Monthly Archives: October 2014

My Perfectly, Imperfect Weekend of Eating

I used to dread social events in a food sense….the holidays, the birthday parties, frequent meals at restaurants.  I hear so often from friends, clients, and know personally from my own experience, that being social and being healthy is one of the hardest combos.

Food, enjoyment and being social go hand in hand, and that is how it should be, but how do you stay on track with your diet AND participate at the same time? I have had many gatherings where I stuck to ice water and salad for fear of not being able to control all the delicious options in front of me, but it was always more stressful than fun.  I have finally started to use a few simple tools to find a balance between having control of my eating and enjoying it at the same time.

But first, let me tell you about my perfectly, imperfect weekend of eating.

Let’s start with dinner on Friday night. I know I had one of my usual go to meals, a chicken, veggie, rice bowl, that is simple as it sounds. Bake chicken, steam rice, sautee veggies of choice and mix together. One of my FAVORITES! I also had a couple bites of my boyfriend’s Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo and a glass of wine. Hint: Having bites of others people’s foods is one my my favorite tips (always good to use this tool with someone you are super close with).


We were going out of town for the night so Saturday morning, I knew my eating was going to be totally out of my control, yet completely in my own control, at the same time, for the next 24 hours.

Breakfast at home: 2 egg, veggie scramble with two pieces of ezekiel toast and coffee, duh

For the road: 1 quest bar and one apple

Lunch: (family gathering BBQ style) I made the best choices I could and let me tell you there was not a single vegetable in sight, not even lettuce. I had a heaping pile of pulled chicken, a small scoop of macaroni salad and a tiny cup of baked beans and a bite of my boyfriends pumpkin pie.

Dinner: Ended up at a BBQ restaurant again ( I actually picked it). I chose BBQ  Chicken,  garlic mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli, my first veggie of the day!! I also ate the top of the amazing buttermilk, cornbread muffin that was set on my plate, grrr. I also had three sips of my boyfriends beer and two bites of his amazing beef and bacon burger.

And believe it or not I actually went to bed a smidge hungry and not stuffed one bit. Even though I have been practicing this for a long time, I was so proud of myself.  Some people have to constantly work at stuff like this and I am one of them.


Out to eat again for breakfast and you know if I went to bed hungry I woke up starving.

Breakfast: Coffee,  an egg white omelet with feta cheese, two corn tortillas and half of the serving of potato hash, and (I’m so bad and love my boyfriend so much for letting me do this) a bite of his biscuits and gravy.  ( My boyfriend is in super good shape by the way and while he eats pretty much whatever he wants, he is way good at portion control and timing of his meals).

On the road: Apple

Lunch at home: Chicken, veggie, rice bowl at home. Small piece of dark chocolate.

Dinner: 2 pieces of ezekiel toast and 2 egg, veggie scramble with two pieces of bacon.

Snack: 2 homemade pumpkin, peanut butter, protein balls

My weekend was definitely a little more indulgent than usual but I was never stuffed to the point of discomfort and never starving or wishing I could have more. I made the healthiest choices I could and it was all delicious and satisfying. I was able to eat a couple meals at home each day, which helped and if you notice I tend to stick to fairly similar foods because they work well for me. I drank tons of water all weekend and will get back on track tomorrow. Well, I actually got back on track this afternoon.

So, what you have been waiting for, my top three tips for you.

1. Perspective –  Try to take a way the mindset of being on or off a diet, or foods being good or bad. If I was on a “diet” this whole weekend would have been miserable for me because I would have been off the diet, eating foods that were “bad”, therefore making me feel “bad.” This may not be the case for everyone but if you can put social settings in a different perspective, that YOU DO HAVE THE CONTROL to make choices, even when the food is not ideal. That you can indulge and be satisfied with our stuffing your face, which brings me to my next point.

2. Food Will Always Be Available To You – When you look at that chocolate cheesecake, hot dog, macaroni salad, remember there will be an opportunity for you to eat it again in life. It is not now or never and sometimes taking that ultimatum away gives us the ability to just relax and not HAVE to have it that very moment. Look at that cheesecake and think ‘If I really want to have some, I will go buy some tomorrow.”

3. Take Bites – This works well if I am out with my boyfriend, close friends and family. I love to sample food and my mom and sisters and I are know to each order our own dish, taste each others and even sometimes switch meals because we like the others better. I think sampling my boyfriends foods has been one of the best things that have happened to my eating habits because I get to taste everything but binge on nothing.  And honestly, at the BBQ dinner I would not want to eat an entire bacon, hamburger. It would make me feel sick physically and probably throw me off mentally, but you better believe I loved those two bites.

So remember perspective, food will always be available and take bites, with your goal being neither stuffed nor starving.  If any of these tips are helpful please go back to my facebook post and let me know. Or let me know if you have any helpful tips of you own. 🙂

Happy eating!



Figure Competitor Christy Allen On Her Transformation, CrossFit, And Preparing For The Stage

If you have read my blogs and facebook posts you know I LOVE having a coach. Like I want a coach for life! 🙂 A couple years ago I turned to Christy Allen for online coaching and a meal plan.  In all honestly I got great results for the two months I completed, and when the last month turned to carb cycling, it was too hard core and I couldn’t complete it. At first I felt bad about it but after many conversations with Christy, I realized that I had gained some serious insight about what it takes to actually achieve this look, and how it is not meant for everyday life. Like Christy said to me numerous times, “Unless you have to be in a bikini, on a stage, with people judging you it is really hard to be motivated to eat this way.”

And with no show in sight I decided to call it quits on the meal plan but gained a BFF from afar (we think we were separated at birth) and have gained so much insight on food, nutrition and exercise and just a small peak at what goes on in the experience of preparing for a  fitness competition.  It is not about simply working out harder and eating better, it is a very tedious, detailed progress that requires some serious dedication.

But more importantly Christy has an amazing story and I am so excited that she took the time to sit down for an interview and I am happy to be able to share it with you today. 🙂

First of all I want to thank you for taking the time to do this interview. I love your story and your work ethic and dedication to your goals! I know you have had a huge physical transformation and shift in mindset regarding fitness. When and how did this begin?

It began all as an effort to become a better, healthier version of myself. After college, I found myself unhappy with my appearance, with zero energy, horrible eating, drinking and smoking habits! (eeek!) It was time for a change. I put the smokes down and started walking. My efforts at the time were minimal, but I made a promise to myself to always keep moving forward. I found such solitude in my walks and this fueled my desire to be more mindful of what I ate.

I set out to learn everything I possibly could about health & fitness. I reached for every magazine and article known to man and I also began to study for my NASM personal trainer certification. Slowly, my walks turned into some jogging and week by week, step by step; I
became stronger not only physically but mentally too!

The day came when I was ready to face my fear … the big scary gym! I
needed an army to carry me in but I haven’t looked back since. I signed up with a trainer to help show me the ropes. I remember him early on saying that I should train for a figure competition. I told him as serious as canbe, “You are crazy! I am just trying to train to fit into last years’ jeans!”  I’m the biggest advocate of “never say never!”
As my journey progressed, I set a number of both short & long term goals. Four years into my life changing journey, the day came when it was time toset the biggest, most scariest goal of them all! A figure competition! And after winning my first one, well – I was hooked!;)



Miss NPC Figure Georgia Class B winner 2011 Successful national career always placing in the top 5 Turned IFBB figure pro in November 2013


You have clearly worked very hard to develop an amazing physique. What does your training program look like when you are competing vs not competing?

Thank you so much Adele! I always say, the training is the easy part. When it comes down to competition time, my training still consists of a 5-6 day split, moderate reps and heavy weight whereas my nutrition is completely different. I am often referred to as a hard gainer, so my off seasons are very important. To build, I am required to eat 500-600 calories over maintenance levels so I definitely feel the pain when it’s necessary to start a caloric deficit! Hungry bodybuilder! Lol

A lot of people look at fitness competitors and strive for their physique, when often this is not a look that is easy to maintain ongoing. What can you share with us about being in show shape vs everyday life?  

Show shape and everyday life requires a very happy balance! The woman’s body was not designed to carry only 6% body fat. It’s just not physically healthy to maintain that look for a period of time. I call it a “look” because it is not everyday life but a challenging, rewarding & temporary goal. With that said, it’s not ok to go completely from one extreme to the other. I like to keep my “stage look” and “offseason look” within about 10lbs of each other. It’s a lifestyle!

How does your eating change when prepping for a show vs when you are not?

When prepping for a show, my eating becomes much more regimented. It’s down to only a certain number of foods that I know my body performs the best on. Fun fro-yo nights with the fam have all been postponed. My cooler & food scale are now permanent accessories and cold food has become the regular. When I am not competing for a show, I am more lenient on my eating as I
strive for balance and making memories with my family. I have rules for myself; competition or not. You will not see me in a McDonald’s
drive-through or overindulging in the fried-food buffet. Sure, I’ll enjoy a slice of pizza, just not the whole pizza! I set boundaries & goals and it really helps maintaining the overall competition season vs off season balance.

I know you have given CrossFit a try recently. What are your thoughts about that type of training?

I began CrossFit this year as a way to help get me back to where this all began: my love for fitness! It’s so easy to get caught up in striving for a certain look that it can almost become a chore. I love CrossFit because it completely takes the aesthetics out of it. You are training for performance. It’s just you against you. It pushes me mentally and
physically and fuels my desire to become the best athlete I can be. My
confidence for the stage has increased immensely. For me, I have found it to be a great addition to my training program.

What are your hobbies outside of fitness?

I married the love of my life, Scott, last year. His precious boys (12&8)
keep us very active and always on the go! I love watching their games on the weekends, we have one soccer player & one baseball stud. All three of them are my number one fans! They love the sport of bodybuilding. When I am not with them, you can find me with the other love of my life; my horse. I enjoy both English and Western disciplines and plan to start showing later this fall!
My favorite hobby is definitely helping people. I am a full-time personal trainer as well as online fitness & nutrition coach. Fitness has changed by life for the greater and I want to give back!

Favorite indulgence?

Fro-yo with Reese’s crumbles on top! A weekly
occurrence for me.

One thing you eat every day?

That’s a tough one… I eat many things every
day, lol! I would have to say oats … can’t live without my oats!

Favorite exercise?

Back squats!

Least favorite exercise?

I had to think about this one for a second. I am going to say the front squat!

Favorite motivational quote or mantra?

“Whether you think you can or think you can’t …. You’re right.”

Why I Have 3 Fitness Coaches

I do not find it ironic at all that I am the most successful when I have a coach.  I grew up playing sports and once my sports career was over, I realized that just because I wasn’t playing in an athletic sport anymore didn’t mean I didn’t need someone to help me with a plan to reach my goals, someone to motivate me and someone to hold me accountable. And that is what I kept in mind while creating the Drop A Size Fat Loss Program, my 5 week, at-home program, weights based program that will help anyone start, or restart, getting back into shape.

Back in 2001 my aunt let me join her in her personal training sessions for a summer with her trainer Jack. Jack was straight out of a bodybuilding magazine, with huge muscles and one of those revealing  tank tops and short shorts. He took me through a traditional/bodybuilding workout. I loved it and I learned a lot.

That same year I headed off to college and for the next four years was introduced to the world of strength and conditioning and coach Matt. Box jumps, power cleans, agility ladders and some major ass kicking overall. I loved it and learned even more.

In 2007 I became a STOTT Pilates Instructor quickly followed by earning my NSCA-CPT.  I transformed from the client and student, to the expert and teacher.  And during this time I had a few years of mourning not having a coach but I made trips to the gym, continued yoga and focused a bit on running. It was decent enough to keep me coming back for more.

Over the past 4 or so years, I turned back to hiring a trainer, (as a trainer), joined a Crossfit gym for a year, and have finally made my way back to more personal training. I laugh at myself because currently I have 3 coaches right at this very moment. I have an in person, personal trainer, I am in the Best of You online coaching group with the ever so brilliant Jill Coleman and my strength coach from college who I consider my mentor from afar. I drop in for occasional workouts for myself and pick up some of the best and latest coaching and training tips.

While I put in the work, I attribute a lot of my success in maintenance of my physique in having a coach or trainer. Or even a workout partner. Just like in life, we can go at it alone, but having someone by your side helps you become better.


Here is how I see it.

Motivation and Accountability

Being a trainer myself, I am not unique to the fact that I don’t struggle with motivation. I struggle with motivation all the time. Yes I work at a gym but I have had days where I walk into the weight room, do a 5 to 10 minute warm-up, grab a pair of dumbbells, sit on the bench and then just put them back and walk out of the gym. Ha! I’m right there and I can’t do it. However this never happens when I have a trainer, or even a workout partner. Remember you don’t have to go at it alone. It is ok to struggle with motivation and it’s also ok to seek extra support. Consistency beats perfection in the gym.

How? What? Where? Why?

I have had days where I walk into a gym and wander around without a plan in mind and I can put together a pretty decent workout. It’s my job, it’s what I do. Although when I create my own training programs, and my clients, it lays out exactly what needs to be done based on exactly where you want to go. It saves time and energy and allows me to create a system to track progress and evaluate the results. How will you know if you are making progress in the beginning if you do not take note of it. Write them down, record your weights lifted or miles run and plan them in advance.  If you are not sure, ask for help. It may be easy to put together a single workout but when you are trying to put together a plan over time, you will have a much better idea of where you are headed and how you are going to get there.

Pushes you out of your comfort zone.

As hard as I work on my own nothing matches that little extra push I get from someone else. When things get hard it life, we want to stop. When we feel discomfort in our workouts we want to stop too. But just like in life when we get through the struggles, we grow, learn and become better. When you finish that last set that you thought you could not do, you grow and you learn and you become better. If someone asked me if  I thought working out could teach us a lot about how to be resilient in life my answer would be, hell yes! Maybe hiring a trainer is out of your comfort zone. Give it a shot. Maybe pushing yourself in your workouts is out of your comfort zone. It is only temporary and the mental and physical strength you will gain is incredible.

Online accountability

While having an in person trainer is awesome it is amazing what the support of an online group can contribute to your life. Just to be able to check in with others who have a similar experiences or can offer support and advice is crucial. Whether it is daily or weekly I love checking in and sharing my progress and over coming my struggles with like minded people in my coaching group. Sometimes it fitness and nutrition questions and sometimes it is an obstacle or issue I am struggling with. It is like all my best friends from a far.

Just like every thing else in life, when you need help you ask. Fitness and training are no exception. My Drop A Size program launches today and ends this Friday. It will not be back until 2015, so take advantage of this great opportunity to help put a plan in place and get the results you want.