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26

Jun

Carb Cycling: 3 week check in

So I have been carb cycling for three weeks now. It has been the best experience for me so far. I have learned so much in the past three weeks about health, diet and my body. 

Carb cycling has been the most structured meal plan I have ever stuck to, without being too strict. I still have a reward day every week and high carb days feel glorious. Low carb days are more challenging, but I’m getting into the swing of things. Meal planning is easier, I know my portion sizes and what foods are approved for each meals on LC/HC days. The most challenging part is meeting my protein intake for each day. I’m supposed to have a serving of protein with every meal, 5 meals per day. I like to limit the amount of processed protein (processed meats, and protein powders) so that leaves me with few options. I had been eating lots of chicken, but I’m actually starting to be repulsed by it. For protein I’m consuming brown rice protein, natural whey protein (1x per day at the most), chicken, fish, ground turkey, egg whites, cottage cheese and Greek yogurt. I have discovered I’m OBSESSED with almond butter. Other fats I’m including: peanut butter, olive oil, coconut oil, flax, chia, avocado (yummy!), and egg yolks (two hard boiled or pan fried eggs is one serving of fat and half a serving of protein!)

Overall I feel great, I’ve lost ~5 pounds in three weeks and I have more energy than I have had on other plans. It’s easy to maintain, prep and plan. I can still live, go out for dinner and eat what I love. I limit the amount of packaged foods I eat because none of it has a protein and carbs or protein and fat combo which means I can’t eat it except on reward days.

I haven’t been perfect though. I need to eat more vegetables with my meals and make sure I eat every 3 hours. It gets more difficult when I’m at work since I don’t know when I might get busy, but I try my hardest.

Next week I start my slingshot (Refeed) week which means it’s all high carb days for a week. I’m so excited. Will keep you updated on my progress with cab cycling.!

12

Jun

Carb Cycling: Low carb days

I already posted about my high carb days. Now that I’ve been carb cycling for over a week (day 9 tomorrow) I have had 5 low carb days. These are 10x harder to get through. That being said I still feel like this is the easiest “diet” I’ve ever done. I finally feel like I’ve found a balance. Once I’ve achieved my fitness goals I will change my routine and do an easier cycle. Right now I’m doing LC, LC, HC, LC, LC, HC, re-feed day. It’s difficult to get through two LC days, but I’m seeing and feelings results already.

My biggest challenge with carb cycling is my job. With this plan I’m supposed to eat every 3 hours and drink 2L of water. I work in a hospital so eating every 3 hours is not always possible. I often only get half my recommended water intake (if that!).

Those are my goals for this week: increase water intake and eat properly every 3 hours!!!!

07

Jun

Carb Cycling Day 1: High Carb

June 5th was my first day carb cycling. My first day was a high carb day. The diet plan lays out how many meals to eat in a day, how often to eat, caloric intake and gives you an exercise plan. On high carb days each meal has a serving of protein, carbs and as many vegetables as my heart desires (turns out thats not much!). 

I found it really easy to create meals on my high carb day. I usually eat a diet that consists of mostly carbs, which is typical for many people. A usual meal for my family consists of a protein (chicken, fish, steak), a starchy side such as pasta or rice, and a salad. That is what my meals were like every day, with the exception of snacks. This makes high carb days really easy, keeping in mind that I want to be consuming healthy carbs with each meal, including snacks, protein for every meal (which I am not used to, I had protein for 2/5 meals and after a workout). Here is what I ate:

M1: Green smoothie- 2 cups spinach, 1/2 cup strawberries, 1/2 banana, water, sun warrior vanilla protein

M2: Grilled Chicken Burger on a whole wheat bun with BBQ sauce, onion, banana peppers, pickles, lettuce

M3: greek yogurt with 1/2 cup Kashi Go Lean Crunch, carrot sticks

M4: Cottage Cheese with 1 cup raspberries and liquid stevia to sweeten

M5: Greek lemon chicken with whole wheat pita bread and a salad

Overall I felt great on my high carb day, I had energy to push myself during my workout and did not feel that I was restricting my diet at all. The only hard part was avoiding fats. I always put peanut butter in smoothies and on bread. You can’t have fats on a high carb day =(. I will have to save that for my reward day. 

06

Jun

LiveFit Phase 1 and Couch to 5K Week 2 Complete: Review

When I decided I needed to recommit to my health and fitness routine, I challenged myself to complete both LiveFit and the C25K program. Now that I have successfully completed phase one of LiveFit and the second week of the C25K program I thought I would review them. If you’re interested keep reading!

LiveFit Pahse 1: Phase one is supposed to be about building a foundation or “bulking”. You are supposed to eliminate cardio completely and stick to weight lifting 4 days a week, with 3 days to rest. Each lifting day focuses on two muscle groups (with the exception of leg day): Chest and triceps, back and biceps, legs, shoulders and abs. Personally I found it difficult to eliminate cardio, since I had just finally started to do it again. So I ran, and I did HIIT workouts (ZWOW/ZSHRED). 

This program also gives you a food plan to stick to for each phase. My diet has come a long way since the end of April, but I can’t justify eating chicken for every meal and all the artificial protein (powders) I found myself taking was insane. I tried to focus on eating protein with every meal, cutting back on fats and eating healthy carbs (no white breads, chips or crackers!). I have been egging eggs and egg whites for breakfast, lots or fruit and vegetables, and brown rice, quinoa or whole wheat bread for carbs. 

Results: I’ve seen the most change in my legs, biceps and triceps. My baby biceps are growing! I haven’t weighted myself in a while, but I don’t think I have lost any weight. I’m excited to take on phase 2!

C25K Week 1 & 2: I am not a fan of running… not at all. I do love intervals though!! I was hoping this program would change the way I feel for running and help me run longer distances (5K maybe? haha). I completed the first and second week, which are only 3 days each, but I was also running and doing sprints on the “off” days. I feel that this led to my shin splints. I went from running a few times a month to running almost every day. The miles were adding up too quickly. My shins were feeling terrible. I could get 10 minutes away from my house then the pain would start. Walking was uncomfortable. I took a good week off of running, doing other forms of cardio (biking, cross fit, stair master) and feel like I found a balance. 

Back to my review on the program- after my week off I was able to start the third week and my shin splints feel so much better!! The running duration increases each week, the first run is always a bit challenging but by the third one of the week its a breeze! I’m excited about the possibility of running 5k without stopping to catch my breath!! 

Results: Regardless of the shin splints (which were not caused by this program alone!) I have noticed that my stamina has improved and I can run further distances now. I still don’t love running, but the more I do it the more I find myself enjoying it and even craving it. 

I would highly recommend these programs to anyone, for different reasons. If you’re looking to build muscle with a free program that is very easy to commit to (you get 3 days off per week in the first phase!) I would recommend LiveFit. The C25K is a great program for beginner runners, or someone who ‘fell off the bandwagon’ and needs to build their endurance back up. Who knows, maybe I will be running my first 5k this summer. Stay tuned for my next update!

Carb Cycling

I was recently watching Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition with Chris and Heidi Powell. In the episode I was watching Heidi Powell was pregnant in one clip (you couldn’t tell until she turned sideways!) and in the next clip she was slim and fit again post baby! I was intrigued so I decided to google the Powell couple. Finding their websites also led me to finding the books Chris Powell wrote. I bought one and then the other…. which led me into carb cycling. 

I have always felt like my diet had no structure. One day I was eating super healthy and being super strict and the next day I was suffering because I felt so deprived from the day before. I would load up on whatever I could find (cookies, crackers, bread, chips). This cycle would repeat itself over and over and over. 

After reading these books I feel like I finally have a structured plan that leaves me feeling satisfied. I can have reward days or meals, I can have fruit, whole wheat bread and pasta. I just have to follow the cycle. I don’t feel deprived because I know I can have the foods I want on my reward day/meal. I’ve decided to keep a journal on here describing each day (high carb/low carb/reward day), how I feel, changes in my body, etc. I’m only on my second day. 

Stay tuned for my updates!

*I am not looking to lose weight, I am simply looking for a more balanced approach to healthy eating with my goals in mind. My goal is to lose fat and gain muscle, but ultimately I want to be healthy and ENJOY my life!! 

05

Jun

I see some progress. I haven’t been so hard on myself this time when it come to working out. I’m finding a really nice balance. I have to work on my diet (as always) but it has gotten so much better! #tiuteam #tiutransformation #toneitup #bikiniseries

I see some progress. I haven’t been so hard on myself this time when it come to working out. I’m finding a really nice balance. I have to work on my diet (as always) but it has gotten so much better! #tiuteam #tiutransformation #toneitup #bikiniseries

03

Jun

Afternoon snack: pineapple and strawberry lemonade (recipe from toneitup.com , I used strawberries instead of watermelon)! #toneitup #tiuteam #bikiniseries @karenakatrina @toneitup

Afternoon snack: pineapple and strawberry lemonade (recipe from toneitup.com , I used strawberries instead of watermelon)! #toneitup #tiuteam #bikiniseries @karenakatrina @toneitup

29

May

Accomplishing my Goals: Anemia

I mentioned in a previous post that I started taking vitamin supplements with iron to treat my anemia. I’ve also started making small changes in my diet. Its amazing to me because a few weeks ago I had no idea I was anemic, but I knew I wasn’t healthy. I felt terrible. I am always dizzy, EXHAUSTED, my eyes are dry, I always have purple bags under my eyes (which I always get when I’m sick!), and my lips were blue even when I was warm. I looked terrible!

I’ve been taking my supplements for about two weeks now. I’ve been having smoothies with 2 cups of spinach, I try to eat more green vegetables and I’ve incorporated red meat into my diet a few times a week. I’m not the biggest fan of red meat, except a good steak! Friday night BBQ anyone?! Its the perfect excuse!

I’m happy to say I have seen and felt a difference. I didn’t realize how terrible I felt until I started to feel better. I have more energy, I’m not dizzy most days, and my lips aren’t blue!!!!

My point: I didn’t realize feeding your body makes such a huge difference. I was so used to feeding my brain the things it likes that I didn’t have room for the good stuff. Now I feel like I know what my body needs. 

24

May

Shin Splints: My New Struggle

Around May 1st I started running again. I never push myself too hard when I’m running because quite frankly I can’t breathe when I do. I pushed myself as far as I felt comfortable (with my breathing, trust me the rest of my body was not comfortable!). The past week or two I have been experiencing lots of pain in my shins while I’m running. Even with stretching and walking It doesn’t ease up. It almost feels like my shin is in constant contraction, it burns like crazy!! It always starts about 10 minutes into my run and gradually gets worse until I have to stop running. I decided this just wasn’t an option so I went to the doctor. 

Doctors (eye roll!). He told me to stop running if it hurt. Stop running?! I just finally started enjoying it again and now I’m supposed to stop. That was not what I wanted to hear and it left me feeling defeated. For the past few days I have been stretching, icing and doing other forms of cardio. It has been great. Tonight I decided to try running again and what do you know… 10 minutes and my shin hurts… 15 and its almost unbearable… 20 and I stopped. 

So now I have a dilemma and google can only help to an extent. If anyone has experienced this before what did you do? Did you treat the shin splints or did you simply stop running? Did anyone help you treat it (chiropractor, massage or physio)?

23

May

remuslupin said: Hi! I just wanted to let you know that I always loved your blog and reading about your progress/meals/exercise routine. I'm glad you're posting again :)

You’re too sweet!! This just makes me want to post more 😄. Thank you!

21

May

I wanted to hide these from the world, but here I am. This my body. I haven’t been to kind to it lately and I feel it. I’m sick all the time, I’m anemic (my lips are a hideous blue most of the time) and I don’t fit my clothes. I wouldn’t be posting this I I didn’t realize how unfair I’ve been to my body. Here’s to a fresh start and going strong for the last 30 days of the bikini series!! #tiuteam #bikiniseries #toneitup #tiutransformation @karenakatrina @toneitup

I wanted to hide these from the world, but here I am. This my body. I haven’t been to kind to it lately and I feel it. I’m sick all the time, I’m anemic (my lips are a hideous blue most of the time) and I don’t fit my clothes. I wouldn’t be posting this I I didn’t realize how unfair I’ve been to my body. Here’s to a fresh start and going strong for the last 30 days of the bikini series!! #tiuteam #bikiniseries #toneitup #tiutransformation @karenakatrina @toneitup

20

May

yogaholics:

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Time for a Change.

It has been a while… I have experienced so many changes in the last few months, hit so many milestones. None of it quite feels real yet, but it is. This year I got engaged, graduated college and began my career. These are goals I have worked towards my whole life. It feels surreal to have succeeded, but it also leaves me feeling lost. It almost feels like I have nothing to strive for anymore. 

Now that I am done school I need to focus on something else. A new project, with a fresh new attitude. Throughout the last year I have gained 15 pounds, become quite unhealthy (I have severe anemia) and just don’t feel like myself. It isn’t about the numbers or the way I look, but I haven’t felt healthy in a long time. How I feel is what is important. And I don’t feel like me. 

So I’m starting over. I’ve started and failed enough times… This time I’m going to change my lifestyle, not just create short term goals but create lifestyle goals that will last for many years.

My first goal is to treat my anemia. I have started iron supplements, but if that doesn’t help my next step is to get blood tests and figure out how to treat it. I have noticed a difference in my eyes since starting the supplement. They aren’t as dry and fatigued as they used to be. Otherwise I don’t feel much different, but I know it takes time. 

Secondly I want to do something active everyday. I don’t mean run everyday, but do SOMETHING everyday (even on the lazy days!). If I do this, maybe I can do this with my family and inspire them to be more active. Walking, running or biking I will do it.

Third- I want to feel more comfortable with myself. This is a mental transition that encompasses not only my physical appearance, but also having faith in myself in my new career. I have experienced so much in the last year, and grown so much, but there is still more growing to do.  

These are 3 very general goals, but each and every day I will strive to better myself. 

14

Mar

I’m so sad. Look at my pretty phone. I dropped it in a parking lot (which I’ve done 1000x before). It landed on some gravel and the screen shattered. I’ve been using my old 3GS but it has been givin me a hard time logging into apps so I’ve been MIA! Can’t wait to get my phone fixed.

I’m so sad. Look at my pretty phone. I dropped it in a parking lot (which I’ve done 1000x before). It landed on some gravel and the screen shattered. I’ve been using my old 3GS but it has been givin me a hard time logging into apps so I’ve been MIA! Can’t wait to get my phone fixed.

14

Feb

Meal Planning Made Easy

As a full time student I need meals that are quick a convenient to pack. There are a few things I have learned in the past year that have made my meal planning and meal prep a lot easier. First lets focus on the meal planning. 

Personally I don’t like eating the same meal five days in a row. I make sure to plan enough variety so I don’t get sick of everything! The first step to meal planning is to make a grocery list. Since I am a student I try to plan my meals around what we already have in the house (I’m on a TIGHT budget). A quick inventory allows we to make a short, budget friendly list. Once you know what you have on hand you can start planning your meals. I usually sit down with my favourite recipes and pick from those (I use the tone it up nutrition plan most of the time, but I also use google to find new blogs with healthy recipes). If I feel like trying something new I turn to google. Once I have found the recipes I want I put it into a table on Microsoft Word:

image

As you can see I don’t prep for dinner since It changes based on who is eating- if I prep for just me, others go hungry!!

Now my tips for quick and effective food prep! When you’re prepping food time management is a must. If something has to marinade, get it started while you’re cooking something else. For example the lemon garlic chicken is marinated for 30 minutes. While it is doing so I usually start cooking my protein pancakes. I like to make one recipe that will go a long way- soups are great for this. I can use half of it to feed me for a week (If I don’t get sick of it) and throw half of it in the freezer for next time. I like to freeze soup in mason jars so It is pre portioned. When making chicken, I try to make enough to last two weeks (If I stuck to this food plan for two weeks I would only need 4 pieces) and I put them in the freezer as well. It is worth looking into a vacuum sealer for your food. If you can freeze the whole meal (chicken and steamed veggies freezes great!) then you can prep for the month! When it comes time to pack your lunch, just grab the vacuum pack out of the freezer and throw it in your bag with a container. At meal time cut the bag open and dump everything into a microwavable container and heat! SO EASY! I don’t prep food for weekends if I’m home, but I still plan my meals so It is easier to stick to a health diet. 

I hope my tips helped make your meal prep easier. Share your meal prep tips in the comments below!!