For the next three days, I will be traveling for work. I thought about how my travel could impact the meal plan I have been on to achieve the results that I’m looking for. Staying on plan in terms of my nutrition and raising the bar on my fitness is a priority. Preparation is key. I knew that I could not control every meal, but I could do the best to control what I consume to the best of my ability. While I was staying at a hotel that serves free breakfast in the morning, and I could find healthy options such as hard boiled eggs, yogurt, and fruit, I knew that I could maintain the eating plan that I have been on by packing certain foods from home.

When I’m home, I eat 1/4 cup of almonds on my way to work as a snack so that I’m not starving, and I eat oatmeal and a protein drink for breakfast once I get to work. In preparation of my travels, I packed 2 containers with 1/4 cup of almonds each and two containers with 1/2 cup of oatmeal.

Since I knew that I would be in meetings when I would typically eat the oatmeal breakfast, I started my day with oatmeal and a hard boiled egg (as my protein), and I saved the almonds for a snack later in the morning. As for dinner, my flight lands at 8:30p.m.. By the time I would get my bags and get to the hotel it would be around 9:30p.m. which was way too late to be eating. Instead, I packed myself a turkey sandwich (two slices of wheat bread, mixed greens, mustard, and 4 slices of deli turkey) to take with and eat on the plane. I also packed two scoops of protein powder in a bag so that I would be able to have a protein powder to drink at any time. By planning ahead, I am able to maintain the new lifestyle way of eating.

Last week, I lost 1.6 pounds. I felt really good about that progress. This past week, I even increased my water consumption for two of the seven days going from 120 oz to 150 oz. I was excited to get on the scale today thinking that I would have lost weight. I hopped on the scale only to find that I gained .8 pounds. Frustrating! I’m still down versus when I started. I reached out to my fitness coach, Megan, and said, “I feel like a contestant on the Biggest Loser with fluctuations in my weight.” Her response was, “Give it a few days and see what happens.” She is also having me increase my cardio from 15 minutes of warm up to 30.

Initially, I was only doing 15 minutes of cardio warm up because I’m getting cardio with my walk to and from the train. However, it seems that I need more cardio to achieve weight loss.

While I’m discouraged by the number on the scale, I know that the number on the scale does not tell the whole story. I know that my clothes are fitting better- I’m getting into jeans I haven’t worn in a long time. I know I’m getting stronger – lifting heavier weights. I am not going to let the number on the scale discourage or derail me. I am realistic as I know that there will be bumps in the road and maybe even set backs. I am committed to this journey and my goals. This is a new day of a new week – day 1 of week 3.

Protein is a huge component of nutrition. There are so many different types of protein – isolate, whey, casein, egg, and plant. Proteins are metabolized differently causing you to get hungrier sooner. For example, an isolate will metabolize faster leaving you hungry quicker.

I am a big fan of Trutein protein powder. I like Trutein is because it contains three different kinds of protein-Whey, Casein, and Egg. The three proteins metabolize at different times leaving you feeling fuller longer.

When I consume protein powder, I am a purist- just the powder and water as opposed to using the powder to make smoothies or combining the protein powder with another liquid (milk, almond milk etc). Consistency and texture is very important to me. Trutein powder when added to water is smooth and upon shaking gets frothy so from a consistency perspective it seems like a smoothie.

As far as flavors, initially I bought the Vanilla because from my experience vanilla protein powders taste pretty good (taste is personal preference). Trutein Vanilla was spot on. Recently, I bought Pumpkin Pie flavor as I needed a change and it really does taste like pumpkin pie or even a chai latte. I highly recommend it.

Valentine’s Day is a day of love and indulgences. It is a day identified by champagne, chocolate, and dining out. For Valentine’s Day, I had plans for brunch at a great tapas restaurant with my boyfriend, John. These plans were made a couple weeks before I started my “next level of fitness” training program. I know that I am allowed one cheat meal per week, but I still don’t want to derail any progress that I may be making. At the same time, I don’t want to deprive myself or be anti-social.

So, how do you eat on plan when dining out? Plan ahead and do your best to make smart choices. I like to plan by going to a restaurant’s website and seeing what items are on the menu. I can then see how items are prepared, which are higher in protein, and know what I want to eat before dining.

Brunch started with a basket of muffins and Mimosas. We celebrated Valentine’s Day with a toast. I took a sip of the Mimosa, but then gave it to John so that I wasn’t tempted to finish it. I am allowed one cheat meal and three glasses of wine per week. Mimosas while not off the list are calorie laden and for me are not worth it.

Brunch was a buffet with unlimited food choices from bacon wrapped dates to seafood paella and delicious salads some of which had cream based sauces and some of which had oil & vinegar based sauce. While this was a cheat meal, I wanted to still make good choices. I know that cream based sauces tend to be higher in calories than oil & vinegar based sauces. I also know that if I wanted to taste something I wasn’t going to deprive myself. My choices were protein based options like seafood salads, smoked salmon, and veggies. Delicious!

I am happy to report that I did more than survive today. I am sore in a good way, and I feel great. I am almost done with my last 30 oz bottle of water (total of 120 oz). I went to the gym and worked out after work which in and of itself is a big accomplishment. Working full time, I often come home from work exhausted, hungry and not wanting to go to the gym.

It helped so much to have the support of John who joined me at the gym. He’s so excited about my journey and he’s so supportive of the lifestyle change in terms of getting into the gym more and eating on a certain meal plan.

Food used to be very important to me, but now I see food as a means for getting strong and fueling my body for my workouts. It feels good knowing that I am eating in a way that I am going to make a difference and hopefully start seeing results. This will truly be a lifestyle change in my diet.

Based on the meal plan (see nutrition tab) that I’m eating, I’m not missing anything or having cravings for sweets and junk food. When I get home from work, I enjoy having a relish tray and I am still able to do that. However, the relish tray has choices more on plan such as string cheese, baby dill pickles, 10 black olives, and 6 rice crackers as opposed to higher fat cheeses and a rotation of veggies from pickled beets to marinated artichokes.  I don’t think that the veggies I was eating on the relish tray before were off-plan, but it was the quantity consumed.  I’m learning portions and the importance of measuring things.

At the gym, I did 10 minutes of cardio to warm up then hit the weights. I pushed myself to fatigue and even when I thought I can’t do another rep I thought about John who has sent me on this journey and is supporting me every step of the way and I pushed myself to finish. I am sore, but I feel strong.

For dinner I had 4.5 ounces of chicken with bbq seasoning salt and 2 cups of broccoli. I’m going to finish my water and sign off.

The below meal plan is based on the customized workouts that have been crafted for me.

I went to Costco and stocked up on lean protein, veggies, almonds, and yogurt. I also went and bought a 30 oz water bottle because mentally for me it is easier to drink 4-30 oz bottles of water as opposed to 6- 20 oz bottles of water.

[embeddoc url=”http://fittothenextlevel.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Calories.pdf”]

My fitness coach, Megan, advised that the meals are suggestions.   I can substitute a lean meat with a different lean meat I just need to make sure it’s the same amount of calories/ macros give or take ( turkey, chicken, lean beef, egg whites etc) same thing goes for veggies and carbs. I can  have pretty much any veggie.   Megan’s go to choices are broccoli, any sort of lettuce greens, green beans, asparagus, bell peppers, cucumber, and squash. There is no such thing as too many veggies.  So if I am still hungry I should eat more veggies.

As far as the carbs, sources should be (sweet potato or regular potato, oatmeal, whole wheat bread ( at least 3 grams of fiber per slice, brown rice or brown pasta) —- make sure all serving sizes are correct per calorie amount ( ex- 1 medium sweet potato 110cal= 1 slice multi grain bread 100cal) all exchanges should be roughly the same +/- 10 cal

MEASURE EVERYTHING! This is especially important when you are learning the correct portion sizes. I have a scale and measuring cups.  Megan shared that where people go wrong is with the serving sizes.

On this meal plan, I am  allowed one cheat meal a week ( i.e. going out, to a party etc). Plan your day around the cheat meal, however the meal should still be tracked so I should leave extra calories for that meal so that I don’t go over my macros by a ton that day, no more than 300 cal over.

As for drinking, it shoudl be kept to to my cheat meal only or not at all- it’s ok to enjoy a glass or 2 of wine, but measure it and track it.

For my 41st birthday, my boyfriend, John, got me the best gift because it was unexpected and something that I would never get for myself. He surprised me with a fitness consultation with trainer/nutrition coach Megan Vaccaro.

During my hour consultation with Megan, we discussed my daily calorie intake (approx. 1200) and my goals. I shared my struggle to see the benefits of my working out like getting stronger and losing weight. Based on the information that I provided,  Megan’s assessment was that I wasn’t taking in enough calories and that my metabolism needed to be challenged.   She asked me an interesting question, “Would you be okay if you didn’t get to your weight goal, but were leaner and saw more muscle definition as muscle weighs more than fat?   This was a rather challenging question to answer because part of me thinks the scale matters and I personally have a goal in mind from a number perspective.  However, I trusted the process of getting lean and seeing what results that would hold.

After meeting with Megan, I shared with John the goals that I discussed with Megan and he brought up a good point, wouldn’t you like to know what it would be like if you were to train as if you were going to compete in a fitness competition?  He reminded me that I am in awe of women I see at the gym who have that leanness and definition or the women that I see in fitness magazines (Photoshopping aside) who have defined muscles.  I am interested in seeing the transformation from that perspective. I immediately texted Megan and shared with her my goal.  She was so excited. By identifying a true goal she is able to craft the right meal plan and workouts.

On this journey,  I will track my measurements.  Weight will be tracked weekly and body measurements will be tracked monthly.  Below are my starting measurements.

  • Weight: 126 pounds
  • Right Bicep: 10 5/8″ n0n-flexed & 11 1/4″ flexed
  • Left Bicep: 10 5/8″ non-flexed & 11″ flexed
  • Waist: 28 1/4″
  • Hips:  36 1/8″
  • Bust: 32 5/8″
  • Right Thigh: 21 1/8″
  • Left Thigh:  21  1/8″
  • Neck: 12 1/4″
  • Left Calf: 14 1/8″
  • Right Calf: 14 1/8″

 

I am hoping to learn from this journey, to transform my physique, and to take my fitness to the next level. I am dedicated to the journey and will record this journey to share with you.