No Beginners Allowed

I sit here in absolute awe of the beautiful mountains of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. It makes me take a step back, take a deep breath, and be filled with what nature provides. I am beyond grateful to have the opportunity to travel and snowboard here at Mount Bohemia.

It truly is a different place up here. Their tagline is “no beginners allowed”. It is extreme back country where they do not groom any of their runs and you can ride in very fresh powder. For scale, I took a photo with snowboard next to it.

Friday night, we drove even further to the tip of the UP to Copper Harbor. We hiked about 2 miles, in snowboard boots, to have a wonderful view and out first ride of the weekend. There’s something to say for hiking that hard and far, getting up to the top and knowing you’ve made it. You have earned your ride down. As some would say, “You earn your turns”.

It was my first time riding in about two years, and I can’t really put into words the feeling that engulfed me as I laced up my snowboard boots and strapped into my board. I felt home.

An oversight of mine was not trying on my gear before riding. As I put on my snowboard pants, there was no way I could wear them without a belt. It made me take another step back and realize how far I have come on my fitness journey.

It was my first snowboard trip without drinking. To be completely honest, I didn’t feel like I missed out on anything by not drinking. I participated in fun events, like a limbo contest that I was very close to winning. Too bad my height is against me in limbo! Another fun event I participated in was the “Man Carries Woman” event, which is apparently super popular in Finland. My friend Kristen empowered me to participate, but participate in the sense that I would carry someone else.

Here’s a video of me trying out the typically carry of this event with my friend Jennifer:

After realizing I can complete the event, we did compete, and took 3rd place. Here’s another highlight video, and shows my cabin buddies Kristin (banana) and Brandi (Hawaiian tourist) attempting to compete piggy back style.

This was so much fun, and made me think I could maybe compete in a strong(wo)man competition someday.

I am so lucky to have such supportive and kind friends that push me to my full potential. What was even more motivating, was how understanding they were of my competition prep. They saw me pull out my Tupperware and ate lean protein, guac and rice. They commended me for doing what I was doing when I was out to eat with them, and eating my prepared food.

It was very motivating putting on a swimsuit for the hot tub and feel proud of the body I have earned.

A weekend was well spent. Mount Bohemia is such a great time and I am grateful and fortunate for my time spent up here with such amazing people.

Love and Light,

Annie

Why I Hate the Word Diet

Before I get into why I hate the word diet, I want to give a huge shout out to Perfect Fit Gear co-owner, Anita Swole for having me on her podcast, Balancing Act.  You can access the podcast through this link.  I also want to give a huge shout out to her sister, Camile Swole for summing up what was discussed during the podcast:

“Anita interviewed a soon-to-be first time competitor. Her website is bunnyflexfit.com Her definition of success will not be a trophy or a place, but her success will be the transformation her body goes through during this process. She plans on competing in the 2019 Mr. and Mrs. Natural Minnesota Bodybuilding Competition on May 24th and 25th.

“-Thinking about nutrition serving as the prevention of diseases, not just flavors of food.
– Thinking about exercise as a way to combat depression or anxiety instead of just a requirement to low body fat.”

These were the two biggest takeaways I got from listening to this weeks episode of Sowle Sisters Balancing act where Anita flew solo this episode when she talked to first-time competitor Annie Rathman!

This was SO fun to listen to for me! I actually related to her viewpoint SO much. I wish other bikini competitors would also shift focus on certain aspects of competing. They touch on
– Definition of a successful prep
– Nah- Sayers
– Getting offended
– The effects of fitness in other ways than vanity
-Thinking about nutrition serving as the prevention of diseases, not just flavors of food.
– Thinking about exercise as a way to combat depression or anxiety instead of just a requirement for low body fat.
– Life happens
-Intuitive Eating

Make to check out Annies blog she mentioned in the episode!
bunnyflexfit.com/2019/01/18/how-f…owerful-emotion/” – Camille Swole

Check out the rest of their podcasts on SoundCloud

__________________________________________________________________

Now, onto my definition of the word diet.

Hate is a strong word, I guess I shouldn’t say I hate the word “diet”. I would say I do hate the negative connotation with this word.

Diet, has a few different definitions within Merriam-Webster’s dictionary:

diet

noun

di·​et | \ ˈdī-ət  \

Definition of diet

afood and drink regularly provided or consumed
diet of fruits and vegetables
a vegetarian diet
bhabitual nourishment
links between diet and disease
cthe kind and amount of food prescribed for a person or animal for a special reason
was put on a low-sodium diet
da regimen of eating and drinking sparingly so as to reduce one’s weight
going on a diet

 

As I read through those definitions, what sticks out to me is the definition about how the diet is set for a definitive period of time. I feel this connotation, sets up a lot of people for failure. For example, “21-Day Fix,” how do you think you will truly make a lifestyle change and create a habit that will keep with you for the rest of your life, in 21 days? I’m not saying this diet is not effective, but it has something in common with other diets. Think about: Atkins, Zone, Keto, insert new fad diet program here. What does all of these “diets” have in common? It makes you focused, and consider what you eat before it enters your mouth. After you hit your goal of say about a 15 pound weight loss, most people think they deserve a treat, and slowly but surely go back to the way they were used to eating, and gain MORE weight back than they originally had!

This type of yo-yo dieting is not great for your body physically, and mentally. It creates this mind set of guilt with food, and a mind set of “oh I’d be much more happier, successful, a better person if I lost 15 pounds” or “I am a failure since I ate a donut”. This type of mental guilt breeds eating disorders and overtraining.

Why don’t we shift our mindset and instead of saying “I am going on a diet” to “I am creating a lifestyle change to become healthier”. The latter suggestion states your why, and shows it isn’t for a finite period of time. I think this type of answer would defeat any type of naysayer telling you that you do not need to diet.

I like Whole30’s approach of defeating naysayers, you tell them you’re doing a 30 day experiment to understand how to nourish your body properly. What is the person that says, “look at you being healthy” going to say to that?

There is no “quick fix” to lifestyle changes and becoming physically fit. It is feeding into out instant gratification culture and society, but unfortunately body composition change is driven through hard work, and consistent dedication. Body composition change does not come from a short, finite period of time.

 

Thanks for listening to my rant. I think this is an important message for people to understand you can’t just drink Slimfast for 3 weeks and keep the weight off for the rest of your life.

Quiet consistency is how you drive change, and become your best self physically and mentally.

With gratitude, thank you so much for reading. Please comment on your thoughts about the word diet and your definition.

Day 24 – Tiger Blood

Today is Day 24 of my Whole30.  I wish I could say I am feeling absolutely fantastic like I typically am days 20-30, but in reality, grief is taking over my typical tiger blood feelings.

It’s been a rough weekend/week for me.  Friday, I get the news my Grandfather passed.  Saturday, we get news that my boyfriend’s relative passed, and we went out of town Sunday – Monday.  Tuesday I went into work and explained what happened, and was granted bereavement for the rest of the week.  Wednesday I go to the gym, and get news that one of the dogs that I loved dearly also passed.  What is it with this week?  How much grief can a girl deal with?

This is definitely impacting how I meal prep.  It is hard for me to find the motivation to determine what I want to make as recipes, and then make my grocery list, shop, and prep.  My hardest part is coming up with the ideas for meals and recipes, usually once I have a list and know what I’m going to make, it is smooth sailing from there.  I guess most of my brain capacity has been commanded by grief.

I am fortunate that the gym I go to has a cafe that is capable of making a Whole30 meal, which is what I had for breakfast on Wednesday.  Tuesday was a hard day eating wise for me since I just came back from out of town, had to explain what happened to my coworkers, and then take Benji to puppy training class.  I was really crossing my fingers that Cub Foods had a “Just Bare” rotisserie chicken left over for me.  However, by the time I got there, around 7:30pm, there wasn’t a single rotisserie chicken left.  I felt a little crushed.  I did decide just to grab a few chicken breast fillets and grill them at home on my little grill pan, and toss with buffalo and ranch (whole30 compliant, of course).

It’s times like these that make Whole30, even more hard.  Whole30 is definitely hard to begin with, but when you had layers and layers of stress onto it, it can guide you off a cliff. Today, I am fully aware of what is happening.  I guess I was always aware of what was happening but I was just letting it happen the past few days… However, today is different.  I will be figuring out a meal plan, I will be grocery shopping, and I will be setting myself up for success.  It’s 100% okay that I am feeling grief, but something that will help me cope and make me feel better, is fueling my body with nutrient dense foods.

Plus, I need to feed my body to keep crushing my goals at the gym.  Below I’ll post a few videos from Wednesday.  This probably isn’t the type of post you’re expecting, usually the last week of Whole30 is more of “oh I feel so absolutely great, here are all of my non-scale victories, everyone I know and their Mom should do a Whole30!”

I try to be as honest and consistent as possible with my posts.  I pour my heart out into these and I explain exactly what I am going through.  And again, I would like to thank you so much for reading.  I am honored you spent time to understand what I am going through.

And now, Wednesday’s Workout Videos:

My last post was absolutely accurate, this is what keeps me, me.  If I wasn’t working out, I would not be in a good headspace for sure.

That’s it for today, have a wonderful day.

Eating Out on Whole30

Day 9 Whole30 for me, and first meal I ate at a restaurant today. I have a few tips on how to manage eating at a restaurant while on Whole30.

  • Look at their menu online. Check to see if they have a gluten free menu.
  • See if there is anything available that you could easily remove grain and dairy from.
  • Be very polite to the server and ask for their help and suggestions.
  • Come up with a plan of attack for the meal and with at least two options.
  • Be very appreciative of the server if they speak to the chef and ensure your order is made correctly.

Here’s how I managed my lunch today. I viewed the restaurant’s menu online and was pleasantly surprised to see a gluten free menu. I also saw a dish that didn’t include cheese in it! It was a grilled salmon fillet, brushed with lemon butter, served with mashed potatoes and asparagus. Knowing I couldn’t eat butter, I had to ask for the salmon to be cooked in oil instead. Assuming the mashed potatoes were made in bulk with butter and sour cream, I scoured the menu to see if there was a different potato I could eat. I was pleasantly surprised to see the offered roasted fingerling potatoes. However, there’s a chance butter could be in that recipe as well. So I decided if that wasn’t possible, sub more asparagus. When the server came over I was very polite, and told her my dietary restrictions. I asked politely if the salmon could be brushed with oil instead of butter, and requested for the mashed potatoes to be subbed with roasted fingerling potatoes if they could be cooked with oil instead of butter. I also gave the option if the kitchen couldn’t accommodate that, to please sub extra asparagus. Lastly, I requested for the asparagus to be steamed or cooked in oil.

I’m happy to report everything came out perfect at the restaurant. It is about adapting and know what is and isn’t possible. I was a little sad to not see a potato on my plate, but I am happy the kitchen was willing to work around Whole30 rules.

I’m learning that adapting is really helpful during a Whole30. When I come home from work, I put my lunch containers in the dishwasher and pack my next day’s breakfast and lunch. Monday night I had a dilemma. I was out of my egg bake! Oh no! Could I prep more of that and get to my volunteer meeting by 6:30pm? I think I can… I think I can… So I did! Then another road block, my 9×13 pan was dirty. I also noticed I only had 6 eggs left over. What was a girl supposed to do?

ADAPT.

I had a glass 8×8 baking dish clean and made a smaller egg bake with 6 eggs and made 4 servings. Ahhh, at last, breakfast is taken care of.

Then Tuesday night comes, I realize I ate my last portion of my sloppy joe in a bowl for dinner! Whatever am I supposed to do? Benji has puppy class tonight, I don’t have time to make anything!

Low and behold…trusty Walmart has frozen Whole30 meals now available. In my previous Whole30’s, this was never an option for me! Check out my findings:

Three different options available! The first two have the whole30 approved sticker on them. The last one doesn’t have the sticker, but it is Paleo certified and when you check the ingredients, it is squeaky clean!

You may be thinking, Annie, you just had lunch at a restaurant, why did you have to buy a frozen meal for lunch? Great question, and this is something that will stop you from derailing your Whole30. What if my lunch date cancelled last minute? What was I supposed to eat? I’m very fortunate I have a cafeteria at my work I could make a compliant salad from, but that is the least exciting thing I could get downstairs. Whole30 isn’t just about adaptation, but it is about preparation and knowing yourself and boundaries. I knew if I had the option to get something compliant from the cafeteria, I still would, but I would be tempted from all the other non-compliant meals available. I would also think of my meal as lack-luster and would be jealous of everyone else eating all the sugar, carbs and dairy.

Day 9 is almost done, and I am almost 1/3rd of the way through Whole30. It’s not so bad. I will be having one of the frozen meals tonight and will update on what I think about them! That’s all for now.

Day 1 – Whole 30 – Simple Roasted Spaghetti Squash

Here we are, 2019. Day 1 Round 3 of Whole30 for me. I was able to eat some of my egg bake for breakfast this morning. I started with hot water and lemon to kick start my digestive system. Julean and I went out last night so I know I will need to detox the alcohol and gluten I ate yesterday. The egg bake was delicious, but I need to continue to set myself up for success for the rest of the 30 days. That’s why I’m meal prepping a simple roasted spaghetti squash. This is an easy and versatile recipe. You can eat it as is when it comes out of the oven, or pair with different types of proteins. My favorite is to make a mock spaghetti and meat sauce since that is something I typically crave on whole30.

First things first, preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and prep your squash. I use a fork and pierce a dotted line through the squash to help me cut it in half.

Using a large chef knife, and some muscle, slice through the squash so you have two halves.

Next, scoop out the guts and seeds of the squash using a large spoon or ice cream scoop.

Once your halves are cleaned (no worries, it doesn’t need to be perfectly cleaned out, just the major guts need to be removed), season the squash with salt and pepper. You also want to use some sort of oil or ghee to help the squash roast in the oven. If you do not have a tip like this for your olive oil, I would suggest brushing the halves with oil or melted ghee. It’s easy to over-do the oil so having a pouring tip like this or brushing it avoids putting too much oil on the squash.

Once seasoned and brushed with oil, place the squash cut side down onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Place in center rack of oven for 35-40 minutes.

When you take the baking sheet out of the oven, let your squash cool for about 10-20 minutes. It will be very hot to touch. If you’re short on time, just use an oven mitt to handle the squash and turn it over. After the squash roasts, it will be very easy to take a fork to the squash and pull the “meat” of the vegetable out. I went ahead and put the squash in 5 meal prep containers, as this will be an easy lunch for me as I make a meat sauce later today.

Happy 2019 and meal prepping!

RECIPE

Prep Time: 5 minutes Cook Time: 40 minutes Servings: 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 Medium Spaghetti Squash
  • 1 Tb Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper

Procedure:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 Degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
  2. Using a fork, piece the length of the squash. Using a chef’s knife, cut the squash in half length-wise.
  3. Using a spoon, remove the guts and seeds of squash.
  4. Brush squash with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Place squash cut side down on baking sheet, and place on center rack of oven. Roast for 35-40 minutes.
  6. Allow squash to cool for 10-20 minutes. Using a fork, pull meat of squash out of the skin. Serve as is, with other seasonings or protein, or make a meat sauce for a whole30 spaghetti!