Once I was settled into my room, I started dealing with the reality that my regular life as I know it has changed. My Type A personality came on and I had to get in major planning mode. I called my friend and great Zumba instructor, Jessica, and she helped me get everything in place for the fitness studio. I made a list of things for Milton to bring from the house. I tried to explain in detail where each item is since I couldn’t be there to point it out. I called all of my family and friends to let them know what had happened. Everyone said to be strong.
Wednesday night and Thursday morning I was put on a clear liquid diet. For those that don’t know what that consist of – chicken broth, apple juice, jello and italian ice. The first time I ate it, I actually looked forward to it since I hadn’t eaten in 10 hours. I was still on strict bed rest and had to use a bedpan when I needed to urinate. Thursday was difficult because for the first time I was having to be dependent on everyone else. The bed was my island and all the action happened around me.
Thursday at lunchtime I had graduated to regular food. For the meals here, you given a menu of foods and you can call down and decide what time you want to eat. For my first meal i chose pizza (surprise) and chocolate cake. It was good for the simple fact that I hadn’t eaten real food in 24 hours.
I had originally been on magnesium, but they stopped giving me that. The round the clock baby and contractions monitor was taken off and now they only monitor me twice a day. Freedom was mine – as long as I could do it from my bed.
The most difficult thing about Thursday and Friday was my concern for Milton. I experienced a major setback, but Milton experienced an even larger one with more emotion. Here both his wife and unborn child are rushed to a hospital, Milton is driving back and forth to the house to get all necessary items, when all he wants to do is be by my side. Everything I’ve always done to maintain the household now falls on him. He turned into the ultimate provider. His job could tell how overwhelmed he was that they made him take Friday off – which was good for the both of us!
For the first time since I started competing three years ago, I am taking a break. It’s a much needed offseason. Although I placed in the top five in my national shows this year, the feedback from the judges is that I needed to put on more muscle, especially in my upper body. (They also completely hated my Lady Gaga routine, but that’s a whole different story).
So, for the first time in a long time – I get to eat a larger number of carbs. Carbs help with energy which also helps to lift heavier weights. It should be an interesting, yet hopefully fun, process although I haven’t been successful thus far. Last week was my first week in the offseason and I ate everything off my “temptations” list. Maggiano’s lasagna and chocolate cake; waffles; Famous Dave’s Sausage, baked beans and apples; pretzels; Qdoba breakfast burrito; Panera Bread muffin, Avalon lobster macaroni and grilled cheese; Wild Eggs Creole Omelet; Red Lobster biscuits; Zaytun’s gyro and cheese bread; Homemade Pie Kitchen Boston Cream Pie; Skyline cheese coneys; Dairy Queen Oreo blizzard ; Blue Dog Bakery muffin and bread; Southern Cravings catfish, macaroni and sweet potatoes; Red Lobster Chocolate cake; IHOP pancake breakfast and Domino’s pizza. Wow oh wow, yum uh huh!
Yes, it was all VERY good (in flavor). Yes, I helped to support the local economy. However, by the end of the week my stomach was poking out so far that people probably would have thought I was pregnant. I even wore a t-shirt at the gym so people wouldn’t start spreading rumors about me. Although it was okay for me to splurge for a week, I knew that I couldn’t maintain that eating forever. So I’ve come up with a plan. I will be eating more carbs, but there are healthier carbs that I should be eating. I also must watch the portion of the carbs I eat and try to eat all of my carbs before the afternoon ends.
Most people don’t look forward to gaining weight, but I’m excited to get a slightly larger muscular frame. To put it in perspective, I generally compete at 110 lbs (which is about 10 pounds under my normal weight). The goal is to be a solid 115 lbs on stage (which means in the offseason I’ll possibly be 10 pounds over that). Here’s the kicker – in order to gain muscle, you must gain weight – which also generally includes gaining fat. So I may be “thicker” over the next couple of months. If my jeans fit a little tighter or my face looks a little fuller, don’t assume something is wrong. I may look a little more ‘phat’ than usual (for me). Just know it’s part of the process! Cheers to sweet potatoes, whole wheat pastas and fruits!
We all have certain talents in life. We all have things we are passionate about. We all have claims to fame that other people envy. There is one area of my life where none of this applies – in the kitchen!
I don’t “throw down”. I don’t have favorite meals that people crave. I cook simply because I have to eat six times a day. Everything is very basic. I admire people like Loretta Sugg, James Bentley and the entire Palmer family women who have made some amazing dishes that made my stomach full of joy!
Four years ago, I needed to eat. My boyfriend needed to eat. But we were both lazy. So, after a trip to the grocery store, the meal of the moment was decided. It’s not delivery, it’s Digiorno. A step down from a home cooked meal but a step up from Ramen noodles.
The pizza sat on the lower rack in the oven. I smelled the frozen ingredients begin to cook and excitedly opened the oven to let the eating begin. As I reached in to pull it out, I somehow forgot there was a top rack and burned my arm. It was pretty painful and pretty nasty looking. So, now, four years later I have a mark on my forearm that is a permanent reminder of my cooking skills.
Well, you would have thought I would have learned my lesson then. I assumed I learned my lesson. Until last week. I had carefully weighed and cut over 15 chicken breasts weighing between 4-6 ounces. When in competition prep, I generally cook my food a week at a time so I was happy with the meals that were to come. The chicken was in the oven with some other protein. As the timer went off and I took some food off the top rack, I went to move the chicken from the bottom rack up.
I should have known better. I know that ovens are hot. I know that oven racks are even more hot. But that didn’t stop my arm from once again touching the top oven rack. I jumped as I felt the pressure. Exactly one inch below my previous mark, I am now the owner of a new burn mark on my arm. I think God is trying to tell me that cooking is not my calling in life – and I’m okay with that! Or maybe he’s just telling me from now on to just cook with one rack in the oven. Hmmmm……..
So I am once again getting ready for my next competition. This one is the Fitness Nationals next weekend in New York City. Still trying for that pro card so I can be a professional athlete. I know it takes time and experience so I am trying to get as much exposure as possible.
Once again, the focus was getting my glutes down. In other words, goodbye sexy black girl booty and hello cute white girl booty. I wake up every morning, turn sideways and see if my curve has deflated any more. I see the changes, but still have some way to go. In order to try to decrease the fat faster, it was suggested that I give up all carbs every other day for the eight weeks I spend training. When I say ALL carbs, I mean ALL carbs. Carbs are the foods that give you energy. They help keep you alert and moving. Lack of carbs makes for lack of enthusiasm. My bed/tv/and I have become very good friends. I’ve seen one too many Lifetime movies and re-runs of Project Runway and Real Housewives.
Lack of carbs also causes a lack of common sense. One morning I was ready to take my supplements. I opened the bottle. Instead of pouring the supplements in my hand, I poured the bottle of water in my hand. (Not a good feeling first thing in the morning). I will ask you a question, get an answer and then ten minutes later not remember if I really asked the question or just thought about it. Sarcasm is not allowed at a time like this. Any jokes that I’d usually catch on it are now just not worth the effort in figuring out.
I miss my carbs oh so much. A slice of supreme pizza for Za’s. Some pasta from Macaroni Grill. A burrito from Qdoba. All the food from Dinner is Done. Dessert from Homemade Pie and Ice Cream Kitchen. Cheddar bisquits from Red Lobster. Breakfast from anywhere. Me and all of these foods will be reunited in just 10 days so I can be patient.
Just know, though, when you see people that are in great shape, there is a lot of sacrifice that comes with it. I’ve missed a long of social gatherings either to rest or simply because all people there would be doing is eating. I spend every morning doing cardio and every evening at the gym. The way I look this week with 10% bodyfat is not the way I look throughout the year. My weight is actually down to about 110 pounds, but by the time you see me at the end of the month (and after I stuff my face with the above mentioned foods) I would have probably gained at least 6-10 pounds back.
If you set a goal, you should dedicate yourself 100% to achieving that goal because you never know what blessings you could receive. I’ll have that bag of Oreos real soon, but I have a fitness routine to rock out in NYC first!
I had a friend come in town this weekend and we decided to be lazy and order pizza on Friday night. We ordered a meat lover’s medium pizza and cheesebread. When the driver arrived at the door, my friend paid and asked how much we should leave for a tip (I was in the process of walking down the stairs). We decided to give the driver a larger tip just so he wouldn’t have to give us change. He asked if we were sure and thanked us with a smile.
As I arrived at the door I noticed my friend had two pizza boxes in addition to the bread. I opened the door to catch the driver and told him we had two pizzas instead of one. He came back to the door and checked the receipt (it said one pizza). We opened the box to check the pizza. It was ½ pepperoni and ½ supreme (nowhere close to our order!). The driver looked at us and said, “Well, I guess today’s your day too!”.
The driver received his tip after he was already at the door, so there was no way that he was just trying to ‘hook us up’ for giving him a large tip. The situation really did let me know that you do get rewarded for your good deeds. Both incidents were small gestures, but they were large enough to make you sit and ponder the situation.