Posted in Health and Fitness, Life Advice

Proper Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance

It’s no secret that that what you eat and your daily habits and routine are major contributing factors to your health. It also can be one of the hardest things people find to take control over when they are trying to achieve a health or fitness goal.

“I don’t have time, I don’t know how to start, I don’t want to miss out on things, I’m good for a day or two then I eat the entire kitchen” – said every person at some point

It’s not like our environment makes it any easier for us either when we are constantly confronted with products that claim to be ‘fat free’, ‘low carb’, a ‘super food’, ‘full of essential good fats’ and my personal favourite ‘high in protein’ – yeah thanks packaging for drawing me in with your high protein pretty wrapper when you have 60 grams of carbs in you as well so I have just unknowingly consumed a quarter of my daily calories in one small bar or cookie!

Just to run this home a little more for people, for example the traditional burger bun at Grill’d has a total of 215 calories and the ‘low carb super bun’ has a total of 275 calories. So yes it’s super full of calories, not necessarily the better option for you if you are trying to manage your energy intake.

grilld-burger
Sweet Chilli Chicken on traditional is my fav!

Mind blown yet? I was. So how the hell are we meant to navigate through life and make healthier choices when so many things are misleading? The best thing I did was starting to educate myself about nutrition and a lot of that came from the amazing knowledgeable trainers and coach at my gym. Having gained the knowledge, I have continued to work on what works best for me as well as being able to make healthier choices on the fly if I need to – because you know, life.

I am going to share with you how I prepare myself for the week and how I ensure I stick to my healthy eating plan. Keep in mind this routine I have worked out over months of trial and error and what works best for ME while maintaining my lifestyle and commitments. Everyone is going to be different but this is how I get by and get the results I have gotten so far without killing myself or spending hours and hours in the kitchen. There is no magic secret or anything special that I am doing – what you will see is I have made it as simple and easy as I possibly can for myself which is why I have been able to successfully manage my food intake for the past 34 weeks without going bat shit crazy or binge eating!

Sunday – Prepping and Planning!

It doesn’t take me very long now to decide what I want to eat for the week. At the start it took a lot of brain power but over time and by trial and error you start to develop a good sense of foods you like and that work for you and you daily routine. I pull together my daily meal plans and take into consideration any events or planned dinners we have out with friends. I put those in first and then work my other food in around that – I use calorieking.com to create my meal plans and to keep track of my total daily food intake.

steamer
Our epic 3 tier steamer – possibly the most used thing in our kitchen. Bought from K-Mart

Once I have the plan I then prep the food. I only ever need to prep my lunches for Monday to Friday as the snacks I have do not require much effort to prep and are not complicated meals. My prep takes me around half an hour. I also cook up a 2kg bag of white potatoes in a steamer and keep these pre-cooked in the fridge for the entire week. They keep perfectly fine and I can then just portion out the potato I need for breakfast and dinners – this also greatly cuts down food prep time. When I was incorporating rice in my diet I would do the same with the rice and leave it bulk cooked in the fridge.

Monday to Friday

Ok – So the week has started and I already know exactly what I need to be eating for the week. I eat exactly the same thing Monday to Friday. So each day I am eating the same breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinners. Yes even my dinners are the same. This cuts down complicated prep time and reduces the amount that I need to think and also removes potential room for error when I’m heavily tracking my food.  So one week I will have steak every night for dinner, the next will be chicken and then fish.

I get up early enough to make breakfast then cart all my lunches and snack foods to work on the Monday. That way everything I need for the week during work is there and I don’t run the risk of forgetting anything and being left without food (that’s when bad impulse decisions are made.)

Keeping my breakfast, lunch and dinner essentially the same, gives me room to move with my snacks. I also can make minor tweaks here and there to adjust each of the meals as I feel like it. Some mornings I have curried eggs for breakfast, sometimes it’s an omelette, sometimes I add ham or even make a breakfast burger. It just means I make small adjustments to other meals in my day – and that’s the beauty of flexible dieting. If I want something I can have it.  Some weeks I have had homemade pizza every night and others I have had burgers every night.

I recall one particular week that I actually realised I had eaten 10 burgers in 7 days….. a mix of homemade and Grill’d and guess what I still lost weight that week because – SCIENCE!

I keep the snacks throughout the week relatively simple and that is because they taste good, they are filling, they hit my sweet tooth when I want it in the afternoon and they require minimal to no prep. Rice cakes, bananas, strawberries, oats, peanut butter, honey. That’s what I am currently eating as that is what I feel like. Every now and then I get bored or crave something else so I change it.

Friday nights however are always reserved for eating out at either Grill’d or Nandos or anything else I really feel like – but I can never pass up an epic burger and chips from Grill’d

prep
If I need to I can do epic preps like this depending on how busy my work week is.

Weekends

The weekends I generally keep unplanned or half planned – I will maybe plan out a couple of meals that I know I will be having at home or eating out. But I usually make sure I incorporate bacon and eggs or something different to my normal Monday and Friday meals. However I do tend to keep my snacks the same as they are easy to take on the go if I am out all day. If I am meeting up with friends or going to the beach I can easily prep my snacks and take with me. That way my food is always on hand and I am not tempted or get caught out being hungry and impulse buying something because I got desperate.

My key takeaways for you

So out of all that and what I have learned over the past year, here are my top tips to help you stay on track and avoid those food binges:

  • Make small changes each week. Some people find it hard to take the ‘big bang’ approach … and if you try to change everything at once it won’t feel like your normal routine, it will feel hard and unpleasant. Tackle one meal at a time and get that down pat in your routine then work on the next. Eventually you will have overhauled your whole daily routine. It’s about trying to create GOOD habits not bad habits (like getting a cake or chocolate bar every afternoon – guilty!)
  • Listen to your body. Plan your food around when you need the energy most. Start making mental or written notes of when you are getting hungry throughout the day then start being prepared for that when you plan your food out. That way when your hunger strikes you will have your food on hand.
  • Get educated, make smarter choices. I have a work colleague that has lost 17kg over the span of 6 months just by swapping his food for slightly lower calorie choices. All he did was compare what he normally eats to other options available and then repeated that every day. Start to understand what is actually in your food so you can make more informed decisions.
  • Keep it simple stupid. You really don’t need to over complicate it. You don’t need to do mass amounts of meal prepping if you don’t want to. Look at foods and options that fit your lifestyle and work commitments and create something that feels easy not something that you dread having to do.
  • Always know when your next meal is. This comes back to planning; I always have found that it is easier to avoid making bad impulse decisions or binge eating when I know exactly when and what I am going to eat next. It puts my mind and stomach at ease.
  • Don’t deprive yourself. Incorporate foods you love and you will be more inclined to stick to your plan and actually look forward to your meals.
  • Just start. Start now, start with one meal, one day, one week. You don’t have to be perfect and it’s OK to get it wrong. I am still learning, still tweaking and I am like everyone else and get caught out not being prepared sometimes – it happens and that is OK. I promise over time it gets easier, you get smarter, you get more efficient and eventually you don’t even need to think about it – because it became your lifestyle.

food-examples

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Lunch

Taco Chicken Salad


Every time I heat up my lunch at work and walk my giant bowl back to my desk the comments start straight away – “oh my goodness that is huge!”, “are you really going to eat all that?” “That smells amazing what is it?”

I try to always make my lunches with maximum volume, minimum calories and maximum TASTE. I always look forward to them when it comes time to eat them.

Here is the recipe for what has been on my plate at lunch time this week – Remember I like to keep it simple with as little effort as possible but still filling and tasty, so excuse me for how basic this actually is BUT you will love it.

Ingredients:

For cooking

Raw skinless chicken breast 

1 whole cauliflower (the smaller you dice this the better)

1 whole brown onion

1 whole red capsicum

1 packet of Old El Paso Taco seasoning

For serving

Mixed bag of salad

Sour light cream 

Method

Ok are you ready for this?……. Dice all ingredients for cooking and place in a deep dish pan preferably one that has a lid, empty  entire taco seasoning packet into dish, place lid back on and cook on a low heat. Stir occasionally until chicken is cooked through.

WAIT WHAT?? That’s it??? Yes – that is all, probably all up it takes me about half an hour to prep then I divide between 5 containers for the week. 

For serving I then just fill a giant bowl with mixed salad, heat up a container of the Taco Chicken mix (optional, I have eaten it cold and it is equally delicious) then top will a dollop of sour light cream.

You are welcome.

Posted in Health and Fitness, Life Advice

Motivation – I’ll have what she’s having Part 2

Following on from Part 1 of my post about motivation I am going to give you a wonderful insight to how my brain works. I really do get asked frequently how do I stay motivated or how do I have the time or energy to do all the things I do every day. While I have been doing a lot of self reflecting lately and really breaking down what actually motivates me – my coach put it pretty simply this week when we were discussing if it was possible to teach motivation and dedication:

You just want it more


Yep that pretty much sums it up. I wanted it bad. So much so that I do tend to obsess over things – In my psychological assessment after the car accident I was diagnosed with mild OCD and obsessive tendencies. It was something I had always thought I may have had but it was nice to have it confirmed. It is something I do need to ensure I continually manage otherwise I send myself into a overthinking obsessive mess. Having OCD certainly does help me in some aspects stick to my plan, but it also can work against me in incredibly bad ways.

So here it is in all it’s glory the full list of motivation aids I used to help keep me motivated ordered by how I go about my day (cause ya know…. OCD):

1. My alarm clock
OK so I am a huge fan of The Rock – Dwyane Johnson. He recently released this year his own alarm clock app and it is the COOLEST THING EVER. You can put in a goal you want to achieve, see motivational messages from The Rock himself and choose from a range of his personalized alarm tones. He has made all the alarm tones himself so I wake up every morning to The Rock singing “good morning sunshine – get your candy ass out of bed”… oh and by the way there is no snooze button, – The Rock doesn’t snooze – so once it goes off I know I need to be up and starting my day.
rock-clock
2. The entire Granite Conditioning Instagram
Like most people I start my day reading the entirety of Facebook and Instagram over breakfast. I regularly scroll through the Granite Conditioning Instagram to be inspired by the amazing people who are worthy enough to be posted. One day I will make it to being posted on this Instagram doing something cool and not just a picture of me laying on the floor dying.

granite-floor

3. My Vision board
This is new  – but I have started one to help me get through comp prep. It’s in the bedroom so I have a constant reminder of what I am working towards. I see it when I first wake up and when I am going to sleep.

4. My scales
I am not talking about body weighing scales. I am talking about food weighing scales. These are kept on the kitchen bench always and are never put away. We have 2 of them in case Chris is using one when I also want to use one (saves a kitchen fight happening.) I also keep a small one in my hand bag every where I go and there is one on my desk at work. This means that I have NO EXCUSE not to track my food. Even if for some reason I was suddenly not prepared I could easily buy something reasonable and track it no matter where I am.
Work scales.png
5. My clothes that get looser
This is a pretty obvious one. Noticing that your clothes are getting looser to the point that I now cant keep my work clothes on unless I clip them together with bulldog clips is pretty satisfying. Annoying. But satisfying.

 loose-clothes

6. My work mates
My team has become very supportive and invested in what I am trying to achieve. We spend a lot of our lives with the people we work with. So it’s nice to have the support of them as well. It just happened over time that they became more and more interested. So much so that they have kindly created a motivational window for me at my desk to constantly remind me what I am working towards.

7. Progress photos
It is perfectly acceptable to take a BILLION photos of yourself. Taking photos I have found has been one of the best motivators to see how far I have come and to keep reminding me why I am doing what I am doing.


8. My own Instagram
In the first Granite 8 week challenge I decided to start an Instagram to document my experience. Kitkats2fitkat was my space to post anything and everything I felt like around my health and fitness journey and I use it like a diary. It helps keep me on track an accountable to myself, I keep it real and authentic – there is no smoke and mirrors here. Just me sharing what I am doing or what I am eating to achieve my goals.

9. New gym clothes
C’mon – I don’t think I need to explain this one. Everyone loves new outfits. Especially new fresh gym clothes. Look good feel good.

10.Being able to lift heavy shit
I was one weak ass chick. I thought I was pretty strong until I actually started training properly and after the car accident I lost a lot of strength especially in the lower part of my body. I get so much enjoyment and satisfaction now out of being able to move heavy objects and track the noticeable progress. When I started after the car accident I could barely do an unweighted squat. I can now complete squats of 75kg without exploding my back and that to me is an incredibly achievement that I never thought was possible.

11. Music
There is no doubt that getting some good tunes together can put you in a good mood. I have a couple of playlists that I use depending on how I am feeling that day.

12. My gym diary
The book of everything I call it. When I transitioned to training with a coach and I had very specific goals I am working towards I created a book to track my “off-season”. For the past 32 weeks I have tracked every single work out – I have never missed a training session. Not one. Every single weigh in and my coaches feedback is documented and every food variation I made over those weeks is documented. I have found this process incredibly important to keeping me accountable and on track.

13. My coach and his wall of fame
I started out with having an amazing PT named Lacey at Granite. She trained me through my 8 week challenges at Granite and the weeks around those. She was the voice of reason, she kept me accountable, she pushed me and she gave me endless amounts of advice and support when I had many days of self doubt.

I have now moved on to a comp prep coach who has been guiding me through off-season training to better prepare me for when we start comp prep. His methods and his immense amount of knowledge have helped me keep on track through out this whole process. Having weekly check-ins has definitely ensured I stay accountable and every PT session I get to admire his wall of fame of successful competitors he has coached. Even on weeks where he has been away traveling I still go into PT at my normal time and weigh in as usual, then send him the results. This helps me keep on track. Just because he might be away doesn’t mean my goals and dedication go away.

14.People
I have managed to be lucky enough to have an amazing support network. It’s nearly impossible for me to mention every single person so I am going to group them:

  • My husband Chris is my absolute rock. He is always there pushing me and listening to and talking me out of my crazy head space some days
  • My friends – I have a small and close circle of friends who provide immense amounts of support even if they don’t have the same level of intense interest in what I am doing. Cause that is what good friends do
  • My new gym friends – I have met some amazing people and I am so thankful for the new friendships I have created. They help keep me motivated, we talk regularly, we train together and we eat burgers together
  • Granite – This gym is amazing and like no other I have ever been apart of. Granite is a family full of inspiring and motivating people.

15. Doing something for myself
Why spend all day working for someone else and not putting the time in to work on yourself?
I am now the priority. If wanting the best for yourself isn’t motivating enough then I don’t know what else is.

 

Posted in Health and Fitness, Life Advice

Motivation – I’ll have what she’s having: Part 1

“How do you stay so motivated?” “I wish I could be as motivated as you are! I just can’t get myself motivated”  – the two most common things I hear from people I speak to.

It’s something that is talked about often but also something a number of us struggle with. Motivation or lack there of can really hinder our ability to achieve the goals we have set out or even just trying to be a basic functioning human in society. *queue couch time with my favorite snack of chocolate pods a can of Pepsi and some trashy reality TV*

So why do some people seem to have endless amounts of motivation and some of us are severely lacking in the whole ‘take over the world and accomplish everything’ department?

What can be even more frustrating is that you have days where you absolutely kill it, you feel like you really have your life together and then all of a sudden you walk face first into a door because it said ‘pull’ and you pushed it. (Totally did that a couple of weeks ago.)

It’s those not so gentle reminders that if we aren’t paying attention and keeping on top of things….. if we get too comfortable… things can slip or derail us. It only takes one small thing or a series of mini events to make us feel like everything is spiraling out of control. I’m going to call them joy diminishers (Credit: Coach Deasy) and they are your motivations kyrptonite.

Find your main driver – here is mine

With what ever you are trying to achieve, there is a reason for it. Being aware and acknowledging the reason or reasons why you are setting out to do something will help you create motivational aids to keep you on track.

For me there was a point in time that I had hit such a low point in my life that I decided that I never wanted to feel like that ever again. I would not allow it. I decided I would invest in myself – something I had never done before. To put myself first, to dedicated time to working on ME of all people, to ensure that I had the healthiest and strongest body I could possibly create given I had just broken it in the car accident.

Post car accident saw my weight spiral out of control. My then fiance was doing an amazing job of telling me how beautiful I looked every day, how amazing I looked in a bikini and really had me feeling pretty confident most days. When I was able-bodied again, I started going back to the gym and I was really killing myself. I was pulling 2 sessions a day, 1 fasted cardio in the morning before work and then a weights session after work. I thought I was getting pretty fit even knowing my weight was going up – I had actually convinced myself it must be muscle that I was building. It wasn’t until we held our engagement party and I received the photos back and I was shocked at what I saw. The person in the picture was not what I thought I looked like. I was much larger than majority of my girlfriends – I realised I hated myself.

Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely loved our engagement party but in my head, I suddenly had seen myself differently. That is when I realised I needed to take action and that I didn’t want to look like the girl in that picture on my wedding day.

It’s no secret that if you want something bad enough you will find a way….if you don’t you will find an excuse.

Adding motivational aids

These are the key to your motivational success, they keep you on track, they bring you up when you are down, they remind you why you are doing what you are doing. I am not a robot, I too go through days or moments of self-doubt, excuses, thinking things are too hard, thinking it is not worth it because I have to sacrifice something else (I have had many Fear Of Missing Out experiences). My motivational aids are the constant reminder that what I am doing is worth every second of energy I have dedicated to my goals.

Coming in part 2 – my entire list of motivational aids that I use to stay on track…. stay tuned.

 

 

 

Posted in Dinner, Food

Steak and pumpkin salad

I am all about taste and minimal effort. I am currently obsessed with this steak and pumpkin salad that I have been making for lunches on the weekends and some dinners when it’s steak week in our house. (Yes a whole week of steak, I will do a post one day on how we plan our food in our house and what works for us)

I recently attended a family Sunday night dinner where on the menu was take-away Thai food, which would usually send my macro-tracking self into an anxiety ball of stress however, I came prepared with this pre-planned meal. When I whipped this up and placed my massive bowl on the table (it really is as big as my head) family members looked in disbelief questioning me if I was really going to eat ‘all that‘…. Yes everyone, I really am going to eat all that – just watch me.

Steak and Pumpkin Salad:

What you will need:

  • Lean sirloin steak
  • Broccoli
  • Pumpkin – diced
  • Capsicum – chopped
  • Onion – chopped
  • Water – 50ml
  • Mixed green leafy salad (I buy mixed bags from Woolies or Coles)
  • Masterfoods Smokey BBQ sauce

Method:

Place steak in pan on low heat. Add chopped capsicum and onion to the same pan and allow to fry all together for about 5 minutes. Add water to pan and allow steak onions and capsicum to all simmer together until steak is cooked to your liking.

Meanwhile – steam broccoli and diced pumpkin. For this meal so it’s quick and easy I just pop them in the microwave. Depending how much pumpkin you have 6 minutes usually does it for about 150g of pumpkin in a bowl with a bit of water and cover the bowl with glad wrap.

Once pumpkin and broccoli are steamed and the steak, capsicum and onion are cooked – Fill a bowl or plate with a large helping of salad. Thinly slice steak and now add all ingredients to the salad bowl.

Drizzle the Smokey BBQ Sauce over the top and serve.

Simple and tasty.

 

 

 

Posted in Health and Fitness, Life Advice

It’s not a matter of if I will, but when I will.

Let me tell you something straight up that you probably haven’t heard too often – goal setting is actually incredibly effing hard. More often than not people have set what they think is a goal when really they are actually aspirations or ideas rather than a solid goal with a plan in place to achieve it. We have all been there, you set yourself a target or goal and suddenly find yourself months or years down the track and you are still in the same position you were when you started or your progress is so small you think, why am I even bothering? – sound familiar? it’s not the best feeling.

notes-plans-ideas
Starting with a fresh book always helps when setting out your plan

People tend to set goals without actually putting a proper plan in place to achieve it and sometimes they set a goal so big that it seems so far away you lose motivation or run out of steam working towards it. Don’t get me wrong having long-term goals are great – but I find what works best for me is breaking my goals down into smaller more manageable goals. They are almost like checkpoints, and they work because they keep me interested and I get that feeling of satisfaction and achievement when I tick them off one by one.

Last year one of the many goals I set for myself was to compete in my first body building competition. I had never competed before and I knew it was going to be a long road ahead to get to the condition I needed to be in. I started out by doing two 8 week challenges to kick-start me in the right direction of training and eating properly. I then began training with a coach to guide me through the process and provide invaluable and much-needed advice. It has now been 1 year since I set that goal and I am a mere 24 weeks away from achieving what I set out to do. It certainly hasn’t been the easiest road. There have been tantrums, mini meltdowns and days that I have wanted to throw it all in.

offseason
My training book. Every workout tracked, every food variation noted, every weigh in documented. Tracking and reflecting on your progress is key to achieving your goal.

I have found that it is very important to back yourself. You need to believe that you can achieve what you have set out to do. If you have a negative mindset you are going to hinder your ability to successfully achieve your goal. So here are some of my tips for setting out and achieving a goal:

  • Make sure it is realistic
  • Define what success actually looks like – your goal needs to be measurable
  • Put a time frame around your goal
  • Have check points! It’s important to reflect on how you are progressing, this give you the opportunity to make adjustments instead of just mindlessly doing things that do not work
  • Celebrate your successes or milestones
  • Make yourself accountable, have someone you can check in with. This could be a spouse, a mentor or a friend
  • Understand WHY you have set that goal – they need to be relative to you
  • Write that shit down – I put reminders, little notes and lists everywhere reminding me what I am working towards

open-notepad

 

 

 

Posted in Life Advice

If you aren’t doing everything you can to achieve that goal you set out – why not?

As I sat there in the specialists office listening to him rattle off his prognosis and the long list of things I wouldn’t be able to do to any more, I just stared blankly and emotionless at him. Where was my support person? Why didn’t I bring anyone with me to this appointment? As usual I didn’t think to bring anyone. I didn’t want to bother my partner or family and feel like I was putting them out in any way. Besides, I am a tough young independent woman who can handle any situation and surely it wasn’t going to be THAT BAD. Things like this don’t happen to me.

“You will not be able to play any sport, you should avoid doing any heavy lifting or twisting, do not gain any more weight and you should avoid having children – your back won’t be able to handle the additional load and you are at high risk of permanently damaging your spine more..”

It had taken 6 months since the car accident to finally get an accurate diagnosis. I had spent countless sessions with GP’s, monthly visits to the neurologist and I had already started an intense rehabilitation program which consisted of hydro-therapy (these sessions were filled with the elderly in one swim lane, babies in another and me in my blue and white polka dot bikini in the middle lane feeling incredibly out-of-place) and physiotherapy. Not to mention my daily routine of taking pain killers, heat packing my back, stretching/foam rolling and just lying on the floor.

It was in that moment in the specialists’ office that I suddenly realised the life I envisioned of having was suddenly over. I was only 23 – I still had the attitude that the world was my oyster and constantly had my dad’s advice in the back of my mind that I could do and be anything I wanted… and that I had plenty of time to put all my hopes and dreams in motion. Now I was being told I needed to live a life of caution and that things were most likely only going to get worse, not better.

I packed my things and left the office, headed back to the car and then proceeded to bawl my eyes out. I actually don’t think I had ever cried so hard in my life. Will my partner still love me now that I am damaged goods? Will he take care of me and provide me the additional assistance I need? There were so many things running through my mind. I was suddenly not the tough independent woman who can handle any situation. I was now a fragile broken girl who now needed assistance to carry out basic daily tasks. I felt completely out of control of my life. Continue reading “If you aren’t doing everything you can to achieve that goal you set out – why not?”