Genetically Engineered (GE) Foods Labeling (Prop 37 CA)

I thought I’d share some of my thoughts and knowledge on the new initiative to label genetically engineered food. I’m not going to tell you what to vote for because even I’m still trying to decide. I’m also not claiming to be some kind of expert. I am just a normal person like most people trying to figure out what I should vote for. I can’t exactly say that I have an unbiased opinion either because I already practice staying away from genetically engineered food. I trust Mother Nature and believe that God made everything perfect. I don’t really think that there is a need to change the DNA of our food.

First of all, what are genetically engineered (GE) foods (also known as GMO – genetically modified organisms)? It means that the genetic material (DNA) of a living organism has been changed. Most of the time plants are changed to be able to resist pests and pesticides. Sometimes living organisms are genetically modified to grow faster and bigger. Most genetically engineered crops are corn and soybeans, but other common crops are alfalfa, canola, cotton, papaya, sugar beets, and zucchini.
What is Prop 37 proposing?

Just to quickly summarize it, here are the 3 main proposals:

1)      Requires that most GE foods sold be labeled as such. All plants, whether partially or entirely GE have to be labeled.
2)      Requires the Department of Public Health to regulate the labeling
3)      Allows individuals to sue food manufactures who violate the labeling provisions

This is where it gets confusing. There will be some food products that will be exempt from this labeling. That includes alcoholic beverages, organic foods, and restaurant food. Also animal products such as beef or chicken that were not directly produced through genetic engineering even if the animal was fed with GE crops.

Alcohol: 

What plants are used in alcohol? grapes (wine), barley, wheat, corn (beer, spirits), potatoes, and fruit. 

I would guess that if you’re drinking beer that it contains GE plants in it because it’s mostly made with wheat and corn. Both of those crops are usually GE. When drinking wine it’d be easier to avoid GE food because I’m not aware of grapes being GE. If you get organic wine then you’re even guaranteed they didn’t use GMO or pesticides. 

Why wouldn’t alcohol be included?

I’m guessing that maybe people feel that if you’re drinking alcohol maybe you wouldn’t be as health conscious or maybe we’d just not care as much because it’s not something we drink every day. Or perhaps alcohol isn’t regulated in the same manner as food. What’s your guess? I’m not too sure on this one, but it won’t really affect me since I’m not a big drinker.

Organic foods are excluded.

This one is easy. Certified Organic food cannot intentionally contain GE ingredients, so why waste the time and effort to regulate this when it’s already regulated by the USDA. 

Restaurant Food:

I’m going to guess that restaurant food is excluded because it would be difficult to regulate. I actually always assume the worst when I go to a restaurant because I would guess that most (especially fast food) restaurants would want to buy the cheapest food for their restaurant and most of the time it will be low quality unless you’re going to an upscale or health-type restaurant. This doesn’t bother me at all because I try not to eat out and keep it to once a week at the most.

Animal products such as beef or chicken that were not directly produced through genetic engineering even if the animal was fed with GE crops are excluded.

This is yet another confusing one. Why would animal products be excluded such as beef and chicken? 

“Not directly produced through genetic engineering” - This tells me that if the animal was genetically engineered it would need to be labeled. But if the animal was fed with GE crops then it doesn’t need to be labeled. Most factory farmed animals are fed with GE crops such as corn (not part of their natural diet by the way). I’m not aware of any animal that is genetically engineered. I know that there was a proposal to introduce a GE salmon that grows faster and bigger, but it hasn’t been approved. From what I read in the proposal for Prop 37, I would believe that this salmon would have to be labeled if it was introduced to the market. You can avoid eating animals that were fed with GE crops by purchasing organic meats and looking for beef that is pasture raised and also grass-fed. Chickens should be cage-free. Another option would be to go vegan and not eat animal products at all.

If this proposition passes, I think people are going to be very surprised that a lot of their processed food contains GE ingredients. It seems like most processed food contains some type of “corn” product such as High Fructose Corn Syrup. It makes me wonder if people saw the label GE all over their food, that people would start to question the health of their food or where it came from. Is it possible that processed or GE food would become more expensive and piss off a bunch of people? Possible but not for certain. Let’s just say it’s possible - If you shop at non-health food stores where that label might be plastered everywhere and prices might go up as companies try to continue to make as much profit as possible and also possibly try to bully us into turning away from this labeling system. I think that could piss off lots of people. On the plus side, it’s possible that the demand for organic food would increase, which would cause organic food prices to decrease. Let’s all consider this though, when we asked companies to add information to their products such as nutrition info and ingredient lists, did the prices go up? Not that I noticed, so it’s possible that the prices won’t be affected as well. There are a lot of “ifs” here.

Whether this proposal passed or not, people that care most about staying away from GE food are more likely to do their own homework and find a way to stay away from GE foods like myself. I find it fairly easy to not eat GE food. For example, buying organic food, shopping at health food stores and farmers markets, frequently cook at home instead of eating at restaurants, and staying away from processed food as much as possible. 

Find tips on how to stay away from GE (GMO) food here: http://nongmoshoppingguide.com/tips-for-avoiding-gmos.html

I do love the idea of pushing out companies like Monsanto, Dupont and DOW and putting pressure on everyone to find new options because our system now in my opinion is not sustainable. If you have interest in finding out more about GE or GMO watch the film The Future of Food or Food Inc or watch both. They’re both available on Netflix.

I also find it scary that large companies like Monsanto, Dupont and DOW don’t want people to know what’s in their food. If GE food is so safe, what does it matter if people know more about it? These large companies are also the supporters of opposing this proposition. Tip: Look up the background information of these companies. “Monsanto was also one of the most important producers of Agent Orange for United States Military operations in Vietnam”

On my facebook page I had mentioned that I saw a commercial that opposed Prop 37 that was very misleading. From my memory, and maybe you’ve seen it, the commercial showed that this proposition would require that dog food be labeled but not beef or chicken that’s for human consumption. In the commerical  it states that the measure “makes no sense at all” because it mandates that some foods be labeled while others are exempted by the proposed law. It also says, “It just gives an indication of the arbitrary and completely illogical nature of this ill conceived proposition”. If you read the proposition proposal, you can easily see the reason for this. It’s because dog food contains animal products AND grain/corn products that are more than likely from GE crops. Since dog food has GE products in it, then it will be labeled. However, beef and chicken are exempt because the animal themselves are not GE. See how the commercial is misleading and not totally true?

Do you believe you have the right to know if your food has been modified from its natural state? 

Resources and helpful links:

The complete official voter guide where you can find all of the proposition details: http://vig.cdn.sos.ca.gov/2012/general/pdf/complete-vig-v2.pdf


See who is supporting No on Prop 37: Coalition Against the Deceptive Food Labeling Scheme, sponsored by Farmers, Food Producers, and Grocers. Major funding by Monsanto Company, E.I. DuPont de Nemours & Co., Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) and more than 40 food company 
members. For a full list of donors visit www.NoProp37.com/donors

No on Prop 37 supporters: http://www.noprop37.com/facts/

Yes on Prop 37 supporters: http://www.carighttoknow.org/

See who is supporting Yes on Prop 37. Endorsers include: the California Nurses Association, California Democratic Party, California Labor Federation, United Farm Workers, American Public Health Association, Consumers Union, Sierra Club, Whole Foods Market, California Council of Churches, Organic Consumers Association, Center for Food Safety, Consumer Federation of America, Mercola Health Resources, Public Citizen, and Food Democracy Now! http://www.carighttoknow.org/endorsements



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Giant Breakfast Cookie

I've only experimented with vegan food for one month now, so I've been finding recipes from others for inspiration for the most part.

After several weeks of using other peoples recipes, I was finally able to come up with one of my own! A big breakfast cookie! My boyfriend said it's his new favorite breakfast :)

Ingredients:
1Tbs Flaxseed Meal
1 Banana
1/4-1/2C Oatmeal (I used rolled oats)
2Tbs of Brown Rice Flour or flour of choice
2Tbs of unsweetened shredded coconut
Other goodies like chocolate chips, raisins, dried cranberries or crushed nuts :) Add your favorite.

In a small stovetop pan, add 1Tsp of virgin unrefined coconut oil, and turn on your stovetop to medium heat so that you can preheat the pan. In a bowl add 1Tbs of Flaxseed meal and 2 1/2Tbs of water and mix it  up. If you're not vegan, you can use one egg white instead. Add one banana to the bowl and mash it up with a fork. Then add oatmeal, flour, and shredded coconut. Mix it all together. It should look like a cookie batter. Then put the batter on the pan and create a cookie shape. Add your topping such as chocolate chips, raisins, nuts, etc. Let it cook for maybe 3 minutes and then flip and cook another 3 minutes.

Enjoy your healthy dessert like cookie for breakfast and feel good about it :)

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Meat Eater gone almost VEGAN (no labels or promises here)


I first started researching some vegan recipes because I wanted to add more veggies to my diet and I thought Vegans would have creative recipes. As I started my research I realized I’m the type of person that has a million questions and I dive in and take in as much information as possible. What really sparked my interest through my research is that some athletes are vegans. All this time I was trained to eat animal protein with every meal. Why would I think there’s only one way if others were doing it other ways with success? I thought my way was right, but it stopped working form me after a while. I was overwhelmed by thinking about what my next meal was going to be. Food prepping, looking at my macros and even calorie counting or some kind of portion control. I was always left craving more food. I wanted to eat more starchy carbs, or I wanted to eat more fruit, or I wanted to eat more fat (mostly nut butters), or I wanted sugar in the form of baked goods. I was in a constant battle with myself. I was happy when I ate my food, but was always waiting for the next meal. I felt like I was addicted to food. This lead to more questions. If I was so healthy, why would my body have so many cravings for other foods right after a meal? My body craved carbs from starches and sugar. I started to lose my appetite for animal protein. Well, I got to a point where I couldn’t keep giving into parts of my mind (ego) and I had to give into what my body wanted. Did that mean I went and ate junk food? NO!! Your body doesn’t naturally know what junk food is. It knows natural food, so I listened to my body and gave it what it wanted. If I craved sugar, I ate fruit, if I craved starchy type carbs, I ate sprouted grains or potatoes. If I craved fat, I ate nuts. I also made sure to add plenty of leafy greens at every opportunity. At first I was freaked out about eating so many carbs and not eating enough protein. I was going against everything I believed in, but again, others have done it with success and I wanted to test this all out because I won’t let fear control me!
Something happened! My cravings went away. Wow! Almost instantly. I wasn’t waiting for my next meal. I was eating a lot less and I was feeling a lot more satisfied. Other great things happened too. My craving for coffee went away and so did my craving for sugar. I was getting so much natural sugar in my diet that I didn’t desire anymore than that. I also decided to take a break from the gym because I had been going hard for over a year, 6 days a week non-stop. I took about 2 weeks off. It made me a little anxious because I knew I felt like I’d gain weight. Something funny happened! I lost weight. I know, it could be muscle, but I’ll tell you what. I look in the mirror and my waist looks smaller. I love that because that’s exactly where I gain fat first and I also used to get very bloated after certain meals. Since I’ve been eating mostly vegan, I haven’t gotten bloated at all. I’m slowly getting back into the gym again now because I do love working out, but now I feel like I’ve released myself from my addiction to the gym too. I can now have a much more healthy relationship with the gym..haha. If I miss a day, it doesn’t matter. I can stay lean from my diet and I’d prefer to use the gym for health reasons not for vanity.

The first few days I was lower in energy. I decided to keep at it though, because it was possible that my body was using energy on detoxing and also maybe my body was readjusting to the new type of energy I was providing it. After a week or so, I started to feel more normal again. Going vegan also meant that I had to do a lot of research on new recipes because a boring/bland diet will most likely set me up for failure. I did enjoy trying new recipes and found it easy to pack fruit, nuts, Ezekiel bread, or veggies as a snack in between meals. I did eat eggs, chicken, etc a few times during my transition, but to be honest; I really didn’t crave or feel a need to eat it. I just ate it because it was available, but it’s interesting to see how I’ve lost my appetite for it so quick. I don’t want to label myself as a vegan or any other label. I just want to be healthy and care about the decisions I make. I also want to know the impact of my choices not just to me, but to the world. 

My research started with prayer and I got my answers before I even dived into my research. But, let me also share with you some of my finds during my research. I found that Ellen DeGeneres is vegan. She mentioned a documentary named Earthlings. I was compelled to watch and I found it for free online here: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=6361872964130308142. After watching that video I remembered why I had stopped eating factory farmed animals and had tried to only eat organic animal products. Just a warning, there are some very graphic scenes! If that film is too graphic for you, watch something like the film, Food, Inc. You can watch the documentary Fresh www.freshthemovie.com to see the difference in animals that are raised with higher standards and on a sustainable farm. I also found that movie on Netflix. I like the idea of researching both sides and then making a decision. I think it can be dangerous to refuse to look at the other side, you know?

I was also inspired by gokaleo (gokaleo.com) I loved a lot of what she represented. She is vegan and she's packed with muscle. Could it be possible that I could keep my fit body and not have to consume so much meat? The answer to that question is, of course! I had also met a lovely girl at my first bikini competition that was vegan. You can find her here: http://healthybeafit.blogspot.com/

I ingested a few books in a few days. One by Julianne Hever, Plant Based Nutrition: http://plantbaseddietitian.com/. I also read Get Naked Fast by Diana Stobo and of course Skinny Bitch. Skinny Bitch is a great book for girls that don’t have much experience with nutrition or environmental issues: http://www.skinnybitch.net/ and http://www.skinnybastard.net/ for men. They all had different styles of cooking and all were a bit different in what they believed. None of these I would call diets, but more a way of life that considers a lot of different things: health, environment, etc.

At the end of the day common sense helped me the most. I had to clear my head of all the things I’ve learned so far and really think about what made sense. To me, it didn’t make sense the way I was eating before and it also didn’t make sense to me that it could be dangerous to eat plant based. People are willing to eat non-food and food that’s full of chemicals and fortified. That to me is dangerous! 

I guess now I should start to post vegan recipes so you can see what I eat, but I’ve just been winging it more and not really thinking about food so much. I do enjoy cooking very much and I’m also considering starting my own garden to be more in tune with nature and to insure that I can have access to organic food. That’s a dream for the future and yes, I’ve been reading up on it too. 

Inspiring Documentaries I watched on Netflix about food:
Forks Over Knives
Fresh
Food Matters
Food, Inc
Bag It – not about food but still a must see

Some of my notes from prayer:

I am choosing to see. I want to stop being distracted by the media and advertisements that are made to distract me from learning truths. I want to care about the choices I make. I know sometimes I may not want to know the truth because it'll make my life harder, maybe? But my life will be full of purpose. I want to stand up for those that choose to not know out of fear. I choose Faith and Love.

Love for God, love for others, love for the earth and love for animals.
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My Struggle Post-Show

Thank God that I had enough time to realize what I had done to myself. When you’re stuck in a cycle sometimes it’s hard to realize that you’re even in it. I had started to create a bad habit for myself and almost didn’t realize it. Had I not taken the time to balance back out, I could’ve been trapped in the cycle.

I could’ve easily dismissed these symptoms and thought that it wasn’t that serious, but I had to be honest with myself. I also could’ve made myself feel normal by connecting with people that have these same habits. I had already started to do that but I thought their habits were worse and later I realized that maybe I was doing the same or leading up to it. 

Why would I do this when I sought for health? Well, I was wowed by the glitz and the glamor of it all. Those girls look so beautiful and confident. I made the mistake of desiring what others had. 

These are the side effects that I began to feel as I dieted and got closer to my competition and also the effects that I felt the MOST post-show:


  • Binging and thoughts of wanting to binge
  • Constantly thinking about food and having a strong desire for food
  • Wanting to use exercise to remedy eating “bad” or too much food
  • Emotional and physical exhaustion
  • Fear of certain foods
  • Constantly looking in the mirror
  • Under-eating to remedy overeating
  • Losing my love for the gym and fitness
  • Extreme bloating
  • Breaking out (Acne)
  • Resenting my healthy lifestyle and wanting to give up
  • Wanting to do another diet to feel lean again
  • Getting stuck in thinking that I’m supposed to look lean like I did for show
  • Not wanting people to take pictures of what I look like now

I was going back and forth in my head but some light was shed on me out of nowhere. It was an important decision for me. All of a sudden I saw the truth. Now I feel inspired to share my story of basically giving myself an eating disorder. I know it sounds dramatic, but that’s actually what I did. Yes it was for a short period of time, but I could’ve got stuck there. I almost put my physical and mental health at risk to keep that body. People don’t realize that a lot of competitors have eating disorders..They have episodes of binging and then dieting again. Or overeating and then over exercising. The good news is that at one point I was dieting and felt great, it was just towards the end of my prep when I dieted harder and felt the side effects. I’m being honest with myself. I must have been meant to do this to better help people and understand them. Now I know why people crave food so bad and how you feel at almost all ends of the spectrum.  As I’m balancing myself out, I’m realizing the bad cycle. I could’ve easily started prepping for another show again and not even notice what I was doing. 

This is a very important lesson that I learned: Don’t be fooled by the glamor looking part of it. Be careful what you wish for and NEVER look to main stream media for what you should look like or be like.  DO NOT compare yourself to others! You do not know their journey or the sacrifices or work that they put in.

The good news like I said before is that there was a point when I felt amazing, but I was deceived to not be happy with that body and thinking I needed to be leaner. 

So now I just want to be me. Eat healthy; enjoy my time and my loved ones. Now I see what happens when you look to God for answers vs. looking to the world.

God (LOVE) is Truth..Seek him and you will find the answers you look for.

 

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Will I Compete Again?

After my first bikini competition, I was already planning my next one. I was excited and thought, “I can’t wait to improve my physique and improve on my stage presence.”  I was already thinking about what color my bikini would be (yellow) and how I would add a couple steps to my routine (a couple turns and some foot work..lol). As I started to push forward on letting God into all areas of my life, I realized I needed to pray about it and find out if this was a decision that I was making for my own selfish reasons or if this was another journey that I was meant to take.


Let’s take a look at one of my older posts talking about why I wanted to compete in the first place. 

“Well, I’m mostly doing it for me because I’ve always wanted to have confidence and be proud of myself for accomplishing something like this. This is so out of my comfort zone. First of all, in the past, I wouldn’t even show my legs! I wouldn’t wear short dresses or wear a bikini. Second, I’m a quiet person and I’m not used to all eyes being on me. Third, I over analyze things. This competition is going to be a huge break through for me. I want to finally show myself that I’m no longer insecure but I am confident! I don’t want to be shy anymore, there’s no need to be! Third, I’d like to stop taking myself so seriously and just have fun! I’m not just doing this for me though. I would love to be a positive influence on people. If I can do it, you can do it! I want to show people that it is possible and not only is it possible, it’s possible with a healthy lifestyle. You don’t need supplements, diet pills, or magic potions. All you need is healthy clean food, a plan, and lots of passion! Most important is the process in getting on that stage. I’m not banking on winning a plastic trophy or hoping that strangers will approve of me (but it would be nice, not going to lie). I’m soaking up as much information as possible and letting go of my ego that makes me think that I know what will work or what’s best. Learning to trust my coach instead of myself has helped tremendously.  Learning, learning, learning!”

I feel like I’ve accomplished everything that I intended to accomplish! Did I feel proud of myself? Heck ya! Was it out of my comfort zone? It was when I first started, but the day I hit the stage I had no reservations! Did I care that all eyes were on me? Heck no! Didn’t even faze me. After months of working out in the gym and people staring at me because I was running around the gym like a maniac, and practicing in my heels at the gym,  I was ready to hit the stage and have everyone see the hard work I had put in. Do I continue to feel insecure? No. I have my little moments occasionally but when those tendencies come back, I fight them back and I know they are lies. I am beautiful damnit!! I also feel that I was a positive influence on people. I helped a few people get healthy during my own journey and I proved that you can be fit and healthy with just good food and no excessive exercise (thanks to my coaches because there are some crazy coaches out there that will have you do some extreme stuff). 

Onto my next step of making this decision, I decided to write down some notes about how I felt about doing another show. I asked myself many questions. You can see below:

***Now here’s the deal. These are just MY thoughts and MY experiences! By no means should anyone make a decision based on what someone else’s experiences or thoughts are. This does not mean that you will experience the same things. This is just me. I apologize for this post being all over the place. I’m basically just sharing my notes with you on how I made this important decision.  I also don’t mean to offend anyone that is in the competitive sport of bodybuilding. I admire those that are in the sport because it takes a lot of guts and dedication. It is far from easy! 

Why do I want to compete again?:

I know that with God I can do anything. During my journey to my first competition I got really close to God because I needed him to be so strong and go against the norm. At times I felt a disconnection from the world because I wanted to stay away from bad food and alcohol. I found myself looking to God for comfort and to be my rock. I also felt like I was serving while I was prepping for my show. I felt like I had found my calling. Many of my friends were telling me how I inspired them. I also helped friends and they helped me too of course, by running a weekend boot camp. I also helped some of my friends with their diets. My healthy habits also started rubbing off on people around me.

I got a high knowing that I was conquering something that was really hard and something that I feared. I want to feel that high again.  It’s an exciting experience because it’s a hard one to accomplish. 

I have a goal to build out my legs and shoulders, come in leaner for the next show and improve my stage walk. I want to show case that hard work and dedication on stage again.

I want to keep sharing my story about competing in a healthy manner without diet pills, excessive cardio and low calorie diets. I know there are a lot of unhealthy competitors out there that might be sending out the wrong message. It’s not necessary to give up your health for a fit body. Keep your health as a priority. 

I want to meet my Savage coaches and team at Fitness Universe. Do the photoshoots, etc. I’m also looking forward to spending some time with my teammates! 

Why do I not want to compete again?:

Financial (costs a lot to do). Our coaches make sure we don’t foolishly spend our money, but there is still a cost involved. (How to save on costs: I can share a room with many girls on my team to save on hotel cost. I can use the same bikini and sportswear outfit. I already have all of the tanning stuff and heels, etc. I can train alone and not get a personal trainer and just pay my coaching fees. I can also do my own makeup and hair).
I don’t want certain feelings back that came at the very end of my prep and after the show.  For example,
Constantly thinking about food, like an obsession.  What I can do to eliminate those feelings: Release my thoughts of food by thinking about other things. There is more to life than the food we eat!! Like Cathy Savage says about giving up alcohol, it’s not air!

Temporarily losing my love for the gym because all of my energy went into thinking about food and the way I looked. I was focusing on the physical so much and looking at my body constantly. I’m not saying this happened to me throughout the whole journey. It was just moments. I actually looked at my body more post show because I was getting so bloated and gaining weight back. What I can do to not focus on the physical: Let me coach worry about what I need to improve on. If I want to look at my body, focus on the parts that I LOVE because I’m working hard on them. 

After the show, I was fighting feelings of wanting to binge and lose control. I have strong will power, but fighting those feelings constantly was physical and emotionally draining. I only binged a few times, but I started to eat food that I hadn’t eaten in years! I also started drinking alcohol again even though I had stopped for a good 6 months. Restricting myself made me want to go in the opposite direction (mind you I didn’t even diet that long). I had loved my healthy lifestyle for years, but I almost resented it after my show.  (thank God that after a few months, those feelings have subsided) 

I had a lack of energy and I experienced severe bloating from introducing “normal” and bad food into my diet postshow. I know that I could learn how to come off a show diet and become better at it, but it would take a few times of trial and error. What I can do to eliminate the bloating: Stick to my postshow plan. My coach can provide one. For my postshow I ate a pizza that had cheese (bad idea), it also had BBQ Sauce and the flavors were way too strong. I didn’t even enjoy it but I wanted to stuff my face anyway. Man, did I suffer that night. Better idea, eat a steak with veggies and a potato. Stay away from dairy and extra sweet stuff post show.

I reminded myself that I had already written out my purpose and one of those was to find balance. I don’t feel balanced in the last few weeks of prepping for show and even less balanced afterwards. I find myself fighting more for that balance during that period.

What BBFG stands for: Balanced Beautiful Fit Girl

“Balanced

I try to find a healthy balance in everything. Find time to pray, have fun, study, reflect, work, love, eat, work-out. A little bit of everything with no addictions or obsessions controlling my life.”

Can I find my balance and prep for a show? My honest opinion in my mind for myself is that competing is a bit extreme. I LOVE healthy balanced meals, but restricting myself from many foods even for a short period of time is very hard for me mentally and physically. It was also difficult for me to enjoy time spent with friends because I knew I had to plan ahead and have my meals with me. Also being around food was a little bit of torture for me because I was obsessing over what I wish I could eat during the dieting phase.

What can I do if I don’t do that show?:

Use the money to go on a vacation or go shopping (haven’t done that in a while!). 

Use my time and things I learned to help others. (I learned a lot. I now know the effects of dieting versus how good it feels to eat lots of healthy balanced food and train hard. I now know that chasing skinny is actually a place to nowhere and it’s only temporary (I’m talking about very low body fat percentages seen on stage or magazines). I now know that SOME (not all) fitness models aren’t a healthy image but a temporary look to just show case muscle. A lot of fitness models actually have symptoms of eating disorders. Fear of certain food groups, periods of restricting food and then binging, also excessive exercising after binging.  I’ve realized that I feel healthier with some fat on my body! I’m not talking about being overweight, but enough fat on my body that I have energy and have normal hormone levels. To remind you, I had a coach and they make sure that we treat our bodies with respect. I did not do anything extreme. The feelings that I had were pretty normal for dieting. I SLOWLY dieted down. For example, I went from 2000 calories and lowered it by about 100 calories a week for about 2 months (lowest I went down to was 1100 calories the week of show with 1600 being the average during the dieting phase). I only lost about 3 pounds in the last month. Our coaches make sure we are healthy year round and only diet for about 6-8 weeks. The most cardio I did was 2 days of 40mins and 2 days of 20mins (so that was 4 times a week). I also didn’t mess with my sodium levels, which can be dangerous and I also didn’t severely cut water. You can tell by my competition pictures that I wasn’t as lean and dehydrated as most competitors. I can’t even imagine what it would’ve been like if I would’ve went to those extremes. If I already felt like binging after my diet and was tired of the gym, I can’t imagine people that do hours of cardio and diet for LONG periods of time. Seems like torture instead of a healthy relationship with food and working out for me. That’s why I’m so thankful to have my Savage family to show me how to compete in the healthiest manner possible.

If I don’t compete, I can still go to Las Vegas and meet my Savage coaches and team and also participate in the Photo Shoot, which will require some dieting, but not in the same level as for show.

I noticed that I felt my best when I was about 8 weeks out from my competition. I also looked amazing and healthy!! Shortly after this picture is when I started to take out my cheat meals and started to limit my food options and cardio went up a bit. That’s when my energy levels started to drop. This picture was taken then:
This is me at 116lbs eating a little over 2,000 calories a day! Lifting weights 5 times a week and one day of functional training. Limiting my cardio to 3 times a week for 20 minutes but keeping it intense. Sprints and HIIT cardio. 

In conclusion, I’ve decided that at this moment it’s best for me NOT to do another show. I will listen to my body and give it what it needs. Why? Well, during my last few weeks of show prep I felt almost ill. I had a sore throat and it was even hard just to walk up the stairs. It took every bit of energy I had to do my workouts. I had an obsession with food. I couldn’t wait to eat a variety of food again and I found myself constantly thinking about it. Postshow I had to fight myself not to binge. I’ve NEVER had those feelings before and I really didn’t like them. So much energy was put into fighting those feelings that I was mentally exhausted. I didn’t even have the energy to blog or help my friends and those feelings took a couple months to go away. Ever since the show I haven’t felt balanced, but thank God I feel like I’m finally getting there again.  I’m starting to remember my LOVE for the gym. Picking up heavy weight and feeling like a badass! I’ve never dieted before and I don’t think I’ve ever needed to now that I look back. My thoughts on dieting: it sucks! It’s a much more enjoyable process to very slowly get rid of fat and build muscle. I don’t want to get addicted to the ups and downs of competing. I just feel like it’s unhealthy for me. It didn’t feel good when I did that. I don’t want to fear healthy food and restrict myself from eating a variety of foods.
So onto my next journey! Releasing my slavery to food and exercise. Stop seeking physical perfection and become the person God intended me to be.
 
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God made us hungry for a reason. It was to seek him in everything, not seek worldly or evil things. He also made us physically hungry to eat the food that nourishes our body that comes from His creation, not manmade food, made with chemicals and genetically modified or food that only satisfies our selfish needs.

“Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” -1 Corinthians 10:31
  
Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy him. For God's temple is holy, and you are that temple. 1 Corinthians 3:16-17

Are you having turmoil over your weight or how you eat? Involve God. Here is a wonderful resource that can help: http://dashingdish.com/download/30-day-devotionals.pdf - A big thanks to Dashing Dish for writing this because it has been so helpful.
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