The Cheat Days Were Worth It

IMG_1542

Over the past two months I have really taken an interest in my body. I was training for the Miss Florida International pageant and really wanted to look and feel my best. With the help of my amazing boyfriend and supportive family and friends, I was able to achieve this goal.

With a combination of motivation, diet and exercise I was able to transform my body in a short period. I did not try any fad diets or crazy supplements. Everything I did was natural. With the help of UFit meals I was able to keep track of everything I put into my body. I used the Olympian x2 a day plan. This allowed me to keep track of my carbohydrates, calories and sugars. I opted for lunch and dinner on the meal plan. For breakfast, I would usually eat egg whites smoked salmon or turkey.

On weekends or days I was not using the meal plan, I would eat fish or chicken with fresh veggies. I usually opted for salmon because it is easy to cook and can be tastily flavored with just a few spices and lemon. We also had some fresh snook and grilled pineapple one day which was fantastic. I would snack on cucumbers, almonds and my favorite sweet treat, frozen PB2 banana sandwiches. I also would eat rice cakes when I was craving something crunchy. It seems my pup Windsor also liked these cakes.

IMG_0911

IMG_0570

Peanut butter banana sandwiches with PB2…freeze after preparation for a tasty cold treat!

I cut out almost all excess sugar. I cut out all dairy and I cut out most carbohydrates. For me, the most difficult part of this whole diet was giving up cheese and bread. Have you ever tried to give up cheese and bread when your boyfriend is constantly eating cheese and bread? It is very hard. I also gave up cappuccinos which I wrote about in my last post. I was using almond milk for about one month but my stomach was not a fan of almond milk. I began drinking black coffee with one teaspoon of sugar. To my surprise, now this is what I prefer (however it is better when made at home then made at Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts)

IMG_0567

Before I stopped drinking almond milk I would make iced coffee with 2 tbls of silk unsweetened vanilla almond milk as a substitute for dairy.

First, I upped my time in the gym and my time putting in cardio. I began jogging x3-4 miles a day instead of just 1 or 2 miles. I also added in some treadmill intervals and inclines. Along with that, I added in some time on the bicycle when my boyfriend had time to join me.

A sample just cardio day would be x3 miles of fasted cardio in the morning.

~Later in the day~ 15 minutes of treadmill intervals. 10 minutes on the rowing machine

Possible evening bike ride with babe.

IMG_0604

On days I did weights, I would pair back/biceps, shoulder/triceps, chest, legs, one day of full body and one day off. I am always looking for new workouts and body weight workouts since we are on the road a decent amount. I found the shape magazines to have good workouts in them. When I have access to a gym, I try to make the most of it.

The gym I typically use does not have a squatting rack so I use dumbbells for squatting. I also like to squat with resistance bands. I am a huge fan of lunges and bench jumps on leg day as well. Lunges with the bosu are my new favorite thing to do in the gym.

IMG_0357

To maintain my Zen in the middle of the week, I like to take a hot yoga class when I can. When in Tama, I have been going to Bella Prana yoga for the hot power flow yoga class. This class really makes me sweat and stretches out my whole body. The next day, I am sore in places that I did not know even had muscles. With a nice set up, lululemon yoga mats and complimentary hair ties in the bathroom, this yoga studio is by far the best one I have been to. It is nice too, because I can ride my bike to yoga…living the dream.

I just had three cheat days since the pageant ended, ( I got 1st runner up). I had tacos, tacos and more tacos. My amazing, supportive boyfriend got me macarons, cookie cake and ice cream and we pigged out together. I also had chik fil a and a cappuccino.I spent Mother’s day with my family and we had a smorgasborg of food at Planet Hollywood in Disney Springs. I came home, and my boyfriend and I enjoyed some macarons. Then we went to Publix and stocked up on the good stuff. At home he made me tacos with all the fixings and then at 2am (we love our late night snacks) we had cookie cake with ice cream. The next couple of days I did not indulge as much but I did not shy away from sweets or fried foods (like key lime pie and hush puppies today hehe).

After three days, I am so ready to go back to eating healthy and focusing on being my best self.

IMG_1541

To look my best, I have been paying more attention to my beauty routine. Aside from this, I noticed when I cut out almost all excess sugar and all dairy,  my skin began to look healthier and have a natural glow. To capitalize on this I found a skin care regime that works for me. To learn about my skin care regime stay tuned for the next post. Also, keep an eye out for a post about my weekend at Miss Florida International.  If you have any questions leave a comment or shoot me an email.

I Stopped Drinking Cappuccinos

 

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.

IMG_0257

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.

IMG_0502

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.

Staying Fit While Traveling

First of all, I would like to apologize for my long absence. I was traveling with little access to the Internet. However, along with my memories and pictures I have brought back some tips for staying fit and healthy while traveling. After spending six weeks traveling all throughout Europe, I did not gain any weight. This was not due to heavy exercising or lack of indulging. I achieved this by making smart choices and being mindful of what I was eating.

 

My first tip to staying fit while traveling is to walk as much as possible. Walking around the city will definitely help keep the weight off, and it will also allow you to get a better view and feel of the city. If you must take a taxi, bus or underground when trying to get somewhere, stop down the road from your destination and walk the rest of the way. While we are talking about walking, if you have the option to take the stairs, you should always take the stairs. I view stairs as a mini workout. Every time you choose to walk up a flight up stairs you are giving your body a little workout and elevating your heart rate.

 

My next tip would be to eat your larger meals for lunch. We found this to be the best strategy, not only for keeping the pounds off, but also for feeling the best. Eating our heavy meal for lunch did not leave us feeling bogged down. We felt like we had time to walk off our meal and did not feel too full when we laid down for bed. Also, upon waking in the morning we felt light and fresh, ready to tackle some more European food. To keep to this strategy we would try to find a nice, local restaurant for lunch and then look for something lighter and towards the clean eating side for diner. I usually opted for a sandwich or salad and a small side. This always left me feeling full enough to last through the night without eating again, but not too full to where I feel like I ate too much.

 

Along the lines of sweets, I ate a lot of them. I did not deprive myself or skip out on a sweet I really wanted. However, I would consider whether or not I really wanted it and whether or not I would rather wait for something more enticing. If the answer was no, then I ordered the sweet and enjoyed every second indulging in it. A vacation is about relaxation and indulgences so do not deprive yourself of the small luxuries. Be sure to consider all of the factors and make your decision.

 

One more thing to watch carefully is your alcohol consumption. If it is just a short weekend trip, this may not matter as much. However, if you are gone for six weeks like we were, alcohol consumption takes a toll on your body. I am by no means saying do not drink! I sampled many wines, beers and cocktails while in Europe. I tried to limit myself to no more than 2 drinks a day. Some days I would not drink any alcohol at all, but when I did I would not have more than 2 drinks in one day. If I did consume alcohol, I always made sure to drink a glass of water with it. You do not need to skip the alcohol altogether if you want to watch your weight on vacation, just be mindful.

 

These are just a few tips to try to keep some of the pounds away on vacation. I know how hard most of us work to stay in shape and keep the unwanted pounds away. It is a terrible feeling to come home from vacation and see all of your hard work was ruined on vacation. These tips helped me feel good and keep the unwanted pounds away on my six-week trip.

Breakfast Matters

They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  However, it is also the most skipped meal of the day.  I am not a breakfast skipper, mainly because I love breakfast foods and all the ways you can make it delicious and nutritious.  I am guilty though,  of grabbing a bagel and lathering it with cream cheese on my way out of the door sometimes.  I recently began paying more attention to what I have been eating for breakfast and thought some of you would like to know what I have found to be the  most filling and yummy breakfasts so far.

I am a huge fan of waffles and they are wonderful when you wake up late and are rushing all morning.  You can just pop them in the toaster and grab them to eat in the car.  To make this a somewhat healthy option I buy the Eggo whole whet waffles.  These are wonderful replacements for normal waffles and for frozen waffles, they are tasty

.0038000485840_CF_version_type_large

When I am planning ahead there are two things I love to alternate between;  Overnight oats and a yogurt parfait.  The overnight oats are delicious and a great source of all kinds of nutrients.  I particularly like this breakfast because it leaves me feeling full until lunch.  To make overnight oats:

  • Pour a packet of Quaker instant oats, into a container. (I believe this is equivalent to about ½ cup of oats).
  • Pour in ½ cup of milk.  I prefer to use Vanilla soymilk because I don’t drink dairy milk and the vanilla makes the oats a little sweeter.
  • Add honey and/or some kind of fruit.  If you are feeling adventurous, you can add some chia seeds or flax seeds.  They are filled with fiber and add a nutty flavor to the oats.

images.jpg

The yogurt is a little simpler.  I usually buy a large tub of nonfat or 2% greek yogurt.  Then, I measure out one cup of yogurt and place it in a container.  Since the yogurt is plain, it is great to add some fruit to make the yogurt sweeter.  I particularly enjoy using frozen fruit because as it de-thaws, the juices are released into the yogurt.  I will also add honey  and maybe granola if I am looking for a nice crunch in the morning.

gluten-free-granola-parfaits

If you are not a fan of a cold breakfast, I would recommend some toast, I prefer whole wheat, and eggs.  To spruce this boring morning meal up spread some avocado on your toast and throw a little cheese into your eggs.  This will allow you to get some healthy fat and protein all why eating a delicious breakfast that will not break the calorie bank.

images (1).jpg

Brittany’s tip of the week: Do not skip breakfast.  Breakfast is very important since it jump starts your metabolism for the rest of the day.  Even if you just grab something small, eating breakfast will do wonders for your energy throughout the day. If you have any special, healthy breakfast recipes and would like to share them, email me at brittanybuzz@yahoo.com.