A twist on cheat meals

I went out to dinner on a cheat meal night and was craving a burger. The restaurant burger and fries totaled to 1273 calories. Mind you, it would have been a little less without the bacon and fried egg but some cheat meals are worth the extra calories!

During the week one day I was craving a burger but it wasn’t a cheat meal day. So I decided to make a healthier version of the cheat meal I love. The burger is topped with a little cheese, cilantro, tomato, onion and a tsp of chipotle catchup. The fries are lightly tossed in olive oil, pink salt, and pepper, then baked. The homemade burger and fries totaled to 599 calories. That’s less than half the calories of the restaurant version! This is a great trade for the restaurant version if wanting a healthier twist on a cheat meal!

When you’re doing a healthy diet, you don’t have to eat boring meals. Granted I wouldn’t recommend eating a homemade burger and fries every day. That’s a little more red meat than you need and there are better options than white potatoes. But this is definitely a great option on occasion. I love to take my favorite restaurant foods and mimic them at home in healthier ways. It beats eating baked chicken, rice and broccoli every day like I used to do! Healthy eating doesn’t have to be boring. You just have to be cautious of what you are putting into the meal or on the meal.

Happy eating!

The secret to losing weight

I want to lose weight, how did you do it?” This is a common question I get from my friends and former athletes (I’m a cheer coach). There isn’t this huge secret of how to do it. I’m not wasting money on products that claim to make you lose weight. I just watch what I eat and I make sure to workout. That’s literally it!

If you aren’t losing weight and you have been trying, these are some reasons that may be affecting you!…..

1. You aren’t being patient. Losing weight won’t happen over night. It would be awesome if it did, but that’s unfortunately not how the body works. For some it takes weeks, others months. Everyone’s body is different.

2. You are comparing yourself to others rather than comparing yourself to where YOU started.

3. Too many cheat meals. Are you eating good during the week then eating everything in sight on the weekend? Or are you adding in too many cheat meals during the week? Cheat meals are great! They’re a good shock for your body. They’re also a great reward for yourself. However doing too many that are too high in fat and calorie will set you back.

4. Water retention. I’ve explained it before in a past post. When you lose weight your body depletes itself of fat cells. However the fat pockets that held the fat cells take a while to diminish so your body fills them with water till it can get rid of them.

5. Eating the wrong things. Some foods are deceiving. We claim them as healthy but in too big of amounts they can actually have reverse effects

6. You’re only doing cardio and not building muscle to burn fat. Cardio burns both fat and muscle. Cardio is fantastic for building endurance but it’s not the only thing you should be doing in your workout routine. Weight training builds lean muscle mass, which elevates your metabolism and burns more fat, even when you’re not exercising!

7. Calorie Deficit. By definition this is reducing the amount of calories consumed relative to the amount of calories required for maintenance of body weight. Multiple your body weight by 10-12 (depending on your activity level. I do 12 since I lift and do cardio weekly) Recalculate every 2-4 weeks as you lose weight.

If you’re struggling to lose weight, don’t give in and go buy diet pills or the teas that claim you’ll lose a ton of weight fast. Work with your body. You’ll be amazed what it can do on its own when you fuel it properly and workout!

Small changes

Some people expect to see huge changes and major progress milestones when they start on a new diet and workout. For some this may happen. For others it’s a slow progression. I think you should celebrate even the smallest milestone.

These two pictures were taken three months apart. I started back on my daily apple cider vinegar and made a few small changes in my diet. The skin on my stomach (where my pregnant belly was) has tightened a bit and I’ve lost an inch around my hips/waist. An inch may not seem like a lot to most people but for me it is. I’m not exactly a big human. I’m 5’3 128lbs and have a BMI under 22. I’m what you’d consider average size for a fit person. I don’t want to lose a ton of weight. Sure, I have a little I could shave off. But mainly my goal is to build a little more muscle and maintain my size. I try not to focus too much on the scale. Weight can be irrelevant to some of us. On a “normal” health-line chart, I am considered overweight for someone my height. HOWEVER the general average doesn’t factor in muscle. So my weight may seem heavy on this scale but it’s due to the muscle I have “weighing me down.” Not a bad problem to have!

I always tell friends, be careful when weighing yourself. Your scale isn’t telling you your muscle to fat ratio (unless you have one of those fancy scales 😂). If you’re working out and eating well, and see the numbers go up, do not freak out!! When your body starts to burn fat, those fat pockets deplete themselves of fat cells and fill up with water till the body shrinks them and they all together disappear (for some). Not to mention you’re probably putting on some muscle which will add to that extra weight. Base your size off your clothing! Are your pants starting to fit a little looser? Maybe they actually fit better now! It all depends on where you started. Everyone is different. Try not to compare yourself to others too much (I know easier said than done). Your body type is different than everyone else’s. No two people are the same. What works for some might not work for all.

Measure yourself, monitor your clothing changes, do whatever helps you to see those small but big changes. Celebrate even the littlest milestone. You deserve it!

Leg day exercises

Leg day! My favorite day! Here are a few exercises from my leg day workout! I know there are “real” names for some of these exercise moves but back when I was a gymnast, this is what we called them and it’s just stuck. Call it whatever you need in order to remember the exercise! 😉

These will get your butt and thighs burning. You should feel it in your butt, thighs, back and arms the next day!

•Squat raises (version 1) 4 x 12 w/ 25lb plate

•Cross lunges 4 x 12 w/ 40lb bar

•Teeter Toters (this is what we called them when I was a gymnast) 4 x 10 w/ 20lb KB

•Squat raises (version 2) 4 x 12 w/ 25lb plate

Using negative comments as fuel

In college after I stopped cheering (yes I was a college cheerleader. Go Tech!), I needed an outlet. I loved to workout but it wasn’t enough at the time. I was so used to the thrill of being on the field during football games in front of 80k people. I wanted that thrill again. A trainer at the gym I was going to approached me and asked if I’d ever competed in a fitness/figure competitions. After talking to him a bit I thought ok this could be the thrill I need! I told a few good friends at the time what my plan was and almost all were supportive. Some were confused and thought I was getting into body building (not that it’s a bad thing, BB just isn’t for me). One friend actually said to me “you already look like a man with the muscle you have, why make it worse?” That comment would make a lot of people insecure. Not me. I saw it as a challenge. I thought, I’ll show you worse! And by worse I meant more lean and fit! I had muscle but it was thin muscle. My legs were muscular from tumbling and stunting. My arms were sculpted but not huge. So I used this negative comment as fuel.

I competed in my first figure competition that year and loved it! It was the scariest most exciting feeling ever! I’d never felt anything like that in my life! It’s one thing to stand in front of 80k people in a crop top uniform and tiny skirt and have them all lookin at you. It’s another thing to be in a swimsuit and have them literally judging your body! I remember shaking like a leaf up there. But I was so proud of myself after I finished. I took 9th out of 26. Not great but not horrible for my first time around. Not to mention I knew nothing about diet at the time so I was just winging it!

Looking back on old pictures now I still don’t see where the muscle I had “looked like a man.” I’m bigger now than I was then when I started. I have to think that person was just insecure and jealous themselves.

Now days I don’t compete on a competition stage but I do push myself in the gym like I used to. I love to look in the mirror and see muscle. In my mind I think back to that former friend and the comment they made and it makes me smile. They saw man muscles. Well guess what, my husband loves it. He actually told someone the other day his wife was jacked. To a fitness lover that just makes your heart melt.

Forget the negative Nancy’s of the world. Don’t let them tear you down. If you’re like me, use it as fuel! The only thing that matters is what you think, and of course the positive people around you who will lift you up!

Workout clothes

Isn’t it crazy how new workout clothes make you feel like you get a better workout? I swear if I could get a new outfit every day I’d have the best workouts! Ok maybe not literally but I’d feel great about how I looked. Positivity in yourself definitely benefits you in so many ways. I used laugh (internally) at people who bought cute or matchy little outfits for the gym. I thought it was so ridiculous to spend a lot of money on something that’s just going to get sweaty and gross. But I understand it now. Those outfits made them feel good about themselves which in turn made them feel like they could do a better workout! Did the outfit change their workout? Maybe a little. They might have been more comfortable and able to move better. But it didn’t help them lift heavier weights or do more reps. It’s all about the mental game. When you feel good about yourself and what you’re wearing, that positivity boosts your mood. A positive mood can give you more energy therefore fueling your workout!

If you’re someone who feels better about themselves when they get a new workout outfit, then treat yourself every so often and get a new one! Make it a reward when you hit certain milestones! It might actually make you work harder and push towards that goal!

Treat yourself

I always tell people, never go to the grocery store hungry. Guess what I did yesterday………I went to the grocery store hungry. 🤦🏼‍♀️ I got everything on my list plus two little treats. I’m sure some people are looking at these and saying “but they’re organic” or “it’s better than candy.” Not always! They are still high in sugar and fat! In moderation things like this can be a little better than eating a bag of candy. Fruit sugars are definitely better than refined sugars. However both are processed in the body the same.

Always watch your portion sizes. I make sure to portion things like this out into sandwich baggies when I get home. When I want a “treat” I grab a perfectly portioned baggie! This is to assure I don’t over eat. Because honestly if you leave the bag in front of me I’ll eat the whole thing! 😂 Treat yourself and don’t feel guilty about it. But do it in moderation! And don’t go to the grocery store hungry!!