THE PERFECT PUMPKIN CINNAMON OATS

THE PERFECT PUMPKIN CINNAMON OATS

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I am currently obsessed with everything Pumpkin! Go figure! So this morning I made a bowl of pumpkin cinnamon oatmeal along with my low carb pumpkin protein waffles (so much pumpkin-y goodness lol).

Recipe for oats:

I used 1/3 cup of www.MyOatmeal.com pumpkin spice oatmeal. You can use regular oats too but I figured the more pumpkin the better! I microwaved that with water for 2.5 minutes. Then added 1tbs of organic pumpkin puree (you don’t want to add too much or it can be bitter). Mix that into hot oatmeal. Add 1/4 scoop cellucor cinnamon swirl protein for added flavor (you could use more whey protein but I was saving my protein macros for my waffles). Swirl it up! Then add cinnamon to your liking, pumpkin pie spice, and a bit of sugar free maple syrup. I always use walden farms calorie free pancake syrup.

MACROS: 150 calories, 3G Fat, 23G Carbs, 10G Protein.

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PUMPKIN PROTEIN PANCAKES

PUMPKIN PROTEIN PANCAKES

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I have been craving pumpkin everything lately! And post workout I really wanted something dense, filling, and pumpkin-y! So I through a bunch of stuff in my magic bullet and came up with a great recipe for some pumpkin protein pancakes. They turned out delicious! Recipe- Put all of the following in blender, blend until smooth and batter consistency: 1/3 cup natural pumpkin puree, 1/2c. liquid egg whites, 1/4 cup quick-cook rolled oats (I used pumpkin flavored oats from www.MyOatmeal.com), 1/2tbs coconut flour, 1/4tsp. baking powder, pumpkin pie spice to liking, cinnamon to liking, 2tbs of Cellucor cinnamon swirl whey protein (any whey protein will do), 1/4 cup almond milk and blend!

Pour on to greased medium hot skillet, I made three medium sized pancakes. Flip when small bubbles form on surface. Top with sugar free walden farms pancake syrup, 5 calorie fat free Reddi Whip, and/or pumpkin spice whipped peanut butter!

Macros without topping: 212 calories, 3G Fat, 24G Carbs, 5G Fiber, 20G Protein.

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WHAT ARE MACROS? IIFYM TRACKING & SETTING

WHAT ARE MACROS?
IIFYM TRACKING & SETTING

So the number one topic that has been requested for me to touch on more has been tracking macros. Everyone wants to know how to do it, how you set your numbers, and what exactly IIFYM means and how to implement it. I haven’t touched on this more in detail for a few reasons but I will give all the information I can here:

The first thing everyone must understand is that setting your macro threshold should be dependent on YOUR individual needs, body composition, goals, metabolic efficiency, etc. The reason I don’t often list my personal macros is due to the fact that I know I have so many followers (and bless you all for your support and admiration) but you have to understand what I do is done based off my background, the way I personally know my body responds to different macronutrients, and my metabolic efficiency. I have been through hell and back with dieting over the last 4 years and have suffered from some metabolic set backs, adrenal fatigue, not to mention I know I am much more fat sensitive than carb sensitive and therefor I can get away with a higher carb intake than some, but must keep my fats lower. This is going to be VERY different than you most likely and copying what I do will not give you the same results. So to save many of you from making a wrong choice in setting your macros, I often ignore these questions. My macros change from time to time as well, depending on if I am in prep, reverse dieting, and how progressive I feel my metabolism has been in increasing my metabolic capacity. I believe the best way to learn is trial and error! However, I did do an interview with Erin Weiss at Live Life Active where I answered these questions in depth. If you are interested in reading that, the link is: http://www.livelifeactive.com/2014/06/05/interview-with-amber-dawn-orton/

WHAT ARE MACROS?

So lets start from the beginning. What are Macros? Macros = Macronutrients. There are only three macronutrients that account for every single thing you put in your mouth. Think of them as the atoms that make up the food you eat and everything has to be comprised of one or some combination of these three macronutrients which are carbs, proteins, and fats.

Macronutrients are nutrients that provide calories or energy. Nutrients are substances needed for growth, metabolism, and for other body functions. Since “macro” means large, macronutrients are nutrients needed in large amounts. There are three macronutrients:

Carbohydrate
Protein
Fat

While each of these macronutrients provides calories, the amount of calories that each one provides varies. Carbohydrate provides 4 calories per gram. Protein provides 4 calories per gram. Fat provides 9 calories per gram.

This means that if you looked at the Nutrition Facts label of a product and it said 12 grams of carbohydrate, 0 grams of fat, and 0 grams of protein per serving, you would know that this food has about 48 calories per serving (12 grams carbohydrate multiplied by 4 calories for each gram of carbohydrate = 48 calories).

Besides carbohydrate, protein, and fat the only other substance that provides calories is alcohol. Alcohol provides 7 calories per gram. Alcohol, however, is not a macronutrient because we do not need it for survival.

 

IIFYM

I want to address the idea behind IIFYM (If-It-Fits-Your-Macros) now because I believe people just don’t get it. The idea behind IIFYM is that a carb is a carb and a protein is a protein and a fat is a fat regardless of the source its coming from.

Example Scenario:

Now lets say you have a daily “allowance” of 150G of carbs. That doesn’t mean you would want to eat two donuts (lets say you know these donuts each have 75G carbs and 8G Fat each) because you would use all 150G of your carbs on those two donuts, and that would leave you hungry the rest of the day, not to mention the micronutrients of what those donuts are made of is not going to benefit you from a health standpoint. So, that being said, if you hit the majority of your macros/meals with healthy, micronutrient dense foods, but you have macros for a meal at the end of the day (lets say and you want to fit that latte or ice cream in because you have enough to accommodate) then it is not going to change anything or set you back from your goals. Side note: Another good way to fit “treats” in is post workout as this is when your body will utilize a higher carb source easier. So if you want to eat something higher in carbs post workout you could cut your carbs from your meals later in the day and that higher carb  giant bowl of post workout cereal is not going to set you back. Again, as long as your carbs at the end of the day are still within range of your set macros then that’s okay! Another thing you need to keep an eye on is your fiber intake. MFP will automatically set a fiber goal for you depending on your other macronutrient goals…. fiber comes from plant sources and therefor you will need to make sure you are hitting your fiber goal everyday which will ensure you are eating enough nutrient dense carbs. Because if you ate those two donuts you would use up all your carbs and not even 5G of your 30G fiber goal (thats an example).

So how do you set your macros?
There is no 100% accurate system to ensure you are setting the correct macros. Yes there are macro calculators online that are pre-generated to spit out numbers for the numbers you input. You can find such a calculator at http://iifym.com/iifym-calculator/ but just like any pre-generated system this will not be the most accurate for you because any system without a brain does not know you, your background, how your metabolism may or may not have been affected throughout your life, your lifestyle, current and pre-existing eating habits, etc. There are MANY factors that affect the way our bodies respond to food and therefor there is no way a pre-generated calculator could take all of these factors into account while calculating your macros.  This is why professionals and people with experience such as myself and other coaches have jobs, because this is not an easy thing to understand nor explain. Now I am not saying the macro calculator is not a good resource or you shouldn’t use it. Some people have a lot of luck using the macros they get back from calculators such as this. I just want people to know that you will always be better off with using a resource that can understand your background and what makes up your body’s response mechanisms.

That being said, everyone wants to know how you do it, right? Well that is another thing I cannot explain unfortunately. With my years in this business and putting myself through many of my own experiences with tracking plus learning from the hundreds of people I work with everyday I have created my own system in setting clients macros. I send over in depth questionnaires for each client to answer before even attempting to set macros. Again, this is due to the fact that everyone is different and to set any type of accuracy with macros in reaching goals you must understand underlying concepts and components regarding the individual at hand. Yes there are a few basic “rules” I have found that work in some ways, but again I look much further in to depth than just how much you weigh, how old you are, and how much body fat you have. But just to help some of you out, I will tell you most active females should be eating around 0.9-1.2x bodyweight in protein per day. Most active men should be a bit higher than this, ranging from 1-1.5x bodyweight a day. Again though, this is “most” and not applicable to everyone without knowing your background, goals, and metabolic capacity. Carbs and fat are something that are very variable and dependent on the individual. I cannot even begin to explain my personal methods on how I go about setting these macros as like I mentioned, it is just something I “get a feeling” about when reading through my clients questionnaires.

Again I want to encourage everyone to learn their own bodies as nobody knows your body better than you do. You can figure out your approximate resting metabolic rate, metabolic capacity, macronutrient sensitivity, etc just by applying yourself, doing a little research, and tracking plus adding consistency with your intake to see patterns in where you may stand.

More on IIFYM -Q & A from a client:

Client: I’ve noticed your posts about you finding balance with your flexible dieting by incorporating sweets or foods that aren’t considered “clean” throughout your day & I’ve been trying to get mentally more balanced with eating as well so I was just wondering if you just save your refeed day to add a “cheat” food or eat 80/20 everyday? Also when do you find it best to fit these foods & do you use them as your whole meal or part of it like a topping or side ?

My Answer: I think you tend to over think things. I don’t have any particular methods with my eating habits. I just eat when I feel like eating, if I am craving something sweet I eat it and adjust my macros the rest of the day. I really honestly have no “method”. That is the benefit of flexible dieting and implementing this lifestyle.

Client: But how do you keep from overdoing it? Like do you allow yourself to eat 80/20 everyday or if you knew you had sweets that day already you eat clean the remainder of your day? & according to your meal plan guidelines, I am supposed to eat every three hours but are you saying if im not hungry im allowed to wait longer as long as i fit my macros in for the day & have my pre & post workout meals at the appropriate times?

My Answer: The point of IIFYM is the flexibility to do what you want everyday. Like I mentioned, I don’t have any 80/20 strategy or eat clean for this much of my day and not for this much.. etc. I just make sure to hit my macros each day. If you are hitting your macros and fiber goals (your fiber should be auto calculated in MFP with the macro goals I have set for you) then you will be well balanced in your daily intake and it doesn’t matter. It would be impossible to eat brownies all day and hit your macros as they are comprised of very little protein, too much sugar and next to no fiber. Fiber comes from vegetables and whole grains.. so making sure your fiber intake will ensures you eat some clean meals as well. The meal planning guidelines I have sent are a reference, mostly for those who don’t eat enough or are in comp prep and cutting. Since you follow more of a flexible approach and understand macros, it doesn’t matter if you go longer without eating and eat bigger meals. The only other important element is your pre and post workout meals, in which I have given you macronutrient timing guidelines for. Other than that, dont think too much about each meal. Eat the majority of your foods from healthy, whole food sources. But if you are more hungry for one meal and want a bigger meal, that is okay! Yes you will have to adjust downward for a meal maybe later in the day, but again… as long as your daily totals are accurate- dont stress it!

And to anyone who is still wondering why such “healthy people” would want to follow IIFYM to fit “unhealthy” things in to their diet.. My brother Aaron Orton answered this best on his athlete page:

“I am so glad you asked. The entirety of most peoples preparation for a bodybuilding show leads to extremism under the very premise of what you are prescribing. CLEAN THIS CLEAN THAT, NO FALSE SUGARS, NO PROCESSED FOOD, NO DESSERTS, NO GUM, ECT. What happens thereafter, is the competitor binges wildly after the show is done, and cannot stop. They have to fulfill these needs. In fact, most put on every ounce of weight that they dropped in order to get in the best shape of their life. What you just posted HAS GOT TO STOP. These foods can be fit within any diet, and can serve as they please in any LIFESTYLE change. The key is MODERATION. When you see this food, you think that it is a free for all. You don’t understand that the muddy buddies were measured and seperated into individual bags based on their servings. Or that the pringles can be count 1 chip per 1 g of carbs. Or that the ice cream is far lower fat then any other ice cream on the market. These are ways to improve self control, by FITTING THEM into my macro nutrient (substrate) count for the day. The goal is to prevent extremism, which you are promoting. Please share with me how long you have gone without a single processed item in your diet? Or the very fact that most food is processed in one way or another in order to make it to a grocery store and is 100% fine for you, again in MODERATION. I want to consume these products, and many more, because I can get in amazing shape, pull 500lbs off the ground, sprint a 12 second 100 meter dash, and feel amazing while consuming them. But it doesn’t mean thats all I eat.”

 

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MAPLE PUMPKIN PROTEIN WAFFLES

Maple Pumpkin Protein Waffles

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Step1: Add 1/3 cup oats, 1tsp baking powder, 1tbs coconut flour* (not necessary but noticed they make them much fluffier), 1/4sc. whey protein (Max Pro or Cellucor seems to work great for baking), cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice to bullet or blender and blend together.

Step2: Add 4 egg whites, 1/4 cup canned pumpkin, and a dash of water to dry mixture. Blend.

Step 3: Pour in waffle maker until soft to the touch but cooked through.

Step 4: Mix 2 tbs. of PBlean or powdered peanut butter substitute with 1 tbs.water then with 1/4 cup of walden farms sugar free/calorie free maple pancake syrup. Top waffles with syrup mixture and enjoy 😉

MACROS: 303 Calories, 5G Fat, 34G Carbs, 31G Protein (Including topping)

 

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STAYING MOTIVATED…WHERE DOES MY MOTIVATION COME FROM?

MOTIVATION + THE IDEA BEHIND “JUST DO IT”

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People often ask me where my motivation comes from. What is it that makes the difference between the action that allows you to really pursuit your fitness goals and the decision to take the easier, more comfortable way out? Honestly, fitness has become such a habit for me that this question is often hard to answer. I have to go backwards in my own thought process – backwards in time to figure this out, even for myself.

You see, I used to be a “normal” girl. In college, I didn’t really diet. And when I did, it was a “phase” or a “fad” and I would often times find myself striving for a goal for a few days, weeks, sometimes months only to eventually lose interest or find myself back in my old ways. A couple months of hardcore working out and attempting to watch what I ate only to take twice as long off going to the gym and just “not caring”. So what changed me? Today my thought process and lifestyle is a complete 360 of what it used to be. But what was it that made me this way? Some people even say I am “too hardcore” or an “extremist” in the fitness world. Which leaves me asking… how did I go from yo-yo dieting and goal setting to going “HAM” each and everyday?

Over the last three years of competing, I have realized that not only has fitness become my lifestyle, but it has become my habit, routine, my everyday endorphin release and “happy place”. I often ask my clients, “Before you go to bed, what is it that you do every night without thinking?”.  The response is almost always the same, “Brush my teeth, clean my face, etc, etc”. Most people have a routine pre-bed that is done without second thought, without question, without pre-meditation. This is how I view exercise. I don’t wake up everyday and ask myself “should I workout today?”. It is something that is just done. I do not give myself a choice, an option, a thought of the possibility of it not happening. It is just an absolute, concrete in my daily routine.

I believe often times people view exercise as a negative thing. Because, well “It’s hard”. I think what people don’t realize is its not really any “easier” for anybody else. But yes, with time and strength activity will become easier once the body learns to adapt. However, when you are an elite athlete, you are constantly pushing yourself to the level of always feeling like “it’s hard”. So what makes the difference between those who take on that challenge, accept it, love it, and find passion in it, and those who shy away, let excuses and distractions keep them from it, and never reach their physical goals?

Well the answer and solution is – It’s 100% mindset. Once your mindset towards anything in life becomes negative, your subconscious mind will allow ways for you to avoid it. Nobody wants to do whats hard, but the challenge is pursued by those who look at the decision with acceptance. I believe way too many people allow themselves to talk themselves out of a challenge. We often resort to whats easy and comfortable- and for most, that is not exercise. Also, we tend to make goals larger than what may be in sight, and once we get on the path of thinking those goals are unobtainable or too far out of reach, we lose hope and drive towards pursuing them.

Anybody can lose weight, anybody can workout, anybody can have abs. Yes, its true.. ANYBODY. But most wont allow themselves to truthfully believe this as reality. Let me ask you if you have ever thought about going to the gym but felt “too tired” so you debated it while at work that day or whenever. In your head, you probably said things like, “well if I go… I have no energy so my workout is going to be pointless anyways” or you have felt like it will be so hard there is no way you would make it through any workout and then thought of something else that seemed important to occupy your time. It is these thoughts and this type of process that will continue because 1) you have now viewed exercise as “hard” and negatively put that connection in the back of your mind. And 2) allowed yourself to think if you weren’t going to really kill your workout there was no point in going.

But here is the thing… ANYTHING IS BETTER THAN NOTHING. And it doesn’t ALWAYS have to be hard. On top of that, I have to admit some of my most epic and best lifts came on the days I felt I was too tired to go. Once I warmed up and got in my groove, I had MORE energy and was able to get through a killer workout just fine. The underlying factor is, I went anyways and made the initial effort without allowing myself a choice. That is the ONLY difference between what I do and what others tell me they want to do.

So get rid of your negative perceptions of exercise, and like Nike says- Just Do It. Its not easy for anybody but it doesn’t always have to be the hardest thing you have ever done. You don’t have to kill it each and every time you go to the gym- the key is GOING. Once you have this negative connotation associated to the gym or exercise in the back of your mind, it will allow your subconscious to choose the easier alternative- almost always. Recognize it, change it, and accept that it is supposed to be hard. Start looking at it as a challenge, a personal triumph, prove to yourself that you can make it less hard by continuing to do it. Eventually this will become habit, and you also will find yourself addicted to the positives you get out of it. Not only physical changes, but mental and emotion mindset changes. You will experience the endorphins and energy rush that will hopefully make you an addict like me 😉

Regardless of your goals, the life of your dreams has always been closer to you than you realized. The drive and motivation to have everything good in life is inside you and created through your own desire and will to change. So keep your mindset positive and never give up.

XOXO,

ADO

 

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TRAVELING + EATING OUT OPTIONS & TIPS

Traveling + Eating Out Options & Tips:

Learning to eat clean while traveling can be tricky. I have done it for so many years now, I have found that if you know what to look for and know what options to keep in mind, you can travel and eat out without setting yourself back too much with your fitness goals. I have written a few tips and tricks along with eating out options to help below:

✰ Try to stay away from food options with sauces and “glazes” or fried food of any kind. Always ask if something can be grilled or baked rather than pan fried or deep fried. And always ask for light olive oil only to be used in preperation.

✰ Almost anywhere you go will have salad options. When ordering a salad, try to always include a lean protein source (chicken, ahi, shrimp, turkey) and omit or get light cheese such as feta. Try to avoid most dried fruit like blueberries or cranberries because they are just additional sugar. Salad dressing options would be salsa, balsamic vinegar, oil and vinegar (more emphasis on vingar than the olive oil), or fresh squeezed lemon. Always ask for dressings on the side.

✰ Most places will also modify food sources/options for you. So dont be scared to ask for the vegetables to be steamed with no butter/oils and the proteins to be cooked with just light olive oil.

✰ Always ask for sauces on the side if you are unsure of what they are made of.

✰ Burgers and sandwhiches can typically be lettuce wrapped to avoid carbs. If the restaurant offers a buffalo or turkey burger, this would be a great protein source as a burger option. Ask for sides such as cottage cheese, salad, fruit, black beans, steamed vegetables, or if available baked sweet potato.

✰ If you are out at mexican, a taco salad is always a great option with chicken, black beans, grilled peppers and onions, avocado, and salsa as dressing. Try to avoid tortilla chips and the taco salad shell, however.

✰ If you go out to breakfast, always ask if the restaurant can do egg- whites only for omelettes/scrambles. And ask for light or no oil to be used when making your breakfast. Vegetables of any kind are fine. Most places have oatmeal as well, add cinnamon and some fresh fruit and get some egg whites on the side for a blanced breakfast.

✰ Starbucks also had stealcut oats which is a great option while traveling. Just make sure you have some form of protein powder on you so you can either drink the protein or like I do, just mix the protein powder into plain oatmeal to flavor it. Jamba Juice is another place that serves stealcut oatmeal and fruit as well.

✰ If you are going to drink alcohol, try to stick to light colored hard alcohol with soda water and lime or lemon. Avoid juice, soda, and sugar. Ask the server to omit the simple syrup in something such as a mojito to cut calories and sugar. Or go with a glass or two of red wine.

✰ Try to pack some healthy snacks in case you find yourself in a bind. Some things I like to carry on me at all times are individual portion sized packs of almonds, protein powder or costco premier protein shakes, baggies of baby carrots or cucumbers, rice cakes, and quest bars (the healthiest protein bar on the market- you can find at super supplements, max muscle, online, or GNC).

For extra ideas, some helpful quick restaurant options when traveling are below:

✪ Subway double chicken Salad, use light dressing or mustard/honey mustard as dressing and if you can help it bring your own chicken!

✪ Baja Fresh Salad. Shrimp or Chicken Baja Ensalada. No cheese/No tortilla strips. You can add black beans for clean carb source or Skinny Chicken Bowl.

✪ Cafe YUMM bowl (Oregon based). Add chicken, get it vegan, 1/2 yumm sauce. Or you can do the yumm & Greens.

✪ Pita Pit, Chicken Salad, use as many veggies as you would like. Or chicken breast pita on wheat. Avoid high calorie sauces- use mustard or light tzatziki (yogurt/cucumber sauce).

✪ Jimmy Johns, Lettuce wrapped turkey sandwich.

✪ Laughing Planet (Oregon based)- Bollywood Bowl or Paleo Bowl.

✪ When out at a restaurant, stick to lean protein source (grilled or baked), clean carb source, and steamed veggies or salad.

✪ Starbucks or Jamba juice stealcut oatmeal. Starbucks also offers a turkey bacon eggwhite breakfast sandwhich.

✪ Fresh deli selections at grocery stores often have great options. Stores like Whole Foods, Market of Choice, etc. often have grilled chicken and healthy proteins they will warm up along with side options such as roasted veggies, broccoli salads, etc. Just make sure you ask what’s in them and avoid those with additional oils and mayonnaise type condiments.

Hope this helps with your travel! ❤ADO

 

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SPINACH, GARLIC, AND ONION STUFFED CHICKEN PARMESAN

 

Spinach, Garlic, and Onion Stuffed Chicken Parmesan

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Step 1: Bake chicken breasts in oven ahead of time, I season with Costco’s no sodium 21 seasoning and store in refrigerator.

Step 2: Spray olive oil aerosol non-stick spray in sauté pan. Sauté diced fresh garlic (I used my moms canned whole garlic cloves), add 1/4 of a red onion and 1/4 of a sweet onion sliced and pan fried until golden, then add spinach and 1 tbs water until spinach wilts. I also add onion powder, garlic powder, and pepper.

Step 3: Cut cold chicken breast in half to form a pocket, stuff spinach/onion mixture inside.

Step4: Top with tomato paste or blend your own fresh tomatoes with garlic and basil in magic bullet to create a tomato sauce. I also found a low cal, organic tomato garlic sauce that is great and doesn’t have any added unnatural ingredients.

Step 5: Sprinkle with a tad of non-fat parmesan cheese.

Step 6: Bake at 350 degrees for 6 minutes, until warmed through and cheese is melted on top.

Step 7: EAT and ENJOY.

Macros: 240 calories, 2G Fat, 24G Carbs, 5G Fiber, 31G Protein

 

 

 

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FINDING BALANCE & REVERSE DIETING

FINDING BALANCE & REVERSE DIETING

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Good morning! I have so much to say on finding balance and that will continuously be the underlying theme in most of my posts on my blog (I believe balance within this industry is the hardest thing one can strive for and therefor think it is very important to address). The following photo and post is a re-post from June 19th after prepping for my Oxygen and Ironman photoshoots, but I believe it is an important piece I wrote on reverse dieting and I will add a current update here as well:

As many of you know I have just gotten done with my prep and am now in the process of reverse dieting. Some people dont even know what that means. Basically you strategically and slowly bring your calories, carbs, and fat intake up from the deficit you were in previous to reaching your goals in order to avoid extreme fat gain/weight fluctuations and try to maintain a lean physique even while eating a more maintainable level of macros.

First I want to say that if you haven’t read any of my articles on post competition/prep struggles, I am extremely guilty of being that person who falls into a very dark/depressing place post prep. I have put on 10lbs in a matter of days after shows in the past. I have been miserable, disgusted with myself, not able to see my abs just 48 hours post show. A lot of you who have never been through what I am talking about wont have a clue as to why that is or how it feels, but those of you who do know very well that it is an absolutely miserable and depressing place to be in and even harder to get out of. I wont go into that more here but if you are interested in reading my article you can find it here:

http://www.cutandjacked.com/Competition-pre-vs-post-show-finding-balance

Regardless, this post is to explain how I feel I have finally found balance and am reverse dieting the correct way, which I am soo soo beyond happy about. This morning I weighed myself and I was 124.8lbs. Honestly I was absolutely shocked to see that number. Why? Because my prep low before I left for Oregon and my photoshoots in LA two weeks ago was 124.5lbs. So essentially today (6 days post shoot) I am up 0.3lbs from the lowest I had seen on the scale (I stopped weighing myself in Oregon due to not having a scale). This is absolutely amazing to me, as I have never been able to maintain my prep physique post show/shoot.

So how am I doing this?
Those of you who have been following me for a while saw that through my prep this time around I was not nearly as strict as in the past. I continued to use Walden Farms (and a lot of it), Sriracha (I used to tell myself this had too much sodium and sugar lol), I would eat things I never would have touched with my past preps such as arctic zero, peanut butter, ezekiel bread, fat free whip cream, etc. I didn’t really tell myself anything was off limits, I just made sure to track my macros. So those who are familiar with it… yes I was implementing an IIFYM approach to dieting and allowing myself a lot more flexibility and choice. Another key factor was I was implementing fasting windows. I have written about this before so I wont go into depth here about why I fast except say the main reason I was doing it was more mental than what I thought the physical benefit was. You see, in the past I was so caught up on thinking I had to eat every 3 hours that when I was done with a prep I would be eating ALL the time because I told myself I HAD TO. I was overeating constantly and eating all the time which is a terrible combination for weight gain. Fasting allowed me to view things differently. Change your mindset, change your actions, change your outcomes sort of thing. I implemented fasted essentially to prove to myself that I controlled when I ate, rather the other way around.

I will say I still allowed myself to indulge quite a bit in LA after shooting all day. We had In-N-Out, cookies, wings, etc. Friday, we had Krispy Kremes, pizza, wine, frozen yogurt Saturday, and even Sunday I had some carrot cake. However, I listened to my body and made smarter choices regarding food and also didn’t overeat every meal, allowing myself the ability to eat more calorie dense food for the planned outings. We arrived home Sunday night and I had already mapped out a plan in my head about how my week would go.

Monday morning the first thing I did was fast. Why? Because I wanted to again take back the control aspect around food. I knew I would be at home where I would have tons of options around me. All those yummy things I dreamed of for breakfast would be starring me in the face with nobody to watch me and tell me I couldn’t have them. Typically after dieting for a goal and being home without “constraints” I would have made a giant plate of protein pancakes with bananas and tons of peanut butter or something of the sort. But instead, I made nothing but coffee. Again, this is MY way of controlling my reverse diet mental aspects, and I am by no means saying this is the way for everyone. Either way, I fasted until about 2pm Monday when I had my first meal which was my usual oats and egg whites. I didn’t feel the need to overeat and honestly felt full from my normal portion sizes (I contribute this full feeling to my leptin levels being more balanced this time around from my strategic refeed days through prep).

Since Monday I have tracked all my macros. I gave myself a macro threshold which was about 40G higher in carbs than I was the last week from my shoot. From here each week I will up my carbs and fats slowly while I try to maintain or slowly gain weight. I would be perfectly fine maintaining even at 128-130 as I think that is still a comfortable weight for me. I have to admit though this week I have been abnormally tired and I haven’t had the strong desire to “kill” my workouts like before. So I have continued to work out but have been taking it easy. I haven’t been doing more than 30-45 minutes of cardio a day and have continued to lift more circuit style just to get my body pushing carbs into muscle tissue. I have allowed myself to sleep in a bit more than normal and obviously my body is thanking me for the rest right now.

One more aspect I have to add is that I obviously have my wedding in 9 days. Yes this has been a contributing factor to my desire to stay lean, however, even in the past knowingly having other goals on mind, I wasn’t able to find balance as I have now. It is all about mindset though and I highly recommended to set those accountability mechanisms in place post prep as well.

Current Update:

7 weeks ago (125.4lbs) Vs. Last week (129lbs) Pictured Below

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Since I wrote this article above 2 months ago I am pleased to say I am currently sitting at between 129-130lbs. I have continued to increase my calories and carbs and have also had some weekends where I haven’t tracked at all due to all the celebrations and normal “life” events we have had over the summer. One thing I have been missing is an accountability goal however and that is something I have been going back and fourth with needing at this point.

The Olympia expo is in 5 weeks which has definitely been in the back of my mind. I would like to go to the Olympia feeling good about myself of course but the idea of only being 5 lbs up from my prep low  has made me feel as if I don’t have much to work towards and I therefor have self sabotaged myself in a way with the type of mentality that says “I can get away with this” sort of thing. I have noticed myself becoming more relaxed with my eating habits and the desire to “live normal” has been eating at both Brandan and I as we try to enjoy our lives as a newly married couple outside of the fitness realm. I do contribute some of how I am feeling towards not having a set goal or timeline as I did previously for different events like our wedding and my birthday. So just today I contacted a photographer to possibly set up a shoot in Vegas during the weekend of the Olympia, more so to hold myself accountable in that aspect. I have been very torn on doing this as I know setting constraints and timelines on leaning out can also have the opposite affect on people and cause more binge eating or rebounding with the “I better eat it all now because I have to get back into prep tomorrow” mentality. I love the fact that for the most part I feel balanced with my food choices and intake so I am torn on forcing this type of an accountability goal for myself right now. I will continue to update everyone on my mindset with this and plan to write on the subject more moving closer to the Olympia.

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PHOTOGRAPHY & REFLECTING ON OUR WEDDING DAY

I just received our wedding photos back this week and it made me feel like I was re-living that day again. What a beautiful day it was! Honestly I couldn’t have asked for a better wedding day. So many things that were supposed to go wrong but in the end it all couldn’t have been more perfect.

The forecast leading up to our wedding said rain Thursday through Sunday. I was so bummed seeing as how all my family and friends were traveling to town those days and I wanted them to enjoy there time here and see the state in its most beautiful setting. I always bragged to my family back in Oregon that I love that it “never rained here”… so I felt I had jinxed myself in a way. Most of my family and friends had never visited this part of the country and I just wanted them to be able to experience it the way I envisioned it in my head. Not to mention our rehearsal and wedding ceremony were both planned to be outside. The entire time Brandan kept PROMISING me it would be okay… and as a true South Dakota native I tried my hardest to believe him.

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While driving to our rehearsal it started to rain. I was EXTREMELY upset. But to my surprise as soon as rehearsal was scheduled to start the rain cleared up and the sun came out. We finished rehearsal and took cover under a large picnic area to have our scheduled catered rehearsal dinner. As soon as our food arrived, the rain came pouring down, but by then I didn’t care.. we were all under cover and hey… anytime food is around I don’t have much of a care in the world except for what’s going in my mouth lol.

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The next day my bridesmaids and I got up at the crack of dawn to meet for breakfast before hair and makeup. On the drive to the pancake house the sky was black with clouds and the forecast was not promising. I was devastated but was on such a time crunch with making sure everything was done in an orderly manner I decided not to focus on the weather and just pray for the best. By the time our hair and makeup was done and we went outside for pictures the sky had cleared and the sun was starting to shine through. I kept praying it would hold out for three more hours until we were inside for the reception. God granted my prayers that day because not only did it not rain but as soon as I walked down the aisle, the clouds broke and the sun was shinning right down on Brandan and I as we said “I do”. Brandan of course was at the altar whispering “I told you so..” But I have to give it to him… he has never let me down on anything he has ever promised me and I can guarantee I will never doubt him for as long as I live.

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(Bridesmaids Breakfast.. had to show my gains lol)

Needless to say, our wedding day was the most perfect day of my entire existence this far. I loved every moment of it and wish I could re-live it over and over. These photos and our wedding video bring me back to that day and make me so grateful that I found the love of my life who gave me my fairytale wedding.

I welcome you all to watch our wedding video at the following link:

http://vimeo.com/100888832

I also want to send a special thank you to everyone who was a part of our big day. And a very special thank you to Chris Wegner our videographer, and Brittany Kruger our photographer for capturing all our special moments.

To view more of Chris’s work please visit his website at http://www.chris-wegner.com along with Brittany Kruger’s Photography at https://www.facebook.com/BrittanyJoPhotography

 

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93 CALORIE CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER CREPE

Chocolate peanut butter crepes!

The key to prep is making every meal taste like dessert but still fit your macros!

This is just 4 egg whites pan fried (the key is making sure the pan is hot before pouring egg whites in) and flipped with cinnamon cooked in. Once cooked I then put one tablespoon of pblean/water (PBlean is just the MyOatmeal version of pb2- powdered peanut butter- its cheaper and you get more though! Order at www.myoatmeal.com) + chocolate walden farms in it and roll up into crepe. Sprinkle with a bit more cinnamon and 1tbs of fat free 5 calorie Reddi whip.

One crepe is just 93 calories, 1G fat, 4G carbs, and 17G protein done this way. I eat these a lot at night too. Great sweet tooth alternative!

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