balancing act

I am super pumped because Saturday marked the start of week 3 on mine and Josh’s RP cut and week 3 of our CF Ripcord Nutrition Challenge! Josh and I had been on maintenance for a little over 3 months (from April to July) and I was more than ready to get back on a “normal” eating schedule. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed being a little more lenient over maintenance and eating some really great food on vacation, but there’s just something about eating healthy on a regular basis. I really just feel better, sleep better, work out better, everything’s just better! When we realized it was time to start another cut, we thought why not get the whole gym involved in a nutrition challenge with us? Josh and I have had some great success adjusting our eating habits and I wanna share the wealth! The nutrition challenge at the gym will last 3 months, from the beginning of July to the end of September (this is how long a cut with RP is as well). We wanted it to be a length of time that really got people in the habit of eating healthier long-term and not just a quick fix, 30 day thing that likely wouldn’t last past those 30 days. As part of  the nutrition challenge, we came up with a challenge workout that was done at the start and will be repeated again at the end. We also have weekly mini challenges throughout the twelve weeks to help keep people involved and interested- little things such as drinking eight 8-oz glasses of water each day or completing 100 double unders throughout the week. It’s so great doing this as a gym because it helps us all stay on track and hold each other accountable. If anyone is having a rough day, there’s always someone on the Facebook group willing to offer encouragement or good tips to get through the day. I’m really hoping this challenge will help people make healthier choices. Switch the Mountain Dew for some tea or water. Snack on some cucumbers instead of a Milky Way. These are all seemingly small changes that really add up over time and make a world of difference. They have for me anyways. Through RP, I have really come to appreciate my body and what I put into it, while still being able to enjoy life. It’s been such a learning experience and balancing act. I’ve learned that I’m going to sometimes eat foods that aren’t considered healthy. I’ve learned that it’s ok and I don’t need to punish or starve myself when I do eat something unhealthy- just get right back at it for the next meal. I’ve learned that I feel so much better when I eat healthy and that helps me stay on track. I’ve learned that sometimes I’m not really hungry-sometimes I’m bored or tired or stressed and instead of stuffing my face, I should sip on some tea or get up and move around.    

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Saturday was packed full- we spent our morning at the gym lifting, getting in some mobility, and doing a partner hero workout with LOTS of burpees and barbell movements. It was the most amazing weather (sunny and mid-70s) and I tried to soak it all in. After the gym was the usual Saturday afternoon adulting- mowing, laundry, and all the meal prepping. My sister-in-law, Kena, has been sharing some zucchini from her neighbor with us and I love it! There is nothing better than fresh garden vegetables, store bought just doesn’t even compare! This week she spoiled us and brought over 5 of the biggest zucchini ever- I was able to sauté some, use a bunch in our veggie chili, and still had so much left that I had to use 3 whole baking sheets to roast the remainder in the oven.

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With the cut and the gym nutrition challenge going on, Josh and I have been really good about staying on track with our nutrition and not eating out. We purchased the newest RP cookbook “The Renaissance Feast” and have been loving it. Every week during the cut, we have decided to choose one recipe out of the cookbook and make it together for Saturday night date night. This week’s choice was orange beef- steak and broccoli covered in a delicious orange sauce on white rice. The best part is all the recipes can be altered so that we can hit the protein, fat, and carbs we need at each meal. It was very yummy and I can’t wait to try out another recipe from the cookbook!  

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After dinner, we searched through Netflix to find a movie to watch. Josh found a movie named “Butter” which neither of us had ever heard of, but Netflix was recommending. We decided to give it a try. I’m glad we did. There is a great cast- Jennifer Garner, Hugh Jackman, Ty Burrell, Olivia Wilde, and several others. The movie is about a butter carving competition at the local county fair in a small town in Iowa. It was not what I expected, but it was so great. I never knew butter carving could be so impressive!

Sunday morning I met up with Kalee and Des for breakfast at Cracker Barrel for some much needed sis time. I have genuinely missed these girls- our schedules are all so different and crazy, we hardly get to see each other as much as we would all like. They both do RP too, so I didn’t feel guilty about meeting up with them while on my cut because I knew they would make healthy choices and help me stay on track as well. It’s seriously the best! We all ordered the Good Morning Breakfast which came with scrambled egg whites, turkey sausage, sliced tomatoes, a small fruit cup, and cheese grits. Not bad for eating out! I loved being able to catch up and laugh so much at their stories.

After breakfast, Josh and I finished the newest Netflix series “Friends from College”. There were only eight episodes, so it took us no time at all to finish the season. And you can’t not watch a show that features Cobie Smulders, Fred Savage, and Keegan-Michael Key as main characters. Rocko just wanted to go to Mamaw’s for ham!

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For lunch, we headed to Josh’s Mamaw and Papaw’s house to celebrate Josh/his cousin/his uncle’s birthdays. Rocko absolutely loves riding in the car (I promise, he was very safe and not at any risk of falling out of our car)- seriously how cute is he?!

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Before you ask-no, we did not stay on track with our eating. Before starting the cut, we had already decided this would be one of three “off track” meals. This is where the balancing act comes in- I understand that I can’t eat cake every single day, but during a special occasion there is no reason to deprive myself from enjoying something worth it like Mamaw’s home cooked meal and Kena’s homemade cake. Mamaw served us a delicious meal of meatloaf, ham, mashed potatoes, green beans, corn, broccoli salad, a veggie tray, and rolls with apple butter and sorghum. I had never tasted sorghum before…I’m a fan. If you like thick, sugary syrup, sorghum is where it’s at! For dessert, Kena made her best cake yet- a vanilla cake with white chocolate chips filled with raspberry icing and topped with white chocolate frosting. She even brought fresh raspberries and made a raspberry compote to put on top. All homemade. *drool*          

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After cards and presents were opened, it was game time. While half of his family played a card game, Kaylie, Josh, and I played Settlers of Catan. Even though I’m pretty terrible at this game, I really enjoy playing it. Especially now that we finally read the rules and know how to play it correctly (it’s only been 7 months since we started playing hahaha). Kaylie won…probably cheated lol jk…and Josh and I called it a tie for the loss.

We capped off our evening at home watching “Shameless” (we’re on season 4 now!) until Game of Thrones time. Finally! Having to wait 3 extra months for the premiere was no fun. Game of Thrones is probably one of my favorite shows of all time- I know this because it’s the only show I’m willing to stay up an hour past my bedtime to watch live. I can’t lie, part of the reason we stay up to watch it live is because I don’t want it ruined by people on Facebook and other social media. Seriously, people, not everybody gets to watch it as it airs. Keep the spoilers to yourself!

Someone was all tuckered out from a late night watching GoT.

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Broad Ripple & Baseball

Josh and I follow RP (Renaissance Periodization) templates for our meals. RP is the best program we’ve found so far (and believe me, we’ve tried everything- not tracking anything, just counting calories, Paleo, IIFYM, the list goes on). The templates are set up according to if you’re male or female and what your weight is. There are massing (muscle gain) or cutting (fat loss) templates. Each template comes with a list of “approved” (aka recommended) foods and the breakdown of what to eat when. The templates show how many ounces of protein, grams of carbs, and servings of fats and vegetables to eat for each meal throughout the day, according to whether it’s a rest day or a workout day. Nutrient timing comes into play as well and the templates have options for eating based around any time of day you workout. It takes ALL the guesswork out of what to eat and when! It’s been a lifesaver for sure. We have gone through two cuts along with maintenance phases. Currently, we’re on our fourth week of maintenance after our second cut. Throughout our whole time on RP, both Josh and I have PR’ed on multiple lifts, increased endurance, improved body weight movements, and seen body composition changes. Neither cut was 100% compliant, because life. There were holidays and birthdays, cupcakes and pizza. There was also a lot of white rice, chicken, and broccoli and saying “no, thank you” to offers of eating out. RP has helped me learn how to find the balance between enjoying food and fueling my body to be the best it can be. I guess I wanted to say all this because so many people struggle to be healthy and juggle all of life’s activities at the same time. But you don’t have to be perfect all the time. Eating one cupcake won’t make you fat, just like eating one cup of broccoli won’t make you healthy. So enjoy that piece of cake on your birthday and get right back to eating healthy as soon as you can. Continue to make healthy choices each day, choices that you can maintain for the rest of your life. Pretty soon it won’t even feel like a choice has to be made, it will just become second nature to eat healthy and feel the best you’ve ever felt.

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This weekend was the perfect example of balance. Josh and I have been having an ongoing conversation about this whole balancing life with eating healthy thing and with being on maintenance it’s been easier and easier to have cheats here and there. I mean, you all know how much I love food…especially sushi. And cake. And most especially cake from the Cake Bake Shop. So, Saturday was an incredible day because I got to eat sushi and Cake Bake Shop cake! We met up with Des, Chris, Kalee, and Jeffrey at Sushi Bar in Broad Ripple to celebrate Kalee’s birthday. Did we stress about going out with friends and eating sushi and cake? Nope, because we chose to eat healthy leading up to dinner then shared our sushi rolls and one piece of cake (Ok, maybe a peppermint iced brownie too). The rolls were quite yummy. We got the Christmas roll (spicy tuna, avocado, and tobiko) and the Valentine’s roll (tuna wrapped with crab meat topped with spicy mayo). The weather was so pretty, so after dinner we walked the few blocks up to Cake Bake for the best part of the night! Broad Ripple is such a cute area, full of boutiques, bars, coffee shops, and restaurants. On the way to Cake Bake, we stopped in at Broad Ripple Vintage. Completely not what I expected, but they had a very eclectic collection from floor to ceiling of vintage clothes, jewelry, and accessories that would be perfect for costume parties. We finally made our way to Cake Bake and went right in to check it out. It is a little girl’s dream (I can’t lie, it’s my dream as an adult woman) walking in to see the shop decorated with pink, princess pigs, flowers, and a cherry blossom tree. They have every dessert you can imagine- brownies, macarons, dessert bars, cakelettes, cakes, pies, and cookies- displayed in a beautiful glass case! And everything (the desserts and the decorations) is covered in glitter! Deciding what to eat is always such a tough choice because everything looks so delicious and decadent. Josh and I ordered a princess bar (a brownie topped with peppermint buttercream) and a slice of cookie dough cake. The cookie dough cake was delightful- there were three layers of vanilla mini chocolate chip cake filled with chocolate ganache, vanilla buttercream, and gooey chocolate chip cookie dough, complete with a mini chocolate chip cookie on top. We all ordered a different slice of cake, so of course we had to pass our plates around for everyone to try. We tried the lemon cake, the raspberry champagne cake, the Earl’s Court chocolate cake, and the peanut butter, honey, marshmallow, and banana cake. They were all so delicious and the perfect end to our trip to Broad Ripple. I promise, you will never leave there disappointed. It’s impossible. So plan a trip there now!

Josh and I woke up early on Sunday and headed over to Cincinnati with my family for the Reds/Cubs game. While I don’t watch any baseball and don’t know much about the sport, there’s just something about sitting in a ball park with the smell of peanuts and popcorn in the air singing “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” with the crowd. The game was actually super fun and the Reds pulled off a win which made the guys in my family very happy. My brother-in-law, Tommy, caught a fly ball off Ben Zobrist (a Cubs player) which was such a cool experience. I’ve been a few sections over from people that have caught fly balls, but never actually known someone or been next to someone who has caught one! Another great part of the ball park (for Josh and I) was they allow soft coolers, so we planned ahead and packed lunch meat, grape tomatoes, and cucumbers to eat there so there would be no worries about what to eat from the concession stands if we got hungry.  You CAN eat healthy and still do fun stuff with your friends and family! It’s crazy, I know! Believe me, it was not at all easy to sit and watch my whole family enjoy ooey gooey oh-so-cheesy brick oven pizza at Strong’s Brick Oven Pizzeria later at dinner while Josh and I ate our tiny side salads with dressing on the side, but it is worth it to us to try to find that balance and be healthy.

 


PS how sweet is Rocko? He wouldn’t leave my side after we got home from the baseball game, he missed us so much!

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