Thursday, September 29, 2011


I'm lucky to have nice skin, and people will compliment me on it. Some of it is genetics of course, but some of it is also how I care for my skin.

My skin treatments and care, I've gleaned from many places: my mother (I watched her moisturize twice daily), exfoliation (I learned the benefits from a free sample I received from a Clinque Bonus gift that my mother would always receive when she purchased Clinque moisturizer), and flax oil (taken orally at night, I found this when reading up on Omega fats).

The first time I exfoliated with the little pink Clinque exfoliator as a kid, I noticed a difference immediately. It was a creamy, and had a verry fine sand mixed in. I used it, and my skin had a fresh look, feel, and I felt my skin was breathing.

Though I don't use Clinque, I still exfoliate every few weeks, sometimes more depending on the state of my pores. It helps remove and keep blackheads at bay. The trick with exfoliator is that you have to use a lot of pressure to make it very effective. I'll use an amount the size of a half-dollar, wet my face first and my hands a little bit too, and exfoliate with enough pressure so my skin begins to turn pink. And I'll use it on my entire face for anywhere up to 5 minutes. Then I rinse off with warm water.

Doing this
sloughs off all the dead skin cells, and when done right, instantaneously will give you a fresh look and feeling when you touch it with your hands. I have even suggested this to male friends, and they noticed the benefits.

It also is really the only effective treatment to completely remove blackheads. When done right, your pores will be clear like nothing else you've ever seen. I suggest this for EVERYONE.
I swear by St. Ives exfoliant, especially the one with salicylic acid, which helps keep skin clear. The actual apricot seed fragments within the cream are really rough and effective on the skin, more so than the Clinque.

Sometimes I will follow with an astringent. Then, with a moisturizer.

I also swear by Oil of Olay moisturizer. I use the one with SPF 15 every_single_day immediately after I shower in the morning. After it dries I apply my makeup as usual. It's never greasy and it hardly has a scent. The one without the SPF, I use at night after I wash my face each night. I've been using Oil of Olay from the time I was very young, and I have never waivered.

As for flax oil, you can purchase it in gelcaps (which usually aren't vegan as they're made with gelatin), or in liquid form. I am now taking 1 tsp a night before I eat dinner, though if I weren't watching my fat intake, I'd probably take 2 tsp.

I've noticed that since I started taking flax oil, that my skin has a better glow. My skin no longer gets dry in the wintertime, and the sole reason is the flax oil, as nothing else in my daily regiment has changed.

Morning workouts - Going well!

Today was my 2nd day of my 5:30 AM workout. I am trying to change it up, even though I really don't love doing machines.

Yesterday I did the stairmill, which I enjoy because it feels so effective.

Today I started with an uphill walk at 15% incline, but it just didn't feel effective, and I didn't like the machine. So I reluctantly switched to the eliptical machine and did 45 minutes. I actually sweated more than I thought I would.

On the days that I don't have a high-impact workout in the evening, I plan on doing things like jumprope, maybe some cardio drills, hillclimbers.

My favorite part of these early AM workouts is not the cardio ;) It's being up and out and about super early. The bus to the gym takes a quarter of the time it usually takes when the roads are full of cars and pedestrians, and the streetlights are turned on. Plus, you can use any machine you want, and the fitness studio is free if you want to do drills, jump rope, set up a circuit for yourself.

So much laundry! I did my laundry Tuesday night, and I had to do it again today because I'm out of clean sports bras. Or, sports brars, as Jill Zaren would say.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Successfully started my early AM cardio routine, to be followed with lifting and more cardio following work.

I got to the gym right as they opened at 5:30 AM, did 45 on the stairmill, stretched a bit, then showered, blow dried my hair, makeup, had breakfast, all that stuff. Hopped on the T to Chinatown, now I'm at work enjoying the endorphins of an early morning workout!!!

Had my BCAA pill with my ice cold Diet Coke, and now I'm lovin' this day even more than I would without that early morning workout!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A New Day

Celine girl, you said it right. Today is A New Day. And boy, do I have ideas.

Somewhere around 10 AM this morning, I got my spark back. I was thinking about packing my bags, heading home, and quitting my fitness competition plans, and relegating myself from "competitor" to "wishful thinking competitor eating cookies."

The spark came back, instantaneously, almost as fast as when I decided to do t his whole thing. Back in June, I signed up with my online program, my personal trainer, paid entrance fee, booked hotel, and bought three tickets for friends, all within the matter of 2 hours. There was no turning back. I actually think it also might have been exactly 3 months to today that I decided: June 27th.

Even if this weekend hadn't been sloppy, I never felt like I was going to be legit ready. Passable, yes, but not 110% ready.

I have a new plan. A new day, a new plan.

Two-a-days. This isn't really that novel, but I haven't done it yet. I was told too much cardio far out from a show is bad, by many people. Well, now I'm going to make up my own fitness rules.

I ran out to City Sports to get a backpack. I am now going to work out before work, and after work. Double sessions..... so I need a 2nd bag to carry a whole 2nd complete set of workout gear. Picked out a nice North Face one, lots of room for my food, sweaty gym clothes, and stuff to get ready for work with.

Here's the plan:

Night before:

- Shower and blow-dry hair so I don't have to wash and blow-dry it in the morning at the gym. This is really a tough decision, because my hair really needs to have this done in the morning before work, but rules do not apply anymore. Go to sleep by 10 PM at the very, very latest.

- Prep all food and pack work clothes, brushes, deodorant, makeup, and two complete sets of gym clothes. That's 4 sports bras, up to 4 tanks, 2 pairs of shorts, 3 pairs of socks, + work clothing. Or maybe I'll wear the work clothing there. Not sure...

- Head out to bus/T, grab the first bus or T, ideally to my favorite home BSC. Ideally get there around 5:30, no later than 6 AM.

- Do at least cardio, maybe even some abs. I can't get too, too sweaty at this time as I am not going to be washing and drying my hair, as that's just a hassle at the gym, not to mention it's humid and gross in there and drying my hair makes me a sweaty mess.

- Shower, (gotta buy shower cap) and head to work to be there by 7:30, which is when I have to get there.

- Work 7:30-4.

- Hit up the gym, lift, then do the cardio de jour, sometimes it's a class, sometimes it's on my own.

That's the plan stan! I used to do this (yes, just like this) but even earlier, as I used to run on a running team that started a run at 5:30, but this time I have a legit backpack for my work stuff and 2nd workout outfit, so no more reusable ugly Shaw's shopping bag. We're LEGIT NOW! Got the women's version of the Jester so the straps don't interfere with the chestal region!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hi, y'all! I'm a backpack and I'm legit.

I'm basically carrying half my house with me.

- 2 pair socks
- 4 sports bras
- 2 pair shorts
- 3 tanks
- Water bottle
- Food for entire day
- Makeup
- Work Clothing
- Deodorant
- Razor
- Shower Cap
- Sunglasses
- Brush
- Sneakers
All within 1 large gym bag and 1 large backpack.

I'm going to have so much laundry.

A letter to myself

Dear Me,

What are you doing? How could you let yourself fall apart like this? We've come so far. It reminds me of when you used to save everything until the last minute in college, panic, hate yourself, then do a semester-long research project in the painful 12-hours before it's due, printing the paper mere minutes before it was due, skipping the class to finish, only to hand it to the professor as the class shuffles out the door.

Why do you do this to yourself? Self-sabotage is painful and stressful. Sure a lot of folks do it. I can think of some similar examples, of people who mess large, important things up, for no real good reason:

- People who cheat on their spouses when the person wasn't even that attractive anyway.
- People who commit a petty crime while in probation, only to be thrown back in prison.
- People who get in bar fights over nothing, and now have a record.
- People who are really late to work, or fall asleep at their desk, and lose their job.
- People who steal something small and lame from work, get caught, and get terminated.
- People who fail to pay taxes, even though they have plenty of money to pay the taxes, now they're charged with tax evasion and have to fork over 10 times the amount of taxes for a lawyer.
- People who hang out with girlfriends or boyfriends knowing they're dishonest and will screw them over somehow, yet they ignore the red flags and continue forward.

Are you one of those people? Do you *really* want to be put into that category? You did so exceptionally well for many months, made some amazing progress. People encouraged you, supported you, gave you great feedback and help.

And here you are. You feel like trash, probably look like trash. Your stomach hurts, you forget where the gym is, and you're sad an unhappy. And you have no one to blame, but yourself. You weren't even hungry, you weren't even too busy to gym, but here you are.

You must really feel as though you're not worth it keeping it together. But you are. The Queen Bee of fitness coaching told you that you walked like a professional at the posing workshop, and you went home and choose to make bad choices.

You can either get your act together, wear your pretty posing suit, rock the stage, and feel great, or you can hate yourself for messing things up for yourself.

You know which one you have to choose. Stop being an ass and start using your brain.


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Chillin' before my workout

Current state of affairs on my abs.

Current state of affairs on our country.

Although, seeing what this woman eats
every day did look mighty delicious!
Nom nom nom nom mmmmmm carbtastic!
I don't reacted with the "ew gross!"
like the studio audience feigned.
I think mmmmm GIMME SUMMA DAT!

When I read the Facebook pages of the online program that I have my online trainer through, everyone pretends to hate junk food, and that they always love to work out. Frankly, I'm not buyin' any of it. There many reasons that I don't feel like I "fit in" with the type of girls who compete, but I'm not going to change. I don't drink the Kool-Aid and I'm just going to be myself. I've never fit in really anywhere, so this isn't anything new.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

But now....

I have confidence in sunshine. I have confidence in rain. Actually no I don't.

But I have usually had pretty good confidence in myself. Or, so I thought.

If I were to stop my training now and stay the way I am now, I would be content. I of course will continue to be show ready in six weeks.

But now that I have made such great progress in my physique, my physical fitness, and my body composition, my confidence is higher than it ever has.

Some things that I used to be self-conscious about before, but I didn't even realize it, until I realized I was no longer self-conscious about them:

1. My tummy. It was never a pregnant-like situation. It was never like "Oh day-em girl you need to stop your noshing, your gut is outta control!". It also wasn't exactly flat. It would jiggle when I did step, or other cardio, or when it got particularly bad, when I rode the bus and the bus went over a small bump in the road. I'd always hate that. So I'd always make sure that when I worked out in the weight room that I had a long-sleeved t-shirt on on top of my tank. This got really hot, but anything that wouldn't allow my tummy-tum to be visible to anyone else.

But now, my stomach is firmed up and will likely continue to do so. When I move around, all I feel is muscle under there, not muscle covered with too many layers of flab. I love to wear my tank top in the weight room, and I no longer obsess about what tank I will wear, and will it show the bulge there at my waist. I also don't ever fee the urge to "suck it in, suck it in" when I'm moving around the gym floor. Gosh, it feels great!

2. My upper legs and thighs. They've always been one of the chunkier parts of my body. I've hated them as long as I can remember. I used to run 100-m hurdles in HS, and I hated wearing the 1-inch inseam track shorts that were part of the required uniform. Even in the heat, I'd put another pair of shorts over them before and after my race. I've had a hard time in the past finding jeans that fit well in the upper legs. Most of my jeans would wear out between the legs, and I'd have to toss them in the trash.

But now, my legs are a much more manageable size. They certainly do not rub together as much. They're still a little bit larger than I prefer, but I'm still working on them. I don't have as much muscle there as I do the rest of my body, because I actively haven't lifted heavy with them in over 15 years. I didn't want them to expand any more. But now I'm actively working on the muscles, which will help with definition. Also, I'm wearing jeans in sizes that I never even DREAMED of. I had just accepted the size I was before.

3. Myself in General. I've never been shy, and I've always walked with confidence. But I always felt generally self-conscious. I realize that I was never "heavy," but deep down, I feel as though I knew I wasn't being the best fitness level I could be. Small life changes can make a difference. For me, the life change was diet, meal structure, and macro-nutrient intake. I never wanted to be invisible, but I also never felt fully comfortable in my own skin.

But now, I walk around like I own the place. Well, not really, but I walk around thinking about more important things, things other than "what do my thighs look like as I'm doing this?" or "I hope my tummy isn't showing right now, is it jiggling?"

Deciding to do this fitness competition, and committing to the dietary and lifestyle changes has been one of the best decisions I ever made. I never fully believed I would feel so much better, and look so much better, after just working on this for basically 3 months. I didn't think this was possible. I truly thought I'd be that body that "was just going to look like this no matter what I did." Because I have always been so conscious of what I ate, yet it wasn't working for me. Being very mindful of food intake without this set program, simply was not working. It's nuts, because I probably thought about food choices before, than I do now. Now, I know what I will be eating next, and what I will not be eating next.

I encourage anyone out there who is even considering doing this, to take some time and consider this for themselves (and if you do it vegan, I think personally that would be even better).

Words cannot express how good I feel, mentally, physically, and emotionally!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

So few fats, so many from which to choose!

I only get 2 servings of fat. A day. Sure, the other food I eat has small amounts, but other than that, I only get 2 teaspoons a day.

My favorite way to use them is in salad dressing. My Seven Seas Red Wine, Vinegar and Oil is my favorite dressing, and I never get tired of it. It tastes sooo good mixed in with my tofu salad and garlic chili sauce. I use this at lunch, especially at work. It's my favorite meal of the day.

However, I'm supposed to really be focusing on 3 main good fats: olive oil, coconut oil, and flax oil. The salad dressing is soybean oil, which is not terrible, but I want to get the flax oil in because I've always taken it and it helps my skin glow and remain moisturized.

So, with my salad, I really want something sweet on the dressing to offset the garlic chili sauce. So today I decided to use red wine vinegar mixed with some Equal. I mixed it up, and used that instead of salad dressing with my garlic chili sauce. Then, I have a teaspoon of flax oil.

The homemade dressing isn't nearly as good, but it does the job. Now that I'm fewer than 6 weeks away from a show, I need to make the best choices possible. I'm really watching my portions, more than ever. Despite being extremely low carb (3 days at 1/4 cup, 1 day at 1/2 starch, repeat), my energy has been surprisingly good.

My current favorite treat/veggie is 1/2 cup canned pumpkin microwaved until warm. Add in some allspice, a few drops of vanilla, and equal. Mixed all together, it tastes like pumpkin pie filling. Mmmmm, I have it in the morning with my Meal 1.

What I really notice these days is my stomach leaning out. I've never had such a flat stomach! It's nice that it doesn't jiggle, that it feels firm, and that I can see my ab muscles sort of showing through. It's really exciting, but scary too because I hope they continue to surface more!!

And now that the weather is changing, my post-workout clothing that I bring with me needs to change. I put my shorts back in the drawer and put in the past pair of jeans that I remember wearing back when I started to do this training. They fit snugly, but well, when I started.

I wore them after the gym today. They were falling off of me. It was comical. I kept having to hitch them up. Even zipped and buttoned... I can pull them off of my body... THAT is how much my body has changed.

So I pulled out the smallest pair of jeans that I have in my closet, Lucky Brand size 2. There was a brief period of time 2 years ago that they fit snugly, but well. And now.... [drumroll].... they're actually still too large, but they at least stay on my hips!!!


I'd also like to note that I spent a lot of time comparing my photo from June 28 to September 18.... just those two. When you take all those mid-progress photos, the disparity is even more apparent. I can't believe how good I look, and I can't believe I didn't think I could look like this.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Progress photos - June 28 to September 18

Feel free to click for larger image, so you can judge me more easily.

Decent week, not too chatty today.
Had plenty of energy despite carb cycling.

Friday, September 16, 2011

The Polarizing Nature of My Life

I've always been someone who sort of did my own thing. I've always done things differently from people in my demographic, but I don't do it to be trendy or offbeat. It just comes naturally.

So many things that I do in life, it makes me feel as though I am the polar opposite of everyone else. Some examples:

- In high school, all the girls wanted prom dates. To me, a date just seemed odd. I didn't have any close guy friends, and I certainly did not date, so why attend with a random guy? I went alone. To me, that was default. To everyone else, default was to bring a date.
- In college, all the kids wanted to go out and socialize, maybe party and drink. I never had that urge. I just like hanging out on the internet, chatting online, downloading from Napster.
- Most people date either occasionally or all of the time. I never really did much dating, but I tried it for awhile. It wasn't me. I do my own thing. I don't need someone there.
- I've always done a lot of things alone, that most people do with others. Vacation, movies, going out to dinner, going to musical performances. I just never felt like I needed someone to go with, and usually don't have someone around to go with, so I just go alone. It's a non-issue.

Many of these things have made me feel to be polar opposite from the general population that I observe around me. And the more intense I go towards one side, the polarization effect is even stronger.

So as I am leaning down, making really good health choices, I feel even more different from the people around me. And the only negative thing that I think about this, is that I tend to misunderstand, and sort of feel sorry for those who are at the other end of the spectrum. I feel like they're the ones that have it all wrong. But I realize that's not necessarily true. Some people will opt to eat and live their lives to the fullest. I don't really even blame them! If they're happy, more power to 'em! They certainly do get to enjoy their food more than I choose to!

I know that I am not alone in this phenomena. People at the extremes of the spectrum often are so far removed from the other end, that they lose the understanding they previously had when they were more moderate. And this applies to me. I have a heightened sense of awareness and sensitivity to those that aren't doing what I am doing.

So when I know women that have never been single, I misunderstand that, and don't care for that. When I see people who always are out drinking and partying, I misunderstand and don't care for that. And now, when I see people who are so sadly unhealthy, I misunderstand and don't care for that. Now, more than ever.

We all have our prejudices. No one can deny that. Some have more than others, but we all have at least a little bit. Even the super sweet person who has very few aversions to certain people, can have an aversion to say, people who are always late, or people who litter, or people who play loud music on public transit.

Due to my relatively extreme focus on health and fitness right now, my prejudices are amplified. Does that make me a bad person? I guess perhaps some would think so. As I get closer to what I would consider the "ideal level of fitness," those who do not fit that ideal, are more foreign to me.

So, when I went down for my Diet Coke to the cafeteria this morning, and I see really obese people buying what they are, in my head, I'm judging them. I'm not going to feel badly for it, and I'm not going to apologize. I've been judged, oftentimes by people who have told me so.

I've been chastised through the years by dozens of people for the amount of Diet Coke I drink. I have been bombarded by that old claim of artificial sweeteners give people cancer. Or how it's going to mess up my cravings. Or how all the caffeine is really bad for you (that one is partially true, due to it being a diuretic).

Drinking diet soda has become one of those "free license for people on which to give you their unsolicited opinion." I know smokers also get it. As a vegan I get it. I also get it because I am not married and do not want children, and will express it when asked about it, but this isn't as pandemic with people when it comes to giving opinions; but this is only because it's not as outwardly apparent, such as drinking diet soda or smoking. I think the reason people do this is not to be hurtful, but because they think they are helping. I don't mind being helped, as long as people are well-informed. And, since the artificial flavors in diet sodas have not been proven, yet some "random guy at work" or "random friend from wherever" sh*tting out his or her mouth with his or her uneducated version of "cancer causing foods", it really burns me up.

So when I see heavy, unhealthy people, I do want to help them. If someone were to ask me "Hey, what do you to do be so healthy, I'd like to get healthy myself," I would love to have those floodgates open. But that rarely happens. The only time I've been asked that, is by generally fit and healthy people, usually at the gym. But those aren't the people that really need help.

I don't feel the urge to change anyone. I think that if I were that heavy, unhealthy person, that I'd try to inspire myself to change my lifestyle. I'd probably ask a lot of questions, try to glean encouragement where ever I could. I know that before I started leaning down, I asked my trainer, who competes and models, so many questions about diet, about his lifestyle, so I could start to educate myself. I also did a lot of research on the diet of fitness competitors, to see what they were doing that I was not doing. I wanted to educate myself.

And although I didn't take the plunge right away, I wanted the information. I think it takes people a lot of time to process education and information, to evaluate how it would be possible to incorporate it in their lives. To analyze whether it's something they want to do or not. I know that I certainly did.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Sooo yummy - Vegan Fitness Competition Recipes

I like life to be simple. I am minimalist. I don't like a lot of "noise," mental, audio, visual, all of it, I like to avoid.

So, I don't actually cook a lot of "recipes" per se. Plus, if things are too too delicious, I'll eat too much, and mess up my whole diet.

However, since I'm working from home today, I had a moment of clarity: pumpkin. I have a can from last Fall propping open my kitchen window. It's not too high in carb for a veggie.

This is dry-fried tofu with 1/2 can of pumpkin, a drop or two of vanilla extract, and some allspice. It tastes sweet, even without adding anything, though I could totally add some equal and make it taste more like dessert. I had this as my meal 2. Carbs were done at meal 1.

This was meal 3. The old standby, twice a day. I look forward to it each and every day. Field greens, seared tofu, 1 serving of Kraft Red Wine Vinegar and Oil (best dressing ever) and about 4 tablespoons of garlic chili sauce. Put the lid back on the bowl, and shake it up. This ensures each piece of lettuce has dressing.... I don't like eating salad without shaking it up first.

Look how gorgeous that is. I like to get my tofu nice and quasi-burned. It tastes sooo good, fills me up, thank you dry-fried tofu.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Mmmmmm air is so yummy

So freaking hungry today. I actually forgot to have my 10 AM meal, which is bizarre since I was starving. Maybe I was engulfed in my work. Or maybe because I'm taking this carb cycling thing to my OWN level (read: not the level my coach wants me to. read: fewer carbs than prescribed)

BRAIN NO WORKY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A reminder of why I make certain choices

My office building has a cafeteria. It's probably busier at breakfast than it is at lunch. I didn't have any change for my morning Diet Coke from the machine, so I head down there with my money to get one.

I speed raced past 3 very heavy folk who were slowlllllllly walking together towards the cafeteria. Then on the way in I passed 2 very heavy women who were carrying Carby McCarby selections for breakfast. Muffins, bagels, sausage sandwiches.

I get it, it's very tempting. I'm not perfect, but even when not dieting for a show, I don't allow myself to get into these habits.

The smell of toasted bagels, butter, eggs and sausage, arrays of pastries. The smell is truly intoxicating.

I could eat that stuff all_day. If it were up to me, I'd have a bagel with peanut butter and jelly for breakfast. Then I'd have another at 10 AM. Then I'd have one at 2 PM and 4 PM. It is truly heavenly. The smell of toasted bread could be my favorite smell. It sends my brain into rapid fire, stimulating all of the pleasure centers, making me want to reach out and grab it all.

But I don't. I don't want to look like many of the folks that eat like that. It's unfortunate that we all just can't eat what we want. But it's reality. For a period of time when I got to this office building, I thought one day "I'll treat myself to a bagel and PB and jelly this morning." "This morning" turned into 2 weeks. I probably gained 5 lbs, and my clothes didn't fit.

Mean or not, I often look at what the heavy and obese people are eating when I'm tempted to make unhealthy choices. I'm not going to feel guilty for it. It's not mean. If I didn't, then one day, I could be those people, and some healthy trim girl could look at me and think the same thing.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Monday, Monday!

Oooh Monday.

I'd update you on my diet, but it's pretty much the same every day. Sure, I could get creative, but I like to keep it simple. Two salads a day fills up the vast void of my stomach, broccoli is the best veggie because it takes up a lot of space in my stomach, and that's it. It's all about volume.

And now I am sitting here drinking a pitcher of Crystal Light Lemon Iced Tea. This is the closest thing to dessert on my nutrition plan. Actually, this is technically "off-limits" because it has artificial sweeteners, but that rule I throw in the Staten Island dump.

My newbie friend online who is also competing for the show I am doing, but in figure recommended BCAAs, Branched Chain Amino Acids. I figure "hey why not". Supposedly it helps in recovery.

I'm so anxious to get my suit. The designer hasn't yet asked me for my updated measurements, so I'm guessing it's not even close to done. I'm DYING to see it, especially since I spent an absurd amount of money on it. If I have something super sweet and sparkly to compete in, I'll be more likely to put myself through the leaning down process in the future, just so I can wear the suit again in future competitions.

As soon as I get my suit, I'll hit up So Good Jewelery and get a bunch of rhinestone bracelets, rings, and earrings. I'm super excited, I always walk over there during my lunch break and imagine which things I'll buy. But I want to see what will work best with my suit before I buy!

Tonight was biceps and back, followed by sweaty mess step. I love step. I wish it were taught more then once a week. Then I did 5 minutes of tanning downstairs. Exciting stuff!

The Miss Universe Pageant is on. You better believe I'm watching this, mainly because Andy Cohen is the host. What what!

Friday, September 9, 2011

The Carb Cycling is working!

There is one food that I am not allowing in the house anymore. It's edamame. It comes frozen, and is great for you. However, it is relatively high in carbs for a veggie. Worse off: I tended to snack on it at night, because it's really that good. I'd nuke a handful at a time for 20 seconds, and it comes out room temperature. It reminds me of the peas that come in the peapods and you eat raw. sooo delicious.

But, I'm close to show time and I can't have any temptation.

This carb cycling is ALREADY WORKING! In less than 1 week of the diet change, I can SEE and FEEL my abs changing. In the mirror, I see more definition than I have so far, and it's really exciting. After not seeing changes for quite some time, I started to feel nervous. But now I am seeing some changes. Again, I'm a little more aggressive on the carb cycling than my online coach told me to, but I don't want to do things halfway. I think it's a good choice.

I have had pretty good energy despite the lower carbs.

No lie..... this is me today. ------------>

I took what my personal trainer's advice that he gave me yesterday: all my sets should be all-out. All-out. I guess I never realized that sometimes I don't go all out. The gym was muggy, I was a sweaty mess, but it was an awesome leg workout. I went to failure with all of my exercises, and the superset from the quad extension and hamstring curl machine finished off my legs. I tried the new decline side-crunch (awkward, I had to have my PT show me, after I tried 10 of my own variations the other day). It is awesome.

Then I did a kickboxing class, an old standby. I didn't go all out in that class because I wanted to use it as my steady state cardio, and I've had 3 days in a row of HIIT. Then after that was done, I finished of my last ab exercise for the day: Roman Chair Straight-Leg Lifts. OOoh MAN you can actually FEEL those sculpting your abs. I'm getting a lot better at them. I used to be able to do only 6 or 8 leg lifts each set, but now I can get 10, and I can bend my legs a bit and change the leverage enough to hammer out another 4 or so. Then I bend my knees and bring them to my chest. I tend to get lazy with abs usually, so I kept thinking today "Bikini on Stage, Bikini on Stage, Gotta Rip Up the Abs." It TOTALLY WORKED... I did a lot better ab workout keeping that in mind.

Hit up the tanning place for 5 minutes in my stand-up. I'm putting sunblock on my tanned parts in the hopes to balance out my farmer's tan on my shoulders and legs.

Then I did my laundry

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Not missing that serving of carbs!

I'm feeling quite amazing, despite carb cycling. Tomorrow for 1 day I will be up to three 1/4 cups of starch, but then it's back to two servings. My coach said to do 2 days of 1/4 cups, then back up to 3. But, I made it 3 days, because I want to be hard core. I don't want it to be competition time and be a jiggly mess. And plus, my energy is AWESOME right now!

So today I started back up with my personal trainer. We took I think 4 or 5 weeks off, because it's very expensive, and I want to make sure I'm seeing him up until my show.

We had an fierce chest and tricep workout. He really pushes me hard on my sets, and so I sure felt it afterwards.

Then I went to his circuit class, which included lots of plate pushes on the floor, which burned the heck out my legs as they always do.

I'm so excited for my show. I'm so focused right now, it's a great feeling.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

What do you mean "You're so lucky"?

One of my all-time biggest pet peeves is when people say to me "You're so lucky you have time to do all that," where "that" spans the gamut of exercise, sleep, volunteering, hobbies, or whatever they are referring to in my life.

A woman I used to work with was younger than I was, and she'd always ask me if I was going to the gym after work. I'd always reply with something like "Yup, I have step and lifting tonight."

She'd reply: "You are so lucky you have time to do all that, exercise and stuff. I don't have time for that. I wish *I* had the time to do that stuff."

It made me want to scream. There is no "luck" involved, honey. I didn't "win" this lifestyle. I CHOSE this lifestyle. You chose YOURS, I chose MINE. Period.

- I did not choose to shack up with a guy, thereby increasing the time spent on family-related activities, as well as probably also increasing the time spent cleaning up after a cohabitant.
- I did not choose to have a baby, whether you claim you planned it or not. No one has a child without their consent. Regardless of your beliefs about ending a pregnancy, there are ways to not get pregnant, whether you want to abide by them them or not.
- I do not choose to become engrossed with lots of TV shows so that "I gotta get home and watch the next episode of [Show Title here]"
- I do not choose to have a very active social life, where I have to be at dinner parties, family parties, birthday parties, play groups, and the activities of my significant other.

I have the same number of hours as EVERYBODY ELSE. I just HAPPEN to be very EFFICIENT with what I do. I don't have a secret helper somewhere. I just choose to use my time effectively, and I do not whine about how "I have to do x, y, and z but yet I have no time to do x, y, and z".

We all choose our lifestyles, and it's insulting when someone hints that I am just living in the lap of luxury because I made certain choices, or that I have been "fortunate" to spend my time doing the things that you WISH you were doing. To accomplish your goals, one has to have the focus, determination, and high expectations of one's self. To accomplish your goals, you have to put yourself first. There is no way around that.

I am not more or less "lucky" than anyone else. I life a simple life. I have actively made life choices that will make my life simple. I happen to be a loner. I also happen to not "spin my wheels." I have worked with and met a lot of people who make grand plans to do things, yet never seem to get anything done. I've worked with people where it will take them all day to complete a simple task. I've always been someone who gets a lot done, and does it correctly. I was an outstanding waitress, because I managed a very personal sense of urgency with a very good ability to manage time effectively.

I'm not "bragging" that I get a lot done in a day, because for me, this is just "normal". I don't like it when people seem to want a reward for getting things done in life. I sometimes hear mothers speak about how frazzled their day is, managing children, a household, and sometimes a job. Sometimes they sound like they want me to extend my sympathies; I will not do that. That was your choice. And if you choose to have children, and you choose to live a frazzled life, that does not make me lucky. That makes me just different than you. I don't like my personal life choices minimized by the title of "lucky". It extremely condescending.

I don't want to rattle off all that I do with my spare time, but the only thing I can attribute it to is a sense of organization and urgency to keep up with life. I think there is a bit of culture in this country where if you're not frazzled and running yourself ragged, that you are selfish. (
I've also been called "selfish" for not wanting children, but that is a whooooooole other conversation that I will opt to not discuss here.)

I couldn't disagree more. If you don't take care of yourself, your mental health, your physical health, and your spiritual health (if that applies to you, though it does not apply to me), then things don't seem to work well.

If I don't exercise, my life gets sloppy.
If I don't keep up with laundry, my life gets sloppy.
If I procrastinate and wax poetically about "I'd like to do [insert life goal here]" instead of just DOING IT, my life gets sloppy.
It's just about keeping up and not falling behind.

Selfish? Please. We're not doing anyone any favors when we look at other women and attribute the positive things in their lives to luck. It ain't luck. It's choices. We all make them. Choose your choices, and I'll choose mine.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

8 Weeks Out!

It's Day 2 of two servings of 1/4 cup of starches a day. Think about how little this actually is. 1 serving of starch is 1 piece of bread. So I am having basically 1/2 of a piece of bread a day, but it's oats.

So far, my energy feels good. I began the new diet yesterday, and I'm starting to be extra careful about portions and the extra fats that I use for my food. I don't want to overdo it.

Yesterday I had an awesome leg workout, including my all-time favorite Bulgarian Split Squats. Oh Bulgaria, how do I thank thee for giving us this exercise? My gluteus maximus and minimus thanks youuuuuuu..

Today I hit up an awesome shoulder and calf workout, followed by pain mixed with pleasure: STAIR RUNNING. I haven't run the stairs in this gym yet, so my trainer showed me where they were. Approximately 14 flights. The stairs at this gym are steeper and the stairwells are more compact than my other gym, so it was an entirely different running experience this time... and MUCH more painful, and MORE EFFECTIVE!

I began my stair running planning on running halfway up, jogging in place to recover, then running up the 2nd half. Well... I really could only do 4 to 5 flights each in this stairwell, at which point the burning inferno of my quads, mixed with my heart about to burst out of my chest cavity, I had to modify.

I decided that going to the top, then trotting all the way down left too much time to recover, which is a waste of the HIIT cardio session.

So I generally just used 4 to 5 flights of this stairwell. Keep in mind this is a large office building, so each flight is much higher than say, someone's house. Each flight was at least 24 steps, and it was steep.

So for 25 minutes, I ran up 4 flights of stairs, then trotted back down, and repeat. My last set was a medium speed walk alllll the way to the top, after which my legs were pleading for mercy.

It was amazing. I love the solitude of stair running. No one EVER uses the stairs in most office buildings, so I knew I wouldn't have to have some awkward encounter with some unhealthy and bitter office worker who would look annoyed by my stair usage.

Came home and found my 10 lb box of rice protein from True Protein arrived, just in time to replenish the last 5 lbs I somehow consumed in a month or so.

I love me some stairs.

Monday, September 5, 2011

My practice walk and pose video could be a comedy movie

It's really hard to get up to speed when your hallway is only so long. Actually, for Boston, my apartment is pretty enormous, since it's not in one of the buildings in Beacon Hill or Commonwealth Avenue that was subdivided into dozens of tiny disgusting units through the years and sold off for half a mil.

Tonight I videotaped (do we even call it videotape when it's a digital camera?) Videoed? That sounds like a fake word, like "staycation" or "twitter". Shudder.

Anyways, I'm not feeling great, and I realized that in EXACTLY TWO MONTHS I will be competing. Scary, scary stuff people.

Everybody laugh and point. Ready..... GO

My coach just e-mailed me in response to my weekly check-in.

My diet just changed!! 2 days of 2 starches a day, then 1 days with 3 starches, then back to 2 days of 2 starches.

After all of my reading of "Carb Cycling," I've now been graced with its presence. Yay Carb Cycling!

I'm pumped!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Old Man Noises

Today I am making old man noises.

Every time I squat down to tie my shoe, pick something up off the floor, or sit down, I make this "Uuuuuhh" noise.

I'm soooo sore!

I think it's because of a one-two punch I gave my body Thursday and Friday.

Thursday I did my back and bicep workout, then did the Sports Circuit class taught by my PT. It included sprinting, intermixed with kettle bell swings, and repeat over and over. Then it transformed into more kettle bell work blended in with minutes of strength training.

I really tried to make the most out of the kettle bell swings as we were reminded by the instructor. I want to make sure my body KNOWS what it is doing, because I can do a lot of exercise and not feel it the next day. I WANT to feel it.

So the kettle bell swing, as it swings through the legs, when I shot it back up to eye level, I really tried to squeeze my gluts and my hams a LOT. It WORKED, as I feel it in my butt and my inner thighs very much so.

Then Friday, my PT gave me my new lifting routine (yay!) and so I tried out my new chest and tricep workout. He made my routine more challenging this time, with more exercises and more sets, and I'm glad, because I think my body can take quite the beating since I've been lifting for so many years.

Then after my lifting routine, I made my own HIIT session in the empty fitness studio. I jumped rope for 1 minute, then did step-ups/step-downs from a step with 6 risers on each side, with a little bit of a backwards leg lift to get the glute, for 1 minute.

Then I returned to jump roping for another minute. Then I either repeated the step-ups/step-downs, or stood on the step, and stepped down to the side, then did the other leg. I also would sometimes do mountain climbers on the step, then always returned to the 1 minute of jump roping.

I feel great today, though sore, which is the same thing is as great!

Friday, September 2, 2011

I can hear your mouth, yet you aren't even talking

I work in a cube. It's a large cube.

Walking around around lunchtime is always rather disgusting in a public setting. Fortunately, nobody on my floor microwaves fish in the microwave, which I know happens in a lot of places. (this is truly a disgusting, filthy and rude thing for anyone to do)

I always buy my field greens downstairs in our cafeteria. The cafeteria is generally pretty underused, and I'm surprised that it even exists. One time when I went down to the cafeteria to get my salad, an overwhelming smell of death, toxic waste, and dirty womens' restroom wafted over to me as I stood in line waiting to pay. It was so foul, I thought maybe something had crawled up and died right under my nose.

I asked the cashier "What the HELL is that smell?!" as I crunched up my face. She said "fish in microwave" and laughed. That's not funny; stop laughing. That is foul, and anyone who has the gall to bring fish and nuke it in public, deserves to be punched in the throat.

Before my dieting, I always had a salad. BUT, I'd top it with lots of goodies, and some junk. So, I'd have a huge bed of lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, chick peas, and of course, a about 5 scoops of Chow Mein noodles, those little brown crunchy things that look bizarre but are actually quite tasty. They're super high in fat: that is exactly why they are actually quite tasty.

Now, I just buy lettuce, maybe some veggies for later for the gym, and bring it upstairs with my Diet Coke. I throw on my dry fried tofu, some garlic chili sauce, and my oil-based dressing. It takes about 15 minutes to eat, fills me up nicely, and I'm set for the next few hours.

But when I walk around during lunch hour, it's amazing how when people eat, there is a lot of audio involved. I just walked to the water cooler, and walked by a woman who just returned from maternity leave, which seemed like forever (must be nice to get paid to not work). I hear the "moistness" and the sound of her chewing with her mouth open made me want to puke the salad I had just finished. It wasn't a fluke, on the way back to my desk from the water cooler, it was still going on. I don't to hear you masticating your turkey and lettuce and mayo. I can hear that from 10 feet away.... hasn't your husband said anything?

There's a guy behind me who after he eats (which is all day), he smacks his teeth, for what reason, I don't know. It sounds like someone is making kissy kissy noises. Also gross.

And yesterday on the bus after work, I start hearing this disgusting mouth smacking noise. On the BUS. I realize the old man in front of me is reliving the Big Dig in his mouth with a toothpick. He was digging so hard and far into his mouth, half of his fist was in his mouth. This continued the 1.1 miles back to my apartment. It was so obscene and nauseating, I think I ate a smaller dinner because of it.

I've also noticed a lot of young (and sometimes middle-aged) women chewing gum like they are grazing cattle at a farm. I don't care if you are Ivy League, Magna Cum Laude, won the Fields Medal last spring, and perform neural surgery in your spare time: if you chew gum like a cow, you really, truly, make yourself look really, really dumb.... like a bimbo. Excessive gum cracking, also not going to win you any respect from colleagues. I wish girls would stop this nonsense.

Everyone, please be aware your mouth makes noises, when you chew gum, when you eat, when you are ice-picking your teeth. And please stop.