Chopped Leaf Turn Over A New Leaf Contest

New year, new leaf to turn over. I don't care what anyone says about resolutions and "New Year, New Me". I love a fresh year, fresh start with the intention of changing something for the better. 

January 1st The Chopped Leaf, launched their Turn Over a New Leaf program. For the month of January, offering healthy tips on their Facebook Twitter and Instagram pages with a chance to enter daily to win $15 gift certificates as well as be entered to win the grand prize worth $2500 including  $1000 Chopped Leaf gift card and a year membership to Goodlife and a spa and wellness package! 

So head on over to follow them and get in on the daily draws and  enter to win for the grand prize HERE.

22 Pushups for 22 Days Challenge

I've seen a few friends post about this challenge and finally a good friend said she wanted to do it and well... here we are. I donated my $22 at www.woundedwarriors.ca (you should too) and today I start the challenge. 

Suicide is a real threat to our Armed Forces personnel, veterans and first responders. Let's show them some love by having some fun and spreading the world. The more people that share what they are doing, the more exposure the people have to it, eventually prompting them to engage! Just like I did. You, as the one single human being you are can always make a difference.

To keep it fun, check out my Facebook page everyday for a new style of push up to try! 

Love, 

Jen The Bitchin' Housewife

It Doesn't Have To Be Perfect

My verdict on astrology is still out, but as a Cancer (and a Pitta in the Ayurvedic world) I have a small problem with perfectionism. Sometimes I find myself not even starting a task because I know it will not work out perfectly or know that I don't have the time to do it perfectly.

This evening as I am hand washing some dishes that didn't fit in the dishwasher, I started thinking about the mess that currently is my home and everything that needs to be done to clean it. To perfection no less.

Today, for several reason I do not have the energy for this task. I normally may have even left the dishes in the sink to "catch up" on them tomorrow, because I certainly don't have the time to clean the whole kitchen and then house. I did them though, to make at least a small impact on the mess.

I think this is many people's problem with fitness and/or nutrition. Inner dialogue may sound a little like this: 

"If I am not going to perform the most efficiently in the gym, why should I even go? How can I perform the most efficiently if I don't know what I am  doing? I need to research or read about how to do things perfectly so I can make the most of my time while there. Okay, research first, get a plan and then go."

Days, weeks or even months pass. Waiting for the perfect plan, perfect moment, perfect outfit, perfect timing or whatever. Then it becomes a kitchen full of dishes that never get done. Am I right?

What if we stopped trying to make everything perfect and we just try? What if I learn to accept the mess around me for what it is, but know I can make a small impact right here, right now. A small step in the direction I wish to travel. Soon these small steps turn into these big milestones. These milestones turn into big moments and these big moments turn into the way I live my life?

Maybe at lunch when I have some cheesecake instead of sticking to my salad and egg whites I accept the "mess" and continue on with my plan instead of "well today is shot, may as well go down hill from here."

It doesn't have to be perfect. You don't have to be perfect. You just have to take a small step in the direction you wish to travel. The rest will follow eventually. 

Love, 

Jen

 

Honey Cinnamon Roasted Chickpeas

Ooooo I love roasted chickpeas. I make them in a few flavors, but the honey and cinnamon are hitting the spot today for a bit of sweetness! These are fairly simple to make, high in fiber and easy to put in containers for on the go snacks. 

Ingredients:

  • 1 can of chickpeas
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • optional 1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  2. Rinse chickpeas under water in a strainer. 
  3. Place chickpeas on a cookie sheet or pan and cook for 30 minutes.
  4. Remove from oven and set temperature at 350 degrees. 
  5. Mix cinnamon, honey and optional salt in a bowl. 
  6. Stir in the chickpeas and coat evenly. 
  7. Spread chickpeas back out onto the sheet and in the oven for an additional 10 minutes.
  8. Enjoy!

As my daughter says "they start sweet and then nice and crunchy!" A nice healthy snack and they make the house smell soooooo good while cooking.

Love, 

Jen

Self Care Sunday - Walking

Welcome back to Self Care Sunday. Last week we talked about A Simple Bath. Did you make time to care for yourself this week? It's okay if you didn't. Guess what? You get another shot this week! 

This week I want to chat about walking. Again a simple self care most of us can do. Almost every day I wake before my family. I'm an early riser. A few days a week I meet my friends and we do workouts at 6am, but one day this week I woke up and went for a walk in my neighborhood. I felt the rising sunshine on my face, the still crisp cool morning air on my skin and since I was walking without a "purpose" or "place to go", I was able to slow down and take in the smell of the trees, lawns being watered and notice details of my neighbors houses I've never noticed before. 

I finally walked far enough to this space that open up and overlooks the river valley. I've been here before, but never really paid attention to the view or noticed the trail that leads down the side! I've always been so busy as I pass by. I took a moment to sit on the ground and have a few big beautiful breaths and stretches. I got home feeling refreshed and rejuvenated as much as a sweat dripping, muscle burning workout. 

Walking is a simple task, it feels good and gives you the time to reflect. Daydream a little, sort out problems in your head, listen to your favorite music, plan your week ahead, reconfirm mantras and positive affirmations. You can also check out this wonderful post 17 Health Benefits of Walking.

A few tips for getting in your walk:

  • Schedule a day (or more) and the time that you will take this walk. Put it in your calendar and note it's as important and someone asking you to do something else. Note if you are a morning or evening person and possible go with the sunrise or sunset.
  • Wear comfortable clothes and shoes. This isn't a fashion show.
  • Download some calming music or an inspiring podcast if your neighborhood or time of day is a noisy one.
  • Talk a water if you will be gone a while or it's hot out.
  • Get help with children. Ask your partner for this time alone, ask another friend to watch your kids and then when you are done you watch hers and she can go for a walk. If you have to bring the kids, there is no shame in giving them toys or distractions in the stroller to occupy them a little. Remember this is about you, not them.  
  • Put your phone on airplane or don't bring it. No Facebook or tweets or emails or phone calls. This is your time to be with yourself. 

 

Share with me where your walking journey takes you.

Love,

Jen 

What's In The Fridge Stuffed Peppers

I love recipes that allow me to throw whatever is in the fridge into a meal, especially if it can be healthy. As we all do I believe. So loosely take what I have for ingredients and use whatever you'd like. 

What you need for this recipe:

  • 3 bell peppers (more or less depending on the amount of people you have.
  • 1 cup of precooked rice. This is great to do if you have leftover rice from the day before or food prepping. I used leftover brown rice.
  • half an onion
  • 2 tbsp garlic
  • Olive oil
  • 1 cup of kale/spinach
  • 1 cup of kidney beans. Other options could be cooked ground beef or chicken or any other bean you have on hand. 
  • 1 cup of cheese of choice. We used marble, but mozzarella or goat cheese would be fabulous. 
  • salt and pepper and/or any other seasonings you love. 

Directions:

  1. Preheat he oven to 400 degrees. 
  2. Heat oil in the pan and add the onions and beans until tender. Or you can add your meat of choice until cooked.
  3. Add the garlic and the greens until wilted.
  4. Add the rice to warm it up, if it's been cold in the fridge from leftovers.
  5. Cut the peppers in half and scoop out the seeds.
  6. Add cooked mixture to the inside of each half.
  7. Top with cheese.
  8. Put the peppers on a cookie sheet and pop in the oven until the cheese is melted and the peppers are soft. I like to put on broil the last minute to get the cheese to bubble. 
  9. Enjoy!

What's in the fridge that you will put in yours?

 

Love, 

Jen

The Red Dress

In four months I will celebrate my 30th birthday. Not turning 29 for a second time, but fully embrace 30. Guns a blazing. Bicep guns that is.

Match 1st I started cutting calories for a 4 month process of shedding the "extra" I added this winter to see the muscles I've built underneath. Yep summer is less then 4 months away people! Let's get moving and shaking on those short shorts legs and sleeveless shirts.

I'm a very goal oriented person. If I have a goal, I will achieve it. So I set the goal of this beautiful red dress for my 30th birthday. I happened to be in a store looking for new boots and came to pass this dress. I stopped and just had to try it on. It fits, sort of. I can zip it up and all, but it just doesn't sit quite right and shows everything. I think I've ever only owned one of two red dresses in my life and I hardly wore them. Likely because red dresses scream "look at me" and I've always been sort of self body conscious. Lifelong body issues; certainly a post for another day. Red dress fits perfectly for this situation since my birthday is on Canada Day. Be color themed :)

 

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So, I have a motivational dress now. A goal to obtain. And a date to obtain it by. Sounds like most of us at any given moment? A bikini filled vacation booked, a wedding, a reunion and so on.

Going back to school days where we learned goal planning, let's see where I sit.

  • Goal - Smoke show for 30th birthday. Ha ha. I have a weight number, but I don't want to share it. Not because I care what anyone knows I weigh, but because MY bodies 100, 120, 140, 160 will look different then yours, his, hers or anyone else's. So make your own approachable and REALISTIC goal. If I can make a suggestion 0.5 - 1 lbs a week is a realistic goal. Expecting to loose 10 pounds in 2 weeks is not healthy for your body or your mind. Sustainable and steady is the way to go. Remember the tortoise and the hare?
  • End Date - July 1st 2015. My 30th birthday. Pick a date, for whatever reason/event.
  • Motivation and Commitment - The Red Dress. Trying on the dress monthly and taking pictures to see my progress. Keep imagining the red dress on the day I don't feel like the stairmill. Pick a motivational dress, outfit or whatever. A physical thing to look at is something I prefer.
  • Reminder to stay on track - Trying on the dress is a good one, but I like my Project people will be taking weight and pictures bi weekly, measurements monthly.
  • Plan - I have a plan for my caloric deficit (better term for "diet") and when I start adding cardio to my current workout schedule. I know this is where a lot of people struggle. They get lost in the "who, what, when and where" of fitness and nutrition. But even if you plan to workout so many days a week and commitment to one or two specific things nutrition wise, now you have a plan. One that you can measure your commitment.
  • Review and assessment - Reviewing my progress regularly (see weight, pictures and measurements) and assessing where I am in relation to my goal. This one can be hard to do for yourself. It may be hard to see progress because we see ourselves every day, and we judge ourselves on our failures a lot, especially when it comes to weight loss. So maybe your spouse or best friend wants in with you? Check in on each other and review progress. Keep each other motivated. (Tip: Can also be your support person at events and functions when people ask have that extra piece of cake or drink etc). Over the course of 4 months, things will need to change on how I reach my goal. As my body changes, I will need to keep reassessing how to stay on course. I still love that quote "Be stubborn about your goals, flexible about how you reach them"

Now my real "secret" to weight loss. I also bought a dress that I feel good in now. One that flatters my current body and I feel amazing in. With no event in the future exactly, but hey, who doesn't need a fun little black dress? But wait, why buy a dress that you likely might not fit soon? Because you need to love your body now. As cheesy as it sounds some of those fitness clichés are good tips. "I work out because I love my body, not because I hate it". Yep. If we view ourselves in a negative light now, do we think loosing a few pounds will be easier? If we have a little bit of self love and view the process as improving on something that's already great, do you think it might be a more enjoyable process? Be a little self centered and point out the good.

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Let me know your favorite tip for staying on track with your goals below!

Jen

Update

A month ago I wrote a little post called The Project. Introducing you to 3 people who I am coaching through nutrition and blogging about their results. I'm sorry I haven't updated as much as I'd like, we've been moving and it's hectic!

Anyways. I wanted to share a little bit of their results and what they had to say about it. Perception is quite the thing. We may think we see no progress but the rest of the world sees it all. Or we may see little progress and think "what a waste of time" but in fact that small progress but be huge to someone else.

Jenn

In the first month Jenn has done very well. Some "cheat" days where macros were forgotten about and some workouts missed. Guess what? This makes her human like the the rest of us. And guess what else? She still had results. She kept getting back on that horse the next day and she has results to show it.

  • Weight - Down 4 lbs
  • Chest - Down 0.5"
  • Waist - Unchanged
  • Hips - Down 2.75" (WOWZA!!!!)
  • Thigh - Down 0.5"
  • Arm - Down 0.5"

I've put Jenn on a plan to loose on average 1 pound a week. So it looks like she's on track. I know it might not be aggressive enough to some or to her (her goal is about 35 lbs), but two things I want to point out.  Firstly it didn't take 3 months to gain weight, so slow and steady is the most sustainable way to loose weight. And secondly our marathon mama here does A LOT of cardio training for her half marathon in two months, traiathalons and so on this summer. Steady state cardio like what she is doing lets your body adapt to it. So it's harder to use cardio to burn off extra fat like in others, in conjunction with the caloric deficit. This is all said, I think she has done amazing! The perseverance in this busy working mom of two is downright inspiring.

Vanessa

Vanessa also endured some personal stuff that put her off track some days, but again still had progress! I'm even amazed the one night she came to my place with some friends and we were wine drinking fools and she kept to the no alcohol for the first month part. Good on you girl!

  • Weight - Down 5 lbs
  • Chest - Down 1.5"
  • Waist - Down 1"
  • Hips - Unchanged
  • Thigh - Gained 1.5"
  • Arm - Down 1"

I've also put Vanessa on a 1 pound a week deficit. She started HIIT cardio and lifting heavier weights. This would be why she's gained that 1.5" in the thigh. For someone tall like her, that can be a difficult thing to do! Her goal was originally to loose 15 lbs. The last check in she said "I'm not sure I'm going to get to my weight loss goal with the muscle I am building, but I feel good about where it is going". There ya go. What's that saying? Be stubborn about your goals, but flexible about how you get there. She wants to look a certain way based off a weight she was before. But if she looks that way and weighs more does the number really matter? Good for you Vanessa!

Here is a side by side of the first month's difference for Vanessa.

SideBySide

Dylan

The strong silent type. Ha ha. I ask each of these three a bunch of questions at check in and he never has much to say. But let me tell you the strong in that part is real. He's been pretty on point with his nutrition plan and macro counting and his results are damn impressive.

  • Weight - Down 14.5 lbs !!!!!!!
  • Chest - Down 1.5"
  • Waist - Down 2"
  • Hips - Down 1.5"
  • Thigh - Down 1"
  • Arm - Down .5"

Any females reading this wishing they were a man? Ha ha. I kid I kid. I've put Dylan on about 1- 1.5 lbs a week loss. I wasn't sure on his numbers exactly because there was some additional factors for him. Some cardio/supplements he was taking that may or may not have messed with his metabolism a bit. But here we are. I even almost upped his calories after the first two week because of a 10 lbs jump! He' s also missed a few workouts from work and had to change his cardio plan a bit because of an injury, but he keeps on trucking along. Great work, well on your way to your goal of coming down 25-30 lbs. Can't wait to see you after the three months with that commitment!

All three of them started with a daily meal plan for the first two weeks. One I worked out specifically to their macro numbers. After the second week I spoke more about macros, what they are and how to swap foods out. Because I can only imagine how sick they were of the same thing everyday. No alcohol was for the first month. Alcohol is one of those funny things, that once consumed, makes us forget about calories and macros. Think back to all those late night pizza binges after the bar! Now they are all free to swap out meals and food within their daily goal numbers. I've helped them with being able to calculate alcohol into their plans as well, putting no foods really off limits, just kept in moderation to reach their goals.

Thanks for reading!

Take care,

Jen

 

The Project

I haven't come up with some clever name for this so "the project" it is. As I've finished my yoga teacher training, been working on my sports nutrition and competed in the fall I've gotten to have a good understanding of a lot of things related to the body and fitness. Above that I've also done a lot of research online and in numerous books.

So I've decided to take some test subjects and apply my knowledge and blog about their results/experiences and the process. I first did a call out on my Facebook for a volunteer, thinking nobody would want to let me blog about it. The response I got was flattering and amazing, so I picked three.

Vanessa

 

Vanessa

Vanessa is a fun social girl. 28 years old, was a competitive cheerleader in jr high, high school and leagues after high school for 3 years and also used to coach. She stopped cheering approx 4 years ago. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and is currently working on her Masters of Counselling via distance with Athabasca University. Currently works out about 3 days a week mostly cardio and some strength training. AS she refers to it though she's been "lazy" with it and not pushing herself.

When I asked her why she wanted to be a part of the project here is what she had to say:

I want to do this project because I need that extra push to get me into shape. I am usually pretty good at eating healthy and using my will power, but it is easy to veer off track. I also like having someone who is knowledgeable plan meals so that I know I am eating properly. I have been working out for a long time. I used to do crossfit, but they no longer have that at my gym. Therefore since switching gyms, I have been a bit "lazy" and not feeling up to making myself work hard, therefore, this will give me that push and make me fulfill this project! I am also all about challenging myself, and I know this will be a huge challenge.

Vanessa's goals are to loose 12 lbs and look great for a trip in March. She uses her goal weight number based off the last time she felt really good.

Jenn

 

Jenn is one hard working super mama. She has a full time job, two young kids and a busy life. She has lost 35 lbs on her own since the spring. She is training for a half marathon this spring, a half iron man, long bike ride and 4 triathalons!!

When I asked her why she wanted to be a part of the project here is what she said:

I've been thinking about getting a trainer but cost is sometimes an issue. So I opted instead this year to get a triathlon coach as I thought that would be good start. But to have a fitness trainer that can help me focus on strength and nutrition will be a huge asset.

Jenn's goals are to loose another 35 lbs and to be in a size 8 or less pant. She says she wants to be lean and strong.

Dylan

 

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Dylan is a pretty physical guy used to play lots of hockey and still plays baseball. He is in the construction industry so his job can be physically demanding most of the time. Dylan usually works out at the gym 4-6 times a week, weights for an hour and cardio for 45min to an hour.

When I asked him why he wanted to be part of the project here is what he said:

Well i have been thinking about talking to a dietitian for awhile now and then it just so happened you needed a guinea pig. (Ah men, so few words. ha ha)

Dylan's goals are to loose 25-30 lbs and be down a pant size. This goal weight number is when he felt really good.

I had each of them take their weight, pictures and measurements, gave them a meal plan based of the calories/macros they need. I calculated these numbers based off of their weight, goals and activity levels.

I sent them all this first letter with some additional instruction on what to drink, supplements to take etc.

So the plan is that you will follow the diet plan for two weeks. I know it might be boring eating the same thing for two weeks, but its the easiest way for me to make sure the macro numbers I gave you are correct, and get a good reading of how the meal timing etc works for you.

After the two weeks, we will be starting to swap meals out for similar macros. So when you are preparing your food, please weigh on a food scale if at all possible (this applies to things that you will see with grams next to it) and log it into my fitness pal, for a few days at least to get the idea of how logging works. When you pull up an item you will be looking at the three main macronutrient components. Fat, Carbs and Protein.

Eventually we will have you swap out foods and meals for similar macros. So say you have chicken, salad and bread on your plan, you find out that the local Tim Hortons chicken sandwich has roughly the same macro makeup (carb,fat and protein amounts) you can have that instead. You all have a small treat at the end of your day. This treat fits the macronutrient profile you need, but because of the other foods you've eaten throughout the day your fiber and micronutrient profiles are fullfilled.

Ever heard of the quote everything in moderation? Well this is exactly it. Your little treat is in moderation. It may be hard at first to have a bag of Oreos or whatever your treat is, in the house. You may normally never buy these, because when you do you sit and eat a whole row or whole bag. Then, what normally happens is some sort of guilt associated with eating these foods. This project is more then just loosing weight or whatever your goal is. It's to help develop a better relationship with food and those foods we think are so evil. Everything in moderation also applies to healthy whole foods. Many of us get on the healthy eating train and a few days later eat a food we think is not considered healthy or "clean" and fall off our plans. Eating whole healthy foods is certainly best, but for mental health and to satisfy our taste buds we can also have treats.

Sometimes we get off track on things and eat things we arent suppose to, or some even under eat. Both are not great habits. Both are also very hard to break. So we may have slip ups and that's okay. We forgive ourselves and move on, staying on track the next meal. Please just let me know when this happens. Macronutrient counting is sort of a specific science so if you over eat or dont eat enough I need to know how its reflecting your weightloss or inches numbers. I promise you wont upset me or dissapoint or anything like that! That said of course, please stick to the plans as much as possible, this only makes your results that much better and faster.

Don't be frustrated by numbers on the scale. This is only one measurement we use. Generally most of us are more concerned with inches. But again, the scale is another hard habit to break.

Please enjoy the journey reading! Let me know in the comments what your goal is and why!

Why Do I Want To Compete

It’s funny how I can’t recall one person asking me why I wanted to run a half marathon when I was training for it. Or I have never thought to ask friends why they want to compete in Crossfit competitions or Super Spartan races. But I’ve had a lot of people ask me why I want to compete in this bikini competition. Is it because it’s basically being judged on your look? Maybe a contemplation for another day, before I get to far into it? I originally planned to write this post after the competition, but today seemed like a good day.

I first decided I wanted to compete in September last year. Original thought process was “that would be cool to do one day”. And it went on the bucket list. But ya see;  the thing with me is sometimes I become fixated on things and I have a  hard time letting go of them. This became one of those things that stuck.

So why compete? Why not? Why be ordinary? Why not do the things that we think are impossible? Why not dare to be extraordinary?  We don’t all have to be extraordinary by selling our worldly goods and moving to India or jumping out of airplanes. If you do those things and they make you happy, then amazing. But for me, smaller odder goals are my thing. That new song about being the life of the party and take your shot, it might be scary…. Exactly. Maybe it’s the scary that attracts me to doing things like this.

I did it to push myself. Doing the uncomfortable makes us grow, makes us learn about ourselves. I never want to look back on life and say I wish I tried this, or I’m too old for this now or whatever lies we tell ourselves to make us feel better about not doing the things we never did. Bring myself to that “edge” as my yoga teacher calls it. Nothing wrong with pushing yourself to the limit. As long as you don’t stay there I suppose.

To self observe, to learn about myself. I remember telling a friend I wanted to compete when I first started thinking about it and was told to make sure I don’t take it out on my kids. I was a little offended at the time, but the more and more I’ve read about people not handling the process, well I understood it more. Lowered calories/carbs, excessive training, meticulous food intake, no alcohol, dehydrating practices or heck even the excessive peeing from crazy water intake would have an effect on anyone. The things I’ve learned about myself are incredible to see. Again, probably another blog post.

To prove something. To break the mold of the “typical” bikini competitor. We see them typically as young, childless cardio bunnies, who eat only chicken and broccoli. Well I saw them that way I guess. I wanted to do it another way.

  • As a vegetarian. I have been a veggie for 19 years and get asked ALL THE TIME, “how do you get protein?” Let me tell you something, all veggies are sick of this question. Especially athletic ones.
  • As a mom. I have two children, 1.5 and 3.5 years old. Being a role model is important to me for my girls. Not role modeling ab out having a lean body. Being a role moel for ssetting goals and sticking to them. Persevering through tough times and being humble when they are good.
  • As natural as possible. Non GMO soy products, no funky heart racing preworkouts, no fat burning pills, and aside from the occasional Quest bars that had sucralose in them, no artificial sweeteners.
  • As a “if it fits your macros” counter. Again another blog post, but google macro counting, it’s pretty cool. I basically ate oreos my whole prep until the last few weeks. Not a lot of them, but better then the none most get. Ha ha. This kind of has a second point to it. I wanted to make sure I maintained a healthy relationship with food. Not look at a carb and cry how it will make me fat, or have an accidental slip on my diet and starting thinking of ways to negate it. I’ve read over and over again how competitors have many eating disorders.

Prove to me? Prove to you? Not sure exactly. Just to see if I could do it differently. Following the road to competing but on my own path, on my own journey.

And finally for the athleticism of it. I enjoy working out. I love weight lifting. Maybe not cardio so much to be honest ha ha ha, but I have become one of those people that loves fitness. It’s exciting, and I will try any type of it once at least. Even if it includes doing deadlifts 3 days a week……… Don’t lie to me, aint nobody like deadlifts.

So on the eve of the eve of my competition I’ve had a nice reflection of why I have done all this. Tomorrow I get my tan and go for my weigh in for Saturday. It’s been one incredible journey. No matter what happens Saturday, first place, last place or flat on my face, I’ve done it my way, learned a lot along the way and am ending with self respect, self love and a whole lot of pride.

(Don't mind the black and white, my suit color is a surprise until show day. You're welcome to guess the color!)

bikini

bikini

My Journey To Fit & Healthy

I get asked a lot about how I lost the weight or started eating healthy and so on. So I thought I would write my story so far. I'm going to go back 4 years. Pregnant with my first. I gained 60 lbs, had a large cherry pepsi almost everyday, ate all my cravings and wasn't that active, despite having a personal trainer even.

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After the birth of my first, an emergency c section, I thought I had to loose the baby weight. I was breastfeeding and ate the My Fitness Pal recommended 1200 calories plus 500 for nursing. That didnt last long, I hated it. I tried eating relatively clean with cheats here and there, did the Jillian Michaels 30 day shred and a few other videos and lost the weight by 3/4 months PP.

I wasn't too happy with my pre baby weight though, so of course not happy with it then. Never did too much extreme to change it though. The summer of 2012 I trained for a half marathon and ran it at 7 weeks pregnant with my second. Never really shifted my body composition much. (So there goes the cardio looses fat rule!)

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I got pregnant with my second when my first was 17 months old, just two months after I finished breastfeeding. I started becoming really interested in food, healthy eating and holistic type nutrition. I began reading a lot about foods through the internet, books and so on. Especially interested in food knowledge now because I was responsible for feeding my child and I want her to grow up healthy.

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I sadly had another emergency c section. I gained a healthy 26 lbs with my second pregnancy though. Most lost before 6 weeks pp. I was breastfeeding and eating a lot. I forgot how hungry you get after having a baby!!!!

The first picture here on the left is at about 6-8 weeks post partum. I was proud I looked like this so soon after baby by the way. Body pride all along the way. This I believe to be key. Love your body at each stage. Learn to find something about it that makes you happy.

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I spent the time from Mid June to September doing basically cardio. I research more this time and found HIIT to be how to loose that stubborn fat the fastest way. Before googling exactly what that is, I must caution you to actually read about it's benefits and suggested usage. I did it every second day, sometime third. Do NOT do this type of training daily. Sometime I did some HIIT and then a long distance run after it too. I am a runner after all.

treadmill

treadmill

In my head I had a a number goal. Which I never had before. I wanted to get to 125. Every time I was dying on the treadmill, I just kept thinking, "you can do 10 more seconds. This is for 125" I also had my sisters wedding coming in September in Cuba and wanted to be a hot mama. So I bought and hung in view a motivation bikini. These goals were strong motivation for me. Two kids, one of which was extremely colic and a husband working away mostly I had to dig deep for the motivation some days. Some days running on that treadmill in the basement at 11 pm was my stress relieve.

I reached my goal in September, got a gym membership to change it up (AND DAYCARE!) and stopped cardio and started lifting weights. Mostly high rep, low weight stuff, I was a) scared of getting hurt and b) healing a diastasis recti. Please google Wendy Powell and her Mutu System to find out all about this.

I loved my body in Cuba in November. Still at 125, two months later, and proud as hell to walk on the beach with my two kids. Even post a picture of me in a bikini on Facebook and Instagram when I got back!

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Then I got into heavy weight lifting. And my love of weights began. First goal? Be able to squat with the bar on my shoulders without the pad. I had to build those muscles to be strong enough so it didn't hurt. Second goal? Build my ass I lost from all that cardio. Okay this might have been my priority in September, but was really serious about it now.

This is also about the time I started really thinking about bikini competing. A goal to obtain in 1.5 years. By my 30th birthday. (July 2015) Give my body time to get ready, and also because I was still breastfeeding and planned to until my second was at least a year old. I didn't want to risk getting my body fat too low and loosing my milk before we were both done. I like to make assumingly crazy goals and try my best to achieve them. See above about my half marathon!

I then heard about a competition November 1st and thought to myself, "you can do that. You've been training hard, made great progress. Worst that can happen is dead last, but it's still a win to try".Okay in reality worst that can happen is developing an eating disorder, body viewing issues, a destroyed metabolism, hardened relationships from grouchy hangryness and post show depression. But all things I've researched intensely to be mindful of and avoid as much as possible.

Bringing me to my believes. I still believe in being as healthy as possible, eating whole nutrition rich foods and paying attention to my body and what it needs. I don't like taking fat burners, artificial sweeteners or other strange things filled with chemicals that aren't good for you. All supplements and foods as natural as possible. And vegetarian. Did I forget to mention I don't eat meat?

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I didn't want a coach for contest prep, because I was sure I would never find soemone that believed the same things as me. One that wouldn't starve me on 800-1200 calories, wouldn't tell me to take fat burners or make me do hours and hours of cardio each week. There are things such as macro counting, smart ways of doing cardio and natural supplements that can do the same job without ruining your body. Again please research all of these.

Had some trial and error with macro counting myself. Especially hard figuring it out while breastfeeding, but if you refer to my It's a Lifestyle, Not A Diet Post, you'll understand some things take some time. And they are worth figuring out. Plus of course, the time will pass anyways, make it worth your while and try. Below is a picture of me from about April to June with macro counting, lifting weights and zero-minimum cardio. I of course went over macros a lot, cheated on them lots and so on. I'm human, forgave myself and moved on.

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June 29th I started with my coach. One I researched a lot and read every post on his blog to make sure we viewed how this should go as the same. When I started with him I was basically the exact same weight as I was in September. See the difference in my body though? Weight isn't everything. I gained lots of muscle, leaned out and remained the same weight. This picture is from November to April but the above one shows me in June too. All the same weight.

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Now it's almost 7 weeks later and I'm amazed at myself and what I've accomplished. All my muscles I've spent the last 11 months building are coming out as a I lean out. Here is the difference in the last 8 weeks.

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And 3 weeks.

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And for shits and giggles the difference since starting with coach 7 weeks ago.

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I can't wait to see more. Knowing stage weight isn't something I want to keep obtainable forever too. It's just that, stage/competition weight. I was really happy at 125 and will likely go back up there afterwards. Maybe more to bulk in the winter and grow a bigger booty and shoulders. ;)

The whole process has been trial and error over the last 15 months. Food wise, exercise wise and mentally wise. But I think being told what to do and not knowing why or how it works is something that just never works for me. If I invest the time to research and try different ways of doing things I will find my stride. Which I believe I have. Which is how I hope most people view it for themselves. Find your own journey, in the healthiest way possible of course. Last picture July 2013 - August 2014. The journey may be long, but it's worth it.

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Thanks for reading and good luck in your journey!