Monday, March 7, 2016

Patience; Both Frustrating and Gratifying, 12 weeks out

     I get the question a lot, "Are you eating enough?" "What do you eat?" So I decided to challenge myself and photograph my meals for the day. Trust me, I eat enough; I just eat more frequently the things you should be eating to keep your metabolism going. For meal one "breakfast" I have egg white oatmeal with nut butter, meal two is 4 ounces of chicken, with veggies and beans (these days I switch between broccoli, asparagus, or green beans,) meal three is 4 ounces of chicken, veggies, and sweet potato, meal 4 is yet again 4 ounces of chicken and almonds, meal 5 is a vanilla protein shake, nut butter, and an apple, and meal 6 "dinner" is a salad, 4 ounces of chicken, brown rice pasta, and beans (I switch between kidney, black, and chickpeas usually.) The nights I am at the bar late, I have a 7th meal which is another protein shake. I also try to distribute four teas mixed with water throughout the day to equal a gallon of water intake! I think it is safe to say, I eat enough (see photo below.)

     Recently I have been shopping a lot, I am not sure if it has to do with the stress of work I have been under, or the fact that I have money coming in, or a combination of a few things; but I am constantly waiting on packages to come in the mail like a little kid. This week I received free samples from Vega of their sports protein, which isn't nearly as good as my normal Inner Armour protein; but I still like to try different things to make sure I'm not missing out! My order from also came; since I use on average two shakers a day, I was needing to wash them quicker than I wanted to; so I put in an order for two more (they're buy one get one 50% off how can you not?) Not to mention the shopping days I've had, but I'll get into that later when I breakdown my days.
     This week started just like any other Monday; grocery shopping at both Big Y and Sam's Club. I only needed a few things at each place so I was in and out in no time, heading next to the bank and to get gas. Today was errands day and I was being very productive in that sense, I even had time to stop at Manchester Health Shoppe to pick up some more Bragg's Apple Cider vinegar before training at Iron Will. I packed my protein shake (Vega) and stuck it in the cooler in my car for after my workout; yes my car has an electric cooler in it! Training was great as usual, a lot of us were there and it was chest and bicep day. Although I can't always push as much weight bicep curling as the rest of the team; I sure can hold my own bench pressing! Tonight was an exception to the first comment though, I grabbed the 20 pound dumbbells and pushed through as many curls as I could, and then dropped down to 15 pounds to finish off my reps. I even had one of the girls and Darian our trainer commenting how strong my biceps are (always a nice little confidence boost to hear!) It had been awhile since I had a team workout photo to post so I asked Darian if he minded snapping one at the end of our workout, before heading out to enjoy my post-workout snack. I think back to a snap my friend Kristin sent on Snapchat that was a photo of her with a shaker bottle with the caption, "People lie when they say they enjoy protein shakes." (Or something along those lines, I can't remember the exact quote.) It's funny because; I truly do love my protein shake, it tastes like a vanilla milkshake to me and when I tried the Vega shake I thought to myself, "maybe her's tasted like this!" Sorry Vega, but the smell of your protein shake makes me think I am eating a vanilla milkshake with cooked broccoli in it and the smell effects the taste. Needless to say I was disappointed I wasted a meal on it when I could have had mine which I look forward to, oh well! When I came home; I focussed on practicing posing since I knew tomorrow I would have one on one with Carmen and I didn't want to discourage myself again. I set up the camera and practiced for at least a half hour before I got two decent videos which are posted below. I still don't feel comfortable and confident in my movements, and still think of my routine before I move, but practice makes perfect.

     Since being a bartender, I can't remember the last time I was up before 10:00am; until Tuesday rolled around. Our dog Baron has had a growth on the top of his nose that won't go away with antibiotics and keeps opening up and bleeding. I brought him in to the vet yesterday, and they asked for me to bring him back Tuesday morning for a biopsy removal. Needless to say, I couldn't get up that early two days in a row so I opted to stay home in bed with Hunter. But then I remembered she is just a few months shy of three years old and wakes up at the crack of dawn. I snuggled with her a bit while she watched TV and before I knew it, I was awoken by my Mom telling me she was home. It was 10:00, and I needed to get up to get to posing with Carmen! I left Hunter (who had fallen back asleep as well) and got ready to head to the gym. Posing this week was neither great, or heartbreaking; I felt indifferent. I can tell you though I don't look forward to it the way I do working out that's for sure. The studio was freezing as I stood as close to the flood lights as possible in my bikini and heels, there are some days I do jumping jacks just to warm up first! We practiced the routine more as a whole, as well as incorporating walking; I still need to figure out how to loosen up my upper body and not make myself look so stiff. At the end of posing, I talked with Dee about getting more BCAA powder; I used my last scoop this morning and would need more for tomorrow. He said that we didn't have any at the gym, but he would call Inner Armour to go pick some up, thankfully I had training tonight so I can just grab it from him then! Dee refers to my relationship with BCAA's as a "crack" love affair saying I can't go without it. It's true though, drinking a gallon of tea a day; it's nice to have it sweetened not to mention my oatmeal in the morning gets sweetened with a little too. It was turning out to be a beautiful day as I left the studio, and headed home to cook and meal prep. Prior to bartending, I didn't worry too much about meal prepping beforehand. Now, I find it is pretty essential on my days off to prepare my meals for the days I have work so I can just grab and go. I came home and made eight cups of hot water for tea (right now my favorite is Vanilla Chai, it tastes like I am drinking something I shouldn't be it's so good!) I made some ground turkey with various dry seasonings, a few dashes of Bragg's liquid amino, a few dashes of Worcestershire, and a little yellow mustard the flavor reminded me of eating a burger which was appreciated. I cut up all of my vegetables for my salads since this is probably the most time consuming chore for my meals, and topped a bed of mixed greens in containers to go. After all of the meals were prepped for the rest of the day, and following day; I sat down with all of my nut spreads and figured out the pros and cons of each one. Cashew butter turned out on top with less sugar, salt, and fat than the rest, but a lower protein content. Second best was Justin's peanut butter which is highest in protein, and third was my almond butter which was a compromise between the other two. It's humorous what my hobbies and priorities have come to, but I actually enjoyed finding out. Training legs was cut a little short for me this week since I had to get to work, Tuesdays are very rushed coming from training then to shower and get ready for work all within an hour. Otherwise it was a great workout as usual with the team and Darian, minus Dee not having my BCAA's, he said I would survive until tomorrow, but I'm not sure that I will. I grabbed my meals and headed out the door with my apple in hand to eat on the drive over; what I didn't expect as I bit into it however was the odd texture I felt. It didn't feel like every other day when I bit into the smooth skin of the Granny smith apple, I turned the light on to see there was a bite mark in my apple; and not just any bite mark, but a little person bite mark. I laughed as I recalled leaving the apple on the counter near my tea while at training, Hunter must have decided she wanted to have a try. I texted a photo to my mom and she said she meant to tell me that it had happened and by the time she turned around she already had it in her mouth. It was a nice laugh before work as I finished off the rest of the apple. Nothing worth reporting happened at work, that I can remember (I may have chosen to block it out completely if it did.) Seems all the nights just run together into one big story and I forget what happened on which night. Typically Tuesdays are a breath of fresh air at the bar though since they have yet to be chaotic and I'd like to keep it that way.

     Wednesdays as you know I clean the downstairs of my house, so from about 11:00am until about 1:30-2:00pm there is not much to report; kid toys everywhere, dirty dishes in the sink, and dog hair to be vacuumed up is the norm. After cleaning I have been going to the Edge Fitness with either Padraic or both Padraic and Mike; this week it was just Cathy and I (I call Padraic "Cathy" because he is very social at the gym and always talking to someone, so I always bust him saying "Alright Cathy let's get to it." We worked back per usual since I don't get it in my rotation at team training and of course we warmed up with some pull-ups (still progressing to complete one by myself.) Barbell rows, lat pulldowns, TRX negative push-ups, and more; we even ran into Carmen who was doing some sort of balancing kick act on the Bosu balance ball (see video below of me creeping up on her practicing her soccer moves.) As Padraic and I finished up our workout; he brought my workout "crack" from Dee my BCAA's! I gave him the money, and headed home to shower before my weekly Wednesday massage. This was where day one of my shopping spree this week happened (well after the massage) but I texted Rob before my massage asking if he wanted to run up to the mall with me to get a few things. Rob always texts me when he wants to go shopping and I tag along, most times it results in me purchasing something and him not. This time I wanted to go shopping though, and he agreed to meet me after my massage. My massage was with John again and it has really become a necessity with how much I have been working out, and then the stress and long nights standing on my feet at work. I've said it before, but John is a perfect balance of deep tissue sports-type massage to really work out the knots in the muscle and stretch it; however, he can also put me to sleep leaving me twitching myself awake which is always relaxing too. I felt great after my massage, wishing I could get them daily; but thankful I am able to get them weekly. I texted Rob; went home to change and eat, and then we met up at the mall around 7:45 for a night of shopping. I already had in my mind that I wanted to go to Victoria Secret for some new bras, Journeys for some new sneakers, and Yankee Candle for a car air freshener. First stop was Journeys, now I am not a browser; when I shop I know what I want. I scan the area, find what I like, and purchase; which means I tried on three pairs of Vans high-tops and walked out with two of them. Next stop was Victoria's Secret, a bit more overwhelming than the small shoe store; but luckily it was late during the week so there wasn't many customers. I picked up two sports bras, and three daily bras to try on; the woman in the dressing room was very helpful adjusting the straps to make everything fit right and let me tell you, everything fit great. I can't believe I have been missing out! By the time I got out of the dressing room, there was a line of about four people at the register; where did they all come from? Two-hundred dollars later; I walked out of the store with two bags in my hand. The next stop would be a cheap one at least and that would be the last for the evening, or so I thought. I absolutely love the macintosh car freshener, that is the one I have in my Mazda and figured I would get the same for the truck. To my surprise, they did not have the macintosh however, so not wanting to go through and smell all the other scents to figure out which one I wanted; I went with my second favorite; midsummers night (because well, the gas has returned and my car is my safe spot, peeu!) Rob asked if I cared if we stopped in H&M, after him following me around all night of course I didn't mind. Though I should have known he wouldn't end up buying anything and I would end up buying a pair of men's xs sweatpants, it's okay though because I am so in love with them that I don't even care now. I came home to prepare my meals for the following work day (well night) and called it a day, for tomorrow I count as "Monday" and I was dreading it just like everyone else on Sunday.

     I want to touch quickly on the subject of body image and the thoughts that may be brewing on the progress photos I have been posting. I am just putting this out there; but I am guessing some people look at my photos of my abs I post in the morning and think, "she's not happy with her body?!" I know this because even my own Mother can't fathom it. It's not that I am not happy with my body per say, I don't think I'm fat and I don't starve myself. But no matter how perfect someone's body may appear; most everyone has an insecurity or two about themselves. For me it has been two; my chest (which I cannot change without surgery,) and my stomach. Again, I will stress that I know I am not fat; doesn't mean that I don't love the look of abs and a flat stomach and strive for that look. I have not had a flat stomach since my teenage years in high school; and while wearing some dresses and tops before these last few months really had me wanting to do something about it. That pouch look of a little bloated baby living under my shirt had to go, because let's face it; I'm not pregnant! I've already started to notice the tops of my jeans (when I actually get around to wearing them) fitting better, tighter shirts look better fitted, and as Carmen puts it describing me; "I've always been tiny, but now I look athletic." So while you see my flat ab photos from time to time, let me add that one; they are first thing in the morning when I have been fasting all night sleeping, dehydrated, and holding my breath flexed. I have posted a photo below from the same day one in the morning and one an hour or so later after a meal, some water, and resting not flexed and you can see the difference. It's not a gigantic difference to most, yes I still have abs, but it is a difference and I like to call it "more fluffy." So please don't judge me on my not wanting to strut my stuff on the beach last summer even at 118 pounds because I was insecure, because this summer I will be flaunting all this hard work plenty!

     Now that that is out of the way, let's talk about how I went to the gym twice on Thursday which was unplanned! I didn't have much planned for Thursday since I know it is the start of late nights at the bar, so when Padraic and Mike said they were at the Edge; I asked if they minded me joining. We destroyed legs and I didn't mind since I last did them on Tuesday. We started off with some front barbell squats which were new to me, and awkward. Though I did push way over my weight with Padraic spotting me which was pretty awesome there's a video of it below. We also did some deadlifts which normally I use a belt for and gloves but Padraic says unless you have an injury you shouldn't use a belt since it is false assurance and you could hurt yourself even more (still not sure how I feel about this statement.) But I did take off my gloves and get a much better grip, I also got the start of callus man hands, the sacrifices it takes. We finished as a trio doing a lunge circuit all together and then called it a day, well; they did at least, I had shoulders tonight with the team still. I went home, took a nap and meditated upon waking up until Hunter came home and brought me a picture she colored at school, it made me so happy! Another thing that made me happy was my arrival of my new Smart Shakers in the mail, just in time for my two shakes tonight. I got ready for round two and noticed bruises on my biceps and forearms, what the heck? It was then I realized it was from the front squats done earlier at the gym; I bruise easily as it is, but now worse than ever poke me and it looks like I was punched for a week. I asked Carmen about it and she said it is common from the intense workouts, the fast change in diet, and overall lifestyle, plus bruising easily to begin with doesn't help. I noticed I have so many videos and photos at the Edge and not nearly as many at Iron Will so I decided to take a couple videos and have Gabby take a photo of me shoulder pressing. It was a great night to have my camera ready because I love the photo that came out of pushing my shoulders tonight (see below that is my game face!) We finished a little before 6:00 which was nice since I didn't have to rush out of there to get home and get ready for work, Thursday night means karaoke. Brace yourself people, this can go either way; and tonight the singing was unbearable. Other customers actually asked if it could be turned down, or when it was going to end and I felt the same way. Most nights karaoke only goes until 10:00 or 11:00 but for some reason tonight went on until past midnight, just my luck! It is a universal sign that once Bill packs up the karaoke equipment the bar dies down nicely and that is my happy time; so for it to not happen until an hour before close was frustrating. I got judged by one of the other bartenders for not taking a shot and my reasoning being fitness related, and felt like kicking him beside the head for the judgemental look he gave me as I tried to explain. I'm sorry, but I am not telling you not to the take the shot; I am simply telling you why I can't; this is my journey and not his, I don't expect him to understand but being respectful would be nice. Being a first time bikini competitor these are the things I am starting to get used to; explaining what it is I am doing and either dropping the subject to those who are arrogant to the idea, or enthusiastically explaining what I spend a lot of my free time doing and encouraging them to progress to the next step in their journey. I used to get so bored when I wasn't working, I had no motivation to read or do something productive and instead sat in front of the TV for hours watching shows; now, the only time I find to watch TV is after work to relax my mind before bed which is usually well after midnight. Tonight wasn't bad; I left the bar around 1:30am came home to eat, change into my sweats, and watch Grey's Anatomy and How to Get Away with Murder which was on the recorded list before calling it a night and heading to bed. Thankfully I have not had any form of restlessness or trouble sleeping since two weeks ago and have not had to use melatonin either!

     Friday I was supposed to work out with a friend I haven't seen in awhile, but I received a text that she couldn't this week and we would have to re-schedule; which was fine since I had to re-schedule on her last week! One of these days we will work out together. Since I knew I didn't have to rush cleaning upstairs to meet her; I took my time sleeping in, and cleaning the second half of the house which takes but a fraction of the time downstairs does. I prepared my meals for the evening at work, took a nap, and before I knew it; it was nearing 5:00 when I started my shift. My Nana flew in from Florida today, and though she has a house about 7 minutes down the road; she would be staying with us for two nights in her old room. I got to see her for a few minutes before heading out the door; they would stop in later for dinner which was a nice surprise, despite the fact that I was basically left to bartend myself since X was helping out the dining room. I am still new to the bartending scene and although I am improving every shift, it is still overwhelming to be left alone to tend to the bar, the surrounding high top tables, and run food. Luckily Dorothy started serving the tables which kept me behind the bar at least, but it left no time for me to eat or even take a sip of water. Another nice surprise was seeing my cousin sitting at the bar, you know; the one who had surgery and I filled in bartending for!? Thankfully now everyone can stop asking me every day how he is doing. He came in with his friend and uncle, and despite it being fairly busy, I tried to take care of them and chat quick as frequently as possible. For anyone that knows me when I'm "hangery" it's not a good thing, I need food and for my blood sugar to not drop. So the fact that I had a protein shake at 6:00pm and didn't eat again until the second protein shake around quarter to three in the morning, really had me feeling lethargic. I really hope this doesn't severely screw with my fitness progress either because that has been my number one priority these last few months. Needless to say, I went home and basically binged on all of my missed meals; I missed meal 4 which was chicken and almonds, I missed my apple and nut butter from meal 5, and I missed meal 6 entirely. So I sat with a big meal and ate my feelings away, at least it wasn't a tub of moose tracks ice cream with a side of brownies, Nutella jar, and Reese's peanut butter cups, right?

     The worst of it was over; after Friday night I usually can take a nice breath of relief since Saturday I am only in for a few hours, with the exception of last Saturday (and soon to be this Saturday.) But let's not get ahead of ourselves; I spent all of Saturday sitting on the couch all day with the family, it was a nice change of pace to just be. Like most things though, it was back to reality and I needed to shower and get ready for work. To make a long story short; I would be behind the bar again by myself tonight, X came in around 6:00 to notify me that he would be helping the dining room out since we have two large parties coming in, great. What did keep me sane though was Brandon; he has been coming in often and is staying at the hotel next door, he is here on business until Monday when he heads back to Georgia. A lot of our frequent customers are from out of town since we are attached to a hotel (but not affiliated) and also have another hotel next door making it very convenient. Mr. Jack Daniels (Brandon) helped me to laugh occasionally and keep pouring shots before departing before the large parties arrived (leaving a rather large tip might I add which also made everything else seem miniscule.) I ended up dropping a whole rack of glasses on me and the floor which was very embarrassing, but also humbling when I heard customers asking if I was okay. I thankfully was not hurt, just my ego. Brandon walked back in to sit down and said he got bored at his hotel room so figured he might as well come back, this was a nice surprise I always like to see familiar faces since I know what to expect. I poured him another shot, and filled him in on the evening, the dining room was dying down thankfully since the cheerleaders were ordering like 10 Shirley Temples at a time, and their mother's glasses of wine which meant I had to make all of the dining room drinks, as well as tend to the impatient people sitting in front of me. Everyone at the bar seemed to bare with me nicely which was appreciated, and I thanked them for it. I much rather have a night where it is crazy and overwhelming in the beginning, but calms out and works out in the end than the other way around like last Saturday! I went in the back to ask Mickey to grill me up some chicken with a salad, and took it to go ending my shift around 9:30 which was fine by me! I came home to enjoy my chicken salad which I added my beans and brown rice pasta to and hung out with the family for the remaining part of the night.

     By the time Sunday rolls around, I just want to sit and do nothing emotionally; but I know that will never happen. The Earth never stops turning and neither do I; even on my "off days" I have things that need to be done. Since Friday and Saturday were technically rest days in the gym sense; I figured I should go to team posing and training at noontime. I arrived early of course and when Carmen got there her and I talked inside waiting for Seven Lemons; who had texted me letting me know she would be a couple minutes late. I purchased another container of protein powder since I only had a few shakes worth left in my original one, and Carmen hooked me up with a neon yellow Iron Will tank. I had been asking about them, and she told me since I have been referring friends to her and the gym that she would give me one which was awesome. I excitedly stripped down to my sports bra and threw it on right then and there. Seven Lemons arrived and we quickly realized it was just going to be us two; no complaints here! We strapped ankle weights to our feet and did various sets of leg raises before changing into our heels for posing. We practiced moving our shoulders and upper bodies since apparently we both have the robot look as a weak point, and I worked on my walk and turns while she did the same for hers (each girls routine is slightly different from the next.) Carmen referred to me as her little boy to Seven Lemons and although it wasn't meant to be hurtful it kind of stung a little bit. I know I am more "tom boy" than girly, I just hope I can perfect the illusion enough come show time to show everyone what I am capable of. After putting my more comfortable sneakers back on, I stepped outside to a beautiful spring day; this called for grilling! I was out of protein for the day so not wanting to fully grocery shop (I'll do that tomorrow) I ran to Big Y quick just for chicken strips and ground chicken, while stopping by CVS quick, and lastly H&M for more sweat pants (yes I have a problem.) There is such a huge difference in taste of grilled chicken over baked or pan seared, and I am glad it is warm enough to grill outside; even the family was drooling over the smell of my chicken. Even though I felt like staying home and doing nothing; it had been quite some time since Jillian and I hung out and since we used to weekly sometimes twice a week, we decided to get together. We planned to meet at Evergreen walk with teas since it was so nice out; though I was the only one to show up with my vanilla chai, apparently Dunkin' Donuts screwed up her green tea. We walked around, and went in a few stores (I left my wallet in the car so I didn't spend money on careless things, yes it has come to being that impulsive) before sitting by the fire for awhile talking. She had mention earlier how she wanted to go to Home Goods, and now that I was out I was thinking of going to Bed Bath & Beyond to see if they had more of my glass prep containers; we decided to go to both places. Bed Bath & Beyond didn't have the size I usually use, so I got a size smaller and figured I could put meal 4 in there since it is a smaller one anyways and then use the bigger ones for the larger meals. I ate my 4th meal on the way to the next store with my fingers since I forgot to bring a fork, luckily it was finger friendly! We spent a great deal of time in Home Goods and I enjoyed shopping with her (even if I bought more than she did.) Jillian was re-doing her apartment and wanted to find fabric cube containers to organize things nicely, I picked up a new hamper for my dirty clothes since my old one was falling apart and I fell in love with one there. That was about the only thing I bought that I actually needed; oh well! I got a dry erase board to write daily bodyweight goal exercises so I can see them every time I am in my room to ensure I do them, I got a stress-relieving coloring book since it has been forever since I've colored in one, and used to draw and color all the time as a kid. I also picked up a few journals to write more personal thoughts than what is shared here in this blog. I ended the night coloring for an hour plus in the new coloring book and I am really excited to progress and see the final outcome (someday.) Patience has never been a trait I have been good at, and I am constantly challenging myself to better implement it in my life, knowing that this style of coloring takes awhile is both frustrating and rewarding to work towards; just like my fitness journey.

(Paragraphs were suggested by Kenton to be easier on the eyes so I tried my best to segment the blog out this week; glad to know someone is reading out there!)

For those of you worried that I don't eat, this is what I eat daily; the chicken in each is 4 ounces
And sometimes on my late nights at the bar, I add Meal 7 which is a protein shake
I love getting mail! Free samples from Vega I hope they are good!
So, the vanilla doesn't taste nearly as good as my Inner Armour but thanks Vega!
Leap year! February 29th body fat percentage
Apparently I only needed green things at SAMs this trip
I love that my car has a cooler in the arm rest, protein shakes done right
Team training Monday Nights


The dog had to go to the vet so we had snuggle time
Haven't been up this early in a month!
My new favorite, so good!
What my hobby has come to; finding out the pros and cons of each nut butter
I love having supportive, positive people in my life who are my backbone when I need it
Apparently someone wanted to try my apple before me

Back attack with Padraic at the Edge

Carmen showed up too
The taper and definition is coming

Dee calls this my "crack"
First Victoria's Secret sports bra, love it!
Haven't been shopping in forever, I made up for it tonight
Meals for the day
Late night cashew eats
Morning abs, love these sweatpants! The little things

Above photos are flexed, this is how I really look
Abs are still there, just with a little fluff
Can't stress enough how much I love my Fitbit solely to remind me when to eat 
Tea/water prep for days! (Two days actually)

Dream Team here at the Edge
Bruises from today's workout
Eating one of my meals and Hunter came home with a drawing for me from school!

Thursday Ladies night team training shoulders. Carmen, Gabby, and Nancy
This is Carmen everyone :)
Second workout of the day, no rest for the wicked
Grow shoulders, Grow! Favorite photo
Me time; sweats, food, and recorded shows
Stressful night and missed meal calls for some Justin's PB
Snap from after work Thursday night; no bueno
Come home to eat all of my missed meals
Love, love, love Grannysmith apples
Decompressing, watching Two Broke Girls
Had work make my dinner so I didn't have to when I got home, salad (removed the tomatoes) and grilled chicken
Much rather pose in hightops
Repping Iron Will Fitness
The moment when you run out of a tub of protein powder, you know you're in it for real
Gorgeous day calls for grilling, so good
Out shopping forgot a fork, fingers while driving it is
I need to work on my handwriting, but this is my daily goal (bodyweight squats)
Oh no, what will I do!
Oh wait, I already posted the photo of the new one
Every last drop, a beautiful sight
It's amazing how relaxing coloring is, I used to color and draw all the time as a kid
The start of a two page spread, will show when done!
Debated not getting this bra for the cut-out and lack of cleavage, but I'm glad I got it!
Favorite look these days

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