Tips and Tricks on Satisfying that Sweet Tooth

dessertperson2

My biggest struggle by far when it comes to keeping a healthy diet is the fact that I have a major sweet tooth.  I’ve had a lot of people recently comment on my “will power” and I just want to point out that I don’t always have will power when it comes to my diet and to be honest lately all I’ve wanted to do is crush Ben & Jerry’s before bed.  I get the sense that many people have this same sweet tooth struggle so I thought I’d share a few tips and tricks that have helped me over the years!  And to keep this a bit more entertaining I decided to throw some New Girl memes in the mix 🙂

1. Coffee and/or Tea 

I instantly want dessert after dinner. It’s clockwork.  Something that helps me is making an after dinner coffee or tea.  If you own a Keurig, Bed Bath and Beyond actually has a variety of dessert kcup flavors (chocolate doughnut is currently my favorite).

nickcoffee

2. Healthy dessert alternatives

There are a lot of ways to make your own delicious desserts without all of the excess carbs/fats.  Some of my favorite creations include the protein ice cream (some may call this protein sludge) protein brownies, mug cakes, waffles (my black bean prownie recipe is posted here).  There are also a few low calorie ice cream brands that you can find in your local grocery store such as Arctic Zero however, I have found that my own ice cream creations are actually more tasty than Arctic Zero which tastes a little too “icy” for me (just my opinion).  However, if you’re a Greek yogurt fan I HIGHLY recommend Yasso frozen treats or Light & Fit Greek yogurts.  Every single flavor I have tried has been amazing for both of these brands!

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3. Sugar Free Gum

There is pretty much every flavor sugar free gum out there at this point.  A recent find that I really like is the Project 7 Birthday Cake gourmet gum.  I’ve found this brand at Target and Walgreens.  Extra also has their “Dessert Delights” flavors which have a longer lasting flavor compared to most other SF gum brands that I’ve tried.  Couldn’t find a bubble gum related meme but this is close enough…

NickLessDoughnuts

4. Fruit

This could be filed under “healthy dessert alternatives”but fruit is a great snack that can help satisfy that sweet craving with natural sugars instead of added sugars or “fake” ingredients which provide much less nutritional value.

Winstonstarteating

5. Just eat the damn dessert

I am not saying go house an entire jar of cookies every night but treating yourself in moderation is perfectly healthy.  Completely restricting yourself is just not the way to live and could lead to stronger cravings and further problems down the road.  For me, balance has been key from a physical and mental perspective.  Unless you are prepping for a competition or something, treats here and there should certainly be welcome 🙂

Schmidt Fatkid

 

So there you have it!  I’d love to hear what has helped you all curb those sweet tooth cravings!

5 Skinny Cocktails To Try This Summer

So summer is officially here.  Beach season.  BBQ season.  Booze season.  You’re constantly stuck in the “kind of want to look good in a bikini kind of want to crush margaritas” dilemma.  I hear you.  I definitely exceeded my calorie intake last month due to one too many cocktails and my body was certainly not happy about it.  #Noragrets though cause I had fun.  Unfortunately, the reality is that if you are trying to lose fat, excessive alcohol intake doesn’t exactly help your case.  With that said, this doesn’t mean you should be spending your summer skipping out on social events and avoiding that margarita you’ve been craving.  It’s all about moderation.  I’ve done my fair share of skinny cocktail experimenting and I’d like to think I’ve found a few solid, easy recipes that will save you some calories with the same delicious taste!

1. Blueberry Mojito

Mojitos are a sneaky cocktail that can be loaded with sugar from all that simple syrup.  Try this:

Blueberry Mojito

 

1-1.5 oz Bacardi Wolfberry Rum

Club Soda

Mint

Blueberries

*Muddle mint and fruit for flavor blend

 

 

2. The Skinny Margarita

Margaritas are my all time favorite summer drink, maybe even all time favorite drink.  Unfortunately, they are loaded with calories!  Here is an easy and delicious way to create your own margarita with half the calories of your standard bar marg:

SkinnyMarg

1-1.5 oz Tequila

Club Soda

Lime Juice

Agave

 

 

 

 

3.  Real Strawberry Daiquiri

Pinterest inspired, and not sure how I didn’t think of this before but it is basically as it sounds:

strawberrydaquiri

1-1.5oz light rum

1 cup strawberries

A handful of ice

1/2 or 1 packet of Stevia (depending on desire of sweetness)

Puree and enjoy!

 

4. For the Whiskey lovers

Whiskey+sour mix= a ton of calories and sugar….try this for a lighter option (via Cheetah is the New Black):

whiskeysour

1-1.5 oz whiskey

Pineapple flavored Coconut Water

Lime

 

 

 

 

 

5. Watermelon Vodka Slush

Inspired by ‘The Skinny Chick’s Cookbook‘, would be great to bring a larger batch to a summer bbq:

WatermelonVodkaSlush

2 cups sliced watermelon

1 cup ice

¼ cup watermelon flavored vodka

Blend/puree and enjoy!

 

 

If creating your own cocktail isn’t your thing, other go to “healthier” options are your standard vodka soda (NOT tonic), or essentially any vodka drink without excessive juice/mix that will add extra sugar and calories.  Typically if you ask the bartender for the “skinny” version or “light on the syrup” they should have no problem accommodating.  Last and final thing…  Be careful what you read and/or are told on nutritional labels.  Some of these “low carb” drinks (cough cough Spiked Seltzers) actually have just as many if not more carbs than your standard light beer.  #Buzzkill  …But in all seriousness as I mentioned before, it’s all about moderation.  Hopefully this post was more helpful vs. hurtful 🙂

The Burger Diet

Okay so it’s not exactly a diet but just a little experiment that I decided to do last week.  Hopefully that title grabbed some attention though 🙂  I recently shared on Instagram that I was starting to get sick of my diet and that goes against everything that I preach so I decided to switch it up a bit, particularly adding lean beef and turkey as protein.  I incorporated 1-2 healthy burger creations into my meals every day last week.  The results? Very satisfied.  My current fitness goal is to slowly lean out and I really didn’t change up my current calorie intake or macro split.  If anything I added a bit more carbs this week.  I was easily able to incorporate a lot of delicious burger-based meals into my diet without steering off plan.  If anything I actually felt leaner by the end of the week.  I didn’t weigh myself before and after because I like to focus more on how I look and feel to determine progress and the goal here wasn’t to show a decrease on the scale.  The goal was to show that your diet does not have to be boring to be healthy.  It’s sometimes hard to distinguish between being hungry v.s. not satisfied which is why I needed to mix things up a bit.  This was a fun way to mix up my diet and satisfy my burger cravings!  Below is a recap of my favorite creations from the week:

 

The Good Morning Burger

GoodMorningBurger

13F/30C/38P

Lean beef patty (4oz)

Ezekiel sesame bread

1 egg over easy

1 slice turkey bacon

1/2 light creamy swiss Laughing Cow cheese wedge

 

Burger Caesar Salad

BurgerCaeser

9F/20C/31P

1/2 cup kale

1/2 cup romaine lettuce

Lean beef patty (4oz)

1 medium tomato

Bolthouse Caesar Parmigiano dressing

Joseph’s flax whole wheat pita

 

Turkey Tacos

TurkeyTacos

9F/38C/38P

Lean ground turkey (4oz)

2 lettuce wedges

1/4 avocado

~15g fat free mozzarella

1/2 cup rice

1/4 cup black beans

1 tablespoon salsa

 

Portabella Mushroom Burger

PortabellaMushroom Burger

1F/42C/44P

2 Portabella Mushroom caps

Lean turkey patty (4oz)

1/4 cup zesty diced tomatoes

~28g fat free mozzarella

4oz sweet potato “fries” (baked)

1 tbsp Xyla chipotle bbq sauce

 

Cheeseburger Flatbread Pizza

Cheeseburger Flatbread

13F/37C/27P

Flatout spicy italian flatbread

62g no salt added tomato sauce

2oz lean beef

~28g reduced fat cheddar cheese

1/2 cup romaine lettuce

1/2 medium diced tomato

Bolthouse Classic Ranch dressing (2 tbsp)

*this might have taken the gold for the week

 

Let me know your favorite comfort foods; I’d love to share more healthy alternatives!  I am thinking pizza creations for my next experiment….

Time is not the problem

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And neither is money. Prioritization is the problem.  I always hear people blame time and money for their unhealthy habits and I am here to tell you that you CAN find time for the gym and you CAN eat healthy on a tight budget, it’s just not your priority.  People often like to use time and money as an excuse to feel better about their decisions.  This pertains to any goal in life, not just fitness.  Would you ever starve your puppy because you didn’t have time or money to feed him/her?  Yes I went there.  But you get the point.  If you have a health goal, or any goal that is truly important to you,  I promise you you will find time.  When I tell people that I workout at 5am they always tell me they could never do it because they are not a morning person.  Well let me tell you that neither am I.  In fact, I have to set my alarm 30 minutes early so that I can press snooze 3 times until I forcibly roll out of bed.  I then proceed to take pre-workout, aka a shot of caffeine magic, and it is not until the magic kicks in that I feel like a human.  I do this because my work hours are unpredictable and getting my work done is also a priority so in order to make sure I tackle both, I choose to workout in the morning.  I am not saying that working out at 5am is something that anyone else needs to do.  My point is that there are 24 hours in the day and a lot of ways to get your workout in.  Even if it’s a 20 minute at home exercise video.  Find whatever works for YOU.  People are always looking for the “quick fix” when it comes to getting in shape and the reality is you actually have to put in the work.  Make some sacrifices.  No “quick fix” is maintainable. All the skinny teas, 10 day detoxes etc may give you a temporary “weight” loss which will probably consist mostly of water but keep putting the money you don’t have for your healthy diet towards quick fixes instead of nutritious foods ;).  Okay so that was harsh but it just drives me crazy when people continue to buy into these marketing gimmicks.  Once you start taking the time to plan ahead, you’ll realize that healthy eating doesn’t have to be expensive.

This goes back to prioritization.  Unless I am doing a major stock up, I typically spend anywhere from 60-80 a week on groceries which consist of lean protein, veggies, fruits, whole grains etc and this covers my meals for a full week.  So lets take $80/7.  That’s $11.42 a day for ALL meals.  I typically eat 8 small/medium sized meals a day so that’s $1.37 per meal.  So just to put this into a bit more context… I’ve spent more money on 1 salad from a local shop downtown for lunch (shout out Roche Bros salad bar) than I spend on a full day of food that I pack.  Now I am not someone that buys everything all organic/gluten free etc which I realize can be more expensive but I would bet that one would still get their bang for their buck if they simply take a few extra minutes to plan ahead and be smart with their grocery shopping.  This is, if it’s a priority.  So moral of the story here… be honest with your priorities.  Did you really not have time for that workout or was it just not a priority at the time?  And let’s be clear I am not lecturing people to go get their workouts in and go grocery shopping, just start being honest with what’s truly important to you at the time.  Try this: “No, I didn’t get my workout in this morning because I prioritized margaritas with friends last night and I am too hungover”(said by yours truly). But hey, nights out with friends are important too and at least I am being honest with what’s important.  If I have money for a night out at the bar, I have money for egg whites and chicken.  So before you decide you don’t have enough money or time for something, think about if time and money are the real problem or if you simply don’t want it enough.  I wanted to end this post on a lighter note but someone needs to tell it how it is, especially in a society where for some reason people are afraid to be honest, and instead make up excuses upon excuses, justify their decisions and just wait for things to be handed to them.  With a topic I feel so strongly about, you will always get tough love from me.

My Experience With Bodybuilding

I mentioned in the spring that I would write about my experience after my first show and then just never got around to it because life happened and then before I knew it I was back on prep.  Two shows later, I am ready to reflect on my overall experience with bodybuilding.  I have a lot to say so bravo to you if you actually read this entire novel.  Before I get into too much detail, I want to reiterate that this is obviously just my PERSONAL opinion (hence the title) and everyone’s experience with competing is unique.  I took a difference approach when prepping for each of my shows.  In fact, I would say they were almost totally opposite approaches.  For my first show I followed IIFYM (if it fits your macros).  My coach provided me with the amount of protein/carbs/fats I should be reaching per day and I filled them as I pleased.  I lifted 5-6 days a week and did minimal cardio.  The most cardio I did was 4, 30 min HIIT sessions per week.  My second show followed a specific meal plan.  My coach told me what to eat each week and adjusted as necessary.  I lifted 7 days a week and reached 2 hours of cardio per day by show time.  I wouldn’t say there is a right or wrong approach as there were pros and cons to each of these approaches.  Now, with that background, I am ready to dive into the good, the bad, and the roller coaster ride that is competing.

PROS:

Show Day

Getting up on stage was one of the most rewarding experiences.  You put blood sweat and tears into transforming your body and get to show off all of your hard work.  I really love setting a goal and actually following through with it so competing was a really satisfying accomplishment for me.  Also, I am typically not a girly girl so it was fun for me to get all dressed up for the day in sparkly shit and have my makeup done beyond a layer of eyeliner.

Meeting New People

Aside from all the glits and glam, I got to meet a lot of really great people with that same passion that I have.  I not only developed new friendships but also have learned a ton about fitness and nutrition from a lot of really smart people.  There will always be a firehouse of information out there related to this industry but I feel that my experiences have taught me a lot about what my body needs to be healthy and I am so grateful for that.

Inspiring Others

The amount of positive feedback I have received is amazing.  Selfishly, I went into bodybuilding to focus on myself, not realizing how much my journey would impact others.  No I am not a sponsored athlete with 50K+ followers on Instagram,  but having just one other person tell me that I inspire them is pretty frigen cool.  I’ve recently been getting asked a lot of questions about my opinion on certain training and/or diet topics and while I am no nutritional coach, I could talk about this stuff for hours and love that I can share my opinions with others in hopes to motivate,inspire, or just provide some sort of direction.

 

CONS:

Show Day Part 2

This is literally the longest effing day of your life.  You put so much time, effort, and money into preparing for the stage.  I am talking food prep, training, posing, money spent on suit, accessories, tanning, hair, makeup, the list goes on. And guess what?  You spend 99% of the show day sitting and waiting.  You get about 30 seconds on stage to convince a panel of judges that all of your hard work and dedication was worth it.  When really at the end of the day the only persons opinion that really matters is yourself.  You could be in the best shape out of everyone in your class but if you don’t present “the look” that the judges are looking for that day then no hardware for you.

Post Competition

Self image is something that I personally struggle with (shocker) and that goes for a lot of other females, and males.  So for me, I am not sure the whole competing process is the best way to heal that.  I am super competitive so when I walked away from my first show with nothing, as much as I like to pretend I wasn’t upset about it, I was pretty bummed.  I walked away from my second show with two trophies including winning my open class and in the moment this was extremely gratifying.  But guess what?  My body isn’t going to stay stage lean forever and now I have to deal with the mental battle of accepting my body at its “normal” state.  And depending on how you plan your post show diet, your metabolism can get super effed up.  My last show ended right before Thanksgiving and I was on a pretty tight meal plan so my body was not happy with me going from 0 to 100.  I did not reverse diet like I did with my first show and it resulted in a pretty quick and heavy weight gain.  Do I regret not reverse dieting?  Sometimes.  However, I told myself after this show that I would give my mind a break from feeling like it was on a diet and that is exactly what I did.  This “lifestyle” can become obsessive and I found myself missing out on a lot because I didn’t want to have a drink or eat food that I didn’t personally cook.  I was constantly feeling the pressure to keep my body in the best shape it can be in because I made the decision to share my journey with friends, family, social media, etc.  There have been times that I feared going out in public because I thought I was going to get judged for my actions or image.  In general, the whole “off season” “on season” bodybuilding cycle really messes with my head so I’ve personally set a goal to break that cycle this year and find a comfortable balance with my body where I am happy and healthy.

 

SO NOW WHAT?

Will I ever compete again?  I currently have no plans to.  At least not in the near future.  Right now I am just focusing on enjoying life in my mid twenties.  Working hard in the gym.  Working hard at my job.  Spending time with the people I care about.  I found that prepping for shows sometimes interfered with my focus at work and my relationships with friends and family.  For me, if I can’t balance my relationships and my job while preparing for a show, it’s simply not worth it.  Competing is something you really have to be all in for.   I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, health and fitness is a huge part of my life, but it’s not my entire life.  There is a reason it is called a “lifestyle”.  For some, competing is a part of their lifestyle and I fully respect that.  For me, I see bodybuilding as a piece of the puzzle, a key milestone, in my journey to being the healthiest version of myself that I can be.

Spicy Turkey Chili

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This is one of my absolute favorite fall recipes!  I have shared a version in a previous post “5 Healthified Superbowl Sunday Appetizers” but thought it deserved it’s own space 🙂  I recently cooked a big batch for a potluck dinner party so I will share the party size ingredients!

What you will need:

1.5 packages of ground turkey (I typically use extra lean)

2 cans zesty jalapeno diced tomatoes

2 cans dark red kidney beans

1 package chili seasoning (I use Old El Peso or McCormicks)

Dash of chopped jalapenos

Dash of chopped onion

1/2-1 small can tomato paste

Here is what you need to do:

Cook ground turkey in large skillet

Once cooked, drain skillet and add 1/2 cup water

Add chili mix and stir

Add beans, diced tomatoes, onion, jalapenos, and tomato paste (to desired thickness)

Mix and let sit on low for AT LEAST 5-10 minutes.  I like to let mine simmer for 30

This makes about 8-10 servings!

Pumpkin Spice Protein Coffee “Coolatta”

Pumpkin Spice Coffee Coolatta#BecauseFALL.  Actually, I enjoy pumpkin spice flavor all year round!  This tastes exactly like a coffee coolatta from Dunkin Donuts except cheaper and better for you.  I am all about simplicity with good taste which isn’t always easy so whenever I am successful I love to share!  In order to make this shake I used my blender bottle and put a cup of ice then brewed a kcup (smallest size), added 2 Stevia, shook up then added 1 scoop protein (I used vanilla egg protein), a little pumpkin spice, shook again and then transferred to my Magic Bullet, blended and boom!  If your blender has a big enough cup to brew in then you save yourself the transfer step.  The key to adding protein to your iced coffee is to wait until after you brew because otherwise the protein will cook up and be clumpy!  I also advise setting your kcup to the lowest degree.  Lastly, depending on the protein flavor you use you may not need the extra Stevia I just happened to have a never ending sweet tooth. 🙂

Enjoy!