7-Weeks Out

7-Weeks Out Galveston

I’m now be 7-weeks out from my competition. I’m already starting to notice some differences. They’ve been really slight as the true magic won’t start happening for a few weeks. I still have to be very very consistent and follow my plan, even though it seems very slow.

I’ve kind of had a crazy few weeks that have made me lose my focus. March started with some new workouts that were crazy intense. I honestly hadn’t been that sore in a long time, but it was a good sore and I loved it- I know, I’m crazy. However, it did make performing day-to-day functions harder. Anyway, a few Fridays ago I got up and did an insane glute workout that involved over 360 lunges on each leg (720 total), as well as squats, and various plyometric exercises. Then I got a little work done before I had to pick up my kids from school for their early release and pack my car for our road trip.

We drove to New Braunfels where my in-laws live and I attended a women’s conference with the ladies at my church. Needless to say between the glute workout and then lots of sitting for driving and at the conference, I was pretty stiff when I woke up to workout on Saturday. I got 30 mins of plyometrics in and another 15 mins of sprints, then went to the conference again, which finished at 2:00. On a side note, Naomi Zacharias was our keynote speaker and I highly recommend her book, The Scent of Water: Grace for Every Kind of Broken.

I was back on the road with the kids by 3:30 headed toward Kansas City to spend some Spring Break time with my parents. I drove straight through and arrived at their house at 5:15 am, thanks to losing an hour due to daylight savings time. Luckily my kids slept most of the drive so being cramped in the back seat of my Jetta didn’t bother them too much.

I have made that drive by myself many times, and even at night a few times, but most of the time I’m able to leave early enough that I get in at 2:00 am or so and I still have quite of bit of darkness left to get some zzz’s. However, getting in so late in the morning really did a number on me. By Sunday I was one big brain-dead, tired, sore, achy mess. Blah, blah, blah.

Thanks to proper planning I had my meals all ready for the whole trip so I was able to stay on track. However, missing all that sleep, and not being able to get back on a good sleep schedule for a few days after the drive has really affected me. I’ve said this before, but I’m going to repeat it- sleep is so important. Not only to allow my muscles to recover but to help my body repair my organs and get rid of toxins as well as promote excess fat loss.

Not getting enough sleep left me feeling puffy and lethargic- things that no one really wants to be, let alone a competitor trying to rid myself of excess water weight. I haven’t been able to get back on track since then. My sleep has been much better, but my focus is gone. Every now and then I question whether competitions are right for me. I enjoy the challenge of the intense workouts, but the dieting makes it hard to do fun family events. Plus, competitions aren’t cheap and there are other things I could be spending money on.

Anyway, I’m trying to get my focus back and decide whether or not this May competition is for me or whether I should just focus on the one in Florida at the end of June or even at all. I’m giving myself a week of hitting it hard and focused eating to decide.

I’m sharing my pictures anyway. Due to puffiness these pictures may not be a true reflection of what is there, but you’ll see more changes in the coming weeks.

Questions? Comments? Please let me know.

Jessica

Goals and Having a Plan

Dreams

Despite the normal barrage of incredibly bad news, I hear inspirational stories all the time.

  • The man who created an outreach in his inner city neighborhood.
  • The woman who finally lost 200 pounds after trying every diet and exercise program out there.
  • The mother who worked tirelessly bringing her sick child to radiant health.
  • The grandfather who quit cigarettes to realize his dream of running a marathon.

Every day people just like you and me go out into the world and make their dreams come true.

They did it. Why not you? You’re no different than any of these successful individuals.

Why Couldn’t Your Dream Come True?

True, it sounds hard. In fact, it probably is hard, with a number of obstacles to overcome. That may be reason enough to put your dream on permanent hold.

“Obstacles are like wild animals. They are cowards but they will bluff you if they can. If they see you are afraid of them… they are liable to spring upon you; but if you look them squarely in the eye, they will slink out of sight.”—Orison Swett Marden, writer.

Could a Plan Help?

The easiest way to turn a dream into reality is one step at a time:

  • Choose one thing to get done. A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
  • Identify what scares you most. Ask yourself: What’s the worst thing that could happen if I face this fear? Write down the worst-case scenario, and also write how you would confront it.
  • Identify a small reward for yourself once you’ve accomplished that activity.
  • Then just do it. Complete and check that task off your list.
  • Now treat yourself to the reward, rejoice, and celebrate!
  • Repeat the above steps as many times as necessary and watch yourself get happier and healthier by pursuing what you love.

Consistency is key. Keep doing one thing every time you get a chance. Stay true to your intentions that you set last week. Sometimes I have a hard time staying focused on those goals and I have to admit I had a bit of an epiphany after a recent long all-night drive. When I was feeling really tired like I was going to fall asleep, I’d simply look at my kids. They were out cold, drooling on their pillows in uncomfortable positions in my little car. The reason they were able to sleep so soundly was the fact that they trusted Mommy to get them safely to Grandma and Grandpa’s house. That we might get into an accident never crossed their minds or else they may have been too scared to sleep. Knowing my kids were counting on me kept me awake.

Whether you have some major health concerns that you need to work on, or you just need some extra energy to be able to play with your kids on the weekends, staying focused on setting a healthy example for our babies is enough to help anyone stay on track. My goal is a fitness competition, which is not as noble as overcoming major health concerns. However, preparing for it does take time that I have to spend away from my kids. So if I’m going to do it, I’m going to make it worth it, right? No matter what your dreams and goals are, pursuing them takes up your time- time that you will never get back- so you might as well be laser-focused on doing what needs to be done

If you need help with this, join my Hot-For-The-Summer Coaching program. We’ll start with some prep, then a 10-Day Detox, then goal setting and constant accountability. After 12-weeks you should be set for lifestyle maintenance and continued health improvement.

Questions? Comments? Please let me know.

Jessica

Getting Clear on Your Goals

Dreams and Temptations

Two friends are chatting about their diets. The first one says, “I want to be healthy and feel great.” The second one says, “I intend to be healthy and feel great.”

Which one do you think is going to get healthy and feel great? Yep—the one who intends it.

Wanting is simply wishing you can have or do a particular thing it. Intending means you’re committed to achieving something by making a plan for success—and sticking to it!

The Fuel for Desired Results

The key to intention is action – try this to build your intention muscle:

  • Get clear on what you want. Create a vision board by gathering images and words that pertain to your goal, and gluing them onto a large piece of construction paper. Hang the collage in a spot where you’ll see it often. (Or, you can use an online service like Pinterest to create a digital vision board.)
  • Do something to make your desire happen. Let’s say you want to eat four servings of vegetables a day. Your first action may be to go to a farmers’ market and purchase a few veggies you can cook for dinner.
  • Celebrate your achievement! Don’t forget to congratulate yourself for meeting your goal.

How to Have a Great Day… Every Day!

Did you know that you can even set an intention to have a great day?

Rather than diving into your morning and hoping you’ll achieve your day’s big goal, why not take a moment and set yourself up for success?

Try this “Setting An Intention to Succeed” exercise used by professional athletes, speakers, politicians, and performers:

  • Upon waking, lie in bed and think about what you have planned for your day (or, find a quiet spot to sit and contemplate).
  • Think about your desired outcome. Take a deep breath and visualize yourself succeeding.
  • Replay your success several times in your mind.
  • Next, add other senses, including sounds, smells, and touch. For instance, as you replay your success, you now also hear the director offering you the gig, or you feel the physical sensation of your finger hitting the “send” button on your latest assignment.
  • Lastly, replay the scene again, adding emotions. Feel your elation at getting the part, or your pride at finally finishing your work.

You can perform An Intention to Succeed, throughout the day as desired. This has become very important to me to do on a regular basis now that I’m getting closer to my competition date.

It can be very easy to get side-tracked and mindlessly grab one of my kids’ treats or eat some of their French fries when we’re on a road trip and have to eat out, especially fast food. It can also be very easy to skip posing practice- which is key as well. I don’t just want to do well at my competition, I intend to do well.

If you need help with creating clear intentions and goals then join my Hot-For-The Summer Coaching program. Creating goals and having accountability are key in order to reach your goals of radiant health.

Questions? Comments? Please let me know.

Jessica

What to Eat While Pregnant and Breastfeeding

Pregnancy Pics

I feel a bit conflicted trying to give advice to women during such a crazy time like pregnancy or breastfeeding. I myself had not yet discovered clean eating when I was pregnant and I went a little (okay, a lot) crazy.

When I was pregnant with my daughter, I fell victim to a commercial from Hardee’s about their $5 burger. It showed a pregnant woman walking into her ob/gyn appointment with her burger. She sat next to a woman who was pregnant with her 3rd or 4th and the older kids were running around the office making a lot of noise. The voice over said that those of us pregnant with our first child should enjoy all the $5 burgers at Hardee’s while we could because we’d have the next 7 years to eat nothing but McDonald’s. And I did…I think I ate at least one of those things a week, if not more.

My first pregnancy was relatively easy. I gained about 35 pounds and despite phases of tiredness, I didn’t have any problems. In fact, most of the weight that I gained was water weight in the last few weeks, you can see it in my face in the top left picture- which was taken the morning that I went into labor. The weight came off pretty easily too since I was breastfeeding- or so I thought. Between the weight that is normally lost in child birth and water weight, I seriously lost 25 pounds in two weeks. So when I was pregnant with my son, I thought it’d be the same.

However, I was getting my MBA at the time and so I was taking night classes. I had a half-caff coffee in the mornings and then drank one or two Coke Zeros at night. Even though I monitored my caffeine intake, the artificial sweeteners did not help. I still had crazy cravings for lots of greasy stuff and sweets though I didn’t have any nausea. I didn’t sleep as well and I was not as good about exercising.

On a funny note, I remember making the mistake of trying to take a nap during the middle of the day when I was home with my daughter. She was going through a drawer phase and liked to open them and pull everything out. Well, she didn’t want to take a nap at the time and shortly after I lay down next to her she woke up and started getting into all of my drawers. By the time I woke she had gone through three or four of them and was climbing up the front of my dresser to get in the top one. Talk about going from nearly-comatose to wide-awake quickly.

Anyway, I had to be induced at 37 weeks because my son stopped growing in utero. He was very small and had to stay in the NICU for 2 weeks and he never really hit the growth spurt that they expected. He was very small for a long time. Even though I assumed that the weight would come off like it did with my daughter, it held on for a while. It took me over a year to lose the weight.

When I think about the different situations of my pregnancies and how I dealt with each one, I do wish I had known more about nutrition than I did. Maybe I could have dealt with stress better, not relied on non-nutritive forms of energy and maybe not had the complications at the end. I don’t know if it would have made a difference, but every little bit helps when you’re growing a little human. So, alas, I’m going to give some recommendations. Take these as they are and try to incorporate them when you can.

The best foods for preconception, pregnancy, and breast-feeding are the same. You want to remember that nutrient density is going to be most important. Nutrients are going to prevent deficiencies and deficiencies are what lead to cravings, nausea, messed up hormones and other unpleasant side effects of pregnancy. Processed foods have no nutrients, so kick those to the curb. Vegetable oils and fats (like shortening, canola oil, vegetable oil, etc) are also highly processed and should not be used. Sugar also has no nutritional value and can mess up your blood sugar and lead to more cravings- an ugly cycle that can complicate already eventful and hormonal pregnancies. Caffeine should be avoided or used in moderation.

It is estimated that women need an extra 300 calories during pregnancy and 500 during breastfeeding. The best way to build a healthy baby while getting that in is not to add an extra Snickers bar every day, but to make sure that you are getting a good balance of healthy proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. Many women have noted that getting enough protein during pregnancy has kept their nausea at bay. I’ve also heard the same about fats from good sources- olive oil, coconut oil, butter, pastured eggs, nuts, avocado, etc. Protein should be good quality, like pastured chickens and eggs, grass-fed beef, and humanely raised turkey.

Hydration is also key. Water not only helps to keep morning sickness at bay, but it also is important for the increased amount of blood volume that you need during pregnancy and to replace the liquid that you are using up during breast-feeding.

Green leafy vegetables, alfalfa, and liquid chlorophyll are important especially at the end of pregnancy because they raise levels of Vitamin K, which promotes blood clotting.

Some supplements may also be taken. Probiotics are good to promote healthy gut flora for mom and baby, especially during labor and delivery. Probiotics that occur naturally in fermented foods like kefir, kombucha, water kefir, sauerkraut, etc are the best because they help to rebuild a healthy gut. I use Inner-Eco because it is a concentrated coconut water kefir. You can get a 30-day supply from Whole Foods for $18, which is much better than some of the pill supplements that don’t match what we have in our gut so they have to be taken indefinitely.

Omega-3s are important as is cod liver oil. In winter Vitamin D is low due to lack of sunlight so it can be supplemented in D3 form. Magnesium can help with muscle cramps and relaxation as well as constipation, and it’s found in dark chocolate. The same can’t be said of milk chocolate though. Something about adding milk to chocolate messes with the nutrient profile and how our bodies absorb it. Don’t go overboard with dark chocolate though or you’ll end up messing with your blood sugar. It’s also important to monitor Vitamin C and Folate (not folic acid) intake.

Gelatin, like Jensen’s or Great Lakes grass-fed gelatin, can be supplemented or you can get it in food form by having bone broth. Use some homemade chicken stock to whip up an easy batch of egg drop soup and you’re getting quite a bit of nutrients all in one.

Iron shouldn’t really be supplemented as it causes upset stomach for most, but you can get quite a bit by using a cast iron pan. You can also eat some red meat, especially liver, from grass-fed cows, but liver and even red meat sounds a lot less appetizing to pregnant women sometimes.

A great sample meal would be some chicken breast on top of a leafy green salad with some EVOO, lemon juice, and mustard as a dressing and a side of sweet potato with 1 tablespoon of both nut butter and either coconut oil or butter mashed in.

Another would be a spinach omelet made with pastured eggs cooked in butter with a side of apple cinnamon oatmeal (not the packaged kind, but the kind that you make a big batch of at the beginning of the week and then warm it up for an easy meal).

Fruit can be eaten, but should be eaten between meals as snacks. Protein, grains, and then veggies require an ascending pH to digest in the stomach. Fruit needs a higher pH to digest so it tends to go last in the pecking order when it is eaten with other foods. The sugar in the fruit then ferments in the stomach and can cause gas, bloating and other un-pleasantries that tend to be worse during pregnancy anyway.

Cravings are very important during pregnancy as sometimes your body is telling you that it needs something specific. For instance, you may find yourself craving oranges because you need the calcium or vitamin C. In that case you should give in to the craving. Other times, when you find yourself craving Twinkies, you know that that comes from either an addiction to sugar, a need for the quick energy boost that sugar can bring, or a crazy hormonal swing that will more than likely get worse if you give in to the sugar craving. In that case, try to have something better, like fruit for the natural sugars or even as an occasional treat a homemade cupcake that you know all the ingredients of, ie not one that came from a box mix. You can make a batch of homemade treats that you freeze in individual serving sizes to have available for such times, just defrost on the counter or in the microwave.

In one of my lectures during my course Annemarie Colbin talked about her pregnancy. She has been a vegetarian since she was a girl, but when she was pregnant with her first daughter she craved meat- chicken livers and bacon specifically. Then when she had her daughter, she went back to eating vegetarian, but the little girl was just hungry and grouchy all the time. When she was 4 there was a block party and she asked if she could have a hamburger. Annemarie said yes and the little girl was so well-behaved for the next few days she couldn’t believe it. She realized that the little girl had been putting in orders for a meat-eating body the whole time during pregnancy, and the vegetarian diet just wasn’t cutting it for her growing body. So every few days she let her daughter eat dinner with some friends when they had meat for dinner and everything was great. Sometimes the foods that we eat and crave during pregnancy are going to be the very foods that our kids need to grow. Interesting, huh?

The more I learn about the human body through the study of nutrition and personal training courses, the more I am fascinated. When we give our bodies the right fuel, we can do so much, like grow healthy incredible babies.

I hope this information helps you. Getting the right nutrients during pregnancy and breast-feeding can not only help you grow a healthy baby, but can also help you lose the baby weight quicker to get back into your pre-baby clothes.

Questions? Comments? Please let me know.

Jessica