Too Fit to Quit

Health and Fitness Tips and Advice

How I Fuel My Workouts

Good morning Health & Fitness Enthusiasts!

 

Long time, no write (at some point that’s got to stop being my introduction lol)! Today, I am writing to tell you how I fuel my workouts and give you some tips and ideas on how to fuel yours. I am currently competing in the Ultimate Oxygen Challenge on Team Amanda, and let me tell you, it hasn’t been easy! But, I’m proud to say that I’ve stuck with it against ALL odds. And, if you’ve been keeping up with my blog (or atleast trying to), you’ve probably noticed that I don’t tend to stick with things. But, I am in the home stretch and I definitely want to win! If I do, I will be on the cover of Oxygen Magazine and possibly get sponsored by BSN which would be BEYOND awesome. So, I have to give every workout my absolute best to achieve the results I’m after and ultimately win the competition. Here is a breakdown of what fuels my workouts, from music to nutrition to supplements.

Pre-Workout

Whether I’m doing cardio, weights or both, I ALWAYS train with something in my stomach. I’m not a fan of fasted cardio. Why? Because food is your energy source and without it, your endurance and energy will dwindle. But with it, you will be able to lift heavier, run farther and persevere without falling asleep on the mat at the end of your workout.

What I eat before I workout, depends on what my workout will consist of. Before weight training, I usually have a Protein shake 30 min-1 hour before my weight lifting session. What kind of protein shake, you ask?

Here are my recommendations:

BSN Syntha-6 and Syntha-6 Isolate

syntha-6-lrgIf you’re anything like me, you’re extremely picky when it comes to protein shakes. I have tried tons of brands and flavors and I usually just down it like a shot to get it over with because I can’t stand the taste. Well, BSN has some amazing flavors and no aftertaste! My favorite is Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, but they have everything from Peanut Butter Cookie to Strawberries and Creme to Vanilla Ice Cream*, so there’s something for everyone. Aside from taste, these protein shakes deliver between 22-25g of protein and only 2g of sugar per serving. If you are focusing on leaning out and cutting calories, the Syntha-6 Isolate has 150 calories per serving and only 1.5g of fat as opposed to 200 calories and 6g of fat.  For more info on these products and fun recipes, check out: http://www.gobsn.com/product/syntha6isolate.html

*Check back for a future post on healthy ice cream using the Vanilla Ice Cream Flavor protein powder:-)

Eat the Bear Uncaged 2.5 and 5.0

ETB UncagedFor added energy and a greater pump, take 1/2-full scoop of this pre-workout. Eat The Bear offers some of the cleanest supplements on the market, and with no sugar or calories in this pre-workout, it’s definitely a winner. If you’ve never taken a pre-workout before or if you’re sensitive to caffeine, I would recommend starting with 1/2 scoop and assessing your tolerance before increasing to a full scoop. Pre-workouts should be taken 30min-1 hour before you plan to workout. For more pre-workout supplements from Eat The Bear, check out: http://www.etbfit.com/pre-workout-energy/

 

L-Carnitine

Carnitine is a supplement that helps the body turn fat into energy, aka a natural fat burner. I like carnitine because it’s stimulant free and it helps me sweat more during my workouts. This is a great supplement for those who are sensitive to caffeine or who train at night.

 

BSN Hyper Shred

hyper shred

Since I am in Month 3 of my journey to winning the Ultimate Oxygen Challenge, I have added in an additional fat burner. I love this because it really helps me to focus on my workouts and that additional focus allows me to dig deep when I’m sore and tired to push through and finish what I started! **One important thing I do want to mention, is to not mix a pre-workout with a fat burner. If you have a high tolerance for caffeine, then by all means, do both, but if you’re like me and your skin gets tingly and you feel nauseous after too much caffeine, don’t do it! I LOVE coffee and there’s no way I’m giving up my morning cup of Joe for a supplement. So, if I’m going to take a pre-workout, I don’t take a fat burner, and vice versa. Listen to your body and do what’s best for you!**

 

During the Workout

Alright, you’ve taken your supplements and you’re at the gym about to start your workout. Now what? Here are a couple things that keep me going especially when the training gets tough!

BSN Amino X

amino xAmino X is a great blend of Amino acids that helps you to hold on to your muscle while dieting. If I am doing cardio and weights, I usually will drink Amino X during my cardio to give me a little extra energy and to preserve the muscle I’ve worked so hard to build! Blue RaZ is my favorite flavor because it tastes like Blue Cotton Candy, but again, there are several flavors to choose from, so choose the flavor that sounds the most appealing to you:-)

 

 

 

 

 

Glutamine

glutamine

Glutamine is an amino acid that is great for recovery. And, with the intense training I’ve been doing, I need added help to recover from my workouts lol! This is the brand I use, but there are tons of brands that you can pick from. I like this one in particular because it’s unflavored, so I can stack it with my protein shake or Amino X. If I am doing cardio and weights, I’ll mix it with the Amino X and drink it during cardio. If I’m just doing weights, I’ll mix it with my protein shake after my workout.

 

 

 

 

Music

This is probably the most important supplement to my workouts lol! I LOVE music, and research actually shows that the right music motivates you to work harder in your workouts. I know that’s true for me. I like to use Spotify because for $9.99/mos I can stream and play tons of songs, follow other people’s playlists, and create playlists of my own. Here are my Top 3 Workout Songs Right Now*:

3. Vanity – Christina Aguilera

2. GDFR – Flo Rida feat Sage the Gemini

1. Let it Burn – Stic Man (He actually has a whole album called, “The Workout” with a lot of motivating tracks)

*More Workout Songs to Come in a Future Post

Post Workout

Alright, you’ve finished your workout. Now how do you refuel your muscles to aid in recovery and growth? 3 of the supplements I mentioned before, Amino X, Glutamine, and Protein Shakes are some of my go-to’s post workout. I’m not the type of person to drink 3 protein shakes a day. I LOVE to eat, and I believe that eating real food should be the foundation of any nutrition plan and supplements should be just that a supplement to healthy eating. So, when I drink my protein shake, depends on when I workout. If I workout first thing in the morning, I will have a protein shake with my fat burners. If I’m working out after breakfast, I’ll drink it after. Tailor it around your schedule.

Here are some whole food snacks I like to eat after I workout:

-Small apple with a tbsp of almond butter

-12 almonds and a serving of fruit (This depends on what kind of fruit I have in the house. Right now, it’s kiwi:-) )

-Zucchini “ice cream” (recipe to come in a later post)

-Protein cookie dough (recipe to come in a later post)

Well, I hope all of that helped and you now have more tools for what can give your workouts an extra boost! Tune in next week for some fun protein recipes to satisfy your sweet tooth:-)

 

 

posted by admin in Bikini Competition,Building Muscle,Diet,Exercise,Motivation,Weight Loss,Workouts and have No Comments

Five MUST-HAVES Before Competing in a Bikini Competition

Thinking about competing in a bikini or figure competition? Before you start creating your meal and workout plans, make sure you have thess 5 things:

1. Measuring spoons/cups 

3554measuring-cups

It is ESSENTIAL that you know how much you are eating when preparing for a bikini or figure competition. I like measuring my food so that I know exactly how much I am eating, but for those who do not (which is probably the majority, haha), just measure for 2-3 weeks. After that time, you should be able to eyeball how much a 1/2 c, 1 tbsp, etc is. You can also download this handy dandy guide to your computer to reference: http://img.webmd.com/dtmcms/live/webmd/consumer_assets/site_images/media/pdf/diet/portion-control-guide.pdf

2. Food/workout log

loseit

In addition to having measuring cups on hand (and possibly a food scale), you will need to log your workouts and food. This is very important, because you will want to know what your ratio of macronutrients is every day (i.e., how much protein you are eating in relation to carbs and healthy fats). I like to use LoseIt, which has an app for my phone that allows me to scan barcodes of foods and input recipes. My favorite part about it is that I receive badges for logging and working out consistently (among other things). Other food/workout logs that work well are Sparkpeople  and My Fitness Pal. Find the one that works best for you and keep track of what and how much you are eating, as well as what you are doing for your workouts: how much weight you are lifting, how many reps/sets, how much cardio and what that cardio is, etc.

3. Gym membership or home gym

gym

Eating right is more than 80% of the battle, but you will also need to workout in order to gain muscle and lose fat. And by workout, I don’t just mean doing hours of cardio and weight training with 3-5lb dumbbells for 20-50 reps-__- That’s not how you win a bikini/figure competition, or lose fat effectively for that matter. The common misconception among women is that lifting heavy weights will cause them to “bulk up.” That is a myth! Unless you are drinking testosterone for breakfast, you won’t naturally produce enough on your own to put on size like men do. Weights actually have the opposite effect on women. It is what causes us to lean out, sculpt out bodies, burn more calories at rest, and a whole slew of other things! But anyways, the point is that you need access to heavy weights whether it is from your home or at a local gym in order to train effectively.

4. Epsom salt

epsom-salt-bath

This is one of my staples. I take an Epsom salt bath every week to ease sore muscles. Just add 1-2 cups of Epsom salt to a warm bath and let the relaxation begin–your muscles will thank you:-)

 

 

 

 

5. Varying sources of motivation

yeshaira

Training for a competition is no easy task, and there are going to be days that you don’t want to wake up at 6:00am to do cardio or go lift weights after work. That is where extra motivation comes to the rescue. Here are just a few things that motivate me:

-I reward myself at the end of each week with something small that will keep me working towards my goal. Sometimes it is workout equipment, clothes, or dvds, other times it’s lingerie, a book (about health & fitness), or workout shoes. Something that you want and will look forward to getting, and will work towards for 7 days.

-Watching Youtube videos and reading articles about competing

-Attending a local competition

-Posting pictures on my wall and on my tablet (as the desktop/lockscreen background)

-Reminding myself of how good I will feel after my workout has ended

 

Remember that you should enjoy the process. Enjoy your workouts and healthy eating–make it fun! Before choosing to compete, really evaluate why you are doing this–you should be doing it for YOU. It shouldn’t be a chore to prepare for a competition, it should be challenging yet fun!

 

Until next time,

posted by admin in Bikini Competition,Motivation and have No Comments

Looking to burn MORE calories in your cardio workouts?

Long time no write, I know. So, to answer the question on all of your minds, No I have yet to compete in my first bikini competition. But, I will not give up! I am presently in training now and I have a new outlook and approach:-) But in other news, I joined Title Boxing Club last week and I wanted to share an article they have. 10 ways to make your cardio workouts more effective! Check it out & come back soon for more on bikini competitions and other things health & fitness related.

 

Until then,

http://titleboxingclub.com/uncategorized/top-ten-for-better-cardio-workouts/

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Meet Rachel Cammon

Though a few days late, I would like to introduce to you Rachel Cammon as well as share how training is going. So without further ado,

Introducing Rachel Cammon

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Rachel Cammon, like the other women I’ve spotlighted, is amazing! She works for Ascend Pharmaceuticals in Colorado, so she spends a lot of time traveling to meet with different doctors. So, how exactly does she find time to train as an IFBB Pro?? Skill. She placed 1st in the very first FIGURE competition she ever did–amazing. Then, went on to place 2nd in a Colorado State competition and won 1st in her class in her 1st National show in Vegas. Unbelievable! Her and India Paulino (another amazing IFBB pro you will meet soon) have the quickest rises to the tops that I’ve stumbled upon and it’s so inspirational. It motivates me because I can do it too! I have faith in myself, I’ve been working hard, and this has been an especially good week. I’ve found what works for me both diet and exercise wise & I’m sticking with it. 6 weeks to go! Eeeeeekkkk!

Until next time…

Sources:

www.rachelcammon.com

posted by admin in Building Muscle,Diet,Exercise,Weight Loss and have No Comments

Meet Angelique Millis

Before I introduce you to my Desktop Star of the Week, I wanted to share my progress! Last Thursday, I had the opportunity to go to Jillian Michael’s Maximize Your Life tour and boy, is she amazing! She’s been my favorite trainer since the first time I saw her on Biggest Loser, but as I’ve gotten to know her (through her books & tv shows, lol), I’ve learned that she’s so much more than an awesome trainer! She not only inspired me to become a trainer 2 years ago, but also her book Unlimited and her work with Danni has helped me tremendously in my journey to supreme health! I’ve learned that I have to address the mental issues before I can achieve my goals. It has been tough, but after seeing her in person,everything I read has been solidified and this week so far has been awesome! As I write, I’m actually at Ruby Tuesday enjoying a night out with myself as a reward for my hardwork thus far:-) But enough about me! Now for the moment you’ve all been waiting for!

Introducing Angelique Millis…

image

Angelique Millis is my Desktop Star of the week because her story is similar to mine. She gained weight her freshmen year–40 pounds to be exact–and decided to do something about it! It’s uplifting to see someone where you were get to where you want to me. She is presently a bikini competitor, author, fitness profresssional and life coach. She’s written an ebook, The Fit Success Lifestyle Program, several articles, and has even created her own workout entitled, Fit in 30. I chose her this week in particular because at the end of this week, if I stay consistent with my diet and training, I will earn her ebook! I’m looking forward to it, because I KNOW that I can do it.

Until next week…

posted by admin in Building Muscle,Diet,Emotional Eating,Exercise,Overeating,Overweight,Weight Loss,Workouts and have No Comments

Meet Marzia Prince!

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Less than 10 weeks until my 1st bikini competition & training has been going great! My suit & heels came last week, as well as a Posing DVD I ordered. I also went to a competition last Saturday–boy, was that exciting! I feel highly motivated & confident that I can crush the competition, so long as I stay consistent:-) For anyone who’s looking to compete, I highly recommend going to a competition or two first before you decide. It’ll give you an idea of what the judges are looking for and you’ll be able to see what the compeition will be like. All this has been so motivating to me during this journey, as well as this IFBB bikini professional, personal trainer, and fitness model, Marzia Prince!

Marzia Prince caught my eye not only because she’s drop dead gorgeous, but because she’s a vegan bikini competitor! I have spent lots of time researching nuttition and the health benefits of eating a plant-based, nutrient dense diet. To find someone who is vegan and has gone pro is so inspiring! She has occassional treat meals, so she’s vegan about 90-95% of the time, which is exactly where I want to be soon! I am not yet vegan, but I do plan to slowly move into that direction:-)

Other things that are awesome about Marzia Prince are her love for fitness, her desire to help others, and how highly motivated she is. In addition to holding a personal trainer certification, she is also a certified nutitionist and life coach. As I complete my last 2 days of her sample workout plan*, I thought it would be fitting to spotlight her. So meet Marzia Prince, my desktop Star of the Week!

Until next week,

*Find the sample workout plan I followed for the last 3 weeks here as well as other info about Marzia Prince & a sample vegan meal plan: http://www.simplyshredded.com/ifbb-bikini-pro-and-fitness-model-marzia-prince-talks-with-simplyshredded-com.html

posted by admin in Building Muscle,Diet,Exercise,Uncategorized,Weight Loss,Workouts and have Comment (1)

Meet Alissa Carpio

aliimage

As I prepare for my first bikini competition this June, I’ve decided to spotlight some amazing competitors I’ve encoutered on my journey to optimum health. Not only will I write a blog about them, but I will also put their photos as my desktop and lock screen backgrounds! I’ve chosen these men/women because of their inspiring stories and how I’ve identifed with them. So sit back, and enjoy this short piece on Alissa Carpio, NASM Certified personal trainer, mother, competition coach, and NPC figure & fitness competitor.

Alissa Carpio became interested in weight lifting while in the Army. One of her friends shared what he knew about bodybuilding with her and after seeing female bodybuilders in the back of  a muscle magazine, she was hooked. She spent hours every day researching competition diets, training, and any other information she could get her hands on. Two years later she competed in her first competition on June 14, 2003 and placed 3rd. She’s been on a roll until giving birth to her son in October 2009, and I’m sure she’ll be back at it soon!

I stumbled upon Alissa on bodybuilding.com on which she has written an amazing article entitled, “Figure it Out.” It breaks down what you need to be doing 12-8 weeks out, 8-4 weeks out, and 4 weeks-competition day. It talks about everything from diet and training, to suits, shoes, and tanning. Check it out here: http:// www.bodybuilding.com/fun/alissa29.htm

I am inspired by her drive and ability to place in her first show! I’m also drawn to her because she is a fellow Christian and NASM certified personal trainer. The article she wrote has been extremely helpful to me and for that she is my Desktop Star of the Week!

As for me, I have spent the last week figuring out my diet, mainly what my macronutrient ratio should be each day. After reading several articles and crunching a few numbers, I’ve determined that I need 144g of protein, 144g of carbs, and 31g fat each day! So far, so good. I went grocery shopping yesterday, so I’m prepared. I have to admit that last week I let the carb lover inside of me do the shopping, and that made my diet high carb/high fat and not nearly enough protein. I’m proud of myself for standing in that grocery store yesterday and saying, “No” to the foods I wanted and “Yes” to the foods I need! I’ll be attending a fitness competition tomorrow to see what it’s like before I send in my application on Monday, so I’ll let you know what I thought:-)

Until then…

 

Sources:

http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/alissa29.htm

http://www.alissacarpio.blogspot.com

http://www.hardfitness.com/profiles/alissacarpio

http://www.alissacarpiofitness.com

 

 

 

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The Low Down on Halloween Treats

Ever wonder how many calories are in those tasty Halloween treats you snag from your kids’ Trick or Treat bags? Wonder no more! Read the article I found below on about.com for the amount of calories and carbs in some popular Halloween candies:

Halloween Candy Unwrapped

By Laura Dolson, About.com Guide
How much sugar is in that fun-sized Snickers bar? How many calories in that tiny pack of M&M’s? Whereas full-sized packages of candy have the nutritional information on the package, the deluge that comes home from trick or treating usually does not. Here is the calorie and carbohydrate information in many common Halloween candy treats.
I found that serving sizes can be tricky, especially with “off-brands.” For example, a Palmer Halloween pack of peanut butter cups lists a serving size as 1.5 ounces. How many PB cups a serving? Well, there are 63 pieces of candy in the 26 oz bag, and we are left to figure it out from there. A serving turns out to be 3.64 pieces of candy! Pretty ridiculous.

Also, “fun size” and “snack size” are often on the packaging, but these sizes don’t really mean anything. A snack size of one type of candy can be the same as a fun size of another. Even worse, I found instances where “snack size” of the same type of candy differed from one bag to another, and it certainly changes over time (they are gradually getting smaller). This is why I put the weight of the candy on the list as well.

Chocolate Bars and Kisses (Mostly Chocolate)

Dove Milk Chocolate Promises or wrapped squares (8 g) – 42 calories and 6 g carb
Hershey Kisses – 26 calories and 8 g carb each kiss

Hershey Kisses with Almonds – 23 calories and 2 g carb each kiss

Hershey Kisses filled with Caramel – 21 calories and 3 g carb each kiss

Hershey Candy Corn Kisses – 27 calories and 3 g carb each kiss

Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Bars – Fun size (14 g) – 67 calories and 8 g carb

Hershey’s Miniature Bars (mixed) – average of 42 calories and 5 g carb each bar

M&Ms, plain, Fun size (18 g) – 88 calories and 12 g carb

M&Ms, peanut

Fun size (18 g) – 93 calories and 11 g carb
1/4 cup candy – 220 calories and 24 g carb
Miniature Bars (Milky Way, Snickers, Twix, 3 Muskateers) – average 38 calories and 5 g carb each bar
Mr. Goodbar Snack size (17 g) – 90 calories and 9 grams carb

Nestle’s Crunch Bars Fun size (10 g) 50 calories and 7 grams carb

Nestle’s Crunch Caramel Bars – Fun size – 70 calories and 9 g carb

Palmer Peanut Butter cups, small – 6 g carb

Three Muskateers bar

Fun size (15 g) – 64 calories and 11 g carb
Mint, Fun size (15g) – 64 calories and 11 g carb
Tootsie Rolls
Small bar – 50 calories and 10 g carb
Midgee – 23 calories and 7 g carb
Mini-Midgees – 11 calories and 2 g carb
Peanut and Peanut Butter Candies

Pay Day – Snack size (19 g) – 90 calories and 10 g carb
Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups

Miniature (about 9 grams each) – 44 calories and 5 g carb per cup
Snack size (17 g) – 88 calories and 10 g carb
Snack size (21 g) – 100 calories and 12 g carb
White, Snack size (21 g) – 100 calories and 11 g carb
Reese’s Peanut Butter Pumpkins (34 g) – 180 calories and 17 g carb
Reese’s Crispy Crunchy Bar, Snack size (17 g) – 95 calories and 9 g carb

Reese’s Nutrageous Bars, Snack size (17 g) – 88 calories and 9 g carb

Reese’s Whipps Bar, Snack size (14 g) – 60 calories and 10 g carb

Mixed Candy Bars

100 Grand Bars
Fun size (11 g) – 50 calories and 8 g carb
Fun size (21 g) – 95 calories and 15 g carb
Almond Joy Snack size (15 g) – 80 calories and 10g carb
Baby Ruth Bar, Fun size (18 g each) – 85 calories and 13 g carb

Butterfinger Bar, Fun size (18 g each) – 85 calories 14 g carb

Butterfinger Crisp Bar, Snack size (20 g) – 100 calories and 13 g carb

Heath Bar, Snack size (13 g) – 74 calories and 9 g carb

Kit Kat, Fun size (14 g) – 73 calories and 9 g carb

Milky Way bar, Fun size (17 g) – 75 calories and 12 g carb

Mounds bars, Snack size (17 g) – 83 calories and 9 g carb

Rocky Road, Snack size (10 g) – 45 calories and 6 g carb

Snickers Bars, Fun size (17 g) – 80 calories and 10 g carb

Snickers Almond Bars, Fun size (17 g) – 80 calories and 11 g carb

Snickers Creme Pumpkin (1 oz) – 150 calories and 16 g carb

Take Five bar, Fun size (15 g) – 10 g carb

Twix, Snack size (10 g) – 50 calories and 7 g carb

Taffy and Caramel

AbbaZabba, small (12 g) 50 calories and 11 g carb
Charleston Chew bar, Fun size (10 g) – 45 calories and 8 g carb

Laffy Taffy, Chocolate, small bars (8 g each) – 32 calories and 7 g carb

Milk Duds Snack size (12 g) – 54 calories and 9 g carb

Milk Maid Caramels, Brach’s – 40 calories and 10 g carb per piece

Fruity and Gummy Candies

Jujyfruits – 9 pieces – 60 calories and 16 g carb
Lifesavers Gummies (2 rolls per ounce) – 52 calories and 13 g carb per roll

Mini Dots (2 small boxes per ounce) 70 calories and 17 g carb per box

Skittles

Original Fruit, Fun size (20 g) – 80 calories and 18 g carb
Chocolate Assortment, Fun size (20 g) – 80 calories and 18 g carb
Starburst, Fun size (2 pieces per stick) – 40 calories and 10 g carb
Twizzlers

Mini-bars (14 g) – 11 g carb
Strawberry Twists, Short (9 g) – 32 calories and 7 g carb
Cherry Pull-N-Peel (12 g) – 40 calories and 9 g carb
Hard Candies and Pops

Blow Pop, Junior – 50 calories and 14 g carb
Jolly Rancher

Hard Candy (6 g) – 23 calories and 6 g carb
Lollipops (17 g) – 60 calories and 16 g carb
Hard Candy Sticks, Small (11g) – 43 calories and 10 g carb
Double Blasts (4 g) – 13 calories and 3 g carb
Tootsie Pops – 60 calories and 15 g carb
Tootsie Caramel Apple Pops – 60 calories and 15 g carb

Wonka Nerds – small box (13 g) – 50 calories and 12 g carb

Other Candies

Candy Corn, Brach’s – 11 pieces – 70 calories and 18 g carb
Hot Tamales – small pkg (14 g) – 50 calories and 12 g carb

Jr. Mints, Fun size (10 g) – 50 calories and 12 g carb

Mike and Ike small box (14 g) – 50 calories and 12 g carb

Pop Rocks – small packet (10 g) – 7 g carb

Raisinettes, Fun size (16 g – about 16 pieces) – 56 calories and 11 g carb

Smarties Candy, Roll – 25 calories and 6 g carb

Whoppers

1 small tube – 30 calories and 5 g carb
1 small pouch (21 g) – 100 calories and 16 g carb
York Peppermint Patties
Regular small patty (14 g) – 53 calories and 11 g carb
Pink Peppermint Patties, small (14 g) – 53 calories and 11 g carb
Peppermint Patty Pumpkins (14 g) – 50 calories and 11 g carb

Reference: http://lowcarbdiets.about.com/od/carbcounts/a/candycalories.htm

Photo by Christine McLellan

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Confessions of a Food Addict

I just decided to make this more than just a blog post, but to turn it into a book. Hopefully to be released in 2013.

Here is the Foreword. Read, comment, give feedback, & enjoy:-)

I love food. I don’t know what it is about eating that is so enjoyable to me, but it is. I truly enjoy to eat. And that’s not a problem. The problem is when you let food control you. When food becomes more than just a fuel for your body: when it becomes your friend, your comfort, your pain killer, THAT is when your relationship with food has taken an unhealthy twist. Here is my story:

When I was in elementary school, food wasn’t that important to me. I mean, I still enjoyed eating, but playing was my main priority. On my birthdays, I would go to McDonalds, not for the food. No, even as a kid, I knew their food was toxic. I went for the playplace. I would eat a couple fries and then go play. Every day, I ate lunch at school…quickly, so I could get outside for recess. And after school, I came home, did my homework and practiced then played outside til my mother called me in for dinner. Again, I quickly ate my food so I could get back outside. I loved to play outside. And because I was so active (between playing outside for hours each day and dancing on the weekends), I was tiny. That is, until I entered middle school.

The start of middle school meant more freedom. At my school, we had a lunch line and a snack line. And, how tempting is it for a 12 year old to buy junk food for lunch instead of a balanced meal? That’s what I did. Every day, I would have either a bagel or a Little Debbie cake with a bag of chips and a Snapple. Every day. It tasted good. I wasn’t worried about whether it was good for me or not, and no one told me, “No.”

For a year or so, I went on like this, eating crappy, maybe having a lunchable or a tray full of tater tots for lunch. I didn’t worry about my body image, and I wasn’t conscious of what was good for me, I was just concerned with what tasted good. My seventh grade year, though, everything changed.

I had been telling my bestfriend at the time for awhile that I had a fat stomach. She would always blow me off saying I didn’t. She couldn’t tell, because I never wore form-fitting shirts. One day I did. And you know what she said? “You do have a fat stomach.” That is when the dieting began. I started counting calories and doing my mom’s exercise videos on a regular basis at the age of 13 in order to lose weight. I even had meal replacement shakes some days for lunch–at 13! It didn’t last long, though. Then, I tried something new and then I tried something new….and then I tried something new. Yoyo dieting? Oh yeah. That was me. In middle school and all throughout high school. I lost weight sometimes, just to gain it back. Never reaching my goal of a flat stomach.

Then, I started college. My first semester, my eating was good for about a week, and then it was horrid. In my defense, though, all the healthy eating choices were on the other side of campus. If you go downstairs in the hall I lived in for the first two months, there was a Chinese place, A&W, a fried chicken place, an icecream shop…it’s like my university was saying, “We endorse the Freshman 15.” Did I gain weight? We won’t speak on that…but during my second semester of my freshman year, I started taking fitness classes through the Rec. Those classes changed my life. I started working out 6-7 days a week, and I drank more water, and tracked my food. I learned so much more about what it meant to truly be happy. So I was cured of my food addiction then, right? No. That’s when it began.

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5 Tips to lose 5 Lbs

Are you on those last 5 lbs? The last few pounds can be the most stubborn pounds and the hardest to lose. Here are some small lifestyle changes you can make to reach your goal weight:-)

1. Ask for dressing and sauces on the side.

When you go to a restaurant, they can really over do it with the toppings, salad dressings, and sauces. Always ask for it on the side so you can control how much you are consuming.

2. Switch up your workout routine.

Once you get into a routine, your body gets used to the exercises you are doing. This can cause your weight loss to plateau. When this happens, it means it’s time for you to switch up your workout routine. Instead of running for an hour on the treadmill every day at a constant pace, do interval training for 30 minutes, alternating between sprints and jogs each minute. Or, try walking at an incline or doing rolling hills on the bike or elliptical. Mix cardio with weights. When you constantly change your workout routine, your body doesn’t have a chance to get used to it, so it’ll constantly have to adapt and your body will continue to change.

3. Read the nutrition label!

One would think this would be self-explanatory, but you’d be surprised at the amount of people who just assume a package contains a single serving size. Always read the label, so you know how much you should be eating and try to honor the suggested serving size.

4. Keep a food journal.

Now that you know how much you should be eating, keep track of it. I like to use www.LoseIt.com and the app on my phone. Sparkpeople and MyFitnessPal are also good sites/apps for tracking food and exercise. Find the one that works best for you and log EVERYTHING you consume and every workout you do. It will hold you accountable and keep you mindful of how much and what you’re eating.

5. Drink more water.

Do you drink a lot of pop or juice? 8 oz of pop can be 150 calories! That’s the same amount of calories as a snack. Try not to drink your calories, by drinking water instead. Water has no calories, it keeps you hydrated, and rids your body of toxins. You need water to live, so drink more water and stay away from sugary, high calorie drinks.

 

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