With Miss Florida International approaching I have been paying more attention to my health and fitness regime. With the help of my amazing boyfriend and my sponsors I have shown huge improvement in my health and body. Living in Tampa now, I have access to a lot of fun and exciting ways to exercise and be active. Once you see the changes in your body, it becomes addicting. The first time I looked in the mirror saw a hint of abs popping through and muscular tone to my tone (and increase in my thigh gap :P) I jumped with joy. These are the goals you work for. However, I do not believe these are the days that mean the most. The days that show you have truly progressed are the ones where you are tempted with those sweet treats or pasta dish and resist. They are the days you feel so worn and beaten down but you get active anyways. Those are the days you know you are progressing towards a healthier lifestyle. For me, the day I walked past a coffee shop and did not get my normal cappuccino with one natural sugar and skim milk was the first win for me. I have several since then, but I struggle with this every day. As far as I have come, I deal with little temptations like this daily.
I have been hitting the gym and trying to eat somewhat healthy for a long time now. Recently, I have been paying attention to what I eat very closely and thanks to UFit Meals I have shown a huge improvement in my overall appearance. Not only have I lost a few stubborn pounds and toned up a lot, but I feel great. I have so much energy and do not feel like I am not getting to eat foods that I love. On their website they have several different meal plans to choose from. Currently, I am using the Olympian meal plan. The Italian spiced meatballs and roasted sweet potatoes are my favorites. With traveling back and forth between Gainesville and Tampa for work and school and having fun at the beach on the weekends with my boyfriend, these meals are so convenient. On Sunday and Wednesdays they are delivered right to your door and when you are ready to eat, you just pop it in the microwave and there you go. Without these, my training and improvement would not have advanced this far.
Along with these meals I have cut out dairy and extra sugar from my diet. This was very hard in the beginning. I began with things like yogurt and cheese. Cheese was especially difficult because my boyfriend loves cheese and always has awesome, tasty cheeses in the fridge. I struggled cutting out dairy in my coffee. I can do without the added sugar, but the milk has always been something difficult for me to cut out. I mean, chocolate and cappuccinos are a staple in my daily life…well, they used to be. Recently I have been using 2 tablespoons of unsweetened almond milk in my coffee. Although it does not taste as delicious as a caramel iced coffee from Dunkin Donuts, it has aided in my progress and I have come to enjoy it very much. Previously, when I wanted a treat I would grab a piece of chocolate or a small container of ice cream. Now, I reach for a frozen banana or a few ounces of that unsweetened almond milk. It satisfies my cravings without catapulting my daily sugar intake.
I am not so rigid with my diet that I miss out on things. I think it is a little ridiculous to not go to dinner with your friends or have a date night every once in a while because you are on such a strict diet. I just try to make healthy decisions when I am out. I always order my sauces on the side and just dip the tip of my fork into them before picking up a bite of food. I use lemon or lime juice on my salads instead of dressing and try to order steamed vegetables for my side. I also ask for them without butter when I can remember. My boyfriend and I go out to the bars a few times a month. I always drink vodka soda with lime. This is so much better than the fruity drinks because it has less calories, less sugar and less of a hangover the next day…especially if you get it with grey goose. We also like to travel, and half the fun of traveling is the food. Since I have been training for the pageant we spent a few days in Cuba and I did not take it easy on the yummy foods or the run while we were there.
My boyfriend bought us some awesome new bicycles and adding in this extra cardio to my routine has worked wonders. We usually only do about 8 or 9 miles but it is so much fun to ride down Bay shore or just around downtown Tampa. Sometimes we stop off at the convention center and run the stairs…well I run them and he watches me. On the weekends, sometimes we ride around at the beach and do some exploring. Adding in something that is fun and we are able to together make it feel less like exercising and more of just a fun activity. I recently got introduced to hot yoga. In the evenings, I will ride my bike about 2 miles to the yoga studio, practice my flows and sweat it out, then ride home. The extra time on the bike is actually very relaxing and beneficial. Plus, driving in Tampa is not that fun.
As great as all of this sounds, I still have my bad days. Days that I am working are tough because for 10 hours I am stuck inside the hospital. I do not move around a lot and exercising when I get home is not the first thing I want to do. When I work night shifts I find myself wanting to constantly snack to stay awake. This is especially detrimental because there are always snacks around. When it is 3am and someone offers you a doughnut, it is hard to say no (as I am writing this everyone around me is eating doughnuts and it’s hard to resist…but I will ;)) Yesterday, I was extremely tired (it was my fault). When I say extremely tired I mean we went out, stayed out until 4am, I slept for 20 minutes then drove to Gainesville and worked all day. Stupid, I know (but life is short). When I got off of work I slept for a few hours then got up and went for a run anyways. I almost went to get frozen yogurt then planted myself on the couch to watch Netflix. I contemplated back and forth then pulled out my phone to look at my progress pictures. These pictures motivated me to get up and hit the pavement. When I got home I felt proud and accomplished. These are the days that mean the most. The days you get out of your head and beat yourself are the days that show major progress in your journey towards a healthier self.
I will continue to work hard, not only for the pageant but for myself. Sticking to a strict eating plan and workout regime has improved my overall quality of life. I feel better, look better and things in my life are generally better. If you have any questions, comments or suggestions feel free to reach out.