Yesterday, Mean Mr. Mirror told me I was fat.
No, I don’t look like this yet and perhaps I should be more accurate in my description. I’ve learned over the years not to say I’m fat out loud where non-gym going people can hear me. They don’t understand but any other bodybuilder or serious lifter does so automatically. What I’ve learned to say is that my fat-to-muscle ratio is off. In other words although I haven’t put a bunch of pounds on, I’m still carrying too much fat on my frame. Even a very thin person can have a disproportionate amount of fat compared to muscle. It’s what’s commonly known as being skinny-fat.
I’m not one to pay an inordinate amount of attention to what a scale says. I rely on my own eyes and when the normal muscle definition I have starts to look a little blurry around the edges I know it’s time to take steps to bring it back into sharper focus. The beauty of it is since I don’t ever let things get out of hand, it’s a relatively easy, painless process however it still requires some thoughtful effort.
The very first thing I do is increase my cardio a little bit. No, I don’t start doing 2 hour sessions on the treadmill with a weighted vest (the figure competitors at my old gym used to do that when it got close to competition time and they looked miserable). I simply add 15 minuets to each session of cardio I’m doing regularly at the time. If I’m doing 30 minutes on the treadmill 3 times a week, I’ll start doing 45 minuets 3 times a week. It’s an easy increase and not too much to handle. I don’t normally workout on the weekends but I’ll squeeze in a brisk paced walk around the neighborhood on Saturday or Sunday. In 48 hours it’s not difficult to find 1/2 an hour to put on comfortable shoes, grab my iPod (which for safety I only listen to with one ear on low volume) my pepper spray (cause it’s precisely where you don’t think it’s likely you’ll need it that you just might and like the Boy Scouts preach, it’s good to be prepared) and head out the door.
Since I mentioned pepper spray here is what I take. It has an elastic strap so you can run or walk with it in your hand. If you fall or you’re startled by an angry dog…or person, you can’t drop it. Ladies, do not go out walking by yourself without it even if you think walking your neighborhood is like walking the streets of heaven. Better have it and not need it a thousand times than to need it and not have it just once.
The second thing I do is address my food intake. I generally stick to the healthy stuff anyway but I cut some of the carbs from my diet. This usually takes the form of my toast in the morning….I’ll add another couple of egg whites to fill me up. I’ll also crack down on my favorite naughty treat which takes the form of any chip I can get my hands on….potato, tortilla, bagel, pita…I love them all but I say goodbye for a while. I cut my usual two 1×1 squares of dark chocolate a day down to one and I’ll substitute two of my regular mid day meals to homemade soup. I have a couple of favorite soups I make for this purpose. They taste delicious, they’re low-calorie, healthy, they have a good amount of protein and they’re filling. I included the recipe for Mexican Chicken Soup below. I made it yesterday and actually made a double batch so I’d have plenty for the coming days.
Mexican Chicken Soup
4 bone in chicken breast halves
1 28-oz box or can of organic chicken broth
2 14-oz cans stewed tomatoes
1 Tbsp. ground cumin
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Diced avocado (optional)
Cook, debone and shred chicken
Combine chicken and remaining ingredients except cilantro
Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer
Cover and keep on low simmer for 1 hour
(if you do this in a slow cooker cover and cook on low 8 hours)
Stir in cilantro
Serve in bowl (with avocado) if desired.
*to save time and make it even easier you can skip step 1 and shred the meat from a grocery store rotisserie chicken*
My overarching philosophy where food is concerned is that what I eat has to taste good and I don’t allow myself to go hungry. Bad tasting food and deprivation are nails in the coffin of a successful campaign against excessive fat. You’ll NEVER find me at the dinner table with my family picking sadly at a dry chicken breast while they enjoy spaghetti and meatballs. I just eat a very small portion of the pasta and fill in with more meatballs, salad and veggies. Sustainability is the key. Substituting soup for a couple of my mid day meals is easy to do.
I’ll be doing my part and soon Mr Mirror and I will be friends again.