Inspiration, Motivation, and Accountability-tion

It’s been a while since I’ve written a post just coming from my heart and not focused on daily eats or workouts. It’s time. I wanna share 3 things with y’all today:

1. Inspiration

You guys should all check out two fabulous posts by my fellow bloggers Caitlin and Becki. Caitlin from Cait Plus Ate wrote an amazingly honest piece dealing with the lies of disordered eating, titled The New Path to Safety. Becki came clean just a few days after her marathon about how she gained weight during training and hadn’t been honest with herself about how she was dealing with stress in a piece titled Like a Ton of Bricks.

If you need to know that you are not alone in the emotional struggle that merges with the physical struggle of fitness and wellness, check these ladies out.

2. Motivation

Although I’m not where Caitlin and Becki are right now, I have been there in the past. For those of you who can relate to that, but are now in a place where you just want some pure motivation to get your butt off the couch and go kick some ass in the gym, I wanted to share my past couple days.

After 2 days of airport food and SEVERAL days of…well…let’s just say “less than clean” eats, I had some recovering to do. Starting on Monday, I got serious about getting my nutrition and workouts back on track. Since it was a transition period from overeating sugary fatty fun foods, I wanted to make sure I didn’t restrict too much, but eased back into a lifestyle of clean eating. Personally, if I have a loose couple of days where I enjoy eating out and drinking, and then I severely restrict for a period of days, I tend to want to just go back to eating unhealthy food again after a few days. Instead of doing that, I remembered how much I enjoyed every moment of my french fries and [vegan] ice cream with the hubby over the weekend, and I gave myself some grace to slowly transition back into clean eating.

For me, this meant eating nothing but clean foods, but not counting calories. Since I was getting back to intense workouts after a week off, I knew I would be STARVING, and I didn’t want to restrict myself. By not counting calories, I mean that I made whatever I wanted for a particular meal and recorded the calories afterward, rather than planning out ahead. I still counted the calories, but only after I had eaten. On Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, I consumed about 2,100 calories (the high end of what I’d like to be eating – 1,600-2,100).

I hadn’t weighed myself in about 2 weeks, and when I hopped on the scale Wednesday morning, I was already at the weight I had been at before I left for Geneva! I couldn’t believe it. I was already back to my “normal” weight, which is the lowest I’ve been in the last year.

Does this mean I’ll partake in 3 days of eating whatever I want all the time? NO. What does this mean?

This means that I have worked unbelievably hard to bring my body to the point where a few days of prioritizing eating out, having fun, going to concerts, drinking beer, and not even THINKING about my food log doesn’t affect my body the way it used to, thanks to losing nearly 8% body fat over the past months! I seriously attribute this to my muscle gain. My body has become more resilient to fluctuations and able to process additional calories when it needs to.

ROCK. ON.

That made me all the more motivated to hit the gym HARD yesterday and today.

Yesterday’s leg workout – totally remixed:

  • Squats (8-12 reps) x 3
  • Run 1/2 mile
  • Stiff leg deadlifts (8-12 reps) + high box jumps (10) x 3
  • Run 1/2 mile
  • High box step ups (30- 10 curtsy left, 10 curtsy right, 10 straight forward) x 2
  • Turkish get ups (8 – 4 each side) x 2

Today’s cardio workout – totally remixed:

  • 10 minutes elliptical intervals – resistance 12-17
  • 10 minutes arc trainer hill climb – level 10
  • Run 1/2 mile with 30 second sprint intervals
  • 5 minutes stairclimber with 30 second sprints
  • Run 1/2 mile with 30 second sprint intervals
  • 5 minutes stairclimber with 30 second sprints
  • 3 minute plank series
  • 3 additional sets ab exercises (sit-ups, captain’s chair leg raises, single crossed leg raise)

 

Why yes, I did sweat through MY KNEES!

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And yes, that should be today’s mantra: work until you sweat through your knees.

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My new favorite recovery?

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This chocolate raspberry stuff is SO amazing. I just mix it with almond milk and ice and eat it with a side of plain oatmeal…

Until a few days ago when I started mixing in some of my cold protein shake with the hot oats, which was DELICIOUS! Am I the only one who likes mixed temperatures when I eat? I do the same thing with salads – cold salad topped with steamed brussels, etc. I love a mix of temperatures and textures!

I’ve been using my new Protein Plus almond milk I got at Whole Foods too!

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Drinking it plain isn’t the best – it does have a bit of a protein-y aftertaste, but in protein shakes or on cereal, I can’t tell the difference. It’s made with pea protein and rice protein, has no GMOs, and is soy free! Check it out.

3. Accountability-tion

It just didn’t feel right for that not to end in “tion.” I owe y’all an update – especially Cait – on my plank goals! I had set May 17 as the goal to get my 5 minute plank achievement. Needless to say, that didn’t happen, but not because I haven’t been working for it!

Due to my foot injury, which has a current diagnosis of tendonitis, I’m not supposed to do anything that requires stability – e.g. lunges, any single leg exercises, running. Holding a plank position is pretty painful for my foot and ankle.

Now, yes, just 4 days ago, I started running again, but only because I’m registered for a 10k this weekend…OOPS.

I registered for it before this injury, so this week I needed to make sure I could still run a mile. I’ve been keeping my running intervals short and icing lots afterward.

ANYWAY…

I’ve still been practicing plank series with my shins resting on a bench or a Bosu ball, but that is much harder than a normal plank! I plan to keep getting stronger until I’m able to do normal planks again, and then I can go for that 5 minute mark. Wish me luck!

Cheers to the -tions,

Avocado Athlete

International Vegan

Welp. Here it is. I’m finally plugged back in after a week of traveling and non-stop craziness, and I’m here to give you some real life updates on how tough the past week has been and how I saw some huge successes AND huge “failures.”

People often write blog posts or post instagram pictures saying “No excuses for not eating clean while traveling!” They have a picture of a pre-packed tupperware in their hotel room, filled with veggies and lean protein.

Good for them.

I mean that! It’s a great accomplishment to take your health and fitness seriously enough to plan ahead for a vacation when it would be much easier to justify taking a “cheat” week.

But I am long past the point of being able to prepare for a quick business trip or family vacation. That’s easy peasy.

Try traveling internationally for at least a week!

This past week, I headed off to Geneva, Swizterland for a law school project at the UN. This is no joke. There are long flights, airport security, no liquids, tons of luggage to carry, strange new cuisine, and everything on menus and in grocery stores in a language you don’t speak. Then there is the stereotype of the high maintenance American, to which I have no desire to contribute by making “extreme” demands at French restaurants.

There was no gym, the weather was cold and rainy, and I was nursing a foot injury that prevented me from doing any running or plyo.

On top of that, on my last night there, I lost my passport! I have absolutely no idea what happened to it. I can narrow it down to a 12 hour window, and losing it or having it stolen both seem equally unlikely. I have given up racking my brain for what possibly could have happened.

This resulted in me spending an extra unplanned day and night in the Frankfurt airport on the way home with no planned meals.

I have never been so relieved to get home.

Here’s a sum up of the trip:

First.

I went on this trip as prepared as I possibly could be. I previously spent a summer in Geneva, Switzerland, so I knew what to expect in terms of the food and vegan options at the grocery stores. I packed accordingly.

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Oatmeal, protein powder, nutritional yeast, cocoa, almond milk, dry soup mixes, Pure bars, a bottle of Trader Joes’ salad dressing, sneakers, resistance bands, and tea.

First Swiss purchase? A HUGE bottle of Evian to rehydrate.

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I had to wait in the Geneva airport for a few hours before I could check into the place I was staying. This was FINE BY ME because they had a great organic food bar and a Starbucks there. My first great food choices:

Green salad with artichoke, corn, pepper, broccoli, carrot, and tomato with a side of quinoa and tofu. You can't find eats like this ANYWHERE else in Geneva. Thankfully, the airport caters to this diet.

Green salad with artichoke, corn, pepper, broccoli, carrot, and tomato + balsamic dressing, along with a side of quinoa and tofu. You can’t find eats like this ANYWHERE else in Geneva. Thankfully, the airport caters to a clean plant-based diet.

Followed by an unsweetened passion tea from Starbucks :)

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Second.

Even though the food choices are different, the one thing you can find anywhere and everywhere is fruits and vegetables. I strongly depended on those, as I should! I even learned that I could do that at home even more than I already do.

Bell pepper, avocado, pears, oranges, bananas, strawberries, almonds, raisins, zucchini, box salad, grape tomatoes, and frozen vegetables.

Bell pepper, avocado, pears, oranges, bananas, strawberries, almonds, raisins, zucchini, box salad, grape tomatoes, and frozen vegetables.

A sampling of my meals:

Green salad and green tea, ordered out at a restaurant with colleagues. Not the most filling, but held me over until I could get something back at home. There was NOTHING else on the menu that was not made of pure meat or cheese.

Green salad and green tea, ordered out at a restaurant with colleagues. Not the most filling, but held me over until I could get something back at home. There was NOTHING else on the menu that was not made of pure meat or cheese.

Green salad topped with 1/2 orange, 1/2 pear, bell pepper, tomato, and Sesame Soy Ginger Vinaigrette from Trader Joes.

Green salad topped with 1/2 orange, 1/2 pear, bell pepper, tomato, and Sesame Soy Ginger Vinaigrette from Trader Joes (brought from home).

Sauteed frozen vegetables topped with black bean soup mix.

Sautéed frozen veggies topped with my black bean soup mix (brought from home).

Fresh strawberries topped with oatmeal.

Fresh strawberries topped with oatmeal.

Sautéed frozen veggies, cannelloni beans (purchased there), topped with hummus (purchased there) and nutritional yeast and 1/3 of an avocado.

Sautéed frozen veggies, cannellini beans (purchased there), topped with hummus (purchased there) and nutritional yeast and 1/3 of an avocado.

Oats, protein powder, cocoa, and fresh fruit.

Oats, protein powder, cocoa, and fresh fruit.

I was also able to find some tofu and soy yogurt new to the Swiss market. I picked these up to help me pack good lunches for the long days away from my apartment. These are not things I usually eat at home, but they helped me get through the week.

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Third.

I took a rest week during my week abroad. This was sort of planned, sort of not. I am still working through my tendonitis in my left foot, and I’m not supposed to run or even walk too much, do any plyo, jumping, or stability work. This didn’t leave many options when I didn’t have a gym. I had planned to still do body weight squats, push-ups, core work, etc., but my days ended up being so long, and I did so much more walking than I had anticipated, that it just made more sense to rest.

I only got in one workout on my last night there.

Although I was due for a rest week (which I take every 8-12 weeks), I initially didn’t like the idea of taking a rest week while traveling, because it doesn’t feel very restful. Surprisingly, my week felt pretty relaxed, and a rest week was the best choice for my foot. It also allowed me to focus on my nutrition, and I KILLED IT.

Not working out, I was definitely not as hungry. I ate between 1300-1800 calories every day of nothing but pure clean eats: oatmeal, protein shakes, fruits, veggies, legumes, and minimal nuts.

My body felt phenomenal. I leaned out significantly and was so excited to get home and hit the gym with this new replenished body.

Little did I know…

I would spend the next 2 days eating airport food and sleeping on a chair.

This leads me to my airport eats:

On the way there, I picked up something for the plane ride, since I knew I very likely couldn’t eat whatever vegetarian meal was served on the plane. I found something with no trouble.

Pita, hummus, tabbouleh, and fresh veggies.

Pita, hummus, tabbouleh, and fresh veggies

I also picked up some additional snacks, since I knew it would be at least 8 hours until I’d have access to food again.

Banana, orange, and nuts & seeds trail mix.

Banana, orange, and nuts & seeds trail mix.

This served me perfectly until I got to Geneva and got my salad/quinoa/tofu in the airport.

The way home was NOT so nice.

After arriving at the airport in Geneva without a passport and crying to the desk attendant for a while, she let me catch my flight to Frankfurt with only a U.S. drivers license. I GOT SO LUCKY. I had planned to grab food at the organic food bar again, but because I was delayed, I had no time. I got on my flight to Frankfurt with a Pure bar for lunch.

After arriving in Frankfurt, I had to retrieve my checked luggage and try to convince the Frankfurt airport to let me catch my connecting flight to get back home to the U.S.

The good news? With the help of the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security, I was able to convince them to let me fly home without a passport. The bad news? It took so long that I missed my flight and had to spend the rest of the day, the night, and half the next day in the Frankfurt airport.

THERE WAS NOTHING TO EAT.

I. MEAN. NOTHING.

All that was open in the evening was a Chinese restaurant and McDonald’s. So, yes, I ordered some vegetable fried noodles and a big glass of white wine.

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And yes, that was followed up by a [vegan] dark chocolate mint bar. And yes, I did eat the whole thing.

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Then I tucked in under my coat on a big chair and [restlessly] slept for 4 hours.

Upon waking at 5:30am, I was starving, and remembered that I still had a baggie of oatmeal and packet of Perfect Fit protein left at the bottom of my bag. Breakfast was protein oats in my shaker cup with a fruit cup from the convenience store.

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That’s right – that’s the German Polizei in the background of that picture. If I had a nickel for every time they stopped and questioned me, I’d have exactly 65 cents.

Around 8:30am, I was hungry again for second breakfast, but there was nothing vegan anywhere. Everything was eggs, meat, and cheese. I settled for 2 whole wheat rolls and some espresso from McCafè.

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Around noon, I had my last airport meal before getting on my 8 hour flight home. I went to a sit-down Italian restaurant and saw NOTHING vegan on the menu. I did notice, however, that there were random vegetables sprinkled throughout different entreès. I asked the server if it was possible for him to bring me a big plate of vegetables and a side of fruit, and he obliged!

I’m not sure what these were cooked in, but they were definitely pretty greasy…but I wasn’t going to complain, because they had been so accommodating!

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Roasted potatoes, zucchini, eggplant, tri-color bell peppers, broccoli, and carrots.

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That’s right – with the bottle of water, this only cost me $45!! Thank goodness school was footing the bill…

On the flight home, I had nothing prepared to eat and about 10 hours of travel in front of me, because I knew I would have to go through immigration to explain my passport situation when I finally got back to the U.S. I explained to the flight attendant about some dietary restrictions, and she brought me a vegetarian meal. I was able to eat the roll, the side salad, and some of the spinach pasta that was served. It came in a sauce that looked creamy and cheesy, so I tried to scrape off as much as I could and just eat the noodles and spinach.

FAILURE.

But I wasn’t going to choose to eat NOTHING for 10 hours, and that was the only thing available. By the time I got home, it had already been 6+ hours since my last plane meal.

Fourth.

Life happens. Things get in the way. No matter how prepared you are, you CAN’T plan for everything.

After eating white pasta cooked in oil, a chocolate bar, bread, bread, and more bread, and…oh yeah…some vegetables dripping with some type of grease and fruit in a thick syrup…

I was so UNBELIEVABLY HAPPY to come home to the hubby’s welcome home surprise :)

My first ever welcome home banner and…

VEGAN CHILI!!!

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Topped with avocado and Emeril's Bayou Blast Essence seasoning :)

Topped with avocado and Emeril’s Bayou Blast Essence seasoning :)

BUT, this lesson that, no matter what, there are just some things you can’t plan for, was a tough reminder for me. I did the best I could, and I’m proud of that, but I’ve never been so relieved to get home to good vegan clean eats and the gym! Alas, there were still 2 more days of less than perfect food choices, because I had seriously missed my vegan food options while I was away.

Yes, I seriously enjoyed some 1) granola 2) chocolate peanut butter shakes 3) seitan sandwich with housemade vegan cheese, cabbage slaw, and dijonaise from Veggie Galaxy in Cambridge 4) some Trader Joes’ cookies 5) some french fries and veggie croquettes with curry ketchup from Saus downtown during the Boston Calling music festival yesterday and 6) some almond milk ice cream, vegan chocolate cake/chocolate chip cookie bar from Whole Foods.

SO SUE ME.

[Also, I could single handedly refute the idea that vegan = healthy]

And don’t think there won’t be pictures of all of the above coming soon! There will be.

The refined flour/sugar stomachache that persisted throughout these several days was enough to push me away for a good while, but it was fun while it lasted! :) And hey – at least I got my first real workout in yesterday, and it was a legs day.

I WAS SO SORE YESTERDAY, but feel much better today after detoxing with these great meals:

Breakfast:

Quick oats, 1/2 c. almond milk, 1/2 almond milk yogurt, strawberries, 1/2 pear, raw almonds, hemp seeds, cinnamon, and maple extract.

Quick oats, 1/2 c. almond milk, 1/2 almond milk yogurt, strawberries, 1/2 pear, raw almonds, hemp seeds, cinnamon, and maple extract.

Lunch:

Broccoli, brussel sprouts, asparagus (all roasted), red bell pepper, fresh cilantro, and Trader Joes' baked savory tofu. Topped with Trader Joes' Spicy Peanut Vinaigrette and nutritional yeast.

Broccoli, brussel sprouts, asparagus (all roasted), red bell pepper, fresh cilantro, and Trader Joes’ baked savory tofu. Topped with Trader Joes’ Spicy Peanut Vinaigrette and nutritional yeast.

Dinner:

Roasted: broccoli, asparagus, swiss chard, broccoli slaw. Raw: bell pepper, tomato. Toppings: cannellini beans, Trader Joes' 3 layer hummus, and fat free balsamic vinaigrette.

Roasted: broccoli, asparagus, swiss chard, broccoli slaw. Raw: bell pepper, tomato. Toppings: cannellini beans, Trader Joes’ 3 layer hummus, and fat free balsamic vinaigrette.

 

Cheers to the unpredictable times of life, because those are always the ones with the best stories.

Avocado Athlete