Wednesday, October 29, 2014

D.N.F. - Redefined

Did Not Finish

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
In racing Did Not Finish (DNF) denotes a participant who does not finish a given race, either because of a mechanical failure, injury, or involvement in an accident. The term is used in all forms of racing, including automotive racinghorse racingcycling, and track and distance running, among other types of racing. Athletes try very hard to avoid receiving a DNF, and many associate it with a negative stigma.

Redefined....

Did Not Fail

I will not be competing in the November show. Yes. I've reached the end of this journey. In reality, looking back, I never should have begun this second leg of show prep. My body didn't have adequate recovery time, my immune system was compromised, and my heart was broken. Still, I pushed on. And the more I pushed, the more I broke. You've all watched as I've struggled with this second prep, my ups and downs. I finally got my head on straight a couple weeks ago, but my body just wasn't cooperating... and that renewed clarity finally revealed a few things to me, the most important of which was that this journey was done. Unplug the machines. Call it. Put a tag on the toe. It's over. 

And I am so relieved.

Whatever I told myself, the truth was that I took this second journey to prove to the judges that I AM good enough. And the truth of that is that it couldn't matter less. I achieved what I set out to accomplish in that first journey. With Kayla as my guide, I made the trip to the stage in great health, strong, and in a good mental place. It was the right way. My nutrition was amazing, my training was incredible. I was ready. In fact, I was ready several weeks ahead of schedule. My posing was tight and top notch - natural, graceful, strong. (Eventually, I'll get my act together and share my practice posing videos).  As I went through prejudging, the jostling event aside, I felt so good! I felt like I had this! Top 3 without a doubt. Of course, I didn't realize my posing had slipped several levels, but still - my conditioning was arguably the best up there (with the exception of the gal who took first, then overall - she KILLED it!), and my body was where it was supposed to be. When it came time for the placing and awards, I was stunned to be ranked last. We all were. Kayla was furious! We earned better than that, and honestly, I got shafted, lol. But the greater tragedy was where I allowed it to take me. 

I let my bruised pride and broken heart deafen me to what my body was trying to say - time to rest.  I fought and struggled and crawled through this second leg of prep, much of the time hating it. Hating a process that I truly enjoy. Hating the food, the work, the time required to reveal the physique I love so much. I hated my beloved sport. After battling that down, I finally and deliberately turned back to the joy of the journey... And then I got sick. And stayed sick. My poor abused body finally had my attention, and this time I listened. 

I spent hours searching my heart, to make the right decision for the right reasons. And I'm at peace. Monday I talked with Kayla and told her my decision. She fully supports my choice. I feel like the weight of the world has been lifted off my shoulders. And when I came home and told Bill, the absolute and utter relief on his face confirmed my decision.  I've spent the last several days doing nothing but recovering, and though I'm still sick, my mind is free. 

So... I did not finish. But, I did not fail. I do not walk away a loser. I won. I took this broken body to places it shouldn't be able to go. I stood tall and proud of what I'd done. I gained more poise, grace, and courage. I became stronger. I became more flexible. I built a better body. And most importantly - I became more of who I am. The journey was a success. 

My competition stuff all packed up.
Will I open this box up again in the future? We'll see!
Will I compete again? With all my physical issues, training for a show has to be 100% healthy - solid nutrition, thoughtful and deliberate training, and joyful. Should I decide to compete again, I will return to that, to what Kayla and I did the first time around. And... it'll be one-off. One show a year, carefully scheduled so that my family is not "punished" by my training schedule and dietary limitations (which probably means spring - and then, hey, I'm all ready for bikini season, lol). 

My focus now is on my family, on being present in each and every moment. I'll continue to train and eat clean because that is my lifestyle. But I don't "have" to spend so many hours each and every day in the gym, or doing show-prep related tasks... now I can be a fully functioning member of my own family. Ha! And I can focus again on my business - on RecipeForFitness.com, this blog, the forum... I can be present again there, too. It's time to rediscover my own balance.

I truly cannot regret the journey(s). I've learned more about myself - and what's important to me, than ever before. I've reached new heights, survived new lows, I've experienced and grown. Nothing is wasted. And again, though I did not finish...

I.DID.NOT.FAIL.

Thank you for being here with me, each step. Your encouragement and support are so precious to me, and I deeply appreciate you all. I hope you'll stay with me as I step up to the present, and look to the future. I've got a lot in store for you, and I think you'll really like it :-) 


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Birthday Bashes Galore...

Thank you everyone for all the wonderful birthday wishes! Turning 44 was no trauma for me... half the time I can't remember how old I am anyway, lol, so what's another year that I won't be able to keep track of? Ha! Take that, time bitch!

My birthday itself was quiet... no cake and ice cream, lol, though I did enjoy time chilling with my family. In order to make it happen, I did all my cardio, sauna, etc earlier in the day, so I had the evening hours free. It was really nice :-) I wasn't expecting any gifts, in fact, I had given express orders to my hubby NOT to buy me anything (we've had some recent expenses - I had to buy a new laptop, plus there's my training and accompanying costs), but did he listen to me? No.

Now... a little backstory... my beloved hubby has many amazing skills, but gift-choosing isn't one of them. Our resulting routine is that I tell him exactly what I want, providing web links if appropriate, photos including barcodes, etc. It works for us, lol. Don't get me wrong, he has hit a couple home runs over the years on his own, but typically we stick to the routine, lol.

That said, he knocked it out of the freakin' park. He bought me these...
http://www.beatsbydre.com/earphones/beats-powerbeats2-wireless.html
I have been drooling over these for months. Ya'll know I go through earbuds like a fat kid goes through candy. I kill them with sweat, I burn them out, I wear out the wires... a typical pair only lasts me a couple months. Also, they don't fit right, ever. They fall out, they irritate my ears, the wires get hopelessly tangled. Recently, I've tried spending a bit more on them thinking that would make a difference. No. But... these looked very tempting. But... no way, the cost! I couldn't justify it. Didn't stop me from drooling over them in every store  - they even carry them at my gym and you know how often I'm there! Much drooling. While I've had conversations with my coach about them (she loves them, too), I've never mentioned them to Bill. Ever.

Imagine my shock when I opened the box and saw those gorgeous babies looking up at me! Actually - my family is a little twisted and we have a tradition of wrapping gifts in other boxes... like an iPod wrapped in a Depends box, lol - so my initial gut response was, "Oh man, that's just mean". But then I realized, it really was the earbuds I'd dreamed of! HOLY COW!! How did he know???? He said he saw a commercial for them, and thought I might like them. Ha! Maybe just a little ;-)

And can I just say... they're amazing!!! They fit! They are comfortable! No wires! Incredible sound! OMG, they're truly the best ever! EVER!!! Hubby scores!! I've even used them during grocery shopping, I love them so much!! :-)

Then, to prove he's the absolute greatest husband ever, he gave up his weekend of football, couch and beer (lol) to take me to the Phoenix Europa! Saturday and Sunday, I loaded up my cooler with my fish, celery, asparagus/kale, pistachios, and so forth and we had a great time! We toured all the booths, watched the shows, watched the people, hahaha, it was great! I did have a OMG moment though, lol... we had hoped to get there Saturday in time for the amateur figure prejudging, and as we rushed toward the competition, I stopped at a booth and tapped one of the gals working there on the arm to ask her if figure had already gone yet. When she turned to face me, I was so stunned, couldn't think, and being flustered, I blurted out, "do you know if they've already done the figure prejudging?"  She gave me a funny look, then smiled and said she didn't know, then paused and looked at me like she was waiting for something, then turned back to the people waiting behind her. I grabbed Bill by the arm and all but ran away. She wasn't just some cute little girl working a booth, it was Felicia Romero, IFBB Figure Pro. LOL!! OMG! Bill was like, let's go back and get your picture with her, and I'm saying, Oh hell no! I just totally insulted one of the bigger names in Figure! Oh geeze! Major faux pas! Yeesh! Starstruck and mortified, yep that's me!

That aside, it was a lot of fun. Unfortunately, Bill and I were both sick, and getting sicker. In fact, Sunday, we ended up leaving early. Boooo. I was in bed by 6:30pm, and didn't move until 8am the next day. After consulting with Kayla, we made a few tweaks and modifications to my schedule, and hopefully this bug will GO AWAY.

Today we're celebrating my daughter's 21st birthday :-) It's also rest and reefed day lol, so that worked out nicely! Hahaha! For her breakfast, I got to cook something other than fish ;-) and served up a gorgeous blueberry French toast casserole - OMG! So pretty! Look!


See that paper and pen?
Proof that I can't follow a recipe to save my life, lol! I just have to tweak!




And yes, I'll share the recipe soon :-)
So now, I'm off to pick up a dog from the vet, then it's time for Shiloh's dinner celebration! Buffalo Wild Wings is her pick for the festivities, and I was thrilled to see that not only do they post their menu online, but they also offer an Allergen Guide! VERY cool! I love that more and more restaurants are doing this! And I'm VERY excited about my beef meal tonight, lol!

Ok, time to head out. Cheers! ;-)


Monday, October 27, 2014

Kale, YEAH! Check this out!!!

I know I've got a lot of catching up to do with ya'll from my birthday weekend (had a great time, minus being sick as a freakin' dog). BUT... I wanted (and got permission, lol) to share this with you!

One of my fav bloggers, who I've followed for years, (http://fitnessista.com/) sent out an email this morning for pre-orders for this shirt. I've already ordered mine :-) Now... while I love the shirt - serious chuckles there, what I love even more is the work the shirt does.  I've included the info below, and encourage you, if you're able, to purchase your own shirt, and in doing so, provide 12 emergency meals to families in need this holiday season.

Don't worry about choosing a size during order,  you'll get an email after you place your order with instructions on sizing. ;-)  If for some techy-glitchy reason the links below don't work, just use this one


A cute shirt with an awesome story:

Each "Kale Yeah" tee will provide 12 emergency meals to families this holiday season

Since the early days of blogging, I've been asked to create a shirt or some type of apparel for the blog. Ever since then, I knew that if I decided to create something, I wanted to find the best possible supplier. There are many overseas suppliers (who can create bulk orders for insanely low prices), but I wanted something created here in the US using sustainable materials. I finally found my dream match, and even better: by partnering with them, we're supporting an incredible cause.
Fed By Threads is based out of Tucson, AZ (my hometown!) and the company is near to my heart. The owners, Jade and Alok, are amazing, and even let us film Soli Beat at their studio, the Movement Shala.
Everything from Fed by Threads is from upcycled, sustainable and organic materials. With each item of clothing that they sell, 12 meals are provided to hungry families on a local and national level. You can read more about their mission here. So far, they've provided the funds for over 200,000 meals!!

A little bit about these KALE YEAH shirts:
Made In America
50% Organic Cotton / 50% RPET (<-- recycled plastic bottles)
12 meals fed per T sold
Vegan Materials
Sweatshop-Free
Non-Heavy Metal Dyes
Non-BPA or PVC Inks
They are preshrunk, but run small. Order one size up!

 

Want to get one? Pre-order here (via PayPal!). They are $30 (+ $4.99 shipping and handling). I will be packing and sending all of the orders with love.

 I will close preorders one week from today (Nov. 3) and send in the order. I'll have them out to you in early December so you get it in time for the holidays! If you order now, we'll be our own KALE YEAH team, since there is only one run of this fun design :)


Have a very happy Monday!!
xoxo
Gina

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Aloha! A Healthy Dish to Pass - Guiltless Grilled Pineapple with Cheesecake Cream

Living a healthy lifestyle in our
busy and unfortunately toxic
world can be needlessly complicated.
That’s why we’re dedicated
to providing you with simple,
honest, and high-quality health solutions.
www.Aloha.com 
This week I was invited to participate in Aloha's healthy Dish to Pass roundup. If you aren't familiar with their site or products, definitely check them out! Plus, there are some seriously fun and yummy healthy recipes there (like this one that I can't wait to try!)! Below is my contribution, and it's a family & friend favorite! I don't even bother letting folks know it's healthy or "diet" friendly. It's decadently tasty and that's all anyone needs to know, right?  ;-)

Guiltless Grilled Pineapple with Cheesecake Cream

By
"An impressive dessert that's quick to the table, impressive to the eye, and glory to the taste buds! Guiltless Grilled Pineapple with Cheesecake Cream is an addicting tropical treat you can enjoy all year round!"
Grilled Guiltless Pineapple with Cheesecake Cream
4 Servings
Prep Time:
Cook Time:
Ready In:

Ingredients

  • 4 pineapple rings, fresh if possible
  • 1 tsp coconut sugar (if you can't find this, palm sugar or a brown sugar/splenda blend will work)
  • 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 4 Tbsp fat-free cream cheese
  • 4 Tbsp fat-free greek yogurt, plain
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp Truvia-Sugar baking blend (can sub 1-2 packets stevia)

Directions

  1. Preheat grill to medium-high (can use indoor or outdoor grill, I used my Foreman Grill in my kitchen)
  2. Sprinkle coconut sugar over the tops of the pineapple rings.
  3. Dust lightly with pumpkin pie spice.
  4. In a small bowl, blend cream cheese, greek yogurt, vanilla, and Truvia-sugar until smooth.
  5. Spray grill with cooking oil (I recommend coconut oil).
  6. Grill pineapple 2-3 minutes, flipping halfway if using a regular grill.
  7. Plate pineapple, then divide the cheesecake cream between the 4 rings.
  8. Sprinkle lightly with pumpkin pie spice.
  9. Serve

Nutritional Information

Amount Per Serving  Calories: 66 | Total Protein: 4g | | Total Carbohydrate: 12g | | Total Fat: 0g
You might also be interested in our Gluten Free Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Skillet recipe.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Champion Performance Recipe of the Week! Skillet Veggies - Competition Diet Friendly, Tastebud Love!

I'll tell you a secret. It's a big one. Ready?

{My competition diet food tastes good.}

Yep. No lie. 
During my last prep, I shared with you my sanity-saving Tilapia Burgers. This prep, I'm keeping my kitchen time to a minimum, so I'm simply baking my fish. I've stuck with Swai this time around, and you can see how I cook it here. Easy peasy. 

The rest of my diet stars Asparagus and Kale. Huh. That can get old fast, right? So I dug into my foodie-brain, came up with a list of "free" veggies & stuff I could complement A & K with, and started playing. And may I just say... you're welcome. Truly, this skillet is amazing! It's so good that I don't need hotsauce or mustard for my fish. Yeah.  Again, you're welcome.

Skillet Veggies

By
"Quick to the table, but incredibly flavorful!"
2 Serving
Prep Time:
Cook Time:
Ready In:

Ingredients

  • 10 asparagus spears (about 1 cup chopped)
  • 3 kale leaves (about 1 cup chopped)
  • 3 medium brown mushrooms (about 1 cup chopped)
  • 1/2 small/medium onion
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 tsp Mrs Dash Garlic and Herb
  • sprinkle of Garlic Salt (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat skillet on medium-high heat. (I prefer cast-iron for this recipe)
  2. Chop veggies, mince garlic
  3. Zest lemon, then cut in half and set aside.
  4. Add oil to skillet, then add onion. Stir until starting to brown (carmelize) - about 2 or 3 minutes
  5. Add mushrooms, asparagus and garlic. Stir often. Cook about 2 or 3 minutes, or until mushrooms begin to release their juices (soften).
  6. Add kale, lemon zest, lemon juice and seasoning. Stir well, then cover. Cook 1 minute, then turn off heat and let it sit for 5 minutes
  7. Serve

Nutritional Information

Amount Per Serving  Calories: 121 | Total Protein: 4g | | Total Carbohydrate: 13g | | Total Fat: 7g | | Total Fiber: 3g | Sodium: 80mg

Gather ingredients
Chop & Zest
Cook
Adding final ingredients, then cover and let steam.
Enjoy!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Scootin' Right Along...

bwahahaha!
Head is still where it should be, lol. ;-) I'm positive, upbeat, and scootin' right along. Who's crazy enough to seize the joy and go all Bright-side during the absolute 'worst' part of competition prep? That would be me. Haha! I'm in the fun-zone.

In an ironic twist of my ocd brain waves, knowing that I might not make it to the stage in less than 4 weeks is totally ok with me. I'm 100% committed to my journey, the work, the food, the water (gah, the water!) and my goal is absolutely to walk across that stage and I'll do everything it takes to make it. But... I've remembered that I'm more than the sparkly suit and score-card, and there's a mental freedom in knowing I'm good enough that no judge in the world can take away.

So... I'm eating my fish - I've switched to Swai since I'm just baking it now. I find that I can swallow swai better "plain" than I can Tilapia. However, Tilapia is the fish of choice for my Tilapia Burgers. I'm not making the burgers right now, I'm just keeping things simple and stress free. The main components of my meals are baked swai, asparagus, and kale. Tomorrow I'll share my veggie recipe that I've been using - it's pretty darn bomb!

Workouts are going well. Brutal as always, lol, but I'm feeling good. The weights I'm lifting are going down (hello, Barbie Zone!), but the intensity is still high. My cardio workouts are what they are - fasted cardio in the morning, 60 minutes in the evening followed by either dry sauna or epsom salt bath. Circuits, HIIT, steady state... it's all happening. Though I will point out that jumping rope is NOT an option. Apart from my lack of grace and rhythm... after giving birth 3 times, being pregnant a total of 9 times, and being over 40... evidently I have not done enough kegel exercises in my life. Ahem. When consuming 1.5 gallons of water each day, the bladder is never totally empty. Enough said. ;-)

Body dysmorphia is still at the forefront. I'm mostly ignoring it but I had a tough wakeup call the other day, letting me know it was still an issue. I was buying new workout capris, and was arguing with the saleslady about my size. There's no way I could squeeze myself into the XS - are you kidding me? I'm a M, or a S at best. Look how tiny those are! Get real! No, seriously, do not put those in my dressing room. I need the Mediums. Note to self: do not argue with the Athleta woman. She knows. She is right. <sigh>   Now, while most women would be thrilled to be in an XS, once I wrapped my head around it, all I could think was that it meant I'd "lost so much muscle". Geeze-louise! Yeah, had to give myself a smack.

http://www.pinterest.com/pin/251920172881764269/
Many of you have noticed that I spend a lot of time on Pinterest. Hahahaha. Yes, it's a sickness. I spend my cardio time, my break time, scrolling through pins and catching up on food blogs I love. The result is what's probably becoming the world's largest collection of waffles, donuts, s'mores, cinnamon rolls and various other treats. I also have a few healthy recipes I've pinned, but by and large... it's all sugar and pastry. I have no idea why, but I'm obsessed with these recipes and fantasize about preparing them for family and friends - catch that? I don't fantasize about eating them... it's all about making and serving them. I'm sure there's some kind of weird Freudian deal going on there, but whatever. ;-)

Life is full and busy around here. The kids are all doing fine, Bill's doing great - he had the Inc. 500 gala this last week and was lookin' fine in his tux ;-) Hehe. Here's Bill and his business partner, Corey at the gala...

I should have clearer photos later this week. I'm so stinkin' proud of these guys and what they've done!

So... there's my update! Now I'm back to finishing cooking this Swai, laundry, and gym time.... catch ya on the flip side! ;-)

Friday, October 17, 2014

Changing My Perspective... Why I LOVE Competing

I'm taking deliberate steps to change my perspective. One of those is the following list... Why I LOVE Competing. A bit of a switch from my recent whining, yes? ;-)

1. I love proving experts wrong. With all my auto-immune issues and the resulting damage, I was told (often) that it was impossible for me to participate in my chosen sport: bodybuilding. Suck it, experts! ;-)   (fyi, I now have very supportive medical practitioners who not only encourage me, but do everything they can to keep me doing what I love)

2. I love the routine. I might bitch about the food (hello, Tilapia) but I really do enjoy the black and white of the routine... the day in, day out 'sameness' is actually a comfort to me. I don't have to think about it, just do it. I like that structure.

3. I love watching my body change. No matter what phase of training I'm in, there's always something evolving... striations where there were none, muscle size increases, discovering I have abs! I love it! And I love knowing that it's changing, evolving, because of what I'm doing - the work, the food, the water. With so much of life outside of my control, knowing that I control this, 100%, is incredibly empowering.

4. I love the beauty of the Figure body. The symmetry of muscle, grace, and strength. And I love that I'm developing that.

5. I love doing something that others, particularly others who are far more physically capable than I, won't do. I cannot tell you how many times I hear "I could never do that!" When a (almost) 44 year old woman hears that from a 20-something woman - it's a pretty bad-ass feeling, not gonna lie. Not to beat the horse, but: asthma, separated AC joint, major damage in both knees, shoulders and one elbow, tendon damage in wrist, tendinitis, bursitis, arthritis... So yes... bad-ass. ;-)

6. I love feeling fit and I love the way my clothes fit. And I love the fact that at 44, I look better than I ever did in my "youth". And I love knowing that it's because I made the choice, did the work, built the body. Again, empowering.

7. I love the feeling of accomplishment. Scheduling, Training, Cardio, Diet (and the accompanying laundry, grocery shopping, food prep, etc) - Competing requires everything you have, then demands more. I love learning I have more. I love knowing that I'm stronger than I thought I was, that I'm capable of more than I thought I could be. And back to #1, I love doing what I was told, what I thought, couldn't be done.

8. I love the sense of satisfaction I have each night when I go to bed knowing that I've done everything within my power today to reach my goals.

9. I love the confidence and poise I gain each time I step out of my box and grow. Getting up on that stage in a few well placed (and glued down) sparkly scraps, high heels, and a tan takes some serious guts. Now add walking, posing, smiling... and you've got a shy-girl's worst nightmare. Two times I've faced that down, and two times I've walked away better for it. Here's looking at number 3.

10. I love the support and encouragement I receive when I need it most. You guys, my coach, my friends, my family... you've all been there for me, strengthening me, each step of the way and I am so incredibly thankful!!!

So there's my top 10, and as you can see, I have successfully completed the "remove-head-from-ass" procedure. ;-) My job now is to stay focused on the joy - the fun - the positive. To remember, and keep remembering, why I love this. Especially right this moment... because it's time for more Tilapia. Bwahahaha! ;-)

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Pitfalls, Breaking Points, and Focus

There's a very solitary aspect to being a Figure Competitor. While I share my journey with all of you, while my family shares my journey, while my Coach shares my journey... the vast majority of the path is walked alone. Sometimes that's empowering. Sometimes it's lonely. I often feel eyes on me - virtually, and literally - as I do my workouts, my cardio, my dry sauna time, food prep, eating...

and yet still, there are times I feel very invisible.

This has been a tough prep for me, and I fell to an old foe - body dysmporphia. This is a pitfall for many of us, and I've addressed it before on this blog - and one on one with many of you who've emailed me (read posts here and here). It's not something that I believe can be "cured" - particularly for those of us who've experienced significant weight loss. That mirror is always ready and waiting to throw back a warped image - it's what we do with it that matters most.

This battle, this day, I broke.

I had a weigh in yesterday morning. It didn't go well. My bodyfat is up, my lean muscle mass is down, and I am less than 5 weeks from show. My joints are acting up, I hate fish, I'm tired of missing time with my family and friends, I'm tired and not feeling especially well, exhausted but still 'putting out'... wah-wah-wah. The weigh in was a brutal jab in the eye and I wondered, seriously and heart-searchingly, if this was it - time to throw in the towel.

For all of my "can do", I had to ask myself if it was time to finally admit that I can't.

I hate the thought of giving up. I hate the thought of giving in, admitting that I've taken on more than I can handle. I hate the thought of disappointing anyone. The journey to the stage is tough for anyone, in any given circumstance, but I've always been tougher - I've competed twice, but maybe this was it for me. Maybe I've finally hit a wall I can't find my way around, over, under or through. I've been struggling - so much more than I've shared, with anyone. I'm feeling my age, my disease, my injuries, my utter exhaustion. I'm feeling sorry for myself - and that's more destructive than any auto-immune disease in existence.

After a phone call to Bill, more soul-searching, and several text messages back and forth with my Coach, I was facing an incredibly difficult choice. Do I walk away now, or do I push through knowing it might not be good enough?

Good enough. 

Huh.
Good enough for who?
The judges.
Not me, my coach, my family, you guys... the judges.

And here's where the body dysmporphia reared its ugly head. While I don't look in the mirror and see the old fat me... what I see, is a woman who is "too fat" to be a figure competitor; "not lean enough", "carrying too much water", with "poor posing and confidence", but a "great tan". Damning words that I allowed to root and flourish in my head.

I think Kayla realized, despite my attempt to be nonchalant, that I was standing on a high, windy ledge. She stopped texting and called me. Which was difficult because I was crying so hard I could barely speak. Man, I hate crying. Seriously hate crying, plus... with all the things in this world, I'm crying over this like the world is ending. WTF is wrong with me?

Well, she started there... "quit being so hard on yourself".

We talked through it all, how I was feeling - all of it, what I wanted, why I started, and she shared her insights - into the "game" of competing, and her insights into me. Damn, she's good.

One of the things she said, well, I'll paraphrase because her way was a lot nicer and more words... basically I've gotten lost focusing on the results, when I need to be focused on the process. That's when she talked about my dysmorphia. I hadn't even realized I was seeing myself that way. As we worked the problem, I felt the darkness, discouragement and fear start to ease back - bit by bit. Hearing what she sees in me, what she thinks I can accomplish, rekindled my hope.

The outset is that I'm taking my head out of my butt. I'm going to focus for the next 3 weeks on the process. Each bite, sip, step, and rep... each drop of sweat. At the end of that time, we will reevaluate my progress and status, and Kayla will determine if I am moving forward to step onto that stage, or if I'm going to step back from that, and simply enjoy the holidays with a killer body. That last part really got to me... she pointed out, "what's the worst that can happen? you don't compete but you've got a killer body." Huh.  [remember that my health is never in question - Kayla's primary concern is to keep me healthy inside and out]

So... I'm banned from the scale. I'm not allowed to see the bodyfat/musclemass readings. She's my new mirror. And I'm ok with that. My job is to do the work, eat the food, drink the water... and keep my head out of my posterior. ;-) My job is to NOT worry about being good enough for the judges. My job is to reclaim my joy and spirit of fun.

A friend posted this on Facebook last night...

A true champion is someone who is bent over, drenched in sweat, at the point of exhaustion when no one else is even looking.

I am a champion. And that's good enough for me.

Thank you for sharing my journey - for all the emails, posts, encouragement and support. I am so grateful!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Champion Performance Recipe of the Week - Taco Turkey Zoodle Soup

During competition prep, a little bit of comfort can go a long way! Soup has always been one of my go-to comfort foods, and this one hits all the marks! Packed full of (high-water content) zucchini noodles, lean ground turkey breast, and tons of flavor, this soup is amazing! You can customize the veggies to your own tastes and needs, and the heat, too. Make a big batch to enjoy all week long!


Nutritional Information

Amount Per Serving  Calories: 260 | Total Protein: 37g | Total Carbohydrate: 12g | Total Fat: 6g | Total Fiber: 3 | Sodium: 370mg

You'll find the recipe on my main website, here: http://recipeforfitness.com/recipes/main_dish/Taco_Turkey_Zoodle_Soup.html

Monday, October 13, 2014

Hills to climb and goals to reach...

What a week! I'm hoping today I can actually finish this blog post (started it last week!). Lol. So what's new in the life of this (almost) 44 year old figure competitor? Where to begin? Ok, first things first - and this comes with a heads-up... my space bar on my computer doesn't work. Typing has been a challenge this last week, lol, and I finally ended up plugging in a USB keyboard, but this will not last long (major irritation plus it stops my mobility). The bad news is that in order to "assess and potentially fix" it, they have to send it out to HP and it could take 3 weeks or more. YIKES!!! So... heads-up, there are blog posts ahead that will be done on my phone. Bear with me, lol.

Next... the kids are nicely settled in San Diego once more, and we're looking forward to a Halloween visit from them. We'll be throwing a bit of a party here, and while I do get to dress up, I'll mostly be passing out candy at the door. Ah, competition diet. ;-)

This week is my son's 23rd birthday. Next week is my 44th. The week after is Shiloh's 21st. Then the week after that both my and Bill's mom have birthdays. They'll both be 39. ;-)  Then just a short 10 days later, I'm back on stage. And then... I plan on fully enjoying the holiday season. Not, mind you, that I'll pig out and let it all go - hell no! I've worked too hard for this. I will enjoy a change in diet and gym schedule, but what I mean is that I'll be able to fully focus on my family - the moments, memories, and joy. A season when no one, including me, has to think about my diet, workouts, cardio, water loading/cutting, fish, and so forth. Lol.

But until that time... all of that IS my focus. That focus, has been challenged this last weekend. I got laid low by an allergy attack from hell. Couldn't breath, dizzy, weak, sneezy... ARGH!!! Thankfully, I only lost one day, but big head-messing with that one. Yeesh. I'm still fighting it, but the doctor can't see me until Friday (at which time I'm getting the works - ugh - yearly physical, chest x-rays, mammo, pap, B-12 shot, and allergy shot). In the meantime, I've got my benadryl, nasacort, and kleenex Kool-touch.
Fun times.

This weekend also marked the shift into final 5. Five weeks til' show. Diet is now all white fish, kale, asparagus, and WATER.  Sorry, make that W.A.T.E.R.  1.5 gallon minimum. Just keep swimmin', just keep swimmin'...  Hahahaha. Supplements are: Multi-vitamin, C (post-workout), Calcium/Magnesium (to help with my muscle cramps), probiotic, fish oil, Dynamic Greens, Glutamine, B-complex, and the usual protein powder (mixed with water now, no more almond milk). My fats are simple - the supplement, 1/2 an avocado or pistachios or almonds, a tiny bit of olive or coconut oil. Lean, mean, and clean.

The one guilty pleasure I have, haha, is a sports drink. I know, I know! I'm drinking a sports drink? Yep. I'm desperate! All in all, though, it's full of good things and doesn't taste like baby aspirin. Xyience Xenergy in Cran-Razz. I got hooked on them during our drives to and from Colorado.  Sigh. This too shall pass, yes? Don't judge. ;-)

Yesterday was leg day. Leg day typically means shorts - and yesterday was no different. I donned my shorts, Minion t-shirt, knee braces (ugh), and away I went. I did my squats, deadlifts, leg press, extensions, curls, lunges, inner/outer thigh, etc. Then donned my sweat belt and climbed on the stairmaster for my first 30 minutes of cardio. I pumped away, then moved on to the treadmill - where I spent the 30 minutes alternating between humor and horror.

See, here's the thing... I sweat. A lot. No, really. A lot. Even my knees sweat. It's a sh**ton of sweat. Some might consider it unholy and call or an exorcist. Yep. Well, when I wear my sweat belt, it forces my mid-section to sweat even more - and the neoprene holds in that sweat. Typically, I experience a bit of a foot-shower when I take off the belt as all the sweat pours out. Again - unholy. Well... sometimes, with certain movements, the belt shifts, and sweat "leaks" out. Down my legs. Remember I'm wearing shorts? The mortification nearly got the best of me, and then came the humor...

If you don't offend easily, I highly recommend 2 things (I'll get to the 2nd one in a moment). First... BroScience. These guys are hysterical! I paused my endless Pinterest perusing, and jumped on YouTube where I watched their "How to Eat Chicken Without Wanting to Kill Yourself". OMG. Totally took my mind off the very visible sweat pouring down my legs, with the added bonus of spiking my heart rate every time I laughed. Good stuff!

So now back to the 2nd thing... I just picked up Thug Kitchen's new cookbook. Again - if you offend easily, just steer clear of this one, but if you don't... you're in for a real treat! They're so freaking funny and the recipes are not only fabulous looking, but entertaining as all get out! I can't wait to jump into these tasty dishes! :-)

There's my update. I'm back to work, then a gazillion errands before gym-time again. ;-)

Ready for the week? Let's do it!!!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Champion Performance Recipe of the Week - Tilapia Stuffed Mushroom

A few weeks ago, I shared with you my recipe for Tilapia Burgers - and they're awesome. But even those can get old when that's all you're eating (competition prep, cutting phase), so I needed a fresh way to enjoy my food. Enter the amazing Portabella Mushroom. A powerhouse of nutrition, and almost no calorie / carb impact. I played around with it and this tasty dish was born. Is it good? Well, I created the recipe yesterday and have already eaten this three times. ;-) Yeah, it's good. Enjoy. 

Tilapia Stuffed Mushroom

Competition Diet Recipes
By
No fishy smell or flavor! These tilapia stuffed mushrooms are filling, tasty and satisfying! Great for competition diet!
8 Serving
Prep Time:
Cook Time:
Ready In:

Make the burgers, and store in individual zip top baggies. When it's time to make a stuffed mushroom, you'll be in and out of the kitchen within 5 minutes. Woot!

  INGREDIENTS 
- 3 lb tilapia (not frozen) 
- 3 egg whites 
- 1 whole egg 
- 1 tsp seasoning* (herbs de provence, or other blend, see note below) 
- 1 Poblano pepper, seeded 
- 1/2 jalapeño, seeded 
- 2 cup fresh spinach 
- 1/2 small onion 
- 3/4 cup sliced brown mushrooms 
- 2 large celery stalks, trimmed 
- 1 zucchini, trimmed 
- 1/2 cup Bragg Nutritional Yeast 
- 8 large Portabello Mushroom Caps 
- 2 cups baby spinach 
- 1 cup chunky salsa or pico-de-gallo 
- 8 Tbsp Daiya Mozzarella Style Shreds


DIRECTIONS
  For the Tilapia Burgers... 
 - Heat large pan of water over high heat, bring to boil. 
 - Add raw tilapia, keeping all pieces submerged. Boil until just white - about 2-3 minutes. 
- Remove tilapia from pan and drain. Allow to cool, then strain out remaining water (you can just put it in a sieve and squish out the water, or use cheesecloth to squeeze it out). 
 - Chop veggies (zucchini, pepper, onion, sliced mushrooms, garlic and 2 cups spinach) and put in food processor. Blend until finely chopped. 
 - Place veggies in large mixing bowl. 
 - Add egg and egg whites, nutritional yeast, seasoning, and mix well. 
 - Add tilapia, mixing well. Form 8 patties. 
 - Cook over medium high heat, about 4-6 minutes per side, until golden brown. 

For the Stuffed Mushrooms... 
- Clean and de-stem a large Portabella Mushroom (1 per serving). 
- Place 1/4 cup raw spinach inside mushroom. 
- Top spinach with Tilapia Burger. 
- Top Burger with 1 Tbsp salsa or pico-de-gallo.
- Top with 1 Tbsp Daiya Mozzarella Shreds.
- Carefully slide into a Ziploc Steamer Bag. Seal. 
- Microwave on high 2 minutes 30 seconds. 
- Allow to rest 1 minute. 
- Carefully slide mushroom out of bag and onto plate. 
- Top with 1 Tbsp salsa, and serve. 

NOTE: If you have room in your diet for more fat, by all means add more Daiya! It's melty, gooey, and yummy! 

*Seasoning note... be free-handed with the spices!!! You can change the whole flavor profile as often as you like! Use Herbs de Provence, or Penzey's Mural of Flavor, or Mrs Dash Southwest Chipotle... or whatever you like!


Nutritional Information about Tilapia Stuffed Mushrooms

Amount Per Serving Calories: 250| Total Protein: 41g | Total Carbohydrate: 11g | Total Fat: 5g | Total Fiber: 3g | Sodium: 430mg



You might also be interested in our other Competition Diet Friendly Recipes recipe.