Sunday, September 27, 2009

Settling in with bronchitis

I'm finally starting to get settled in Maryland. After an arduous trip out here and an intense week back in Montana, I'm finally able to relax a bit and spend some time establishing a new routine. I didn't realize what a creature of habit I am until I got out here and discovered that I feel completely out of sorts without a set routine. I don't have my normal food cooked or packed, no training routine, and none of my usual cooking dishes. All of which frustrate me. In a way, I feel lost and wandering.

This weekend Jerry and I ran some errands and tried to establish some weekend rituals such as going to Costco and the grocery store, cooking food for the week, and doing laundry. While I still feel a bit out of sorts, I do feel a little better. Tomorrow I start a new work week, working remotely for the first time in years. It'll be a different experience not having to pack my food every night for the next day, since I'll be at home with easy access to it. I do need to be careful not to have non-diet food in the house, though, since it'll be more of a temptation to have it around. I've been really consistent with my diet the last 3 weeks, and I'm proud of myself. I'm looking forward to continuing to make progress.

Speaking of progress, my inability to train consistently the last few weeks has been really frustrating! Being on the road constantly and then fighting a bad case of bronchitis has really set me back in the gym. I've only trained about 5 times in the last 3 weeks. I'm going to head back into the gym tomorrow to do a light workout and see how my lungs hold up. It's frustrating to actually feel ok while still knowing that my lungs are very sick and weak.

Hopefully the carbs I ate yesterday and today will help fuel me this coming week. I also hope the extra dose of medication helps out and I can stop coughing soon!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Keto and Road Trips

Whew! It's been a wild couple weeks! I made the long trip cross-country from Montana to Maryland in a 17' U-Haul with my car on a trailer, my two kitties, and my boyfriend. We took a couple days to drive to Minnesota, then spent the weekend there with my family. I was in a wedding on Saturday - maid of honor for one of my good friends. We hit the road again on Monday morning and got into town mid-day on Wednesday.

Everyone keeps asking me if I'm all settled in now. I have to smile because the truth is, most of my belongings are in a storage shed. I need to dig through plastic bags and bins just to find a pair of socks, and even my toothpaste is in a box somewhere. In the midst of all this moving chaos, I decided to go back on the Keto diet.

Yep, I've been Keto for the past 2 weeks. I started Monday, Sept 7, and have stuck to it even while packing, driving, unpacking, working, and getting hit with a bad cold/sinus infection. I have to say, I'm proud of myself!

Keto is surprisingly easy to stick to while on the road! I brought a bunch of turkey, pecans, and walnuts (my favorite) in the truck with me, and stocked up on Power Crunch bars by BNRG (low carb and taste GREAT!!!). We also picked up some jerky, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds at gas stations along the way. When we stopped at restaurants to eat, I ordered burgers without the bun or fries, salads with chicken, omelets, and chicken with veggies. I didn't worry about butter, bacon, oil, or other fats, as the whole point of Keto is high fat, high protein.

I took two days off the diet and ate some carbs. I didn't go overboard, though, and the majority of my meals those two days were still keto. I had some wedding cake and mashed potatoes on Saturday, and pizza on Sunday (YUM!!). I was back on Keto on Monday, and have been strict all week. I craved carbs earlier this week, and am proud of myself for not giving in.

It's really a rush to think about how focused and dedicated I've been these past two weeks! When I'm dieting for a show, it's really no big deal to stick to the diet; all other foods aren't even an option. But I really struggle in the off-season, and have a hard time staying strict with a diet.

Although I fully understand that competing is an individual decision and commitment, I'm realizing just how helpful a support system is! I was under the impression that I shouldn't need anyone else's support or help to stay focused and committed, since it was my decision to live that lifestyle. I disagree with that philosophy now. Having others encourage and support me has been so beneficial to me! I have to keep telling myself that I'm not weak for wanting and needing that support to stay strong. It's a mental battle I fight with myself, since I was so conditioned to believe that I shouldn't need anyone else. Spending so much time with my boyfriend has been very helpful too, as he's also dieting. We remind each other to stay on our diets, and discourage giving in to any cravings. What a change for me! I was used to people cheering when I ate a cookie or slipped up on my diet, which is really sad. I know they cheered because it helped them feel better about themselves when they realized I'm not perfect, but it certainly didn't help me work toward my goal!

While on the road trip, we had planned to stop at a couple gyms along the way; however, we didn't anticipate on a U-Haul that struggled with hills and slowed to 40 mph. We also didn't plan on both of us getting sick either. Sometimes it's a good idea to train when you're not feeling 100%, but it's a fine line. Sometimes it's better to take days off and rest. If I don't feel the workout would be tough enough to be worth it, I take the day off and rest, then hit it hard the next day.

We trained at Gold's a couple times while in Minnesota, and had some good workouts! Now that we're finally in Maryland, we trained today, and will train again tomorrow. It feels good to be back in the gym again!

While I'm frustrated that I didn't lose any weight while being keto the past two weeks, I also realize that my body is so used to intensive training, that when I remove that from the equation, it doesn't respond as quickly. So by staying on my diet, I maintained my weight without gaining any pounds or retaining much water.

Moral of the story ... the Keto diet CAN work during road trips! I'm looking forward to seeing some results now that I'm back in the gym and strictly Keto!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Next Size Up

I had a rude awakening yesterday morning.Not in the sense of waking up, but moreso in the realization of how much weight I've gained. I hadn't picked my clothes out the night before, like I usually do, so I was standing in my closet trying to put together an outfit. I found the pants I wanted to wear, which turned out to be my largest pair of capris. Which means I now officially fit into my larger-size clothes perfectly ... warning #1.

I tried on 4 shirts before I found one that fit ... warning #2. I've now officially outgrown all my smaller t-shirts. This is a depressing realization, not only because I don't have many larger-size clothes, but because it means I've let go of my self-control so much that I'm now wearing clothes two sizes bigger than I was only 2 months ago. Sigh.

I'm not back on a strict diet at this point; I'm just going to be more careful about what I eat. I had some M&M's this morning, but I won't be over-indulging anymore.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

My Friend, Mr. Caffeine

Anyone who's talked to me about supplements, fat loss, and training knows that I'm a huge fan of fat burners and stimulants. Not necessarily that they're good for me or that I recommend them to others. In fact, let me put in this disclaimer right away: I do not recommend that anyone take fat burners or stimulants without first understanding what the ingredients are and how they act. Always do your due diligence in researching each ingredient, and test them out in small quantities if you decide to try them.


Ok, now that that's out of the way. I loves me some stimulants! :) I regularly have energy drinks, fat burners and green tea. Is all this healthy for me? Probably not so much. But for me, they're an absolute necessity when I'm dieting for a show. Without them, I'd have no energy and wouldn't be able to concentrate. The problem with using them so much before the show, is that after the show, I'm hooked on a significant amount of caffeine.

The first time I tried to wean myself off caffeine was earlier this year, right after the Jr Nationals show. I quit cold turkey, and promptly discovered that my body would spontaneously shut down and go to sleep. I'd be sitting at a restaurant with my boyfriend, having a nice conversation, and then next minute, I'd desperately be fighting sleep. We took a road trip up the New England coast that weekend, and I tried so hard to stay away, but ended up sleeping for at least half the trip. We ended up having to buy Monster energy drinks just to keep me functional throughout the weekend. So that ended the no-caffeine attempt.

Since then, I've cut back significantly; however, I still consume a fair amount of caffeine. Yesterday, I decided to quit taking the fat burner I'd been taking for the past month (Note to self: Fat burners are not effective if you don't have a clean diet), because I felt it was contributing to my feelings of anxiousness. I'm already nervous, anxious, and excited about my upcoming move, and don't feel the need to heighten those feelings at all.

So when I got to work this morning, I was really dragging. I was sleepy, unfocused, unmotivated, and anxious. I tried to function for the first hour, but quickly realized I needed to do something in order to be productive today. Luckily, I keep an energy drink in the office refrigerator for just these situations.

With a little help from my friend, Mr. Caffeine, I had a productive, focused day. I wish I didn't need it to function, but at this point, I have so many things I need to accomplish, I realized I'm going to have to continue to rely on it just for a little while longer.

To my friend, Mr. Caffeine ... thank you for helping me be productive today. And although you may not want to hear this, I'm going to try to put some distance in our friendship over the next few weeks. Just wanted you to be prepared. :)

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Life & Being Healthy

The last couple days have been a real struggle with my diet. I've finally decided to stop stressing over it and just accept that I'm not going to diet very strictly the next few weeks. I have too many other important things going on in my life at this point to get stressed out about not seeing my abs (I can't see them, by the way, which is quite depressing). I'm going to add some carbs back into my diet intentionally. I'm prepared to feel watery and a little bloated, but at least I won't be so hard on myself.

I'm part of a several bodybuilding and figure forums, and am always keeping my ears open on events in the competitive physique world. Yesterday I came across this photo and it really struck a chord with me. There's definitely a dark side to the world of competing, and this photo illustrates part of that in a very graphic way. Competitors are constantly judging ourselves and comparing ourselves to others, sometimes to the detriment of our physical and mental health.

When I'm in contest prep, my diet and training are always in the back of my mind. I always know exactly when my next meal will be and what I will eat. I know when my next workout will be and what I'll train. I know my weight down to a 1/4 lb, and how many litres of water I drank that day. Now that I'm not prepping for a show, though, I feel "off." My diet isn't consistent, I don't eat at the same times, I eat different food, and my training schedule is different. All of those factors contribute to a change in my body. So I'm always struggling to be in contest shape all the while not maintaining the contest prep schedule and routine. Doesn't make sense, does it!

So when I say I'm going to be more relaxing in my mindset about my diet, it's a big mental shift for me. And I can totally identify with that picture of Tracey Greenwood. While I love competing with my whole being, I also need to remind myself to stop once in awhile and not let it consume my life.

The next couple weeks, I'm going to focus on being healthy - physically and mentally - and not stress over whether or not I can see my abs. And I'm going to enjoy those carbs while I can! :)

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Cookies

When I started this blog, it was with the intention of being real and open. So in that spirit ... I have a confession to make. Yesterday I ate some Girl Scout cookies.

So why is that a big deal? Well, normally, it wouldn't be an issue. But I'm trying to do a keto diet (high protein, high fat, zero carb) to drop some water weight, and cookies are most definitely NOT on the diet! I told myself I wouldn't be eating carbs or sugar. I have a diet planned out, and I stick to it ... for the most part. But not sticking to it completely is not the way to do the diet. It won't work if I don't stick to it 100%. So by eating the cookies, I not only disappointed myself, I messed up the diet and set myself back a couple days.

It may sound like I'm being unnecessarily hard on myself, considering I'm not in contest prep. During contest prep, there's no way I would've touched those cookies. I would've looked at them, imagined how they tasted, and then walked away because eating them just isn't an option. But now that I'm not in contest prep, they ARE an option. And even though I have a goal of shedding a couple pounds by next Saturday, the cookies were still an option in my mind. I feel weak, like I let myself down. Because I know I can resist them ... I just decided not to.

Eating a clean diet off-season is a daily struggle. Putting my body into ketosis isn't fun, and it isn't easy. Honestly, it's miserable. I get hungry, I get cravings, I lose energy, I get crabby. And then after 3 days, I feel great. So why are those 3 days so difficult? After all, it's only 3 days out of a lifetime of days. But during those 3 days, I'm hating life and struggling with my thoughts and cravings.

The next few weeks are going to be difficult as I have a couple going-away lunches and then I'll be on the road. I'll keep to a clean diet for the most part, but won't be doing the keto diet. I'll just have to train extra hard, be patient with myself, and remember that I know how to drop the weight when I'm ready to get serious about my diet.