I am overwhelmed with gratitude for my amazing family and friends! Thank you for making my 25th year so amazing, and by 26th Birthday weekend wonderful!
Goodness, I have so much to update you all on.. and perhaps it’s partially because it’s my birthday and people get particularly reflective on birthdays and holidays, please forgive any particular cheesiness & wordiness in this post
Since the last time I talked to you:
“Your heart is free, have the courage to follow it”
Sometimes things just come together. I believe you can learn from any experience, no matter how big or how small, and from all people, no matter how kind or how .. douchey (:p.. and I was sounding so poetic for a second there). I believe that if you do your best to pay attention to these lessons and signs, that it will lead you in the right direction, or at least make you aware of goings-on and leave you open to experiences that you otherwise would have missed.
Lately I feel like a ton of different things have come together to allow me to see things in a different way, and move in a direction that in the past I may have passed by or paid no attention to.
And the truth is..
I’m not usually so.. wishy-washy.
I’ve been trying to either lose or gain (then re-lose) weight for the last 19 months. At no point during this time was I particularly under-weight or over-weight. First I decided I wanted to fulfill one of my bucket-list items, to compete in a fitness competition. It seemed like a great way to get in shape and stick to it, for my goal-oriented self. It went fantastically From April – September I trained, slowly lost weight and gained muscle. In September I started the “competition diet” and really lost weight. The whole process taught me to appreciate food as a form of nourishment and that I feel great as long as I’m working out, regardless of the number on the scale. After the competition, I was all pumped about the idea of competing nationally, which meant putting on a lot of muscle. So I tried to gain. I’d never tried that before, and turns out (big shout out to the combination of my parents genes) I’m a pretty darn easy gainer. I joke that I look at carbs, lift a heavy weight and gain muscle. But it seems that’s sort of what happened. This spring I was working out a lot, and eating a lot and I got bigger, a lot bigger. But over all of that my body fat % really didn’t go crazy. Then I decided to compete again, which meant it was time to diet-down to lose weight for the stage.
That would be where things haven’t really gone as planned. If my body could speak I think it would say something like “hell no!”.. actually, strike that, it would probably more of a “fuck you!” haha Over the last 6 weeks my body fat % and measurements go down each week, but my weight has hardly budged. I spend 75% of the time really hungry, and at least every couple days I have spells of feeling dizzy, light-headed and just “fuzzy-brained” (not sure how else to describe it, just got really focus or think quickly). My calories are more than adequate, and my carbs are higher than they were last time I dieted-down. So as far as the “health” side of it, I should be fine.
The Alyson of yesteryear, would have been freaking out, stressing, wondering where I could cut more calories to meet my goal, ignoring and physical reactions and feeling depressed and beaten..
The Alyson of sound mind & body, thinks.. there’s probably a reason, or lots of reasons for this. The big one being that my body’s just doesn’t want to do it.. and my subconscious mind is backing my body whole-heatedly. I’ve been under 15% bf for a year, and under 10% for a quarter of that. I have a naturally muscular build, and apparently those muscle get pissed-off when I don’t give them enough food. What “enough” is I have no idea, because it can’t be determined by an equation. It’s constantly changing; that can be frustrating, but also incredibly interesting. I’m looking forward to just being.. staying at my happy place, right wear I am with weight, fitness and nutrition/food philosophy (minimal fake stuff, indulge in moderation, clean 95% of the time).
(apologies for talking in the 3rd person.. it just popped out that way on paper )
Perhaps there aren’t always reasons for things, but I’m pretty sure there’s a reason for this. The decision, in the end, came easily. I don’t feel like a quitter because I have no doubt in my mind that I could get on stage in a couple weeks, or in 6 weeks, looking just fine. And I know I’d have fun. I struggle a little bit with the thought that I’ve let people down. But I hope I haven’t. I’ll continue to workout as hard as I ever did, and eat healthier than I did before (all the additives I consume when I diet makes me cringe). And I know I’m a better person to be around; I’m energetic and can carry on a relatively intelligent conversation (unlike when I’m feeling all “fuzzy-brained” and am quite dull I assume).
Truth is, competing in a Fitness competition was a goal I’d had for a long time. I did it. It was life changing like I never could have imagined. There is an excellent chance I’ll compete again. But for now I’m happy to not be actively trying to lose or gain, but instead just be fit & lean while eating healthy & balanced.
It’s What You Do, Not Who You Are
This was a line from the movie, “Eat, Pray, Love.” I’d picked the book up at the bookstore twenty times, but never bought it for whatever reason. Well I really should have jumped on the bandwagon earlier, because I love the movie. There was so much I could related to, and many lines and scenes really struck home. I guess I can read the book now, knowing I’l like it.. but another digression..
Back in the day, I let gymnastics define who I was, and when I was done with the sport, I was completely lost for a while. That isn’t the case this time around. Fitness is something I do that’s played a significant role in shaping how I’ve grown in the last year, but it’s not who I am.
NUTRITION & FUN
So what did I eat, you wonder, after I decided to let things be and stick with my happy place..
I took myself on a date!
This is either incredibly pathetic, or completely fantastic… I’m voting completely fantastic .. I went to see “Eat, Pray, Live” then treated myself to indulgent Mexican Food.
But I wasn’t the ideal food blogger..
After the movie, I texted friends who live in the area to see if they cared to join, but it was rather last minute, and the independent chica that I am though, no worries.. of all places to meet people it’s at a restaurant bar at happy hour on a Friday!
So I went to a restaurant I’d never been to before that called itself ‘Gourmet Mexican’ and it was the perfect choice. I sat at the bar, ordered a margarita and perused the menu. Naturally I ended up striking up conversation with the folks around me, and was completely entertained.
It took me a while to decide what to get, everything sounded amazing (I’ll definitely be going back), but I settled on the Fiesta Grill Fajitas. When I ordered the bartender laughed and said “that’s a lot of food, just warning you..” I assured him he was underestimating me.. well, he ended up being right and I took home 2/3 of it, but nonetheless. It was so good!
It had: Shrimp, Chicken, Steak, Costillas, Quail and Carnitas, along with the usual Refried Beans, Rice, Sour Cream and Guacamole
I also decided Chocolate of some sort was in order. So I made these decadent & indulgent Triple Layer Brownies. You know I have a ridiculous sweet tooth, but these are so rich you really can only eat a little slice, and you are totally satisfied.
I used a TJ’s Fat-Free Brownie Mix, Fat-Free Cool Whip and Sugar-Free Pudding, but kept with real Chocolate (makes all the difference) and Peanut Butter.
And with that..
Re-cap of the Birthday weekend celebration tomorrow. Here’s a preview..
And also, a HUGE THANKS to the beautiful & inspiring Eden who send me this lovely B-day package..
I haven’t been able to find Peanut Flour at my local TJ’s so this couldn’t have been more perfect!
Pheww, I’m spending the rest of my birthday relaxing on the couch with a movie. At first I wasn’t particularly stoked about now being closer to 30 than 20, but as my mother often says, “there’s only one alternative to getting older..” and I prefer the 2nd option 25 was amazing, and 26 will be even better!
And it’s all thanks to you, my beautiful family and friends (in person & virtual)!! Thank you with all my heart!