oh body-fat weight gain… oh you.
we work so damn hard to keep it off, and then just like THAT it piles up whenever you stop working so hard for a long period of time.
wtf, right?! shouldn’t it just STAY off forever once we GET it off?! wouldn’t life be much easier?!
we can dream, ‘eh?!
there’s not easy button or dificult equation to staying healthy and keeping body fat where you want it.
you eat right, and you exercise.
what happens when you DON’T eat right and you DON’T exercise. when you eat well above your minimum to even maintaining your body fat%?
ya gain body fat.
simple as that!
just in case you’ve been living under a rock, or actually i sort of have… i’ve been in Africa since early June and just got back to the states a few days ago. so 8 weeks i’ve been not in my normal routine, far from it to say the least.
i was in Africa volunteering at a school in rural Tanzania, living with a local family in their home.
to give you a little background on Tanzania: it’s a 3rd world country. in other words you’re either very poor or very very wealthy. and if you don’t live in the very very wealthy area you live like a local!
which i did. and i ate like a local. protein is extremely expensive, and when you’re living with a family in a volunteer home with a few other volunteers, you’re not going to get freshly baked chicken breasts every day.
let alone even once a week.
so what’s to eat when protein is expensive?
you guessed it! CARBS. carbs. and fat. and not coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil fat. good ‘ol canola or vegetable oil.
BUT let me say they DO have avocados and they’re the size of WATERMELONS! so i did get some good fats in.. on top of the bad ones.
a sample day of eating for me while in Tanzania
breakfast: 1 piece of toast, covered in peanut butter, 3 eggs (which i actually would go buy myself at the local market so i could get SOME sort of protein for my sister and i) but scrambled in a little vegetable oil bc they don’t have non-stick spray or any other type of oil, and then topped with avocado. i’m guessing 1/4 cup? who knows. a lot. and a big glass of fresh mango juice.
snack 1: at our school, they didn’t serve “lunch” until 1:40, and eating breakfast at 7:00 ya know a girl is gonna get hangry! so every morning after breakfast, i’d make my sister and myself peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to eat in hiding while the kids ate their morning porridge.
lunch: our school was exteremely poor, but they did serve lunch. every day was different, but each monday was the same as the next monday, etc. for the other days. mondays was maze (huge kernals of corn, not your typical corn) and beans, tuesdays was ugali and greens (my FAVORITE!!) ugali is simply flour and water mixed until it turns to a gritty texture (aka: like 60 grams of carbs lol) and then the greens were some sort of grassy texture? wednesday was maze and beans again. thursday was rice and a piece of questionable-meat, most likely goat. and when is say rice i mean like 2 CUPS of rice, and when i say meat it’s about the size of a quarter and ANY part of the goat. once i got a piece that had hair folicles on it and what looked like a neck. not sure. and friday no lunch because it’s half day. so as you can see with lunch, CARBS.
dinner: usually fresh veggies which was HEAVEN, but again, sauteed in vegetable oil, noodles of some type and a sauce. or vegetables, beans and chipatis (sp?) which is like a really thick tortilla (HEAVEN) and chips (french fries). so again, carbs and fat.
snack 2: we’d always get local candy or ice cream (their ice cream cones in the pre-packaged thing are AMAZING because they don’t have processed sugar over there, so the cone’s ingredient list was like SO short. which of course i talked myself into enjoying them alot) to snack on after dinner or before dinner. regardless, always a sweet treat(s). then every once and awhile we’d go to the little watering hole next door and grab a few beers. their beers (google Safari Beer) are HUGE so hello carbs. but damn they’re good and i don’t regret a single one! if only we could get Safari beers over here!! and what goes with beer at an african bar? CHIPS (fries). lots of ’em.
so as you can see, i ate what i want, when i wanted and don’t regret a single piece of it. local food is meant to be enjoyed when you’re in another country. i knew going over there that myfitnesspal was OUTTA the picture and i was going to relax on my eating. maybe not as much as i ended up, but hey, you’re human!
we did walk about 2 miles to school and back to home, so 4 miles a day. AND when we first arrived, i joined a local “gym” in the city/town where we’d walk about 2 miles go get to but then take the dala-dala home, so about 6 miles total some days. buttttt i only got to the gym FIVE times in the 4 weeks we were there. some days we’d get home from school at 4:00 and going to the gym just wasn’t in the cards because we were exhausted and dinner was ready at 6.
the point, i tried to go in with a healthy approach, i got in a couple circuits in our back yard. but not nearly as much exercise as my body was used to.
but again, i need to make it clear, i enjoyed EVERY day. exercise or no exercise, eating healthy or not eating healthy. my “keeping my lean body” was NOT on my mind at all, nor was is it of any importance. the importance was being totally IN the moment, totally IN this beautiful experience i got to live and knowing when i got back to the states i’d get back on track.
not ONE single day did i wake up and think “omg i need to start my diet today” “i need to make sure i eat no carbs today because i have a food baby from yesterdays dinner” “i neeeeed to have no beers this week or french fries or ice cream”.
never. i was free from any ties that made me focus on my body and the way it looked in the mirror or to others.
it was amazing. so refreshing to just be. focus on the kids, the country and the food that came with it.
after our 4 weeks of volunteering was over, we then traveled Africa (like gypsies we would joke because we hopped around living out of suitcases) for about 2 1/2 weeks.
what comes when you go to resorts on vacation for 2 weeks? NO gyms at any of them and BUFFETS.
and beer. and margaritas. and daquaris.
you get the point. 2 1/2 weeks of flying, exploring, bad sleep schedule, buffets and no exercise.
and still, rocking my suit with a food baby and eating way too much nutella every morning over my fresh donuts and pancakes, i was HAPPY. and could care LESS what my body looked like in a swim suit.
my sister and i were having the time of our lives. the last thing we cared about was what our bodies looked like to others.
so i bring you to PRESENT time.
i do have to admit, putting my zella leggings and tshirt on the morning we left for our big 23 hour trek home, the same one i wore to africa, was MUCH more snug than when we came over. i hadn’t been on a scale for 7 weeks, but i clearly knew weight gain had happened.
that’s kind of the moment i was like “oh shit”. i hadn’t had to face “reality” with my body in many many weeks and all of a sudden as i’m heading back home where i do focus on my body, i have to admit was a little rough.
my shorts the last 2 weeks there were MUCH too tight around my waist, and i could begin to tell in the mirror and photos that my cheeks were getting chubbier – my first sign of weight gain. yay for chubby cheeks! not when you’re my age – not cute. ha
when i got home and had to get back into the healthy mindset. when i say “had”, i mean i knew i had to begin TREATING my body better. it had been treated not so nice for almost 2 months and deserved to be treated the way it’s meant to be treated. your body isn’t a trashcan and needs to be moved. when you’re on vacation or in a life-changing experience, it’s ok to relax obviously, but i am not in africa anymore and needed to get my head in the gameeeee! whoop whoop!
i also have to admit, i hadn’t looked at my body in a full length mirror while in Africa, let alone naked.
i was changing in my bedroom and glanced in the full length mirror and cried.
i did, i cried. it was a shock to see myself in the same mirror i last looked very lean in to current. it was like a before and after photo looking right back at me.
now, i’m not fat, i know this. i know a lot of people strive to simply have the body i currently am rocking. so don’t get me wrong. but it’s ALL relative.
when you’re usually lean and gain weight, no matter how much it can be tough to face at first when you have to face it.
so wether you gain 5 lbs or 50 lbs, it’s all relative to your body and what you’re used to.
right then, i wiped away those ridiculous tears. and not once though did i think “ugh i shouldn’t have had all those french fries and african candy”. not once. never.
i made the choices i made with full confidence.
i was actually excited all of a sudden after seeing my “thicker” body. why?!?!
a new adventure! a new journey! to begin molding and shaping my body. i enjoy the process, i enjoy helping OTHERS with this EXACT process.
i thrive off of the human body and being able to do whatever we want with it in either direction.
there’s so many different approaches to losing weight, and with the weight loss i want to do, i could NOW begin trying them! when i was lean, there’s not much room to try new ways, because well, there’s not much body fat to lose lol
when i posted a photo on instagram asking if people wanted to “join” along my journey back to pre-africa body it was pretty damn unanimous that you all would enjoy me tracking my progress and my approach.
so here we go! here’s to getting back to my pre-africa body and ENJOYING the process. is it going to be easy? no. are there going to be some days where the scale hasn’t budged and i want to go back to africa and eat my face off?! YES.
but that’s the JOY of this lifestyle. being able to have full control over your body and just sailing along right with your progress, be it slow or fast. and smiling along the way because you know you’re doing the best you CAN do.
weight loss, be it small or large, should be FUN! it should create confidence from within as you focus on your body, love your body every step of the way and keep striving forward!
alright let’s do this!!!!! time to face the jury!
the scale and body fat reader.
and progress photos.
i usually do not like to share my body stats because i don’t want others to compare because everyone’s body is the same, but it’s important for me to share to keep myself accountable and to really show progress with ya’ll as an open door/transparent!
June 1, 2015 (Pre-Africa)
weight: 119lbs (ish?)
body fat: 13.4%
i was coming off from a show and maintaining a little above show weight. i personally like to stay around 13-15%. i don’t want to hear any of your thoughts on body fat and where you think i should be or if whatever is healthy/not healthy. i know my body and that’s where i feel best. k thanksssss!
August 4, 2015: (Post-Africa; 8ish weeks difference)
weight: 131.4lbs (gained more than i had originally shared on insta becaause i was guessing on insta, then when i looked back in my caleandar for june 1, i realized it was much more. heeeeeello! lol)
body fat: 19.3% (the HIGHEST it’s ever been. ever.)
August 5, 2015 (this morning)
body fat: 18.9/19% (it kept going back and forth)
how i take my body fat: i have a hand held device and when i wake up i chug a HUGE glass of water, wait 15 minutes then take 5 readings and take the number that’s in the middle of all 5 readings because they can be drastically different sometime. another tip for taking your body fat with a handheld electronic divice is to hold it out at the SAME “height”/placement infront of you each time. because believe it or not but hodling it in a differnet way can throw it off each time.
i’m just under 5’6 to get a visual.
this week is to simply eat CLEAN. i deleted the myfitnesspal app, and literally am just focusing on eating healthy. i had a scoop of chocolate ice cream last night, so i’m not restricting whatsoever because that can lead to old issues. but just making sure to get good lean proteins in, greens and healthy carbs. and really eyeballing my food and listening to my body.
when i begin to take on a different, calculated approach, i’ll update that on here. but the next few days just taking care of my body and eating intuitively.
every morning this week i’m doing 30 minutes of walking on the treadmill, fasted.
i haven’t gone to the gym to lift yet, but i’m going today! and i’m so flipping PUMMMPPPPEEDDDDD!
so here’s the awaited “current” photo.
Day 1 of Mission Get my Pre-Africa Body Back
disregard the spray-tan that’s clearly blotching off around my stomach! ha!
so here’s to focusing on my health and fitness and ENJOYING the entire process with ALL of YOU!!!!