’ve experienced that kind of support was on our wedding day. It was an incredible experience and I’m so thankful for everyone!! THANK YOU!!!
In my recipe I use what I had on hand, including spinach, mini turkey pepperonis and onion. However, you could make it just like your favorite pizza or calzone by adding your favorite (but preferably low-calorie) toppings like mushrooms, green pepper or black olives. Be creative! Just be careful with how much you put in, since the juices can make the recipe watery when cooking down.
This is a great solution for a fast and healthy breakfast on the go. It also makes a really good snack and even a yummy dinner! 4 Calzone Quiches is only 225 delicious calories and 28 grams of protein!!
1 Cup Egg Beaters or Egg Whites
1 1/2 Cup Low Fat Cottage Cheese
2 oz Mini Turkey Pepperonis
1/3 Cup Chopped Onion
1 Large Tomato
2 T Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese
Season to taste with Red Pepper, Garlic and Salt
Your Favorite Tomato (spaghetti) Sauce (pre-made is fine)
Grated Parmesan Cheese (to taste)
Mix all the ingredients together except the sauce and parmesan cheese, and pour in greased muffin pan (with Pam). Top with a PINCH of shredded cheese on each mini-quiche. Bake on 375 for 40-45 minutes (or until firm and slightly brown on top). Serve as is, for a standard spinach quiche taste OR turn it to a calzone applying the optional instructions below. Makes 15 medium cup-cake size muffins.
Add 8 Calories for the Calzone toppings: My sauce was only 3 calories per teaspoon and 5 calories for 1/2 a teaspoon of parmesan cheese.
This is a picture of me and my bike for an article in Motorcycle Cruiser Magazine back in February, 2009. I was 37 years old. I wasn’t obese by any means, but I look at this picture and think “who is that?”. She doesn’t even look familiar to me. I’ll tell you who it is. It’s the old me. The older model. Bonnie 3.7
The old Bonnie still worked, but didn’t work as well. Bonnie 3.7 did many of the things the new version does. The old Bonnie worked out. The old Bonnie knew how to eat healthy. The old Bonnie just wasn’t as consistent – didn’t run as well. She ate healthy, but ate too much. She worked out, but she didn’t work as hard. She got a little too comfortable. She kept crashing. She’s wan’t bad. A matter of fact, she was much better than the 3.0 version. But Now There’s a NEWer Bonnie. She is just better, healthier, stronger, fitter. She is Bonnie 4.3. (yes, that stands for 43yrs old!! lol)
Have you ever looked at a new iPhone and wondered “what makes it better?” Of course you’d never say that looking at the old brick cell phones, comparing them to the new smart phone. It’s pretty obvious! But, as technology improves so much, the tweaks almost always are about being lighter, stronger, faster and more reliable. Isn’t that the same with fitness?
As we continue to tweak our fitness, and our physique, we can still make a lot of improvements to help us perform well. It’s not like we are in that bad of shape maybe to begin with, but can we run faster, better, stronger? Like the iPhone, what if we can have all the same “muscle” but we weigh a little lighter – run a little smoother. I loved my first iPhone, but I love my new iPhone even more. I also felt pretty good in 2009, but I feel so much better now – and to think, it was small tweaks that made a 10 pound difference.
10 pounds doesn’t seem that much, and that’s why we use the InBody body composition machine. The InBody tracks what’s actually happening INSIDE of your body, instead of solely relying on the scale as the only measurement of progress. Look at the difference between my body composition then compared to now.
3.7 vs 4.3: The Comparison
THEN: 145lb. NOW: 135lb.
Fat Then: 31lbs. Fat NOW: 15.2lbs.
Lean Mass Then: 114lbs. Lean Mass NOW: 119lbs.
% Fat Then: 21%. Now: 11%
I don’t have any full body shots of me right now(aside from a few shameless selfies! lol) =- but I will next week!!). However, to put things in to perspective, these two photos (left and below) were me 7lbs heavier than I am now (all fat), taken last April.
These two photos also show the difference between what it looks like to just be relaxed (with soft lighting), and be “pumped” (with harsh lighting). The one with the kettlebell is of me after I “pumped up” a little, posing with weights. The one in the suit is at the beginning of the same shoot, before lifting weights. However, there would be no “pumping up” in the world that would have made me look better in that picture of me with the bike. I had a layer of fat covering any muscle I did have.
Get the Upgrade!
Do you want to know what I did to get leaner? I did the same exercise, same running, pretty much the same types of foods. The only difference is I track every calorie in my LoseIt app and consistently stayed on a caloric budget for 3 months. I have a little over a week to go before show time, and seeing this old picture of me online just fuels me to continue pressing toward my goal to beat the old me, and even beat the April 2013 me! As long as I’m breathing, I can always continue to strive to improve, learn, and step out of my comfort zone to be the best version of myself – and YOU CAN TOO!!
My 5 Fitness Tweaks:
1. Less Rest – I rest less between sets and do more conditioning exercise. Instead of old school weight lifting, where I do a few reps and then rest. I do more timed workouts, more reps, more sets, less rest.
2. Count Every Calorie – I don’t just guestimate calories. I weight and measure everything, so I know EXACTLY how many calories I eat each day. This holds me accountable and helps me keep my portions where they need to be. In addition to counting calories, I also watch my carbs. I try really hard to not get more carbs than protein.
3. I Am More Consistent – I have a few rules to keep me on track. I never take more than 3 days off, I always hit the gym every Monday, and I have a weekly goal of a minimum of exercising 3 times a week.
4. I Bounce Back Faster – If I fall off the wagon, I have a plan of attack already in place. I have a cap on the heaviest I’ll allow myself to be. If I hit that cap, there’s no cheating PERIOD. I basically treat it like a maxed out credit card. I hit the limit, and it’s time to pay it off. Once I get my weight back down, then I can have a treat – but until then, I go back to logging food and training until I’ve gotten closer to my ideal weight for maintenance.
5. I Prioritize – I like to lift weights, but I don’t like cardio as much. However, if I’m crunched for time, I have learned to do what my body NEEDS, not just what I WANT. If I need to burn calories more than I need to pump iron, that’s what I do. Before, I would have lifted weights because it was easier. Today, I focus first on calories burned to stay healthy and control body fat, and second on sculpting muscle.
I Will Beat Her
I go ape for bananas. I love banana bread, banana & peanut butter sandwiches and banana pudding, so when Quaker started making banana and cream oatmeal, I finally made oatmeal a part of my daily nutrition plan – until I started dieting. While dieting for my competition, I’ve had to strip away any sugar and keep my foods simple and clean. When you diet for 3 months to this extreme, I get creative so I can still enjoy food without feeling deprived. As I brainstormed on ways to spruce up my plain oatmeal, I decided to make my own healthier version of Quaker’s Banana & Cream Oatmeal.
1/2 cup Water
1/4 cup Quaker Oats
3 tsp Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
1/4 scoop Designer Whey Vanilla Protein
1/4 Banana (thinly sliced)
1-2 tsp Sweetener
1/4 tsp Salt
1/8 tsp Ground Cinnamon
(Optional) Couple of Drops of Butter Extract & Banana Extract
Cook the oatmeal in the water as directed. Reduce heat and add the banana, followed by the almond milk and protein powder, mixing over low heat. Add salt, sweetener and extracts. Add more almond milk if needed (depending on your preference of consistency). Poor into a bowl and sprinkle cinnamon on top to serve.
My Oatmeal vs Prepackaged Oatmeal
4.6 sugar vs 9g sugar
21g carbs vs 26g carbs
7.5g protein vs 3g protein
3.1g fiber vs 2g fiber
Log your food into the LoseIt app and track your calories with me!
What is fitness to you? I think when people think “fitness”, they think “exercise”. They think of running, lifting and sweating. They think of Fitness Magazine, with fit bodies and flat abs – but I think most people go down a LONG list of other things and activities before they get to diet, water and sleep.
Fitness isn’t an exercise. It’s a lifestyle. Fitness is truly a way of life, it’s not just what you do in the gym. This includes how you eat, how you sleep and how you move throughout the day. ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine) describes fitness as a 5-part package. In order to be fit, you should be able to check off all 5 elements of fitness:
- Cardiovascular Respiratory Fitness
- Muscular Strength
- Muscular Endurance
- Good Flexibility
- A Healthy Body Composition
How do you stand up to the ACSM guidelines of being fit? I’m 4 out of 5 (flexibility being my weakness – but I’m working on it!).
I’ve seen a lot of body builders who couldn’t run a 1/4 mile and runners who couldn’t lift a weight. I’ve seen fit looking people have heart attacks because their bench press was more important than their heart’s health (and their love for unhealthy food was untamed). I encourage you to LIVE fit to BE fit.
As you work hard to get fit and stay fit, you purposefully do things to improve these 5 elements of fitness. This means you stop looking for the easy way to do things and look for ways to fit more healthy activity and fuel in your day. You go to bed earlier, you stay more active, you stretch, you drink a lot of water, you eat healthy, you manage your weight and you challenge your body’s strength, stamina and muscular endurance. You don’t just exercise – you LIVE IT!