What I Ate Wednesday- quarantine thoughts

Hi friends! How are you? Here we are in Week 5 of quarantine… and I confess this week has been hard for me. Not because anything has changed; we are all well and healthy. Praise God for that! But maybe it’s because NOTHING HAS CHANGED, that I’m feeling the monotony of it all. That, and the anxiety of what may (or may not) happen in the future. I’m sure I’m not alone in my feelings.

But first and foremost, I think it helps to recognise that this is indeed a stressful and anxiety-inducing time. If we can acknowledge that we ARE under stress and we WILL feel anxiety from time to time, it helps relieve pressure that we should be handling this “perfectly”.

That said, there are things that have helped me navigate this time period as well and healthfully as possible, given the circumstances.  And I say this even as I’m in “the valley” of not feeling that great this week. Here they are… and please, please add your own in the comments! Nothing would make my day more!

Breakfast: whole-grain toast with mashed banana/peanut butter, hemp seeds, and fresh raspberries

1. Take the short-term and long-term view: I’m trying to live one day at a time, recognizing that I not only can’t control what happens next week (or tomorrow!), but I can’t even predict it.  Living within my 24-hour window helps me focus on what I’m grateful for (health, family, food to eat) and what I can control (my attitude, food choices, & sleep habits). Taking the long-term view helps me feel less anxious for return to “normal” life.  Thinking that we may be doing “this” for not only the next few weeks, but the next few months, helps me take a deep breath and settle in. I’m trying to adjust my mind to this “new normal” (ie, our current situation, temporary but with an undefined end point) and create routines that feel good.

Lunch: scrambled egg whites with veggies & turkey bacon, and a baked sweet potato topped with maple syrup and pecans

2. Speaking of routines, it helps me to have some! They’re definitely not the same as my usual, but they create structure in my day all the same. My schedule is later than normal given that the kids are still on Manila time for their online schooling (6pm-1am), but I still try to go to bed and wake up at the same (later) time each day. My eating habits have shifted later as well… I find I’m eating fewer, larger meals with not as many snacks in between. I’m not weighing or tracking anything, but just eating 1) what we have, and 2) what sounds good within that limit. Gone are my days of shopping every day, haha. So meal planning is much more essential.

My new workout space is the climate-controlled garage. Leg day today!

Exercise has been mostly for my mental health, endorphins, and the connection I get from recording videos for my bootcamp ladies. I do have plans for obstacle-race competitions later in the year; whether those will pan out remains to be seen. So for now, I’m moving to stay healthy, physically & mentally.

3. I think mindset is everything… trying every day to focus on the positive, and be grateful for the blessings I have. Did my children wake up healthy today? Praise the Lord. Did I wake up healthy today? Praise the Lord. Do we have food to eat today? Thank you, Jesus. Too often I can overlook the blessings that are right in front of me, when these are the things that are most important. I’ve also realised that I now have the blessing of TIME with my 3 teenagers, who will so soon be leaving home to begin their own lives.  I would never have this kind of time under normal circumstances.  Here we are, all in the house together, with time to chat, play games, teach new skills like cooking, and just laugh ourselves silly.  It’s a true gift.

Take-out pizza (the kids drove down to get it!), corn on the cob, salad, & key lime LaCroix

4. I think it’s also important to acknowledge that there will be good days and bad days.  I have cried almost every day at the loss that we are all facing, especially our kids who are Seniors.  At the same time, I’ve also laughed until I’ve cried every day too! I think it’s all NORMAL. I also think it’s ok to NOT be productive. We don’t have to write a novel, learn a foreign language, or get a 6-pack. Watching Netflix on the sofa all day with a bowl of chips on your belly is perfectly acceptable! So is NOT cooking… and so is baking yourself silly and gaining the “quarantine 15.” IT’S ALL FINE, FRIENDS!!!

Dessert: Blue Bell vanilla bean ice cream topped with one of my healthy fudge brownies & pieces of my chocolate Easter bunny… sooo yummy!

5. Reach out. Recognize that we are all in this together. It helps me so much to be in touch with my friends via Zoom, Marco Polo, FaceTime, etc.  We certainly talk about the current situation, but we also talk about goals, dreams, kids, and life in general. It helps to take my mind off our present reality and realise that this won’t last forever. We WILL get through it, and I have to believe we will be stronger and more resilient as a result.

I encourage us all to “be gentle with ourselves”, as a good friend used to tell me all the time.  Do GOOD to ourselves and to those around us. PRAY not just for healing, but for strength, resilience, and courage for every day.

Love you, friends!

What I Ate Wednesday- Staying at Home

Howdy, friends! I hope you are all keeping safe and well. As many of you know, I’m in the US now with the kiddos, and even though we currently do not have a “stay-at-home” order, we are, in fact, staying at home for the most part. No need to go out, except for groceries, and much safer (for everyone!) to stay in. But thankfully I am still able to get outside to run, a privilege which my friends in Manila do not have. Makes me appreciate outdoor exercise as a gift rather than a chore.

When we first arrived in Denver, I wasn’t sure what I would find in terms of groceries. My sweet auntie brought us a big haul to start us off, though, and I’ve been able to fill in very nicely at the stores. Shopping in the morning is definitely better, when the stores have had time to re-stock overnight. So now we have about a 2-week food supply, and I have ingredients to make most of my normal recipes.

For breakfast I had a yogurt bowl: nonfat Greek yogurt with my “seed mix” (equal parts chia, flax meal, hemp seed, & unsweetened coconut) stirred in, and topped with fresh raspberries, chopped raw almonds, and GoLean Crunch protein cereal. I mixed it all up before eating it.

I’ve been missing my bootcamp ladies and our workouts a lot! So during this interim when we are separated by either distance or a quarantine order, I’ve been recording workouts and posting them on our Facebook group. It’s been a great way to stay connected!

Before I recorded this workout, I snacked on a slice of chocolate chip banana bread that I made the night before while the kids were in online school. They are keeping to the Manila time schedule, so are in class from 6pm-1am. It’s a bit late even for their teenage body clocks, but they are making the best of it! For me, my body is fighting to get back to my preferred sleep schedule of 9pm-5am… haha. But I’m winning so far at staying up late by doing active things like baking. So it’s a win for all of us, I guess!

Lunch was this yummy sandwich: sliced turkey, avocado, tomato, & salad greens on toasted oat bread. I had some sliced veggies, Triscuit thin crisps, & hummus on the side.

We went for a walk in the afternoon with my aunt & uncle in Roxborough State Park. It was a gorgeous day to get out! And as you can see, very easy to keep our distance.

I was hungry when we got home so I had a chocolate rice cake with peanut butter. Rice cakes are way better in Colorado where the humidity this time of year is around 25%, so the rice cakes stay super crispy!

I made burgers & fries for dinner, both grass-fed beef and portobello mushroom. Theda & I split one of each, and it was the perfect combo topped with Dijon mustard, lettuce, and red onion. The waffle fries were just the frozen ones that you bake… they were good though!

I had a piece of “pan cookie” after dinner but I forgot to take a picture. But just imagine a thick, chewy, chocolate chip cookie baked in a pan, and you’ll get the idea.

Although life is far from “normal”, we are settling into our “new normal” for now. And food is a big part of it. Hope you are staying safe and well, my friends!

What I Ate Wednesday- Carb Refeed

Hello friends!  First of all, thank you so much for your support and kind comments on my latest post on getting (and being!) super-lean.  Your words are golden to me!

My calories and carbs have never been so low during a competition prep, and I’ve been feeling the effects… fatigue, flat-looking muscles, and significant loss of strength during training.  And early this week my weight was hovering right around my stage weight, putting me about a week and a half ahead of schedule.  Woo hoo!

All this led my coach to call for a “carb refeed”- basically one day of significantly increasing carbohydrate intake to pump up my muscles, give me some mental & physical energy, and regulate my hormones such as cortisol, gherlin and leptin to help me combat the ongoing effects of dieting.

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What I Ate Wednesday- Maintenance Calories

Don’t you love my “beer” glass??

Hello friends!  The last time I showed you what I was eating, I was just a week or two away from my bodybuilding show, and definitely in the last phase of “cutting.”  Although my calories never dropped very low (1800 was the lowest I ever went), I found myself often sleepy and out of energy due to the deficit.  But by the time I stepped on stage, I was at the level of condition necessary to be competitive….

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What I Ate (& did!) in France

Howdy friends!  Or I guess I should say, “Bonjour!”

I’m just back from the trip of a lifetime… celebrating Mark’s & my 20-year anniversary!!!  Twenty years of marriage is something pretty special no matter how you look at it, and being away together to celebrate in Paris and the Loire Valley was truly amazing.

This trip couldn’t have come at a better time… just 3 weeks after my first bodybuilding competition and the structure and discipline that accompanied it.  I was so ready to ditch the weight scale and the food scale while I was away and just eat according to my heart’s desire.  And I did….

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What I Ate Wednesday- Peak Week

Hello friends!  Well, I’m in the middle of “peak week”!!!  (The final week preceding a bodybuilding contest.)  And from what I’ve heard about it, a lot of crazy things can happen… carb depletion, sodium depletion, water depletion… in efforts to strip that final bit of fat and eliminate any water under the skin.  But it sounds like a nightmare to me!

Thank goodness my coach doesn’t believe in any of that nonsense. She’s dialled in my physique in a slow & steady way so I don’t have to mess around during peak week… my body is ready.  So other than drinking 6 litres of water a day from now til the day before the show, I have no big changes this week.  Phew!

Breakfast was “pumpkin pie oatmeal” made with quick oats, mashed cooked pumpkin, cinnamon & nutmeg, one egg white, vanilla stevia, & powdered peanut butter.  I topped it with sunbutter & mango.  It was a huge bowl & really satisfied me after my 60-minute fasted walk.

I did my posing practice & upper body workout after breakfast, then had this snack: apple cinnamon oatmeal pancakes with peanut butter sauce & mango.  These are so easy to make & so filling that I’ve been eating them every day.  The recipe is simple: 1/2 cup quick oats, 3 egg whites,  1/3 cup pumpkin puree, 1/4 chopped apple, 1/2 t.cinnamon, 1/2 t. baking powder, &  1/8 t. salt… cooked on a pancake griddle in 1/2 tsp coconut oil.  I make a double batch & eat them cold the 2nd day.

After Bible study, I pulled out my lunch that I’d packed up earlier in the week.  I usually make 3 at a time so I don’t have to think about it- it’s ready to go at mealtime and I just heat it up and eat.  This was grilled chicken breast, rice with nutritional yeast, steamed green beans, & cinnamon roasted pumpkin.  I drizzled tahini & balsamic glaze over the whole thing.

Then I took a loooong nap!  I’d gotten up super early to do that fasted walk before waking up the kids for school, and anyone who knows what time we go to school can appreciate how early that must have been! ha ha  It felt so good to sleep.

I slept practically until snack time, which saved me from any potential hunger.  I love beating the system like that!  My snack was pretty simple: egg whites, roasted pumpkin (again!), rice cakes & a pumpkin oat cookie, sliced apple, & a big spoonful of peanut butter which I put on everything but the eggs.

My afternoon was spent collecting the items I’ll need on show day (any guesses as to why I’ll need a shower cap?  So much random stuff!!)  Then we had dinner: turkey burgers (I skipped the bun) with Dijon & balsamic glaze, mashed sweet potato which I pressed into a patty & dry-fried in a skillet, & grilled zucchini with zataar spice & nutritional yeast.  Even though I can’t eat as intuitively as I’d like right now, I am still able to make my meals interesting and creative within the confines of “meeting the macros.”  And that makes me happy.

Have a beautiful Wednesday, friends!

 

What I Ate Wednesday- 10 Days Out

Hi friends!  I’m now 10 days away from my competition… the finish line is in sight!  My coach gave me all my instructions for the rest of this week and next week (“peak week”).  My calories have dropped again just slightly so I can come in as lean and tight as possible.  But we’re still talking 1800 here, so I am not complaining at all!

Breakfast was a big bowl of oatmeal… as always!  I have every combination under the sun, and I love them all.  This one is chocolate zucchini with blueberries, banana, & peanut butter.  It’s sort of like “PB&J” oats. …

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What I Ate Wednesday… Getting Lean

Hello, friends!  Thank you so much for your lovely responses to my heartfelt post yesterday.  I appreciate you so very much.  I thought you might enjoy seeing what I’m actually eating these days in my “cutting” diet.  It may not seem like much of a cut…and I realise I’m very lucky to have a wondrous metabolism that lets me lose weight on 2000 calories a day.  I’m not gonna question it, I’m just gonna enjoy it while it lasts… because tomorrow is check-in day and who knows, the cuts may get deeper….

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What I Ate Wednesday

Hello folks!  It’s been awhile since I’ve given you a run-down of my daily eats. I’m still eating a LOT…gotta build some more muscle.. and finding fun ways to fit all those calories in without overloading my stomach.

Green smoothie

Breakfast stays pretty tried and true… today I had my usual green smoothie made with frozen pineapple, spinach, fresh mint, almond milk, and vanilla protein powder.  I added a splash of fresh coconut water (buko juice) as well for the…

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What I Ate (and Did!) in Jakarta

Sara at AMIS

Hello, friends!  I’ve been out of pocket lately… in Jakarta, to be exact!  Sara and I spent 5 days there last week for her Honors Choir Festival with the Association for Music in International Schools (AMIS).  It was a glorious festival of singing, with 172 kids qualifiying from 14 schools throughout Asia.  I have to say I’m a pretty proud Mama!…

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