Battling Fluctuating Scales

In a perfect world, our weight wouldn’t fluctuate. Our body’s would only progress the way we wanted, but besides that the scale number wouldn’t change. If I weighed 140 in the morning, in this perfect world, I would still weight 140 before I went to bed. But we all know that this hardly ever happens. We know that this isn’t realistic. But so often, I see so many people freaking out over what the scale says. “I weighed 130 lbs this morning, then weighed myself before bed and I gained 5 lbs?!” STOP RIGHT THERE. 

First off, I want to start out by saying: Daily Check-Ins are a terrible idea. Although tracking the numbers aren’t bad, checking them each day can make you mentally unhealthy. It causes us to become to “analytical”. You start to become over critical of yourself, and judge every single thing about yourself. What I do recommend if you track your scale – weighing yourself once a week or every two weeks, first thing in the morning.

For those a wee bit crazy about the scale, here are things I want you to consider that will affect your morning and night weight/weight throughout the day, and remember to stop taking the scale number so critically: You’re body is more than fat, skin, and bones. It’s also water, food, muscle, organs, cells, and more.

Water Retention: Something I actually recently learned a lot about while on prep due to water loading/dehydrating. When you consume too much foods high in sodium (salt)  your body naturally retains water, making you weigh more on that pretty scale. The less salty foods you consume, the less water stored.

Dehydration: If you aren’t drinking enough water your body goes into panic-mode and retains as much fluid to compensate for not properly hydrating. Our bodies are made up of about 60% water so replenishing it every day helps. When our bodies become dehydrated, it can also cause bloating. Yikes! There are different recommendations on how much water one should consume such as the 8×8 Rule or half your weight in gallons. I always just aim to drink 1 gallon of water each day because I am athletic and I’m expelling a lot of water when I workout.

Menstruation: Unfortunately, when it’s that time of the month it causes our weight to fluctuate and bloat, also has to do with water retention. Sorry, ladies!

Last but not least, stress: our greatest culprit. Stress causes our cortisol, or “stress hormones,” levels to peak, causing us to store fat especially in our midsection. Excess cortisol levels can slow your metabolism, and cause your body to store glucose from all the demands of our busy lives causing actual weight gain. We become more prone to store an extra later of fat (one we don’t see on the outside) called “visceral fat” which is extremely difficult to get rid of, and can release chemicals in our bodies that trigger inflammation, also can lead to heart disease, or diabetes. Stress is pretty serious, so try your best to manage it and think positively… and avoid the cycle of “oh no gained weight”, going to stress and gain more weight because that isn’t always the case!

I hope this helps anyone who battles with scale weight fluctuation, and to remember that the scale weight isn’t always true, nor your best friend. Weigh-in every other week to avoid mentally bringing yourself down. Your scale weight is a small part of progress tracking, but it does not determine your value, life or progress.


2-Year Battle

I’ve always been active, I played sports growing up but obviously that all changes when you have kids. I managed to maintain a fairly active lifestyle when I moved to South Carolina in 2013, after having Vela. I invested in my first gym membership, and even though I had a little experience in training I didn’t have any knowledge of weight training, and most importantly: no knowledge about nutrition (the base of all our goals), and how to properly fuel your body for such activities, and battling eating disorders. Sound like a hot mess? Well I was. I’m going to do my best to show a breakdown down of my progress throughout the years, because just like every single real person out there our bodies fluctuate; we learn new things and implement them.

Version 2Here is a photo of me 2 years ago, post-baby and hustling in the gym. I had struggled a lot with bulimia/binging and purging after I had my kids, something I may or may not go into later. I went from weighing 120 lbs. in high school then blew up to almost 170 lbs. when I had Warren. I lost 40 of those lbs., but then got pregnant again and maintained 135-140 lbs. during the second pregnancy. Gradually, I started to gain weight and I didn’t know why or how then (I do now, obviously). At this point, I was either eating very little (cottage cheese and a handful of Wheat Thins), or overeating/binge eating junk food. I had a love hate relationship with food that was sickening. At my lowest once again, I weighed 125 lbs again. YAY… but I was unhappy. I was tired all the time, I was literally sick. I developed IBS at age 20, had chronic migraines – I was always sick. I was allergic to almost everything (I wasn’t allergic to anything prior to my poor eating habits). I was in and out of the hospital for reasons unknown. On top of my poor nutrition habits, I was overworking my body. I worked out 3-4 hours a day, every single day but Sunday. When I got home from my the gym, I would still be on the go and working out when I got home. I was skinny-fat for who much I worked out. I knew nothing about body recovery, or cared for it. All I knew was: I want to be skinny, I want to fit, I don’t want to be fat. Was this me being a healthy role-model to my children? Hell no.

Fast forward 1 year, we had moved back to Kansas City. I gained a lot of my weight Version 2back being near my family (Laotion food is so hard to resist!) and always having gatherings that of course, aimed around food. I was still working out, but that this point time was the only thing stopping me from working our 3 hours a day. I worked our 3-5 times a week, lifted weights but didn’t have a plan as far as working out. Let’s just say I did a lot of squats (and I’m telling you now that more squats don’t equal bigger booty; pancake butt stage) I was pretty fluffy, still binging and purging but wasn’t in starvation mode. I was eating whatever I pleased, and kind of tracking my food – calories, but not macros. I weighed 160 lbs. again, but eh – it was just muscle gain *eye roll* it was more of an excuse for my weight gain. At this point, I definitely put on muscle but I wasn’t leaning out. I was 29% body fat. I was still eating poorly, and compensating my poor eating habits with hard workouts. Still unhappy, still not accomplishing goals.

Version 2Present. I have a better understanding for nutrition, and training with a certification in the works, helping and coaching others to a healthy lifestyle… after my long constant battle. I’ve overcome a lot of battles with my binging and purging, but I am careful because I do prep for shows. I have to keep myself aware of thoughts, and habits; not all my goals are aesthetic. I’m thankful my husband watches my eating habits, because he has seen me struggling and fluctuate for years. Food is fuel, not a way to reward yourself for emotions. I am now 140 lbs, post-competition. I’m pretty content for a base/normal weight. I have more expectations for myself with the future competitions I compete in, but for now I am happy with this progress. I’m sitting at 14% body fat as of today. I work out 5-6 days out of the week, cardio intervals 3 times a week for 45 minutes, weights 4-5 days a week, HIIT/Plyometrics once  a week. I eat consistently now, 2-2.5 hours, track my calories and macronutrients. I prep my meals so I’m not tempted to grab something “convenient” aka fast food. I am balanced, for the most part. I eat healthy foods, not entirely clean but healthy. I don’t restrict myself or do crash diets. I still have goals to achieve that I am working towards, but right now I am happy with where I am and how far I have progressed past unhealthy eating habits and overexerting my body. I will eventually reach them, but there is no point in tearing my body apart now to only receive short-term goals that may harm my body in the long run. I know the importance of working my body, but also allowing it time to recover. It took a couple of years for me to learn, but I am glad I know now how to properly train.

Prep Life: It Isn’t Sustainable


For years I have always wanted to compete in a bikini competition – as of May 12th, 2017 I was able to finally cross that off my bucket list. As I take a month off of prep for the next shows I have lined up this year, I have received so many compliments and encouraging word from friends and family. I cannot be any less thankful for everyone who has supported me in this. But something I want to share with everyone who has reached out to me about about weight-loss and how I did it. “I want to know what you’re doing!” “Can you share with me what you did to lose 20 pounds?!” “You did it so quickly, can you share with me how?!”

Before I prepped for my show I was consuming 1000-1200 calories a day; I was tracking my food, but didn’t have any real goals as far as fitness. I just knew that I wanted Chipotle and if I wanted Chipotle I need to track my calories in/calories out so I don’t get “fat” but eating whatever I wanted to because it fit my macros. I was just cruising through life like many of us do: workout, eat, sleep. I was unhappy though, for a really long time about my progress. Because in the back of my head, I wanted to lose 20 pounds, I wanted to feel comfortable in my skin, I was tired of being comfortable and saying “I look this way because I had kids and that’s okay” but fuck that, I was unhappy, and tired of that excuse. I weighed almost 160 pounds, but I wasn’t a “big” girl. I stacked a lot of muscle under my fluff and was 22% body fat at 5’1″. I had a love hate relationship with food.

I took 15 weeks to prep, and with prep I had a greater appreciation for food. MidwayPm-1547Competing has taught me how to manipulate food as energy (because it is) for intense workouts, it’s taught me how much I can challenge my body. It’s helped me reach goals I never though I would be able to reach. For 10-12 weeks I ate the same thing every single day, kind of – chicken/fish, broccoli/asparagus, rice/sweet potatoes with a dash of popcorn seasoning every 2-2.5 hours to keep my metabolism fueled. At this point I was eating 1600 calories a day, more calories than before; and lost 10 pounds in my first two weeks, dropped 5% body fat. I began to plateau, a feeling I was so used to for so long, so I increased my cardio. I began doing 45 minutes of cardio 3-4 times a week; somedays cardio twice a day. I loved the feeling, I was energized. I didn’t drink alcohol, couldn’t eat donuts, no fruit (yes, no fruits), no Chipotle in sight for weeks. I was ready to lose more.
As I got closer to show day, my meals became more restricted – no salt, no sugar, less carbs, hardly any fats. I became incredibly emotional, my hormones were out of whack with restricted I was with my food. I was always hungry for the next meal, but was full as I ate my food. Everyone I spoke to kept saying that shitty feeling was normal. Many ladies who end their prep indulge like crazy, and I hear horror stories of how they go so overboard that they gain so much weight back and screw up their metabolism. Indulging a little bit after the show was needed, I did it. But the next day it was back to clean eating. I’ve slowly began to reintroduce foods I used to eat that had salt, sugar, etc. so my body doesn’t know blow and that is something people have to be careful with. I ended my prep weighing 139 lbs, 13% body fat at 5’1″. The most important part of prep is the end of prep, and how to refeed your body the proper way.

MidwayPm-1548Is the prep lifestyle sustainable? No, not one bit. I am glad I met so many people who told me to remember that the body I get in prep isn’t sustainable. It’s do-able for a short amount of time but that’s why we thank off-season, eating regular balanced meals. Being on prep was a lot of emotional, and mental work but now I know what to expect so I am ready for the next one. If you are considering doing a bikini competition, trust your instincts, and listen to your body, and make sure you have an excellent support system but know it is very intensive, and takes a lot of dedication and physical work too.

Now I’m on to the next…

Midway USA Champtions May 12th, 2017 | All photos taken by: Doug Jantz Photography

Depleted/Dehydrated/Zombie-Feels Free Prep

Is it too late for to post my Women Crush this week?! I’ve posted about her before (her 16 week post baby photo); I am so grateful to be in touch with someone so hardworking, real, and supportive. She recently shared this photo with me so I, of course, had to share in light of the show I am competing in this weekend. What I loved most, and admired more about the competition she competed in was the way she prepped. Yes, she looks BEAUTIFUL but more importantly, she didn’t have to diminish her health to get there. Many girls who compete in the bikini category become so depleted and “starved” if not trained the right way. Unfortunately, some even develop eating disorders/body dysmorphia.It is “normal” to feel depleted or like a zombie but Maree was able to use superfood nutrition, and an active lifestyle to get where she needed to be for her show. She had balance. She wasn’t starved, she had energy, she didn’t have the hormonal mood swings that we experience because she was able to do her show a HEALTHY way. For goodness sakes, she got to eat chocolates and drink the day of her show! 😂😍 Who doesn’t love that? 

Secret: She’s the one who helped me create these challenges I offer to help reboot your health based off what she did for her show. 

Road trip: Midway USA Championships

If you have been following me on my other social media handles (Instagram or Facebook), you would know I am competing in my first bikini competition tomorrow. It’s about a 3-hour drive from where I live, and I’ve got a hotel reserved from me and the hubby in Wichita, Kansas this weekend for this eventful experience (oh dear lord, pray I don’t fuck anything up!) I’ve never been to Wichita, let alone been on a road trip alone with my husband so pray he survives my 90’s to early 2000’s playlist, my snoring, and my car sickness – my mom can vouch how much I hate car rides!

I’ve always had a great following for my health and fitness lifestyle, but I haven’t been open about my progress, and received so many kind words from my friends and family. Before spontaneously prepping for this show:

Before prep
I weighed almost 160 pounds. I was 23% body fat at 5’1″. I was incredibly unhappy, because I had spent years and years and years in the gym and staying active and these numbers didn’t change after I gave birth to my two littles. I was tired of feeling fat, being bloated, and in this plateau. At one point after having my kids, I dropped down to 11% body fat but I was still unhappy – I still felt like I didn’t achieve anything. I would also add that I was completely unhealthy in how I lost all that fat.

I took 15 weeks to prep for this show, which is about a moderate amount of time; not too long, but not short time either. I was so worried I wouldn’t reach my goals, I was worried about winning. But wait. Why was I so worried about winning?

3 days ago
I already have. Ladies and gents… It took 15 weeks for me to lose 20 pounds. It took 15 weeks for me to lose 10% body fat. It took 15 weeks for my abs to show. It took 15 weeks for me to be comfortable in my skin again. I am happy with my 15 week progress, how is that not winning? I have all these goals I reached in just 15 weeks, so why would I go into this competition, my first competition, worried about a trophy? This competition, I am going to be in the mindset that I did all this shit and I accomplish this list of goals I’ve had since I was blessed with my two children. I’ve already won. I finally pushed my body, and saw what I needed to do to get where I wanted to be versus dreaming. I did it.

My experience with prepping for this show has taught me so much, and has changed my mindset on goal-setting. People keep dreaming, wishing, and talking and hardly any of them are working, doing, and achieving! My aesthetic goals were definitely a mental challenge; I had been a different mindset when I was not on prep (stuck in my plateaued state versus prep-state), and I hope anyone who has goals they want to achieve know that nothing is impossible. The only thing stopping you from your goals is your mindset.