Where do I start? Well as a fourth grade teacher I know that every story has a beginning, middle, and an end, usually a happy one. If you think back to your high school English literature classes you will also remember terms such as initial incident, conflict, rising action, climax and conclusion. I promise you are not getting an English lesson today but you are getting "My Story" filled with all the elements of a good story.
During my junior year of high school I picked up my first copy of Shape magazine. That was the start. I joined a gym with one of my girl friends, started step aerobics, and was learning from the magazine how to reduce fat in my diet, lean out, and live a healthier life. Or so I thought.
As my senior year came to an end I was feeling and looking great. College was right around the corner and I was excited about going away to school. Have you heard of the "Freshman 15"? (Average college freshman gains 15 lbs. her first year away from home.) I was determined not to let that happen to me. I was not going to backslide. I knew how to eat healthy and I exercised. Well I didn't backslide. I spiraled down. Healthy options in the dining hall were limited; half rotten fruit, meat sitting in grease, pasta with cream sauce, a salad bar, and cereal. I lived on salad and cereal for my entire freshman year. Needless to say my diet was lacking protein and I was losing weight, which I now know was muscle. Freshman 15 was happening in reverse. Eventually my weight stabilized, but only because my metabolism had slowed down to preserve what was left.
Lara Sloan candidly shares the lessons she's learned pursuing the fitness lifestyle in this article.
The people at Beverly International are truly dedicated to what they do and go above and beyond the call of duty as a supplement company.
The owner of the store where I normally purchase my supplements recommended I try Beverly International. I bought some Muscle Provider, took a copy of their No Nonsense Newsletter and supplement guide, and have not looked back.
Fast forward to my junior year abroad. Again, an issue that always came up when talking about the year abroad was the weight gain. I traveled to Australia determined not to gain weight. Again I did not backslide but continued to spiral down. I knew I had a problem. I did not see myself as fat but I did not want to get fat. All this time I was exercising and "eating healthy". Well, at 5' 8" and 98 lbs I was not healthy and I knew it. Climax coming… I called my parents and told them I was not well and that I was flying home early to get help. I took a semester off school went to counseling and was doing better. It was hard but I was determined to be strong and fit like the women I saw in the various fitness magazines I read.
I returned for my senior year healthier and heavier. I continued to gain weight and was fine with it. I started dating my husband soon after graduation and he helped me appreciate my body no matter what shape it was. All this time I was doing step aerobics and figured that was a good form of exercise. As time went on I started learning about the importance of weights and slowly my percentage of time spent on weights increased and aerobics decreased. I started to gain the muscles I so much admired when I was 18 and was looking at that first copy of Shape. Oh, the things we learn.
Fast forward to 2001. The store where I buy my supplements was out of Cyto Pro, which I normally bought. The owner of the store recommended I try Beverly International. I figured why not give it a shot. I bought some Muscle Provider, took a copy of their free newsletter and supplement guide, and have not looked back.
For the next twelve months I used Beverly's products, read their newsletters religiously, and followed one of their sample diets. I was stronger than ever and my energy was sky high. I started to get the "I want to compete bug". I found a show in the area 9 weeks away and contacted Beverly by e-mail. I chose the figure division, as I fear a true bodybuilding show may set me back a few years if you know what I mean. Roger set up my diet, answered countless questions, and as a result I placed 3rd in the NABF Rhode Island Lady's Fitness Championship. I attribute my success to Beverly's quality supplements, Roger's patience and guidance, and all that I have learned from the No Nonsense Newsletters and the folks on the discussion board. This last year has been a tremendous learning experience.
The first thing I learned was Plan Plan Plan. Someone once said, "failing to plan is planning to fail". This is so true. I figured out quickly that cooking a bunch of chicken, turkey, sweet potatoes, rice and vegetables up on Sunday night and packing lunches and snacks in Tupperware relieved a lot of stress during the week. I also used those pill organizers. I had one that was for supplements I took with meals and one for supplements I took on an empty stomach.
|Shawn Sexton is another figure competitor who has learned the value of dieting the "Beverly Way"|
The second thing I learned was that "variety is the spice of life". Diet food does not have to be bland and boring. I often would have 3 different marinades going Sunday night as I prepared my food. Chicken and rice with Italian flavorings one day, tuna with a mock honey mustard dressing and baked sweet potato another, turkey with a fajita marinade and sweet potato chips another, tuna and rice with salsa the next … I never felt like I ate the same food everyday. Low calorie sauces and condiments kept things interesting.
The third thing I learned was "be creative". I found that many recipes could be adapted to fit my diet regardless of which phase I was in. Well actually I never was able to do much with the grapefruit and chicken the day prior to my show, but as it was one day it didn't really matter. Some of my favorite things like pancakes, lemon squares, brownies, and coffee coolatas could be made, with some creativity. Yes I do have a bit of a sweet tooth but I found ways to fit it in. At the end of this article I've included some of my favorite recipes which you can adapt to fit your current diet. I hope you enjoy them.
The fourth thing I learned was to look at the areas that posed the greatest challenges and find solutions. For me I had a hard time looking at the fax back and digesting when to take the various supplements and when I cycled my calories throughout the week what to eat on which days (low carb days and moderate card days - not the same as Monday / Thursday carb ups). I designed a template that let me see at a glance just what I was to eat when and which supplements to take. I also had a hard time keeping track and drinking all the water (1-½ gallons a day). I filled a 1-gallon jug and 2 one-liter bottles and that was my goal for the day. I make sure I drink 1 of the liters during my 40 min commute to work and another on the commute back. I drink between sets during my workout and usually get through 1-½ bottles. I have a large glass of water with each of my food meals and every time I used the "lou" I immediately drink some more water. Sometimes the best planned plans fail and you're caught without a meal. So I make sure I have a few extra pre-measured baggies of Ultra Size, Muscle Provider, oats, and canned tuna in my desk at work. I also learned to pack a back up shake when I planned to do errands during the weekends so as never to miss a meal.
|Rachel Johnson, 2002 Midwest States Overall Figure winner, has also created some recipes for "Ultra Size Treats". Rachel will be featured in the next No Nonsense newsletter.|
And Finally I learned that the people at Beverly International are truly dedicated to what they do and go above and beyond the call of duty as far as a supplement company. Thank you Beverly International for all the support and guidance you have given me. Without you I doubt I'd be in the shape I'm in now.
Here is how I organized my diet at 5 weeks out:
Marinades (1-2 hours min. time for marinades)
Fajitas - 1 part limejuice, 1 part soy sauce, garlic and ginger to taste * add 1 tsp dark sesame oil for an Asian flareItalian - Fat free Italian dressing (from a jar or made without oil from the packet)
Meat - ½ cup balsamic vinegar, 1 tsp mustard, 1 tsp lemon Juice, 1 tsp olive oil, 1 clove garlic, 1 packet Splenda (or sugar) ½ teaspoon salt
DressingsMock Honey Mustard - 1 tsp mustard 1 tsp apple cider vinegar, and a packet of splenda, water to taste. Add Flax oil for a great dressing great on tuna, chicken and salad. Reduce water and it is more like a sauce.
Condiments / Spices - Mustard, salsa, hot sauce, Ms. Dash, fresh garlic, ginger, curry, various vinegars, and low carb barbeque sauce and ketchup by Walden Farms.
Here are a few other suggestions to keep things interesting....
Remember BE CREATIVE
Oats - cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin pie spice, Splenda, spray butter, muscle provider (vanilla or chocolate), flax oil, peanut butter, chopped nuts, 3-4 sliced blueberries, mix them with your eggs for a pancake, eat them raw with a bit of muscle provider poured over like milk on muesli…
Eggs - omelets with sliced beef, salsa, hot sauce, dill, thyme, oregano, Ms. Dash, curry, spray butter, plain whites topped with cinnamon and Splenda, cottage cheese…
Meat - various low salt low carb marinades, Ms. Dash, lean burgers with seasoning and chopped mushrooms and onions, simmer chicken in low salt chicken broth, add sage and thyme to ground meat and cook like a sausage…
Tuna - salsa and rice make a tasty quick meal. Add chopped tomatoes and cooked egg whites, Ms. Dash, dill…Rice - cook in low salt chicken broth add spices to taste, salsa, chopped meat, ground meat cooked with garlic and onions
Sweet potato - while baking takes longer they taste better than when they are microwaved, you can also slice them and bake them like chips, spray with spray butter and salt, cook like hash browns
Shakes instant-coffee, diet soda (root beer, orange, cherry), extracts (peppermint, coconut, almond, banana), crystal light, lots of ice and eat like ice cream, just a little water and eat like a pudding, peanut butter, almond butter, lemon juice, limejuice...