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No Ifs, Ands, or Butts

Oh yes, there will be a butt (wait for it...)! Doesn't my body understand that I'm on a schedule?! As the date for my AFTER photos rapidly approaches (3/16/2016), I have been scrutinizing my results as I practice pose (this still feels weird). I am proud of the progress I have made (here it comes...) BUT - it will not be exactly what I was hoping for. Did I do everything right? Out of 159 days, I've had 3 cheat episodes totaling about 7,000 calories (or 2 pounds worth of energy I didn't plan on adding back into the equation) and while there have been tons of comments from the general public about my new physique (Thank you everyone!), the goal is a Natural Body Building competition so my guidelines are quite different.

Fortunately, I am not bothered that I will not yet be in competition shape; maybe it's not in the cards for me (I'm not ready to accept this as a fact). While those cheat-fests didn't help and probably set me back 3 weeks, I am super excited to share my results in just a few more days! I've learned a lot through this journey and wonder why it's taken me to reach my 50's to get here, though better late than never. I've had periods of hot body-ness but due to my struggle with bingeing and being a sugarholic, I've pretty much yo-yoed my way through the last few decades. There has been some real inner dialogue throughout the last 5 months, filled with me being my own personal cheerleader, and it's not as if I haven't had success. Very SLOW success. I don't think I could have made it this far if I had gone faster by way of reducing my caloric intake even further and perhaps stepping up the cardio level. As it is, I reduced the cardio sessions and upped my weight on weight training days! I got bored with cardio and just a bit paranoid that I could be muscle-wasting my way through trying to lose body fat! I never wanted to feel like I was dieting so I kept my caloric intake fairly high (1,500 - 2,000/day) but really paid attention to what those calories were made of. My only regret is work (LOL) because it affects what I can eat and it is very limited.

And then there are the nay-sayers, those that are bothered by your success, and they may not even know you! They start a conversation with "Wow - you look amazing! You must workout all the time and follow a special diet?" When I respond "No, I train twice a week but yes, I am a vegetarian" I am immediately not trusted (apparently, the public deems vegetarians as too liberal)! Then I am given their list of reasons why this is not a good thing, while I think it is often that my success makes them feel worse about their own inability to take charge of their health. Know that I have faith that they could do it, if they chose to - most likely, they just don't want to and that is the only difference between us. But knowing the kind of champion it takes to have this amount of focus towards reaching goals, wouldn't you want me to be on your side in a war?! I mean, if i can conquer THE DIET, a few ISIS cells should be a walk in the park. When asked if I miss certain foods, I wonder which ones you mean? As I was going through the grocery store yesterday, I was deep in thought about the lack of what I call real food as I came around the corner of an aisle. This is what I was looking at:

This section of the aisle contains Hormel and Chef Boyardee products and comprises about 1/3 of the entire row of shelves. Aside from my feelings about eating meat and the shocking consequences of what our dependence on meat is doing to the environment (check out Meathooked and End Of Water), I'm wondering if this is the type of food you wonder if I miss...

I mean, just look at the list of ingredients from a package of Compleats (complete crap, me thinks, and I never ate this stuff even when I was a meat eater), an item I randomly chose just to make a point. This product contains trans fat as well as 720 mg of sodium, 40 mg cholesterol and a bunch of stuff I need to look up to understand why it's in there in the first place, and then I probably have to look somewhere else to find out what it does to me when eaten! I feel so much better having booted refined sugar/flour/meat (among other things) from my plate and this does not at all mean that I don't enjoy very tasty food. And, if you don't know by now that food has drug-like effects on your body, know that it does and that every time you eat, that food will either assist you in good health or it won't.

Here's what I left this store with: Organic cheeses, garlic, onions, apples, ginger root, cauliflower, sage, papaya, lemons, celery, romaine lettuce (my seitan chipotle taco shells!), russet potatoes, Sun-dried Tomatoes, Bragg's Raw Organic Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar (a very important staple in my fridge), and again - all organic. I made a meatless meat loaf last night that was frickin' awesome, and you can find the recipe in the gallery.

So, while I already know I'm not exactly where I was hoping to be, I feel empowered, fierce, thrilled to have accomplished everything that I have so far, and excited about continuing. I AM looking forward to my photo shoot tomorrow - hope you tune in and let me know what you think!

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