Let's Talk About Food.

Um now I know why diets don't work. The amount of food I ate after my show is unreal. It has taken me the past two weeks to finally level out. For about a week I ate anything and everything I could just because I hadn't had it for at least 3 months. It was pathetic. And ironic considering the entire point of my prep was to demonstrate self discipline and then as soon as it was over I had NONE! But I loved all of it.

Let's take it back a night, Ryan and I had to prepare for the big feast ahead (Ryan got a head start as I raided the candy isle)...

The night of the show we went out to Precinct (Jen also brought us post-show donuts) and I had an Alagash which is what I had been CRAVING like crazy. Plus I had sliders including pork belly, lobster and crab cakes. YUM! Then Ryan had stock up on all my favorite things including carrot cake, coffee cake, half baked ice cream, guac, wine and beer. It was heavenly.

The next morning I had my Dad's famous cookies for breakfast because ya know...why not :) Then I took Ryan to the Four Season buffet brunch to thank him for being so supportive throughout the whole journey. We ate the place clean. Blueberry pancakes, eggs, bacon, oats, poached eggs, waffles, caramelized bananas, omelettes, meat and cheese plates, then desserts GALORE!!

That afternoon we recuperated from stuffing our faces... then went to dinner at the Salty Pig and had garlic knots, meatballs, and PIZZA!

The next day we walked around Boston and ended up stopping by Anna's Taqueria which is Ryan's all time favorite meal. It was my first time there so we split a MASSIVE quesadilla...

Then hung around all afternoon drinking Rosé until we headed to Barcelona for white wine and tapas. (I also finished the carrot cake and a second pint of half baked this night...it wasn't pretty).

Coach Johnny sent me a reverse diet plan on Monday which I loosely followed. It's basically used to help rebuild your metabolism so you don't eat everything in sight like I did and gain 6 pounds immediately.

I don't even feel bad about it though. It has been really nice not feeling guilty about ordering Indian food when I don't want to cook, or be able to say YES to unlimited sushi night with friends and always order a glass of white wine with dinner. 

I'm back tracking my food, just good to be slightly aware of what I'm eating but I'm enjoying my ice cream nights all the same! I've even started to throw in a little morning cardio a few times a week just because I actually like starting my day like that now. It's amazing what you find out you like doing when it's not something you have to do...or eat. Like egg whites, I still start my days with egg whites and salsa. Just because I like them.

It does feel weird not to have my next goal set up. So any ideas please let me know!

8 Days.

Happy Friday world! I woke up jumping out of bed this morning. The sun was shining, birds were chirping, and I had energy to get after my fasted cardio. This week (2 weeks out) has been a really important week of my prep, it's the last big push before the show. In addition to my normal five workouts, I have three days of cardio and four mornings of fasted cardio.

Fasted cardio = my personal hell.

I've mentioned before that I don't like morning workouts, and morning workouts where I have to keep my heart rate high for 30 minutes when my body is sore all over from yesterday's workout and on no food...the worst. However, fasted cardio is really effective for me. Jump starts my metabolism in the morning and I feel it burning all day. And today it wasn't so bad! I've been feeling minor shin splints this week so instead of my usual run I did some HIIT in Copley Square instead. Then ya know what happened? These babies were poppin!

For a good reason. In addition to the extra workouts I've had this week, my diet has also changed. All week I'm slowly depleting carbs (as Johnny tells me to), every two days the diet changes. I'm hovering around 1200 calories, with my protein intake remaining high and as my carbs are cut my fat intake raises (YAY peanut butter!). 

I had to go two days this week without peanut butter and I honestly think it was the first time in YEARS I hadn't had it. Thank goodness that's over.

Basically I'm tricking my body to burn all of the existing fat to use for energy opposed to the carbs I'd be feeding it. Then early next week (peak week!) I'll get a MAJOR re-feed day where I eat a ton of carbs (clean carbs) for my muscles to fill out again. They're working in overdrive this week so we gotta keep them happy before the big day.

So I'll leave ya with highs and lows for the week:

Highs:

  • ABS!
  • I have a whole new love for food since I've been so hungry this week.
  • Matcha. My afternoon pick-me-up.
  • Everything Hoodie Allen.
  • Low energy but high spirits!

Lows:

  • Fasted cardio. Ew.
  • I skipped fasted cardio yesterday. I was a little disappointed in myself but my body was telling me no.
  • No posing practice yet. I need to learn how to walk on stage now. Crunch time people!
  • My hands are torn up from my arms/back days. Ouch!
  • Low energy levels, but big spirits!

Huge final shout out to my boyfriend who has saved me this week. I forgot my lunches at home one day (grabbed the wrong tupperware) and he drove them to me at work. LIFE SAVER!!! Second shout out to my parents who have given me some great pep talks supporting from afar! Then finally my coworkers...sorry you have to sit with HANGRY Erin all day, but keeping me away from the unlimited kid cereal and M&M's is crucial. Couldn't do this without you guys. 

A final BIG THANK YOU to all the social media love. This is honestly one of the toughest things I've done and the messages, texts, Instagram likes and comments truly mean the world to me. When I need extra motivation, that's what keeps me going. Thank you.

"People underestimate their capacity for change. There is never a right time to do something difficult." - John Porter.


Temptation.

I’m currently on the plane (ok this was four days ago, its been a busy week!) on the way back to Boston from a wonderful weekend away with my family in Wrightsville Beach (my first love). It was so wonderful having the four of us together for a long weekend, the more we grow up the harder it becomes. 

Last week having such a low really lit a fire under my butt. I have seven weeks left, and in the grand scheme of life that is nothing! I have to keep remembering that. I chose this. I dedicated myself to this. If I don’t give it my best, I’ll only let down myself. However, with that said, TEMPTATION was EVERYWHERE. We got a three bedroom oceanfront condo (instead of a hotel) so that I could have a full kitchen to cook. A HUGE thank you to my mom and dad for changing their plans to support me in this journey…but it wouldn’t be a family vacation with a test or two for me. So here we go:

  1. I flew down to Raleigh and got to spend the night with one of my best friends from college and we got a yummy vegan dinner (high on carbs but totally clean so I didn’t feel bad!).
  2. Wendy’s: My parents picked me up in the morning and we stopped and got lunch at Wendy’s. Shouldn’t be a huge shock that eating clean is just about impossible through fast food. I got a grilled chicken sandwich and ate just the patty with a side salad (no dressing).
  3. Oceanic: One of the yummy restaurants right on the ocean. It’s known for is southern spin on fish. They bring hot fresh hushpuppies to your table with fresh butter to start. Mom saved me and just ripped me off a bite of hers, YUM! I got a grilled salmon salad with citrus dressing (I should’ve taken more pics!).
  4. Mexican: Saturday night were the big basketball games and my Dad and sister are HUGE fans. The family ordered Mexican (my favorite) and I made my broccoli and grilled chicken. I did save a couple carbs and fats so I could have a chip of guac!
  5. Easter: Thank goodness the Easter bunny found us all the way down in Wrightsville Beach and brought us goodie bags filled with candy. I think the Easter bunny wanted to save a trip because he also brought one for my roommate and boyfriend so now I have THREE BAGS STUFFED WITH CANDY sitting at my feet and I’m dying to dig in. They even included the Reese shaped like eggs. Those are the best. This is my resisting. 7 weeks.

I have to say I couldn’t have stayed on track this weekend without a few things:

  • My supportive family: Yes they might have teased me some, but they made sure I had plenty of healthy food. As soon as we got to the beach my Dad jumped back in the car with me (after a 6 hour drive) to go to the grocery store and get food because I was starving after just two meals for the day. They even let me cook one of my go to dinners (grilled chicken, veg and brown rice) for dinner and loved my every day breakfasts of egg whites, Ezekiel toast and salsa. You guys are the best!
  • Natalie: She’s one of my very best friends and my complete inspiration to do this competition. I spoke about her in my first post. She drove two hours to some spend the afternoon with me, going through a glutes workout, and giving me endless tips for the journey. Honestly seeing her really helped me remember how driven and motivated she was (and is) and that I can do it too. She was impressed with how much I can lift (as I never lifted when we were in college together) and that was all the confidence I needed.
  • Froyo: I don’t know why I can’t find this in Boston, but Wilmington has a froyo place that carries Newberry froyo thats clean and only 8 CALORIES an oz. 8!!! It’s amazing. Just amazing. I went twice.
  • Ashley in her first comp: One of the girls Johnny also trains competed in her first competition this Saturday and ROCKED it!! She placed in three of her divisions and looked stunned. She even made her own suit. Like what?! Well done lady!

Such an awesome weekend. I’m really proud I stayed on track. I even packed a ziplock of grilled chicken and broccoli to snack on on the drive from Wilmington to Charlotte to fly back. I never in my life thought I’d be car snacking on broccoli. Who am I?! The purpose of this post was to share temptations and then share craving and how to get through it. So sorry for the monologue but let’s finish strong!

I was definitely hungry sometimes this weekend. It was an active weekend making sure I completed my workouts, long walks on the beach with mom, a couple beach runs, and beach volleyball! Things I needed to stay on track:

  • Crystal Light (sweetened with Truvia): First, beach water is gross. But second having my 24oz water bottle filled with watered down crystal light at all times helped me stay satisfied when I was hungry. Often times your body telling you your hungry is really just you dehydrated. I’m definitely not dehydrated because I can’t even sleep through the night anymore because I have to get up to pee. Twice. But, keep your water bottles filled and drink up!
  • Green Tea: I think I just get bored with water and then want a flavor, green tea helps.
  • Coffee: Hot. Cold. Blended. I don’t care I’ll take a large! Coffee is a god send for me. It filled me up or at least prolongs my hunger until I can get a good meal.
  • Apples: Yes they’ve got a few carbs, but they’re also delicious and crunchy and make me feel like I’m eating a lot!
  • Get up and go! Lots of times I think I’m hungry but I’m really just bored. The more active I am and busy my mind is the less I find myself wanting food. Talk a walk. Read a book. Take a nap. Who cares, just get out of the kitchen!

I won’t bore you anymore for now! Again, just a wonderful weekend and I’m ready to get back home (Boston) and see my love, train hard, and eat well. 

Do you all have any good craving curbers? I’m always looking for more! Any good clean recipes too are always helpful!

Thanks for the constant support, you all have been wonderful! Happy Easter!

…maybe just like one Reese egg? Is that Ok?! 

"Cheat" Meals

I've had a lot of people reach out and ask me about "cheat" meals.

When do I get a "cheat" meal?

How much do I get to eat?

Is it just one meal or do I get a whole day?

I'm going to start and squash the entire term of a "cheat" meal. The term is quite commonly used and works for many, but I hate it. It makes me feel like I'm doing something wrong, something I should feel guilty about. But when I eat egg whites, Ezekiel bread, protein powder, plain chicken, brown rice, broccoli, and sweet potatoes for dayssssssss I sure don't feel guilty about chowing down on huevos rancheros at brunch, or dipping extra bread in my mussels sauce, or splitting a whole bottle of wine!

I earned it!! I've worked hard. I feel strong and healthy. And I'm feeding my body and my soul a little extra ice cream this week. I don't go crazy because I'm still on a strict diet plan and my coach would kill me, but I'm not going to feel guilty about treating myself.

I'm not cheating, I'm just living.

My treat meals have become extra special now that I'm on my strict diet and can't eat a cookie whenever I want (I really miss those days). So I've been quite selective about what I'm going to splurge on. Last Friday was the night before I was 12 weeks out, so the girls and I had a night out!

 Coach told me I needed to eat more carbs....this is what he meant right?!

Coach told me I needed to eat more carbs....this is what he meant right?!

We started with pizza and beer at Regina's. No better way to do it!! Then went out and met the rest of the ladies for champagne and finally ended at a local bar with a live band and some Sam Adams. A wonderful night of celebration and treating before the real grind begins. 

Plus Friday was a leg day for me, so really I needed the extra carbs.

My point is regardless of this journey I'm on, I'm not depriving myself of things i love.

Donuts. Wine. Ice Cream. 

So I'm including a few of my other favorite treat moments as well. I have a weak spot for donuts, so these gourmet donuts from The Kitchen were heaven paired with the last of our red wine (just glad Ryan shares that same love too!).

 It came with this raspberry (I think?) jelly that was  insane!

It came with this raspberry (I think?) jelly that was insane!

And finally...I live in the North End of Boston. It's also known as "little Italy" and is all too continent for a quick dinner out.

So back to the questions. It depends. It will always depend. So eat healthy, eat clean, and stop feeling guilty treating yourself. You aren't cheating, just treating. Think of it as food for the soul. 

"Food for the body is not enough. There must be food for the soul." - Dorthy Day.

Part 1: The Diet.

When I was first thinking about doing a competition I kept looking for articles or blogs written by people who were going through the process. I wanted an inside look at what it was really like, not just pictures of the end result. That's what I want this to be, a window into the journey. My goal is for this blog to be that resource for you and hopefully help as some framework, discussing various components I'm juggling and how I'm handling (or struggling) with them. So to start the competition prep is comprised of two main parts, diet and exercise, and diet was the biggest question mark for me.

Part 1: Diet.

This is often the scariest part for people, which I completely understand (and it's honestly still scary to me). It takes time, thought, and some serious self control. But it's very doable, trust me. My diet plan started the beginning of January (convenient timing to be able to enjoy the holidays fully!) and has since slightly changed week by week. My trainer Johnny, helps with both my diet and workouts which makes life much easier. He creates a targeted meal plan for me each week and that's what I follow and can then plan my meals accordingly. As a whole the plan consists of five meals ranging from 250-400 calories each, hitting different macros (carbs, proteins, fats) at each meal.

I honestly really struggled with this the first couple weeks. Like I mentioned before, I've always eaten pretty healthy but never had to think about how many carbs I was having at breakfast, and wondering if I had fit in enough protein by dinner or make sure I planned my meals at convenient intervals so I was full all day. It's a lot to think about! MyFitnessPal definitely helped, it allowed me to enter my meals and track my numbers throughout the day. It's really just developing a plan, setting aside an afternoon to meal prep (my Sunday's), and then you're set for the week! I cook my breakfasts, lunches and most dinners for the week and can just heat them up when I'm hungry and it's impossible not to eat well (OK not totally impossible, but definitely helps!). Don't give yourself excuses!!

This week I'm at 2100 calories** which means extra carbs for me! I'm currently looking to intake 243 grams of carbs, 151 grams of protein, and 58 grams of fat each day for this week. That is one thing I really like about this diet plan, there's no crash dieting, or crazy supplements suggested. The point is just to "eat clean" which includes lean meats, unlimited amounts of greens, and whole grains. No one is limiting my coffee intake so I'm happy. I'm also a solid 16 weeks out so I still can drink wine and can incorporate "cheat meals" (which I will definitely be sharing...I take those seriously and I'm talking to you Regina's Pizzeria!).

I wanted to share just a few examples of some of my meals, they aren't super exciting and I'm almost already sick of chicken but a good base to start with!

A standard day for me looks kinda like this:

Breakfast 8AM

  • 3-4 egg whites (with salsa!)
  • 2 pieces of Ezekiel toast (I'm currently really into the cinnamon raisin)
  • LARGE coffee with almond milk

Snack 1, 10:30AM

  • Banana
  • or Ezekiel toast (again, it's really yum)
  • ...usually a second coffee

Lunch 1PM

  • 4 oz. grilled chicken
  • 1/2 cup steamed broccoli (or any other veg) 
  • 1/2 cup brown rice

Snack 2, 4PM (pre-workout)

  • Quest bar
  • or Ezekiel bread (with peanut butter)

Dinner 7:30PM (post-workout)

  • Broiled salmon (Whole foods has awesome fillets that are already seasoned!)
  • LOTS of veg (peppers, onions, spinach, broccoli, asparagus, you name it, I eat it!)

Dessert 9PM (my favorite part)

  • Casein protein shake (with almond milk, PB2, cinnamon and ice)...honestly it's a milkshake and I love it
  • or cottage cheese with blueberries (this usually feels more filling so if I'm still hungry or have already had a protein shake I usually opt for this)
  • *For dessert it's great to have a slow acting protein incorporated like casein so that it can fuel you all night and won't break down your muscles while you sleep...or so you don't wake up STARVING!

This is just what a typical week day looks for me, I get more adventurous on the weekend because I have more time to cook and try different recipes. Not as scary as you thought right?! This plan works for me, and helps me feel full, satisfied and energetic, ready to get after a workout at the gym!

I'd love to hear your thoughts or if you have any other recipes or ideas for me! 

 

**This is a targeted meal plan created specifically for me and my individual needs. This plan may not be right for you so please consult a professional before beginning any new diet plan.