HEALTHY LOW CARB SPAGHETTI DINNER

Healthy Low Carb Spaghetti Dinner; Lean Bison and Organic Tomato Sauce over Spaghetti Squash

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This is one of my husbands favorite meals. He asked me to make it again tonight after I made it for him a few nights ago. Its super simple and easy, so I didnt mind! Plus its very filling and low carb/cals!

Directions:

1) Cut Spaghetti Squash in half. Scrape out the strings and seeds you see in the center with a spoon and wash thoroughly.
2) Place both halves face down in a shallow microwave safe glass dish with a small amount of water in the bottom.

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3) Microwave for 10-12 minutes, turn dish around to cook thoroughly and microwave another 10-12 minutes. Most likely the dish will not rotate because it is too large.

4) While spaghetti squash is in the microwave, sautee whatever desired amount of sweet onion and/or mushrooms and/or bell peppers you may like in a hot sautee pan. Add diced garlic, onion powder, garlic powder, and pepper.

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5) Add meat of choice if needing to cook your meat. I have used lean ground turkey in the past and it works great!

6) Add organic strained tomato sauce or blend up your own! I look for pure tomato sauce on the label, which should have 30 cals or less per serving. Most the canned stuff has lots of add ins and often times is over 60 calories per serving.

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7) If meat is pre-cooked, like the bison sent to us from IconMeals, then add it to the sauce last while on simmer.
8) Take spaghetti squash out of the microwave and scrape with a fork to pull into “noodles”

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9) Add 1- 2 cups of spaghetti squash to a bowl, top with desired amount of sauce and meat.
10) I usually toast up a few slices of 45 calorie Sarah Lee Bread which I sprinkle with parmesan and oregano + garlic powder and add it on the side

Thats it! Super easy and delicious! ENJOY!

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BALANCE AND THE POWER OF “DOING IT FOR YOU”

I wrote this post about 10 days previous to going to the Olympia this last weekend. I have been so busy I wasn’t able to post it but thought it was something some of you may be able to take something from. So here it is:

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BALANCE AND THE POWER OF  “DOING IT FOR YOU”

Thinking a lot today about balance. Happiness. What truthfully makes me happy. My mind is going a million directions and a million miles an hour. Why? I know why. Because last night my actions didn’t align with my core desires. Last night I ate more than I thought I should. I ate because I felt hungry. I ate to feel content, to feel full, to satisfy what I thought was my desire. I think what we often don’t realize is that in those moments of “coping” aka using food to make ourselves feel better, we really are just ignoring our subconscious mind. We are ignoring what is at the root of those actions. We are ignoring our inner self. I am guilty of it. Very guilty. But I have started to recognize this and I have a strong desire to address it, come to terms with it, and figure out a way to change it. Change it to better me, to know myself, to fully understand myself and live a more balanced fulfilling life.

I have posted about my personal struggles many times. I wrote a very in depth article about my mind and the way I view food, nutrition, and the constant battle that goes on in my brain. I am happy to say I have come a long ways since I wrote that article only a year and a half ago. I feel I have made leaps and strides in my ultimate goal to find balance in my life, but I can admit I am still not fully there. I am still struggling with my own demons and I am still very much finding my way in this industry and world.

As I mentioned in my last blog post, I have a constant sub-conscious pull to focus all my efforts on the long term desire to have children. But of course, I also have many career choices that are very closely tied into staying very lean and feeling happy in my own skin. I know better than anyone that competitors are their own worst self critics. It is very hard to be happy with your body when you have seen it at its best. The feeling of being incredibly lean is indescribable. You are happy with the way you look, the way your clothes fit, with the way you feel (sometimes) but often times you are also just as unhappy with what you have to do to maintain it, to keep it. You are unhappy when you go to bed hungry but happy when you wake up to take your selfies (lol, its true). You are unhappy when you are tired and hungry but happy when your clothes fit comfortably and every outfit looks good. You are happy when someone leaves a comment on your progress photo but unhappy when you realize you still aren’t as lean as you could be. Its a constant battle regardless. So many mental battles along the road of finding yourself, especially in an industry so hyper focused on appearance.

That brings me to my next thought. I have realized some things about myself and about others that I find interesting. It seems a lot of people have a tendency of rebellious behavior within them. If someone tells you that you cannot do something, you want to do it most likely. Why is this? Is it something we learned from a young age due to the constraints our parents put on us? Whatever it is, I have noticed it a lot with myself and my fitness goals lately. What I am getting at is this; I see myself self-sabotage in certain ways when it comes to industry goals. I think some of this has to do with my subconscious resentment towards the constraints I have felt but a lot of it has to do with feeling like I am being asked to do something to make someone else happy. For example, I know I want to feel good in my skin- I have personal goals to maintain a body I am proud of. I felt I was able to do that fairly well after getting done with my last prep for a few weeks. But as soon as I have someone telling me “I have to get lean” or feel that I am setting goals for others like prepping to look good at the O, I start to notice myself self sabotage in certain ways. I start to notice more binge episodes, more “I just don’t care’s” come out of my mouth, more of the “Fuck-it” mentality. But what happened to my goals? I still have MY goals.. so why am I doing this now? And thats just it, because the forefront of my mind is focused on doing something that is for someone else, not for my own happiness.

Dieting is never easy. Food is a necessity and we need it to survive. Anytime you restrict a necessity you will have periods of struggle. But the struggle isn’t as hard when you are doing something for you. When you WANT to do something to better yourself, and not for the benefit of other people is when it will play out the way it is supposed to. Our subconscious mind is so powerful in the way it plays out into our everyday actions. I truthfully believe that. If we can really tap into our sub conscious and ask ourselves “Why am I really doing this? What is causing this behavior?” then we could all answer most of our own problems. Sometimes its completely unrelated. Often times we will turn to food to temporarily make us forget about something, make us feel better, make us “live in the moment” only to then fill our minds with more anxiety, more worry, more mind games.

Instead we need to take a step back and realize what is really happening. For example, as someone who has always prided themselves on being efficient and professional with my work, it bothers me when I do not respond to work emails or inquiries in what I believe is a timely manner. But sometimes I validate this and just say.. a few hours from work is okay. But ultimately by putting it off further I create anxiety around it and it is still in the back of my mind. Instead of just getting it done and feeling good about accomplishing that piece of my personal satisfaction, putting it off often times has led me to overeat. I know those things have really no correlation but the more I looked at that happening the more I was able to associate the two things and how not dealing with my subconscious anxiety and stress was unfolding into my actions regarding food and the desire to want to fulfill that anxiety- I basically was trying to fix something completely unrelated with a temporary bandaid of the way food made me feel for those few minutes of eating.

These are the types of things that will ultimately lead to a balanced, healthy life. Recognizing the “why” is the first step, but untangling it is really the hard part. My biggest advice for those of you wondering why you may yo-yo diet or seem to be in a never ending mind game to find balance… I recommend analyzing situations and what is at your core. Changing your mind set on them can change your life. Our subconscious plays such a huge role in our outcomes. Take back control with your goals by changing the way you view them. Do them for you and only you. Repeat it to yourself, “I am doing this for me” when you feel the urge to fall off the wagon. And then re-evaluate what else may be urging you off your path.

“Whatever we plant in our subconscious mind and nourish with repetition and emotion will one day become a reality.” – Earl Nightingale

UPDATE: A few days after these thoughts, I was feeling MUCH better about things. I posted this on my Instagram account and wanted to repost how changing my mindset had affected me:

“Feeling REALLY good the last two days. Sounds silly but I feel like I have started to acknowledge how much focusing on doing things for yourself rather than others really makes a difference in your everyday actions with health and fitness. I have been focusing really hard on positive reinforcement with myself, viewing the gym in a positive light again and repeating to myself when things feel hard “I’m doing this for me”. I’m back on a mission to find my balance and am happy again. After realizing I didn’t have to shoot at the O, I of course ate some things I had been craving and it totally threw me off track. That’s always my fear when I go to that point of restriction, not just the physical rebound but more so the mental. I was justifying eating more again only to find myself feeling guilty about it the next day. I fasted Wednesday morning and thought ALOT about my mental state. Like I mentioned, I feel I was allowing my focus to be on others rather than myself. I was allowing resentment, anxiety, and fear of failure to play out in my self-sabotaging behaviors. I wasn’t dieting and working out for me anymore, but for what I felt others expected of me at the O. Once I turned that around and got back to focusing on me- I found my groove again. My happy place. Because I eat healthy for me. I work out because I like the way it makes me feel. I eat in moderation because it IS possible to not feel deprived but still be comfortable in your own body. I take care of myself because I have a desire to live a long healthy life, not because I want more likes on an Instagram picture. I don’t fear food because nutrient dense food- whether it healthy grains and breads, extra fat from avocado, or organic egg yolks- tastes delicious, is beneficial to balancing my hormones and helping me conceive one day. “I’m doing this for me”

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STRUGGLES AND MY PERSONAL LIFE

STRUGGLES.
We all struggle. We all have our own personal issues, family issues, life issues. In the large scale of things I know my struggles are nothing compared to some and often times find myself feeling guilty for not being able to see how many blessings I have all around me. A wonderful life I have, I truthfully should be very grateful. And I try to remind myself of that daily. To see the big picture in this superficial industry I often times feel stuck in.

So whats my deal? Why am I struggling?
Some of you can probably read through that first paragraph and here resentment in my tone. Its not something I try to hide although I do try to put as much positivity as I can out there each day. But am I resentful in my everyday life? A little bit, yes. You see this industry looks so glamorous from the outside. “You have a perfect body, perfect husband, perfect life.. what do you have to complain about?” right? But that’s just it. To achieve what we have, my husband and I, we have hidden many of our struggles to get to where we are at. Damaged our bodies, damaged our metabolisms, over dieted, over extended ourselves, put ourselves out there to be scrutinized, and most importantly risked the very thing that is so important to us both- having children.

Brandan and I both want kids. We knew as soon as we met and have had many conversations regarding having kids after we were married. As many of you know, we work closely with a hormone doctor and we both had our hormones tested last December when I first moved to Sioux Falls. We are both a mess in terms of balanced in hormones and where we will need to be in order to have children. Unfortunately the only way of getting our bodies back to balance is through increasing our body fat, allowing ourselves more rest and recovery and introducing some hormone therapy to help jump start our systems in that direction. None of which can be done efficiently when one is dieting and/or restricting for events every few months.

I have accepted that this is my/our careers and this is what we do for a living now. But I cant help but often times feel resentment when I feel I have another purpose to live for rather than how lean I can get to look good in a photo or at an event. Its funny, I have been called narcissistic, conceded, etc on a few of my blog posts. But what some people fail to recognize is that more than anything in the world I want what everyone wants- a family, a “normal” life, a life not full of selfies, abs, weighing myself each day, stress over what I look like, etc.

About a month ago I found out I would most likely have to diet for the Olympia, as I am signing with a new supplement company and will need to do another photoshoot. I have noticed as time goes on, dieting seems to get harder for me. Not harder in terms of wanting to eat things that are off plan necessarily, but harder due to the underlying thoughts I have about what it is doing to my body long term and how it may affect my future and desire for a family. These are the things people in my position don’t openly speak about. Its not all glamour and fun- trust me. I have realized I feel I have purpose other than dieting now, I have a husband and something to live for outside of what I look like. Its a dream come true although it also causes a lot of torment. I will elaborate further here in a bit…
So along with that, some of you know I had my eyebrows tattoo’d last weekend. I knew I would get a lot of criticism openly talking about that but I decided to post it on my Instagram anyways. Kind of superficial after everything I said above huh? But if I am going to be real with you all and pride myself on that, then I need to be honest and share these things too, as getting your face tattooed is kind of a big deal in my opinion. I explained on Instagram the reason I did this. To save myself from writing that out again I am going to paste what I wrote on Instagram here:

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“So today I had my face tattooed on. It’s funny cause people always comment on my “eyebrow game” but don’t realize I was blond for the first 19 years of my life. That being said I have tried to perfect the shape of my eyebrows for years so yes I have natural hair that provides the way my eyebrows are shaped. Unfortunately though, they’re naturally lighter than my hair is and it bothers me, so I fill them a little darker to match my hair shade a bit better. Anyways, I had heard about eyebrow hair stroke tattooing from a friend who had it done and really wanted to do it but had to find someone I trusted enough to tattoo on my face because every girl should know your eyebrow game is seriously one of the most important things in life (joking…kinda lol). I am super happy to say my hormone doctor in Lincoln, NE recommended someone to me who did them perfect today and I am thrilled with the results. So my first tattoo happen to be my face (sorry mom and dad)….”

The tattoo itself I do not regret at all. I posted an after photo as requested and I am very pleased with the results and do not regret my decision. I went very modest in getting this done and I have always been self conscious about not having my eyebrows filled in with my hair so dark so I feel this small procedure makes me feel much more confident. Like I mentioned, the shape of my brows has taken me years to “perfect” to my liking and I have hair everywhere I fill my brows, it just isn’t the color I wished it was.

(Post-proceedure photo)

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Anyways, the downfall was I had an allergic reaction to the numbing agent that was injected into the nerve and my face has been extremely swollen with lots of fluid in my eyes and face. My doctor had prescribed a corticosteroid for me to help with the inflammation and swelling. Anytime you introduce a steroid or any type of foreign substance into your system though you never know how you may react to that either and I have to say I have dealt with more consequences of doing so.

As I mentioned earlier, I have been collaborating some exciting moves in the direction of my fitness career lately. I was a Beast Sports Nutrition Endorsed Athlete but was unhappy with my working relationship and decided it was time for me to see what else was out there. I am excited to say I have had a couple great contract offers on the table from other supplement companies who I just happen to love. That being said, I thought I was done dieting for the year after my Oxygen Shoot in June and was being more relaxed with my nutrition while trying to reverse diet and get my metabolism to a healthier place when this all happened. So as I mentioned, now that I am collaborating a contract deal with a new company, I was asked to do some photoshoots for new content on behalf of whoever I chose to sign with at the Olympia.

I was 5 lbs up from my shoot weight when this happened, so at 4 weeks out I didn’t think this would be a big deal and could hang in there and diet one more time to make this work out. As an extremist, I never show up to a shoot, show, event, etc not feeling prepared. This is a blessing and a curse of the type of person I am. I dont like to not show up my best and represent what I know I can. So even though I had my reservations on dieting again, I started right away to get back to the condition I felt I would need at the O. The first week I noticed my head not being fully committed and I couldn’t figure out if this was due to me trying to maintain some balance in my life, or if it was my reservations eating at me with knowing I was only furthering myself from my ultimate goal of children. Either way, the changes I was making in my diet and exercise should have eluded enough change for me to be prepared at the O. The second week I wasn’t seeing the changes I wished for so I upped my cardio and cut my carbs a bit more but I also have had this voice in the back of my head this entire time that I would not go to extremes NO MATTER WHAT. Because extremes are what cause rebounds and I have been trying to avoid that at all costs. The crappy thing is I felt I was just finding a good off season/reverse diet balance with my intake and choices everyday and I knew going back into “prep mind” could throw this balance off course. For those of you who have never been through these things, this is a very hard thing to explain.

As for dieting, I was at 160 grams of carbs daily so figured bringing them down slightly would elude some changes that week. I didn’t see much in terms of scale change and that was frustrating for me. And then…. I got on these prescription meds and what do you know… I have gained a lb a day. 5 lbs up in a week and 9 lbs from my goal weight at 2.5 weeks out was not at all what I was planning for. I have been killing my workouts, cut my calories more and still gaining. Tuesday morning I woke up to a swollen face and weighed more than I had in a year. I was starving and pissed and I just lost it. Literally had a crying fest. I felt tormented inside and pulled in every direction. Long term goals versus short term benefit was eating at me, not to mention I felt the furthest I ever had from a goal in my entire fitness career. Thank god my husband is such a wonderful man and helped me threw my sob fest.

I have taken a bit of a step back to re-gather my thoughts on all of this and feel much better today. I have hit up the sauna, continued working towards my goals, and decided that regardless of shooting at the O I needed to stay positive and know that everything happens for a reason. Like I mentioned, I am tormented mentally each and every day. The life I live is a blessing but it is very hard to be pulled in two different directions and not have your career choices in line with your long term plans for a family. Dieting becomes much harder when you feel you have something else to live for outside of your old selfish extremist ways. But I have recognized that even that is a blessing. My life is everything I have ever wanted it to be. A wonderful husband, a thriving career, a warm home. I have the “simple” things that will forever be more fulfilling than my abs and I thank god for those simple things everyday.

Today I am two weeks out from the O and am happy to say I can finally see my abs again and my weight has come back down to 131lbs. That is still 6 lbs from my goal weight and what I would feel comfortable shooting at and still almost 3 lbs up from where I started. But its coming down slowly. I honestly have not posted many to any progress photos as I have been so disturbed at the amount of water my body was carrying and the way I changed shape so quickly regardless of all my extra efforts. But now all I can do is hang in there for two more weeks and see what happens. And although I hold some resentment towards this lifestyle and its affects on me personally, I will continue to enjoy the ride as long as I can (selfies and all).

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AMAZING LOW CARB PUMPKIN PROTEIN WAFFLES

AMAZING LOW CARB PUMPKIN PROTEIN WAFFLES

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So playing around with my original recipe for pumpkin waffles I came up with a new and improved recipe with hardly any carbs! These are so beyond delicious you would never know they have net 4G carbs! Honestly I eat these a few times a day! Delicious!

Recipe:

⭐️5-6 egg whites or 2/3-3/4c liquid egg whites (you can change between these ratios without really affecting the outcome of the waffles)

⭐️ 2 heaping tbs. pure pumpkin purée (about 1/6 cup)

⭐️ 1tbs. Coconut flour

⭐️ 1tbs. Quick cook oats

⭐️ 1tbs. Whey protein

⭐️ 1/3tsp baking powder

⭐️ tons of cinnamon

⭐️ tons of pumpkin pie spice

⭐️ 1-2tbs of water or almond milk (optional if batter is very thick)

Blend until very well blended into moderately thick batter. Pour in hot non stick sprayed waffle iron. Cook thoroughly. The pumpkin adds some excess moisture so sometimes I cook a bit longer than recommended. Top with walden farms 0 calorie sugar free pancake syrup or whatever you prefer!

MACROS: ~ 150 calories, 1G Fat, 8G carbs, 4G Fiber, 23G Protein

 

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