Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Thank goodness for Oatmeal

So I gave blood the other day at work for BOGO Mavs voucher tickets.  I am terrified of needles, but still went ahead and overcame my fear.  I am after all Mavs Fan for Life (MFFL)! ...

After 5 days the results came in for my cholesterol, blood type, etc.  I'm happy to say my cholesterol is at a healthy level (thanks to my Tita Lorna for verifying) at 168!  And immediately I thought, "thank goodness for my oatmeal."  Not that I am saying oatmeal is the main reason my cholesterol is down, but ONE of the reasons I am sure.  Just like what I have been preaching for almost 2 yrs now (this blog is 2 yrs old ;), a clean diet (80% of the time) and exercise (20%) will maintain a healthy weight  not to mention cholesterol level.  Of course there are the few who diet and exercise, however can't get the cholesterol at a healthy level.  For that, I would seek medical opinion.   I am fortunate to have several doctors, nurses and medical technologists in my large family that I often consult with.

Next up I may ask my mom to test my HDL (good cholesterol) and LDL (bad cholesterol) levels just to see where they are at as well.

So in conclusion, this blog is dedicated to my oatmeal.  I eat 5 egg whites (1 yolk every 2-3 days) and 1/2 cup of oatmeal 6 days a week for breakfast.  That 7th morning (Sunday) I enjoy a homemade belgian waffle that my hubby makes for me and Alexander and 2 sausages.  I still enjoy life and don't deprive myself of the other stuff.  I find that if I do "reward" myself, I am more inclined to stick to my clean lifestyle for most of my week.  But as you can see, my breakfast staple is still eggwhites and oatmeal.  I just can't live without oatmeal.

Try my oatmeal recipe below and let's get that cholesterol at a healthy level!  And don't forget the flaxseeds!

Cheers,

Mrs. Chilly

Oatmeal

1.) Scoop 1/2 cup dry oatmeal into saucepan.
2.) Pour 1 cup of cold water in saucepan (has to be cold).
3.) Turn stove to high and wait to boil.
4.) Sprinkle cinnamon while boiling and mix with spoon. You can add 1 packet of stevia (optional). 
5.) Turn stove off after mixing cinnamon and cover with lid for 3 minutes.
6.) Pour cooked oatmeal in bowl and put agave nectar (1-2 tbsp) and 1 tbsp ground flaxseed.
7.) Add sliced fruit of your choice (I prefer berries: black, rasp and straw :) ....

8.) Stir and enjoy!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Fitness Inspiration: Laura Lam Ortiz (LLO as in JLO ;) ....

My next guest blogger is Laura whom I met through fitness sister Jeni Colon. Laura lives in Houston and has been one of my inspirations in fitness and life in general. Her positive attitude and never-ending motivation continues to inspire me each and everyday. She is also your typical, busy, a mom's-job-is-neverending woman who lives the daily grind of balancing entrepreneurship, mommyhood, wifey, household and fitness. Pretty much another SuperWoman! Read her story and get inspired ...
The Journey Back to Me
Many people often ask me how I lost the 70+ pounds that I gained when I was pregnant with my daughter. I had a friend recently comment to me, “I don’t know what’s more impressive:  the fact that you gained 70 pounds when you were pregnant or the fact that you lost 70 pounds!”  When I thought about the answer, I had to laugh out loud to myself because I honestly don’t know which one IS more impressive!  Hahahaha!  Seventy pounds is pretty “impressive”, either way you look at it!
I’m a 39 year old mother to a very active six year old little girl. I am a social media consultant to the fitness peeps, die-hard momma & wifey, writer, and fitness enthusiast with a passion for health, helping others, and all things good, positive, & funny! I gained over 70 pounds when I was pregnant with my daughter because I thought I could eat whatever the heck I wanted (primarily Haagen Dazs ice cream) and the weight would melt right off after I had the baby.  My pre-pregnancy weight was anywhere from 125 pounds to 130 pounds.  I topped out at 205 pounds when I was at my heaviest.  Yikes!  I wish I could say that my weight loss was immediate and an overnight success story, but my journey back to ME was a long and soulful journey. I finally lost all of the weight, but most of it was recently lost in the past three years. It was a rough road back (I used to be a gym rat in my 20's), but it was well worth every day at the gym and every drop of sweat, blood and tears as an older and wiser version of myself!
 
My turning point was when I realized that I let my life slip away from me after my soul mate grandmother passed away at the tender age of 98 three years ago, followed by other personal and family tragedies and losses.  I was ready to put all the darkness behind me, I was sick and tired of being sick and tired, and I knew it all started with my health and my lifestyle.  For me, I had to hit ROCK BOTTOM before I realized that I needed to change.  My hope is that you don’t get to where I was before you consciously make the choice to become a healthier person for yourself.  I was slapped in the face with tragedy unexpectedly, and my life as I knew it no longer existed.  The old me died over three years ago.  It was one of the most painful experiences of my life, and I never thought I could be standing here today, and sharing with you that I am stronger, wiser, healthier and happier.  It was at that dark turning point that I knew I HAD to change or I would spiral further into this dark hole and lose myself forever. 
I found Cathy Savage Fitness on Facebook, and it actually took me over a year to join because honestly, I was intimidated by all the ripped girls in bikinis on her website!  HAHA!  I was also very skeptical about participating in an online training program.  I didn’t think an online program could fulfill the accountability factor for me.  I thought I needed someone physically in the gym with me everyday to push me.  I finally bit the bullet & joined Cathy Savage Fitness’s Lifestyle program in January 2010, and it was exactly what I needed, especially for the emotional support and the accountability factor.  I am kicking myself for not joining sooner!  In the few short months that I was with Cathy, the remaining last 20+ stubborn pounds have melted off, and I am in the best shape of my life!  After 39 years, I finally see some abs!  It is because her program focuses on health in all aspects of your life:  physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, social, and financial.  I joined CSF thinking I would lose weight with the proper nutritional and exercise program, which I definitely have, but what I was unprepared for was the amazing sisterhood and unconditional love and support!  These women come from all walks of life, they have their own personal stories and challenges, they are from all over the world, but they are all there for me everyday, holding me accountable, motivating me, inspiring me, lifting me up, encouraging me, loving me, supporting me, and cheering me on.  The accountability is so amazing!  These women have totally got your back!  Cathy’s team and staff of coaches are the most incredible women ever! 
Cathy has totally created a magical organization where women and men, with different goals and in different stages of their lives, can all come together and strive to be the best person that they could possibly ever be!
It sounds almost ridiculous that losing weight could give you your life back, but it does!  What I didn’t realize at that time was that the physical aspect of my life was closely connected to the emotional, mental, social, and financial aspect of my life as well.  When you feel good about yourself, you have more confidence in everything that you do.  You don’t sweat the small stuff, and the stars do seem to “magically” align in the universe for you.  You have an extra bounce in your step, you have a sparkle in your eyes, you have a magnetic energy that others can feel and are attracted to, and you have a powerful aura about youYou have the “IT” factor!  If you don’t believe me, try it for yourself!  And then let me know how your life changes when you are a healthier and happier version of yourself!  :)
Stunning or what!?!  Congratulations Laura for all of your accomplishments!  I remember my first Cathy Savage Camp back in Boston February of 2006!  I can't wait to join CSF in 2012 and continue challenging my body, mind and soul.  Ladies, if you are interested in Cathy Savage Fitness, just let me know and I'll be happy to share with you my experiences or direct you to LLO for any questions.  And LLO is completely right; when you practice a clean eating lifestyle and incorporate exercise in your life, "you don’t sweat the small stuff ... you have an extra bounce in your step, you have a sparkle in your eyes, you have a magnetic energy that others can feel and are attracted to and you have a powerful aura about you."  I too realized this after I lost my 80+ pounds through my very own fitness journey.  Thank you, Laura!

Remember, this blog was created for you ... to motivate and to inspire for a healthier you :)) ...
Cheers,
Mrs. Chilly

Monday, December 12, 2011

Home Elliptical


Most of you know I went back to the office full-time, working from home here and there if necessary.  One of the questions I received was how in the heck will you fit your workouts in?  Well, hubby and I have been in the market for a quality home elliptical machine and we finally decided to make this a part of the Chilly household!  So here it is:

the Norditrack A.C.T. Elliptical from Sears ...

I used the elliptical for the very first time this morning and I swear I was sweating bullets by the 5-8 minute mark.  After 30 minutes, I was sweating as much as I sweat doing the stepmill at the gym.  What's more awesome is I had a ton of energy at work today to make my Monday a productive one.  I tell you, it is SOO much easier to just "bed roll," hop into my shorts and sportsbra, hair pulled back/carmex and workout!  After that intense 30 minute session, I take a quick shower and get ready for work in half an hour (all before my Alexander wakes up too!).  Of course, I am starving by then so I happily scarf down my 5 eggwhites and oatmeal like a champion lol.

Hubby used it too today after work and had the same great experience.  Of course this will not take place of our weight training sessions.  I have access to our office gym and at lunch, I still lift a certain muscle group.  What is convenient though is my cardio is said and done early that morning so I can just focus on lifting during my lunchbreak.  We still go to our local gym as a family on Saturday mornings and I work out w/ hubby (our weekly gym date).

Would I recommend one?  Most definitely.  It is an investment, however, the benefits of good health will last you a lifetime.

Any questions, just let me know :)) ...

Happy training,
Mrs. Chilly   

Monday, December 5, 2011

Fitness Inspiration with Stefanie ....

Brrr! I think winter has officially arrived here in Texas!  My next guest blogger is Stefanie who is a marathon runner and can run in this type of weather. Go girl! I met Stefanie back in 2010 at one of our local gym's group exercise classes.  She has been my "coach" in running.  I too did not like/enjoy running and she has been such an inspiration to me to tackle this awesome exercise. Please welcome my good friend, Stefanie ....

April asked me to share my blog about running, so I agreed to do so because my story starts out with me not ever being a runner.  I played tennis growing up and never enjoyed running.  My husband was a runner and ever since we got married, 10 years ago, I wanted to complete a marathon.  For years, I kept putting off starting to learn how to run.  I would run every once in a while, but did not like it one bit. I thought it was too hard, my feet hurt, my side hurts from breathing, etc.....
 
So this is how it all began.  After my daughter was born, October 30, 
2008, I went to Luke's Locker and got fitted for proper runner shoes.  
It made a world of difference.  Running was not so hard like I thought
it was.  I was actually enjoying it.  At first, I was using it as a tool 
to lose my baby weight I had gained.  I continued running short distance.  
I thought about signing up for marathon training in 2008, but I was 
too scared.  There was so much to learn about how to run a marathon, 
the distance runs, hydration, racing, shoes etc.  I was nervous about 
running a marathon because I have never ran long distance and was not 
a runner prior.  So, I put off my goal.  I then decided, June of 2009, to 
go ahead and sign up for the training with Luke's Locker because if I 
didn't do it, I probably would always chicken out.  I remember them 
asking if I have ever done any races prior and I said,  "No.”  They 
thought maybe I should start with a smaller race, but I said, "No, my 
goal is a marathon and this is what I want to do.”  The training 
started with a 3 mile evaluation run to put you in your pace group.  
For 6 months, we trained and ran anywhere between 3 miles to 22 
miles.  13 miles was our easy days and 13 miles now is still my 
favorite distance to run.  It is not too short, but not too far.  My 
mind for mileage is so different now.  My first race EVER was Tour 
De Fluer 20k during our training and then my first half was DRC 1/2 with 
a finish time of 1:59.  Now I have run several different distance 
races.   I am running White Rock Half and hope to PR with a finish 
time of 1:45 or better.  I have been sick this week, so hope to still 
accomplish that.  If I don't, I know I am still a runner that has 
accomplished quite a bit in 2+ year period.  I have learned so many 
things about marathon training, distance running, speed work on how to 
become faster, hydration, shoes, eating, and the list goes on and on.
 
One year ago December 4th, 2010 I completed my first marathon in 4:10.  
This will not be my last one either!
 
So, if you ever think you can't do something, think again because 
anything is possible.  If you put your mind to it and are determined 
to do it, YOU will succeed.  It will take lots of efforts and there 
will be times when you don't feel like doing it, but the end result is 
bigger and exciting.  Just remember the end result!!!!!   There were 
many times in races that my legs hurt and I was tired, but I envision 
the finish line, the crowd, and my family at the end. Those envisions 
helped me push through the pain.   There were even numerous times during 
training that I did not want to wake up and run in the early morning.  
I knew my goal was 26.2 miles, so the end result was bigger than the 
way I felt that day.  I think you can take this and apply it to 
anything in life that you want to accomplish.
 
Happy Running! :)
 
Stefanie

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The next 4 weeks! Do it with me :)) ...

I had the most amazing Thanksgiving dinner today at my GF Rebecca's house.  I learned (and appreciated) that it took 2 days to prepare this made-from-scratch home cooked meal.  I am so thankful for a joyous and relaxing Thanksgiving holiday, but I don't know about you, but I'm so done with eating!  Lol!  I ate clean all day to prepare for the awesome dinner and I have been "checking-in" to the gym everday this week except Thursday.  Do I feel guilty??  No, not at all, because I know what I have to do to get back on track.  I am not a person to say that yes, I indulged ... to hell with it now and I will just continue down that path.  NOPE.  I see everyday as a chance to start fresh and honestly, I believe everyday should be "thanksgiving day."  I am so thankful to have a family to spend this holiday with, let alone friends who invite me to their homes to share their Thanksgiving festivities with me.  I had my fair share of turkey, stuffing, gravy, sweet potatoes and oh Lord, pecan pie!  I savored every bite too :)) ... thank you.  But ... I also kicked myself in the ass at the gym with hardcore cardio, plyo circuit and strength training. 

Now, for motivation, I pulled out this picture of me day after competition to get me back on track now that Thanksgiving is over.  Yes, we still have Christmas coming up, but I've set a goal to look a little leaner when December 25th rolls around.  I have the knowledge and tools already, I just need to make it happen.  You can't make change happen unless change takes place! ...

In this picture, I'm wearing size 2 jeans and right now, these jeans are a bit snug lol.  Goal the next 4 weeks is for it to fit comfortably again.  I think I can make it happen in 2 :)) ... Let's do it!

Hope you all had a fabulous Thanksgiving holiday with family and friends.  Don't feel guilty, instead start fresh tomorrow (or Monday) and do it w/ me! :)) ...

Cheers,
Mrs. Chilly

P.S. - don't weigh yourself after eating a cheat meal!  I had 3 girls tell me this!  Why in the hell would you do that?!  You know it's going to be up.  I've never heard of anyone losing after a Thanksgiving meal!  LoL!  I haven't weighed myself in weeks, but instead gauge on how my clothes fit and how I perform in my workouts.  And if you must weigh yourself, do it after a week's worth of clean eating and quality workouts and not after Grandma's stuffing, rolls and pecan pie!! ....   

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

** Urban Sunday! **

Hey moms out there (and Dads!), check out this website:  http://www.urbansunday.com/ ...  I purchased two ties and a bow for Alexander as part of his winter accessories.  While I love reading my Oxygen magazine, I also try to read my Parents magazine to stay up to date with safety recalls, fashion must-haves, etc. for Alexander.  And maybe in the near future for baby chilly #2 :)) ....

I could never find ties for Alexander's age and little body and was so happy to come upon Urban Sunday.  I just love my little boy!  Happy Thanksgiving :)) ...

Cheers,
Mrs. Chilly

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

No Excuses! ...

Happy Thanksgiving!!  Well, not quite, but almost.  Thanks to everyone who has been supportive of my new schedule and new job ... talking about the emails, texts and calls I have received to see how I am doing.  I truly have the greatest family and friends. 

I am now on my third week and must say the first week was a transition, especially to Alexander.  Now, we are settled and have a nice family routine going.  I am not able to work-out 6 days a week anymore, but 4-5 depending on what is going on at work that week.  What I have noticed though is if you just maintain your clean eating, a slight decrease in frequency of workouts won't matter as much.  My first week I actually lost 3lbs, thanks to running or power walking to catch my train!  In my desk, you will find my tub of MaxMuscle protein powder (cinnamon roll flavor) and for snacks a bag of almonds I stash in my file cabinet (a handful is plenty).  For lunch, I normally still have my half cup of brown rice, steamed brocolli and tilapia or chopped chicken breast.  There is also a gym in my building with a wonderful view of Dallas downtown and American Airlines Center (dang NBA lock-out please end!) ....

Jason and I still steam our sweet potatoes and brocolli on Sundays and grill 8-9 chicken breasts on Monday evening after 24 hour marinating.  So ..... the excuse of "I don't have time" because we work full-time doesn't cut it.  You make the time and shift things around until you find a schedule/routine that works.  You will occasionally find me at LA at 515am doing cardio too and trust me, I have a GREAT day at work knowing that I started my day off right w/ exercise.  I am thankful to have time to pursue my career w/ a great and reputable firm, along with a group that supports working Moms.  Giving fitness up was just not an option.  My schedule just needed a little tweak.

I do miss seeing good friends (Rebecca, Tracy, Tony, Jim, Stefanie, Alfonso ..) and I hope to see some of you over the thanksgiving holiday.  Keep up the good work and continue to motivate each other (and me)!

And now a totally off subject that I get asked quite a bit.  Guys, sorry haha.  Stop reading lol.

How do you get your hair to poof at the crown?!?  I have partial highlights that help create the poof and a pink comb that has been w/ me for years.  Jason always says, "here we go again" .... when I run around the house frantic asking, "Have you seen my comb?!?" ... It's quite comical actually and he replies, "Well, hun, you're gonna have to finally replace that one."  But then I end up finding it :)) ...  Anyway, it's all about the teasing and having the highlights does help.  I have it down now to 5 minutes and I have a hairdo.  If you want a video, just let me know!  LoL!  I hope this answered the question! ...

Cheers!
Mrs. Chilly

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

FAQs ...

Happy fall everyone!  And go, go Texas Rangers :)) ... hey, I had to do a shout-out to my Texas team(s) .. growing up w/ two brothers and Daddio, I did not have control over the tv remote so I am very familiar with the NBA, NFL, MLB you name it! ... hmm, now if the Cowboys would just get it together ... I think that is another blog! ...

Ok back to business, this blog is titled FAQs ... a compiled list of questions that have been sent to me either in person, via email, via facebook, via phone call or via text messaging.  Short update on me, myself and I ... most of you know I will be returning to the office full-time starting next week.  And the first question that I was asked is what will happen to your workouts/diet?!?  Good question and quite normal.  Let's get started:

1.)  How can you fit eating clean and your workouts with a full-time career, mom and wifey? - There is a saying, "If it is important to you, you will find a way.  If it is not, you will find an excuse."  Hubby and I have decided to purchase an elliptical machine for our home where we can both use either before/after work.  We will still be members at LA so you will still see the Chillies :)) ...  My plan is 30 min before work and 30 min after I put Alexander to bed.  I will strive for 3 times during the weekdays and a cardio session (most likely my plyometrics) on Saturday mornings.  There is also a gym in my office building, which is fairly brand new.  I will keep my lifting schedule as is and will strive for 3 times during the weekdays and one on Saturday mornings.  I normally am able to start/finish my lifting session in under 45 minutes.  I also have my trusty 6-Pack Fitness cooler (available at MaxMuscle Rockwall) so I can maintain my meals for the workday.  Oh, I will most likely keep a tub of my MaxPro protein under my desk ;)) ...  Point blank ... I refuse to go back to where I was .. 170lbs in a 5'1 frame, sluggish, no energy, etc.  I strongly believe that a fit individual is a productive and happy employee.  There is just no excuse in my book. 

2.)  "I travel 50% for my job.  How can I still manage to eat clean and workout?"  - for my traveling professionals, I suggest packing dried oats, tuna pouches and whey protein powder.  I understand you can't possibly eat clean 100% while on a business trip, but you can make healthier choices.  Hubby and I went to Las Vegas this past May.  We knew we would be eating at nice restaurants for lunch and dinners so we watched our portions and packed healthy snacks (i.e. unsalted raw almonds, tuna pouches and vanilla whey protein powder).  We also avoided buffets!  Before starting out the day, we went to the gym first thing (Aria had an awesome fitness center) and if you have ever been to Las Vegas, you do a TON of walking.  So walking was our cardio mainly and we still did our weight routines while on vacation.  If you are traveling on business and at a restaurant, try to order fish and ask that it be cooked w/ no butter, perhaps olive oil and then put on a bed of salad w/ dressing on the side, no croutons.  Just because your colleague orders a heaping bowl of creamy pasta doesn't mean you have to.  And dessert?  Skip and maybe just have only one night of the week you are on your trip ... not every night!  And if your company allows a per diem, see if you can order room service for breakfast (I'm thinking a spinach egg white omelet and a bowl of steaming hot oatmeal with 1 tsp of stevia - skip the brown sugar).  And most hotels have fitness rooms available.  Even just 30 minutes of cardio will help you feel better.  Point blank ... make smart choices.  I always remind myself in these situations ... "you'll regret it after eating it."  I have a trip to Houston here in a couple of weeks and already planning what I will be packing.

3.)  What are good AM and PM snacks? - nonfat Greek yogurt with handful of berries; celery sticks or apple slices w/ 1 tbsp of almond butter; handful of raw almonds; protein shake (I like MaxMuscle's Strawberry MaxPro with 8oz of water and two ice cubes!); or 3 egg whites with a slice of Ezekiel bread, etc.

4.)  How can I get my toddler to eat clean? - when I was training for my first fitness competition, Alexander pretty much saw Mommy eat baked chicken, oatmeal, egg whites, sweet potatoes, brocolli, steamed veggies, tilapia and brown rice.  Monkey see, monkey do!  I truly believe kids absorb everything their parents do and that includes what we put on the table and in our mouths.  I did make Alexander's baby foods when he was around 5 months old to 1 year.  Jason and I worked as a team; he steamed all the veggies on Sunday and I pureed/tupperwared them afterwards.  I think that possibly started him off right, but more so that Alexander saw Mommy/Daddy eating clean that he decided to as well. 

5.)  How do you plan your meals for the week?  - Okay, I have to admit.  I am OCD about certain things I do in life.  Maybe it's because I am an accountant that I can't stand a crooked stamp on an envelope, that my grocery list is in order according to the store's aisles, that I have to check that the stove is off and doors are locked a million times before I head to bed ... c'mon admit you do too!  Lol, back to the question.  Every Sunday morning, I sit down w/ my coffee outside by the pool watching my two boys and I jot down the dinner meals for the week.  Jason is right next to me so I ask him what he would like to eat also for the week.  His lunches are pretty much staple:  I lightly season about 6-7 chicken breasts w/ paprika and garlic salt to marinate overnight and Jason grills them all Monday evening.  Deli meat is alright, but have read that grilled chicken breasts is a better option.  For the week, I pack his sandwiches, nonfat greek yogurt, steamed sweet potatoes and brocolli.  He will ask for a treat here and there so I put a nutty bar or goldfish in there.  Our breakfast is also pretty staple:  oatmeal and egg whites w/ fruits.

After we decide our meals for the week then I compile my list w/ the ingredients needed to make each and every meal.  I do make my list according to the aisles of the store.  Not only does this save us time (and with an active toddler, this is very important!), but it also prevents us from wandering into the unhealthy aisles.  If it's not on the list, we don't need it.  TIP:  don't buy Halloween candy until the day of Halloween!  Or you will find yourself tempted to eat not just a few :-/ .... not worth it.

From Sunday afternoon thru the following Saturday afternoon, we are set.  Jason and I normally enjoy a cheat meal on Saturday evenings so I don't plan on cooking that night.  And now that I will be back in the office, I will most likely cook some of these meals on Sunday and tupperware for the week.  Jason also helps me w/ the brocolli and sweet potatoes by peeling and steaming both.  You will always find tilapia, grilled chicken, brown rice, sweet potatoes and brocolli in our fridge for the week.  Eating clean isn't really difficult; it just takes a little planning and effort.  And the benefits are endless!  In addition, clean eating doesn't have to be bland either.  Have you tried my spinach protein pancakes and other clean recipes on my blog? :) ...

6.)  Do you buy all organic? - No, I do not.  Frankly, it is expensive!  There are only a few staples I buy that requires a trip to either Whole Foods or Central Market:  agave nectar, organic whole wheat pancakes w/ no eggs (my hubby is allergic to eggs), coconut oil and ezekiel bread.  I usually just ask hubby to purchase these items from the specialty store since it is on his way to/from work.  I mainly buy bulk at Costco twice a month and the rest at good ol' Walmart.  If you can afford all organic, then go for it.  But in my opinion, you can still eat clean with just normal quality lean meats, produce and everything else.  The only meats I do purchase at Walmart is 96/4 lean ground beef, frozen tilapias and pork chops.  Chicken breasts and salmon I purchase in bulk at Costco.

Another saying I live by, "You can't out train a bad diet!"....

With the holidays just around the corner, it is very important that we remain on track.  I will be visiting my MIL over the Thanksgiving holiday in Ohio and boy oh boy, does she make a wonderful feast!  Hubby and I plan to stay on track for most of now and November so we can enjoy this fabulous meal without guilt.  And definitely when January 2012 rolls around, we will not be putting "weightloss" on our New Year's Resolution list but likely more sleep! ....

Speaking of food, I need to eat Meal 6 :)) ...  keep the emails, text, everything coming!  I love hearing from you as always.  Go Rangers! ....

Cheers,
Mrs. Chilly

Monday, October 17, 2011

hmmm pasta!!! ....

It was one of those days where I wanted pasta!  You probably ask, "umm, is that on your diet?"  Well, it can be!  Just depends how you cook it and what you use.  I normally eat brown rice for my meal 3 during the week and decided to change it up today.  I looked in my pantry and found me a box of whole wheat pasta.  Then moved over to the fridge and looked for a lean protein that can go with it.  One of my favorite Italian dishes is the shrimp scampi.  So today, I decided to somewhat copy and make my very own! ....


April's "shrimp scampi:"

5 oz thawed shrimp (peeled and de-veined) - I like to take off the tail very carefully so I do not waste the shrimp
whole wheat pasta (cooked according to instructions - I make a bit more and tupperware)
1/4 sliced orange and red bell pepper
1/4 sliced red onion
1 tsp minced garlic
fresh squeezed lemon juice
dash of garlic salt and black pepper
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 green onion, chopped

Boil pasta.  Cook shrimp (doesn't take long so watch you do not overcook) and drain excess water.  Add-in 1 tbsp olive oil, garlic, onions and peppers.  Add-in lemon juice and all seasonings.  Immediately add shrimp w/ fixings to hot pasta.  I measured about 3oz of pasta on my plate.  I added 1 more tbsp of olive oil in pasta.  Mix.  Add-in chopped green onions.

Voila!  My pasta fix was delicious with no unhealthy fatty sauces.  Let me know what you think! ...

Cheers,
Mrs. Chilly

Friday, September 30, 2011

Spinach Protein Pancake!



I finally decided to try this "green" pancake for my meal 4 today.  Yes, it is green, but it is AMAZING and YUMMY!  My dad happened to be over and had him taste it!  He loved it! (maybe I can get him to stop going to Wafflehouse and just come to my house for pancakes!  Ha!)  You cannot even taste the spinach at all.  Enjoy! ...

Spinach Protein Pancake:

4 egg whites (OR 12 tbsp of liquid eggwhites)
1/2 cup of oats (uncooked)
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp stevia
1/2 banana
1/2 cup of spinach
1 tsp of almond butter (spread lightly on top)
fruits!

You can add ground flaxseed, but I had it already this morning w/ my oatmeal.

Spray pan w/ non-stick cooking spray (I used crisco) and set stove to low heat (I use level 4)
Put first 6 ingredients in blender (I have a magic bullet - very easy to use and clean afterwards)
Pour liquid mix in pan.
Cook as you would a regular pancake
Lightly spread almond butter on top and top with your favorite fruit

Let me know what you think! :)) ...

Cheers,
Mrs. Chilly

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Rookie at Running! ...

I purchased my first "running" shoes today during my lunchbreak at Luke's Locker in Dallas.  My girlfriend Stefanie, a marathon runner, mentioned this place where she buys her running shoes.  Thursdays are my craziest days of the week for some reason and with the 10/15 extension deadline for work, I decided for my break today, rather than going to the gym, I would go take a quick visit to Luke's.  Boy, was I in heaven!  It is so much better than Lululemon's Northpark; their workout gear is hip, modern, comfortable and very good quality.  After stepping in, I had forgotten what I had went there for in the first place :)) - ehh, happens to most women who loves to shop!  Hahaha! ....

So, after re-gaining conscious control, I went straight to the shoe department ... I did only have an hour to shop.  What brought me to Luke's?  Well, after my first competition at the Europa back in August 2011, I decided to try running to see what it can do to my body.  As fitness buffs, we all know the cardinal rule of "changing" up our routines so the body in turn also keeps changing, and we do not hit a plateau.  Everyone knows I am the stepmill queen, however I am proud to say that I have not done the stepmill in weeks!  I am sure it doesn't miss me considering how often it breaks at LA lol!; ... but the good thing is I have decided to try other forms of cardio:  plyo circuit training, elliptical (ugh, I can't stand this machine, but it's so good for you!), sprints and now running ... not on a treadmill, but outside running.
A few weeks back, I ran outside for a week and immediately right after, I felt a sharp pain on my left bottom heel.  So painful that I was limping for a week :-( ...  it was awful pain so I definitely stayed off running and went to speak with my friend Stephanie for advice.  We both knew it was my shoes.  I had no idea that I needed "running" shoes for outside running and that my "gym" shoes were for, ... well the gym.  DuH ... (keep in mind my blog is called "my fitness journey" for a reason because I am still journey-ing (is that a word?) ... pardon my English if it is not, I am lacking sleep due to work at the moment :-/ ... 

So ... now my "journey" is about to start with the world of running.  Growing up as an overweight child, I despised running.  I pictured running as each step you take, your entire body weight lands on each footstep.  Well, my poor feet having to lug around all that weight and bodyfat :-( ....  so needless to say, I stayed away from running!  I could not stand all that jiggle jiggle!  And it wasn't comfortable.  Now, I have changed for good and I can't help but love it.

Today I ran 4 miles at the park with my new running shoes.  It felt light as if I was running barefoot.  No more pain in my feet.  I only wished it was cooler today (it was 100 around 5pm ugh) and that would have made my jog perfect. 

I look forward to many more jogs outside now that fall is around the corner (well for Texas, that is wishful thinking, but you get my point) ...  now I have the right shoes and I am ready to "journey" on and add running to my fitness loves.  A 5k and 10k is on my bucket list as we speak! 

Thank you Stephanie for helping ... a total rookie at running :)) ...


Happy training,
Mrs. Chilly

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Meal 3 - Shrimp!


Boy oh boy, was I hungry after my cardio and chest/back workout today.  I was also craving a lean protein that isn't chicken or fish.  So happy I had a bag of thawed shrimp in the refrigerator.  Shrimp is a good source of lean protein and a nice change from your chicken breast:


1/2 cup brown rice
6 oz shrimp (thawed and sauteed in 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil,  1 tsp minced garlic and fresh squeezed lemon juice, then drained)
1 cup steamed brocolli with just a little bit of craisins on top (6 to be exact :) ...
dash of sea salt and black pepper
3 grape tomatoes, halved

My brown rice and brocolli are already cooked and tupperwared so I save on time during my work week. I steam brocolli and sweet potatoes every Sunday along with boiling my brown rice.  Hubby peels our sweet potatoes so it's a team effort :)) ...

Going to chow now, enjoy :)) ...

-Mrs. Chilly

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Life is Good ...


I was at the grocery store .. my usual Sunday early morning/afternoon shopping with my son, Alexander.  This may sound totally OCD (heck, it probably is) ... but my grocery list is complete with the meals I will be cooking for my family of three for the week AND the list of items is written down according to the aisle of the grocery store.  So that very last item on the list is the closest to the register.  Do other Moms do this too?  Or am I just that, an obsessive compulsive? :)) ...

Anyway, we were by the sweet potatoes, a staple for the Chilly family each week, when this gentleman, late 30s early 40s I'd say, started a conversation with me about how great sweet potatoes are for you.  Little did he know who he was preaching too lol.  He shared with me his story of how he lost 30lbs (from 315 to 285) by clean eating:  lean proteins, complex carbs and healthy fats.  I shared with him too my story of how I lost the first 45lbs of my total weightloss of 52lbs by clean eating as well (no MaxMuscle/nutritionist yet, but purely by reading, research, etc.).  It was so motivating to speak with this person, and I commended him for his motivation, discipline, efforts and faith that he too will reach his weight loss goal one day.  He proudly even showed me his cart and there I found the foods I normally eat:  liquid egg whites, whole wheat pita, tilapia, oatmeal, brown rice, etc ...  We picked our sweet potatoes finally ... 7 total for my little family and off we went our ways.  I told him I am sure to run into you again and am excited to see your continued progress and to keep up the great work.  As I walked off, Alexander asks, "Who's that Mama?" ... I answered a very nice man who also eats sweet potatoes like you honey.  Alexander replies .. "that's nice, Mama."

So off I went and finished my grocery shopping pondering how much clean eating has helped me in more ways than one.  Yes, I lost the weight ... yes, I can fit in skinny jeans now and all the smaller/cute clothes I had stashed in boxes a few years ago, but that's not all.  When on a clean eating lifestyle, it affects so much more of your overall well-being.  Today, I have more energy, I am less irritable,  I am more focused and driven, I am kind and now with the gentleman I had met at the store ... I actually took a few minutes to enjoy a brief chat with a stranger about his accomplishments and ... sweet potatoes.  Had I been overweight, unhappy, tired .. would I have been as nice and taken the time to listen?  Hmmm, probably not. 

A clean eating lifestyle affected me not only physically, but emotionally, mentally, financially not to mention how you are socially.  I can't begin to tell you how I felt at 170lbs in a 5'1 frame, pretty cruddy :-( ...  One thing for sure though is I am blessed to have found the strength to want to change my unhealthy lifestyle and get moving. What a perfect time too; the year I turned 30!   Also, I have a very curious and active 2.5 year old and he is a huge chunk of the reason I wanted to get fit.  Nowadays, I don't even visit my scale anymore (I think hubby even hid it from me once), but rely on how I feel, how my clothes fit and how I am with people.  I am content and happy in the 120s, 9-10% bodyfat and the muscle I have put on.  I love seeing and hearing the stories of family and friends who share with me their own success and their journeys.  Just the other day hubby received an email from a co-worker asking how I prepare my sweet potatoes and how I season my chicken breasts!  That just makes my day! .. to know that another person has decided to change and give clean eating a try :)) ... 

Now, I can finally say that I have a good grasp and balance with my family, my career and my love for fitness.  All three keep me pretty busy and definitely challenged, which leave me times thinking I have many things in life to be grateful for.  Life is good.

Cheers,

Mrs. Chilly

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

What a Gal! Tracy Payne ...

Only 2 days away from the 2011 NPC Heart of Texas where my trainer and good friend, Tracy Payne will take the stage for her debut as a figure competitor.  2011 so far has been an exciting year ... my dream to compete in my first fitness competition happened ... after 6 years of reading Oxygen and "wishing" to be one of the hardworking competitor girls in the back section of the magazine! ... It was an amazing experience, one I'll never forget .. it was extra special too to see all the family and friends who have supported me during my fitness journey.  Which brings me to Tracy ...

I met this gal at LA Fitness where she taught the Monday AM bootcamp and now Thursday AM Bodyworks.  You can't miss Tracy ... she only has the cutest/brightest/patterned workout gear w/ matching glitter eyeshadow :)) ... It's so rare to see Tracy in a sour/bad mood; she truly is perfect for her profession - energetic, motivating, happy and encouraging ... I mean someone has to be positive when clients like ourselves are enduring "PAYNE!" ....

I am thankful to have met such a fitness professional w/ all these qualities and "chic" personality.  After losing my 52lbs, I realized that exercise and nutrition is now a passion I grew to love/enjoy and for the most part, I believe that is why Tracy and I connect in similar ways.  I wouldn't be where I am at without Tracy's help, guidance and support.  We text/email/call/rant about competitions, the latest craze in workout gears, delicious almond butter, 6 Pack Fitness Bags, some new exercise/cardio I MUST try, etc ...  To sum it up really - TRACY MAKES EXERCISE FUN! ... That's why we keep coming back for more ... more "Payne" that is :)) ...

Let's return the favor and show OUR support for this amazing and beautiful lady in her first figure competition this Saturday, 9/10/11 (wow, didn't realize the date sequence here!) ... To ALL of us, Tracy, you are already a WINNER in our hearts, and we thank you for your positive attitude in helping/motivating us to continue reaching for our goals.  We will be in the audience cheering you on!!  Go Get It Girl!  Team Payne in the House! :)) ...

Cheers,
Mrs. Chilly

P.S. -  Next time I take that stage, I look forward with you joining me! :)) ...

Monday, August 29, 2011

My Fitness Journey - Emily Slape

I want to share with you one of my best friend's success in her own fitness journey, Emily Slape.  Emily is my cousin's GF of 8 years.  We met back in 2007 at Jason and I's wedding.  To date, she has been my clean eating "sistah" and together we have shed over 85lbs!  We are each other's support, motivation and even a shoulder to cry on.  Through determination, perseverance and hardwork, she is several steps closer to reaching her goal.  Most importantly, she has paved herself a path to a lifestyle of healthy change that will benefit her throughout life.   Great job, Ms. Emily! ....
"You must begin to think of yourself as becoming the person you want to be." - David Viscott ...
I have never been the “skinny” girl. Growing up, I was always the bigger girl… or so I felt. I was always active in some type of sport growing up. It started with gymnastics, then softball, basketball, and finally volleyball. I played volleyball in Jr. High and High School. This is when I feel I was in the best shape of my life, but I still felt bigger than the other girls. In reality, yes I may have been “bigger”, but I was wearing size 4 jeans. I look back now, and I was in amazing shape weighing 130lbs!

Aug. 2008
            Once I hit college, I was in a different environment, and hiding my parent’s marital issues took a toll on my weight. I gained the “freshman 15” In October, my parents just made it official they were getting a divorce, and the following week I had emergency surgery. After these two events, I sunk into a deep depression (adding on to my freshman 15) I walked by TCU’s amazing Rec Center day in and day out typically with my coke in my hand.  My weight came on like nothing!
            In the spring, I felt like I needed to get my butt in gear, so I turned to Bryan’s cousin, April for advice on where to even start. She told me about the Oxygen Magazine, and told me some ideas on what to eat. Well, I ordered my subscription of Oxygen, and then my motivation quickly ended. It was VERY hard to eat healthy in dorm life, with no kitchen! I still did not step into the rec center, but I did “try” to choose healthier choices in the cafeteria. I ended my sophomore year of college at 180.

Aug. 2010
            I moved into my apartment, and looked back at pictures of the summer, and I was in total shock on how big I was. So I once again turned to April for advice. At this time she just moved back to Texas, and was starting to eat clean, and work out again. This helped motivate me to get my butt moving! She bought me the clean eating book, and I renewed my subscription to Oxygen Magazine.  I ate clean about 80% of the time and tried to work out (in-between being a full time student and part time work) about 3-4 times a week.

147lbs

Aug. 2011
            Now 12 months later, I have lost 33 lbs, and I am down to 147lbs. I am still working out, and eating clean! I will be attending the fitness classes at TCU Rec Center! My next goal is to be 135 by Christmas time! ... 
Emily Slape, 21
Fort Worth, Texas

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

MaxMuscle Rockwall and Adam Gilbreath


... Adam and I at the 2011 Europa Supershow and Supplement Expo ...

Growing up in the Filipino culture, food was an integral part of our parties.  Much of the celebration revolved around enjoying my ethnic dishes, while chatting away about cultural jubilee.  If you have ever seen My Big Fat Greek Wedding, multiply that by 3 and that’s my awesome Filipino family.

Unfortunately, those delicious infinite buffets encouraged overly indulgent servings.  So, I was always the biggest AND shortest girl in class. Growing up, I would actually borrow large polo shirts from my Dad to hide as much body fat as I could.  I often wished that I was more involved in sport, and perhaps that would have encouraged a healthier lifestyle.  It wouldn’t be until age 24 that I discovered the benefits of clean eating and strength training, but by then my childhood had passed. 
At age 24, my then kickboxing teacher introduced me to Oxygen Magazine and asked me to attend a Cathy Savage Camp in Boston, a preparation camp for figure, fitness and bikini women aspiring to be future competitors.  There, I learned how clean eating was 80% of the equation and cardio/strength training 20%.  I went to two fitness shows and fell in love with the sport!  At age 25, I married my prince charming, Jason, and at age 29, we had our first child, Alexander Lee.  However, despite the knowledge I had gained about clean eating, I still manage to gain 65lbs in my first pregnancy and day of labor was at 210lbs, my heaviest. 

14 months later, June of 2010 at 170lbs, I decided to give clean eating another shot and the whole 80/20 equation.  I joined a gym, hired a personal trainer and visited my local MaxMuscle Store.  In just 10 months, I had lost over 45lbs!  After losing the 45lbs, I decided that I was ready to set my next goal, which was to compete in my first fitness competition.  Well the timing was just right because in April of 2011, while working out one Tuesday afternoon, I met Adam Gilbreath of MaxMuscle Rockwall.
Through 13 weeks of training/dieting, I was able to get down to 8% body fat at 115lbs day of show.  During the preparation stage, I learned more information on how to eat "clean" (I was not consuming enough protein nor eating enough) and how to effectively manage my time so that I could allocate time to my career, family and workout schedule.  It was an incredible experience, and I enjoyed working with Adam along the way.  I chose MaxMuscle Rockwall and Adam because of their professional approach to customer service and exceptional focus to each and every client.  I had the option to select other nutritional competitors, however at the end, MaxMuscle was the one who took the time to speak and walk me through what I needed to know to compete in my first NPC show. 
MaxMuscle Rockwall location has always been professional, whether I come in for measurements alone or with my 2 year old son and husband; I always felt welcomed and never pressured to buy products that I did not need.  I especially like the fact that I can taste the product before purchasing and I must say strawberry MaxPro and chocolate Iso-Extreme rock!  Come to think of it though, I have not yet tasted a product at MaxMuscle that I actually didn’t like.
Many thanks MaxMuscle Rockwall, John Hagaman and Adam Gilbreath for being a part of my fitness journey!  I am looking forward to working with you again for my 2nd competition in the near future.  I am still training hard and maintaining my clean diet during offseason and even my two boys, Jason and Alexander are reaping the countless benefits of eating clean.  MaxMuscle Rockwall, you will always be a part of our family.
April P. Chilcoat, 30
Dallas, Texas

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Clean Eating Starts Now ....

What a proud Mama I am. Throughout my dieting/training for my first fitness competition, Alexander has decided to try what his Mama had been eating for the last 10 weeks. Sunday, he lunched on baked tilapia, steamed brocolli and a sweet potato! This boy also loves baked chicken.

Even though I didn't place or get a trophy, I still feel a winner ... a winner in the sense that my son has absorbed clean eating at the early age of 2 and Mommy hardly struggles in getting him to eat clean foods. Monkey see, monkey do, right? ...

I am fortunate and blessed to be a WAHM (work-at-home-mom) that I am able to cook him a hearty breakfast that consists of 1 scrambled egg w/ 1% milk, homemade oatmeal w/ cinnamon and fresh fruits. I make his scrambled egg every other day and the days he does not have an egg, he has a small bowl of cheerios w/ sliced mangoes and greek yogurt.

Clean eating is all about balance, moderation and not depriving yourself of the healthy foods (dairy, whole grains and fruits). I always say that our plates should be colorful. At our house, I strive for my boys to eat as clean as possible and we cheat 1 to 2 meals on the weekends. A balance of lean proteins, complex carbs and healthy fats is maintenable, sustainable and realistic for my family of 3.

I LOVE being a Mommy ... so rewarding. Alexander's healthy journey starts now! ...

Cheers,

Mama Chilly

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Tuna Melts


Here is a meal I cook for the family and kids I have made this for seem to love it:
Set oven to low broil.
Makes 4 slices. For 8 slices, double ingredients.
2 cans of chunk white albacore tuna, drained
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 medium carrot, chopped
3-4 green onions, chopped
3 tbsp light mayonnaise
sharp cheddar cheese, low-fat
4 slices of wheat bread, toasted
For my serving: chop veggies and mix with tuna (after draining), put 1 teaspoon of light mayo and mix thoroughly. Take two slices of toasted wheat bread and scoop tuna mixture on slices. Layer with one thin slice of low-fat sharp cheddar cheese.
After my serving, I add about 2 tablespoon of light mayo and mix thoroughly. This is for my husband's serving ... I put a little more light mayo in his. Top with two thin slices of sharp cheddar cheese.
Put tuna melts on cookie sheet or baking pan and put in oven under low broil for about 4-5 minutes. Just monitor until cheese melts. Take out and sprinkle a dash of Tony's seasoning. Enjoy :)) ...
I make mac and cheese for Jason and Alexander every other week w/ this meal and serve with 1% lowfat milk. I don't eat the mac and cheese when training for competition, but will eat a small portion once in awhile.

Monday, August 1, 2011

My Poor Husband :) ....

So my hubby took this last Friday off from work ... and this circulated around his office via email:
Employees now taking Fridays off to avoid donuts
In an unprecedented move, Jason Chilcoat decided to stay home Friday because of the temptation presented by the box of donuts supplied every Friday morning by his manager, David R. Chilcoat, who is usually found at his desk with no less than 5 tupperware containers of food said, "You know, my wife has me on this diet and if she found out I had 1, sometimes 2, donuts on Fridays it could be the straw that breaks the camel's back." Those 5 containers spread around Chilcoat's working environment consist of healthier foods like sweet potatoes, broccoli, and a grilled chicken sandwich the size of his head. Those meals usually start around 10:30 AM and a donut at 9:00 AM could throw his blood sugar levels out of control for the entire day. We'll continue monitoring this breaking development to see if the Friday donut boycott picks up more support.
Thought I'd share because it cracked me up! - yes, I pack his meals in various tupperwares for every 3 hours, but DO put little treats in his lunchbox thank you so he is not deprived. So it's not as strict now! As for the grilled chicken sandwich, the bread is rather large b/c I buy it at the bakery so it's one of those special baked multigrain bread that is larger than your typical Mrs. Baird's and his chicken I marinate w/ sea salt and paprika every Sunday evening for him to grill on Monday evening - it's called LOVE! (Steve) :) lol - this made my day ...
Cheers,
April

Friday, July 29, 2011

The Last 13 Weeks of my Life - Training for my First Fitness Competition!

Well as several of you know by now, I decided to finally commit to competing in my first fitness competition, the Europa Supershow on August 12th here in Dallas. I have lost over 52lbs from when I started back at LA Fitness back in June of 2010 and also stopped my personal training sessions this past April 15th. As an avid reader of Tosca Reno's The Eat Clean Diet and Robert Kennedy's Oxygen Magazines, I believe I have clean eating down to the core. Add in there 10 months of personal training sessions and numerous group exercise classes, I believe also that I had a good grasp of self-training myself in cardio and the weight room. What is missing then, what now? In the back of my mind, there's this tiny, quiet voice saying, why don't you take it to another level and compete? Hmm, there's an idea ... Well, in the middle of April, I meet a nutritionist from MaxMuscle while working out on a Tuesday afternoon. The LA Fitness manager of training and my trainer weren't too thrilled that I quit my personal training sessions a month early and created a good amount of drama around it (perhaps another blog?) that I decided to move my morning workouts to the afternoons. Well, thank goodness I did because I would have never met Adam G. of MaxMuscle Rockwall. Sure I had been to a couple of fitness shows in my lifetime, but where does a used-to-be-overweight-now-lost-a-significant-amount-of-weight-girl start if she wants to compete? I got my answer that day! ... My husband, Jason was out of town that week so I waited for him to return and we discussed the reality of actually training for my first show. We visited Adam, set a show date and voila, here I am 2 weeks out from show :), crazy, right? ... I started training at 13 weeks out (May 13th). I received a diet from Adam that consisted of 6 small meals a day. My once-a-week cheat meals ended on June 1st and I have to admit, I was nervous to give up my indulgences (i.e. coffee, chocolate chip cookie, tex-mex, ooh and Godiva lol) ... Soon, as the weeks continued on along with my workouts and sticking to the diet, I started to see significant changes in my body. Back in June 2010, my bodyfat was at a unhealthy 37.2% and as of today 8.0% - it is still unbelievable at times I tell you. I often get asked why I put myself in this "hell" and I reply because I want the experience, to say that I have done it, because I have goals ... similar to runners who train for marathons or athletes who train for triathlons. I am a woman/mom of goals, especially after accomplishing such a huge feat as becoming healthy, fit and active again. My first pregnancy, I started at 155lbs (already overweight) and day of labor w/ Alexander, 210 pounds! I kid you not, I must have treated myself to a banana split everyday during my 3rd trimester :-/ .... And (as we all know Moms), having a child changes our lives for the good and the bad of course, (ugh our once-flat-no-stretch-marks-pooch tummies *sigh* - I still have mine at 8.0% bodyfat btw) - don't ever think you are not able to get your pre-baby body once again, it is possible - it just takes commitment and dedication and truly setting your mind to it ... I refuse now to use excuses for being not fit. The benefits of being healthy and fit are endless; I am a much happier individual, self-esteem and confidence is through the roof (or else I wouldn't be competing, right?), so excited to share my success with others and to help others in their fitness journey .. to be able to keep up with my ever-so-active 2 year old, Alexander and be a role model for him as he grows and to my husband admiring his new wife (lol - may I add that Jason has been so supportive and wonderful throughout and have loved me unconditionally at 210 and now at 120) ... thank you honey :) ... Training for this competition is one of the hardest experiences of my life ... definitely the hardest 13 weeks. It is summer and you miss out on barbecues, good eats, my awesome ethnic Filipino foods, re-schedule trips and vacations to be able to stay on track w/ diet and exercise regimen (Andrea Russo - I can't wait to visit you in Austin!), my once a week date night w/ hubby is replaced w/ chicken breast and veggies in front of our TV - we call it couch movie date :) ... I have had to miss or re-schedule girlfriend lunches/brunches because of the time commitment it takes for this competition, along with balancing still my full-time job, full-time wifey and mom. But believe me, I am SO looking forward to spending more time w/ family and friends in the fall :) ... There are positives about this strict diet: for example, I have learned to wean off my splenda addiction. Before in my coffee, I would put 5 packets of splenda and 1 tbsp of dairy powder creamer. Now, I don't crave sugar as much (artificial sugar that is) and able to use just 1 splenda packet for either my oatmeal or coffee. I will be switching to more natural sugars and eventually none at all is the goal. So aside from being fit and to be able to wear an extra small (and gosh, wear white pants without worry), training did help me clean up my diet some more. I won't lie to you, I may be happy and have tons of energy most of the time in the gym when you see me, however, I do and have had my "moody moments" at home (and Jason will tell you), where I just cried and want to call it quits (and eat donuts - yikes). The most recent last night! I guess 65+ chicken breasts will do that to you ;) - lol. Joking aside, this is truly a physical and mental test ... and I will not quit! Whether I place first or dead last, I will walk away with the experience knowing I gave it 100% and will strive to do better the next time around. Plus, just to be in the best shape of my life .. no trophy can ever replace that. Last but not least, I want to thank everyone who has supported me in my fitness journey. Competing will be the icing on the cake :) - Jason Chilcoat, Pascual/Smolic/Thompson Family, Tracy Payne, Julie Matusz, Jackie Flener Watkins, Stephanie York, Rebecca Floyd, Emily Slape, Jeni Colon, Crystal Lampe, Julian Ruiz, Kadeja Majidi, Ariel Arocha, Deepa Hariprasad, Navin Hariprasad, Andrew Pettke, Adam G., MaxMuscle Rockwall, Emily Carter, Erica Denton, Stefanie Kincaid, Ben Santos, Reeta Brendamour and many, many more individuals. Fitness brought us together and will keep us together. Each of you played a part in where I am today and I hope to make you all proud ... as always, I am only a text, email or phone call away .. or a familiar face at our local gym :) ...

Cheers to fitness and life! April