April kindly nominated me to carry this post on - can i just emphasis again how much I love this girl's blog and as I'm a bit of a lazy blogger, I'm flattered to be on her blogroll! :)
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Posted by Stephanie Davis at 2:27 PM
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Posted by Stephanie Davis at 3:00 PM
Friday, December 18, 2009
Thanks heaps to all who commented on my last post, they really made my day :)
Chelle asked me how many kilos were lost and found throughout the journey – in the ‘before’ pic I was about 66kg. This is a little heavier than I what I used to maintain, we had just come back from a cruise and were heading into Christmas, need I say more?! I competed at about 50kg (dry) and am currently maintaining between 54-55kg. As I’ve mentioned before, even though I’ve gained this weight reasonably slowly over the last 3 months, you get so used to be a certain way that feeling the fat creep on definitely plays with your head! However, I must remember that once upon a time, I never dreamed I’d comfortably maintain this weight! I starved and cardio’d my way down to 57kg once before when I was about 19 before promptly rebounding! I have to make a huge effort to stay positive and continually remind myself that I am slim and healthy.
A couple of you mentioned how much healthier we look in the ‘after’ shot, which I think is much more apparent from that choice of photo from the comp. I chose it because it is one of the few Ali and I have together AND it is offstage and after the night show, not as glamorous as those taken onstage so you can see how we really look. Ali had won his division so competed for the overall and ended up being dyhydrated for a lot longer than me.
So is competing unhealthy? You could definately argue the point either way.
Even if I decide never to compete again, I would never discourage others from doing so because it was the most challenging, character building time of my life to date and I owe a lot to my personal journey. I love the lifestyle of eating clean foods and training hard. I enjoy seeing the changes I can make to my physique and getting super lean is a fool proof way of seeing just how much (or how little!) muscle you actually have. I’m aware that different coaches have different methods and that some are far more effective and healthier than others. But I would venture to say that pushing through to that level of conditioning, especially for women is not the most healthy thing in the world and doesn’t come without its risks. No one should pretend otherwise. If it were just a matter of time and discipline, why wouldn't some people look stage ready all year?Why do there seem to be so many figure athletes plagued by hormone imbalances and adrenal fatigue?
I justified competing by the fact that the extreme conditioning is merely temporary. However, pushing yourself to such a place can certainly have effects that take longer to rebalance. I would definately advise other competitors to brace themselves for post comp and have a strategy in place for easing into an 'off season'. The body strives to maintain the status quo and doesn't seem to like sharp changes in routine! I think the term is homeostasis - A good example is 'peak week' when competitors water/sodium load then cut it out and deplete then carb up.
I like to see people educate themselves and make informed choices. Decide what your values, priorities and goals are and live accordingly. Decide what you are willing to commit to and whether you can manage any potential risks. Stop talking and act. In other words, whatever you are – be a good one!
ps you might be wondering about my picture... it cracked me up! reminds me not to take life so seriously :P
Posted by Stephanie Davis at 12:01 PM
Monday, December 14, 2009
Complaining about our bodies is something we girls do very well and it is contagious. It almost feels wrong to be satisfied with yourself just the way you currently are. I do seek continuous improvement and will always have goals but also need to strike a balance between this and being proud of myself the way i am. The offseason is not an excuse to get fat and complacent but please, be kind to yourself and love your offseason body just as much. I know its easier said than done and I loved being rock hard too. When negative self image thoughts come to me I just tell myself- at least the boobs are back :)
Posted by Stephanie Davis at 3:48 PM
Friday, December 11, 2009
I always want to post on my blog but never know what to talk about. I learnt something about cellulite from good old foxtel the other day so I thought I’d share that. Do you know what cellulite actually is and why most women have it and most men don’t?
Its not a special kind of fat that you have to buy expensive creams for, its just normal body fat that gets a dimply appearance when it pushes against the connective tissue in our skin.
Because women’s bodies are designed to be able to be able to transform shape to carry babies, our connective tissue is a lot less dense than men’s, meaning there are far more ‘gaps’ in it. A typical healthy woman’s body fat percentage is also higher than a man’s. Basically when there’s enough fat under the skin pushing against this connective tissue, it will ‘spill through’ the gaps causing the outside to be bumpy rather than smooth. We all know that even very small women who appear slim in clothes can have high percentages of body fat, so they are not immune to cellulite. Don’t hate me, but I seem to be one of the lucky ones who doesn’t tend to get it (unless I squeeze my fat to make it appear… haha) BUT I am prone to stretch marks if I lose/gain weight rapidly so I guess that supports the theory about stronger connective tissue being less flexible.
The internet is and isn’t a good place to find out about things health wise. Using cellulite as an example, try to find out anything factual, all you get is sales pitches for remedies from creams to pills to vibrating treatments. Just like anything I guess, playing on body image issues and overcomplicating stuff sells products and makes money. Once more the simple answer we don’t want to hear is that all eat well and exercise. With good circulation, healthy skin and body fat levels you might still have some cellulite but only then can you start blaming mum for your genes!
Posted by Stephanie Davis at 2:42 PM
Friday, December 4, 2009
However, some of the other shots are a little scary! Particularly my posing and symmetry shots from the side- my waist looked nice and small but I think I look very fragile and wouldn't have wanted a strong wind to blow! Ah such is the life of a natural female competitor.
Posted by Stephanie Davis at 2:31 PM
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Time for a non figure/food related post! I've been thinking a lot lately about the 'sort of person' i aspire to be. During comp prep it was necessary to focus on myself and my own needs. In fact, this was a beneficial lesson for me in asserting myself. However, I found I lost touch with what was going on in other people’s lives and I still feel like I have a lot of catching up to do so I've been doing a lot more listening and asking questions than talking these days. It feels good. What is also beneficial is giving my mind a break from all things fitness and finding out more about what other people are interested in.
Think about a really ‘popular’ person you know. I mean popular in the genuine sense, not the high school bitch routine. Someone who everyone likes to be around.
How do you feel when you talk to them? Listened to? Good about yourself?
Here are some traits or skills that I think popular people have in common:
Active listening skills. Genuine interest in people and what they have to say. They also seem to remember things people tell them.
They don’t seem to worry about what other people think of them… they don’t really have to! There is less fear of offending anyone, overreacting to things... less drama!
They react when you tell them things rather than just wait until they can talk again. You feel comfortable sharing information because they're non judgmental and don't tend to gossip.
I guess true popularity has nothing whatsoever to do with how people look, their job, how much they earn, how nice their house is etc.
Unfortunately I think these people are few and far between these days. How good are you at giving someone your full attention (not interrupting etc) especially if they are talking about something you have absolutely zero interest in?
My friend at work is a volunteer for the Lifeline call centre and told me that many people call who are simply lonely and need someone to listen. Notice I said ‘listen’ not ‘talk to’. Part of the training to do this role is that the volunteer is not allowed to give any advice. Think about how difficult that would be at first! It is with the best intentions usually that we jump in with our advice and opinions on other people’s situations when all they really need is an ear.
I'm not saying that I am going to try to be all things to all people or please everyone all of the time because that's simply not possible or healthy! I just think if you’d like to be more popular, it helps to start paying attention to other people and stop trying to impress them. I’ve realized that the only person I need to impress is myself.
Posted by Stephanie Davis at 12:28 PM
Friday, November 27, 2009
Growing up at my house, I remember that whenever one person had something they HAD to offer it around to everyone else first before they ate it. So if you could had a chocolate bar (which wasn't often), you'd reluctantly offer it around to everyone "for a bite" and hope that you get at least 50% back. I only have one sibling so often it was also the case that we'd only get one item and have to cut it in half. Seems fair doesn't it? But if you think back it never was, especially if you were the younger sibling! Its so funny to think about what a big deal this was as a kid!
Posted by Stephanie Davis at 10:32 AM
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Posted by Stephanie Davis at 8:34 AM
Friday, November 20, 2009
For my own benefit really, I want to recap some ideas because I tend to write as I think and therefore am not as concise as I would like to be!
(I know how to diet when i need to)
1. I love food- who doesn't? I love fresh healthy unprocessed foods and the way they make me feel. I also love the taste of a lot of processed, high fat/high sugar foods. I love to cook, watch cooking shows, read and talk about food. I am a foodie!
2. I am also an athlete who loves to train.
3. My food choices are consistent with my current goals, therefore:
a) I make wise choices about how much and how often I eat high sugar/high fat foods.
b) If I want to lose fat or am preparing for a comp, I am comfortable with ‘being on a diet’ for that purpose and only eat what is on my plan. Not to fear, the plan is usually pretty flexible and generous to begin with anyway! Key points re dieting = never hungry, never deprived.
4. I am liking the approach of balancing my intake between “functional fuel and purely for taste”. Patent pending! I aim high for functional eating – 80-90%?
5. I probably wouldn’t touch the term ‘intuitive eating’ because my intuition might lure me into a sugar coma. My 90% goal would suffer.
6. Not only that but my portion sizes would be immense! Too much fuel can make you fat too you know :S
7. Learning to cook and making “functional fuel” (aka healthy food) taste great is worth it, given I'm eating it most of the time.
8. Lovely fresh ingredients don’t need that much help anyway- hello garlic! During prep I didn’t eat one thing I didn’t enjoy the taste of.
I also want to convey that although my posts tend to come across as advice (lectures?) I’m really just reflecting on my own thoughts/what is or isn’t working for me etc. I like to think that there’s people reading who might be able to relate or benefit from some of my ideas.
Posted by Stephanie Davis at 11:39 AM
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Chocolate doesn’t really even rate highly on my list of foods I crave but I love today’s title, borrowed from katheats.com. Yes, my current strategy involves intentionally eating all of the things I love, balanced by portion control and keeping up my training. Basically I like to see what I can get away with food-wise, lol! Keeps that metabolism cranking!
Katheats.com is one of the few ‘foodies’ blogs I like to read (I’d read more if I were allowed to surf the net all day). We share a love of thinking of all the yummy things we love and trying to eat them all at the same time…. For example I’ve gotten a lot of fabulously naughty ideas to make a bowl of oats for breakfast more like dessert… Kath is a runner so I guess can afford to ‘carb up’ a lot more than me (so lazy!) so my compromise is to choose one or two things to add to my oats each day to make life just that little bit sweeter. This morning I had 50g mango through my oats.. yum!
I think the ultimate goal for emotional eaters is to feel in control of your eating habits and enjoy food.
What about if you want to or like being all ‘hardcore’ and are genuinely happy to only ever eat food as fuel? Wow well if that’s true then good for you and I’m a little jealous of your six-pack right now! Although just quietly I am wondering what planet you are from and whether you have ever tasted hot chips with garlic aioli or baked cheesecake… haha. (Talk about “sometimes foods”!)
In the past I have wanted to achieve this and used to think that to truly consider myself an athlete, I had to be disciplined enough to eat ‘functionally’ 24/7. To be honest, I used to think that anyone who preached using a balanced approach was ‘soft’ and just wanting to justify eating crap….! At the end of the day you can tell a lot more about a person by what they DO not what they SAY.
For most of us, there’s a little struggle going on in your mind where some days you just want to be able to eat whatever you want but on other more motivated days, you’re willing to do whatever it takes to be lean as…. I’m about 80% fuel and 20% taste right now and am using a bit of common sense in planning my meals to balance these conflicting extremes and keep all the voices in my head happy …(!)
Using my list of foods from yesterday, I have a good idea of how often I should be eating each item and what is a reasonable portion for me – this is something we all have to consider for ourselves based on your foods, activity level and current goals (usually losing/maintaining fat and gaining lean muscle mass). It also depends on how disciplined you’re willing to be. There’s no point saying you want to have abs year-around but also want to eat chocolate everyday. Basically, you need to align your eating/exercise habits with your goal and keep it realistic. Break out of the cycle of setting unachievable goals and feeling like a failure because you can’t keep up with what it takes to get there.
As for these foods triggering overeating, I guess that’s a risk you have to manage by not eating when you’re upset and staying focused. But if you know you can have x food again tomorrow or later in the week then that makes it a lot easier to stop. I’ve been on some mad binges in my time. If I’m feeling that behavior coming on, I ask myself “you have to stop eating at some point – do you want to feel good about it or … gross?”
Its worth thinking about …. Personally, if I tell myself I can’t have a particular food for longer than say, a week - then I consider myself to be on a diet. I don’t want to be on a diet 365 days a year, do you? It’ll make comp dieting easier, I promise!
Posted by Stephanie Davis at 9:52 AM
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Bananas, peanut butter, natural yoghurt, dried fruit such as dates and apricots, heavy grain/seed bread, plain oats, granola, fruit scones, banana bread, cheese, sushi, dark chocolate with nuts.
We all LOVE food. We understand that there are a lot of clean foods that taste great AND make us feel good. In the right quantities, many of the above things that I crave can form part of any healthy meal plan … But that’s the issue – can you stop at ‘the right quantity’ or ‘in moderation’? It always comes back to good old portion control!
When it comes to clean foods emotional eating may not play as great a part in controlling portion sizes (unless perhaps if you’ve placed yourself on a restrictive diet). However, because most of the items are (sweet) fast acting sources of carbohydrate we also have the body’s physiological responses to contend with. We get an insulin rush then drop AND a nice release of happy chemicals from the brain and can end up overeating. Cheese is slightly different but apparently releases a similar chemical in the brain found to be released in the brains of heavy drug users… addictive much? Unfortunately it is possible to have too much a good thing.
So what is the solution for you? To eliminate these foods? Completely or just for a while?
Don’t eliminate them but keep them out of the house? Or … purposely incorporate them into your meal plan?
I’ll let you know what my current strategy is and how its going so far in part 2
Posted by Stephanie Davis at 4:09 PM
Thursday, November 12, 2009
On the weekend I went down to Southport on the gold coast to visit my mum. Having not seen her in about three years I didn’t know what to expect but this post is going to focus on what I think was the highlight of the trip – we had an amazing seafood lunch at Georges Restaurant, next to Australia Fair shopping centre.
As you know when it comes to seafood only the best (freshest) will do – luckily George’s menu is half price at lunch time J We all chose a mixed appetiser that had 2 oysters, 2 king prawns, a bug and smoked salmon with capers on salad with avocado, seafood sauce, fresh lemon wedges and fruit garnish. Plenty of food leaving us feeling satisfied and fantastic rather than full and sluggish!
So for today’s lunch I treated myself by replicating part of the meal - smoked salmon on salad with avocado, capers and fresh lemon juice. I tried making my own figure friendly seafood sauce too by mixing together equal parts of low fat mayonnaise with low sugar tomato sauce.. clever aren’t I? hehe.
I am loving my food at the moment and the increased energy I have for training. After going through a little bit of a struggle patch recently I worked out that if I could make small increases of healthy things that I love on a daily basis eg oats, fruit, natural yoghurt etc I can shake this ‘on a diet’ feeling once and for all. This has been working really well and I’m not getting cravings for junk or the urge to binge. Keep asking yourself – how will food X make me feel compared to food Y? For example, I have been raving about that seafood at Georges all week and before I ordered it I was tempted by the lasagne on the menu (you know its my favourite!) The main reason I went with the seafood was that I knew it would be very high quality but by the end of the meal I felt so good that I knew I had learned a valuable lesson. I wish I was on the seafood diet, I would love to eat this stuff every day, wouldn't you!!? .... imagine it, living on a beautiful island - before long you'd be saying McWhat?!
I weigh myself once per week and this morning was sitting just over two kilos heavier than I was the week leading up to the show. 2kg of FAT mind you = looking and feeling a lot softer. I have been keeping training intense with the goal of gaining at least 2kg lean muscle mass by the time I’m ready to compete again (2kg heavier onstage). I’m estimating that if I keep working hard, this will take me about 2- 3 years. If anyone tells you that as a natural female you can gain muscle faster than this, I’m sorry but they’re having you on!
I’m also absolutely amazed at how much fluid I seem to hold. I look positively FLAT in the mornings before I’ve had a drink (and of course that’s when I weigh myself!) Ali told me that when we were dieting toward the end there I looked like I was dying first thing in the morning, haha! The positive side of that was that dehydrating for comp worked really well for me, our coach couldn’t believe the difference!
I’m getting more and more used to my new ‘offseason’ look and although I miss looking and feeling ‘hard’ I certainly cannot complain. I have been meaning to take a photo to post – can someone harass me if I don’t do this over the weekend please?
Posted by Stephanie Davis at 2:50 PM
Friday, November 6, 2009
Posted by Stephanie Davis at 9:19 AM
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Have just ticked over the four weeks post comp mark and have hit that point I’ve been waiting for where I (really) don’t want to get any softer :S Ali and I got our callipers in the mail and took our skin folds over 9 sites on Saturday and I was sitting at 53mm which I was pretty happy with. I said I would like to ideally maintain in the 50-60 range. Even though I’m feeling quite soft and missing the super lean “only near comp look” I remember when I got down in this range during prep and I started to really like how I was looking in clothes etc … for the first time in my life! The other night when we went to bed I was lying on my side and I said to Ali, wow I feel so much more comfortable in bed than I have in ages…. Yay for seeing all the upsides of extra padding- Lol!
Still doing a realistic amount of cardio most mornings which I really enjoy now (…now that is optional?) I either get out for some fresh air or make good use of our treadmill + plasma + foxtel J I’ve become the hugest fan of cooking shows and watch lifestyle food a fair bit. I used to worry that I was ‘obsessed’ with food but I now think, if its something positive in your life that brings you joy, then who cares? Better than the love/hate relationship with food that I used to have!
Posted by Stephanie Davis at 12:45 PM
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Because we (particularly us girls) are very emotional creatures and I am yet to meet someone who doesn’t have some kind of emotional attachment to food/eating. That is, whether positive or negative emotions no one (in developed countries where food is freely available) eats purely for fuel/survival 100% of the time.
We’re also really, really impatient :P I remembering feeling overweight and uncomfortable and getting to the point where I would think “I just want this weight off NOW” which led to, thoughts such as ‘well what can I do to jumpstart this weight loss?’…. ‘I know, I won’t eat much this week and do heaps of cardio!” Does this sound familiar?
It seems that these days whenever someone (having noticed my weight loss) engages me in conversation about what I'm eating or asks me for some advice, I’m bound to hear similar things:
Firstly, the question – “what exactly do you eat in a day”? (Or, they might say “tell me what to eat”).
PLEASE use some common sense. You know that you should eat more vegetables drink more water and eat crap less often - if you concentrated only on these you would probably do quite well! Don’t pretend that this is news to you or rocket science.
Sometimes I make the mistake of going into too much detail about my own eating habits eg, even as far as I eat six small meals a day, protein at each meal. Which leads me to my second pet peeve comment – “Oh I could never be that disciplined and/or I love food too much/ I go out too much” etc.
Somehow the notions of discipline, consistency, gradual weight loss and self-control don’t seem as attractive as saying that “I drank three chocolate milkshakes a day and the weight fell off in two weeks”. I could get very sarcastic here about how much I hate tasty food and love bland fish and broccoli but there’s really no need! As for discipline, its not like you either are or you aren’t- its a case of whether you are willing to keep at it. Do you want this badly enough? If so you will find a way, even if you do go out a lot. Its not any easier for me than it is for you. Right now I would really like to dive into a jar of peanut butter or walk outside my building and into any one of the dozens of fast food outlets that are within 50m… but I choose not to, LOL. Most people aren’t wiling to do what it takes to stay in good shape and that is fine, just don’t deny it!
Lastly, there always seems to be a deadline, 10-12 weeks at most to get in the best shape of your life. I know that it can be very motivating to be working toward a specific event and its conducive to setting goals to have timeframes, be accountable etc but how is that for pressure?! And the fact that it seems to imply that you only have to eat well up until this point.. what then? Temporary changes = temporary results!
Yes, you need to have a rough plan of what you’ll eat in a typical day, be prepared and keep an eye on the amount of dining out/extras that creep in. But you don’t need to count calories and get all obsessive about everything. This just leads to a sense of failure as soon as you don’t comply with your own rules.
So when people wanting to lose weight yesterday are very interested in my calorie input, macronutrient split or how much cardio I do, I would rather advise them:
Don’t start any more diets or 12 week challenges
Don’t ask someone else what they eat and try to copy it - trying to change too many things at once doesn’t work.
Create a logical plan that reforms eating behaviours sensibly and progressively over time. Start with breakfast!
Get support/help with planning meals, staying accountable- whatever you require.
Be as positive as you can and accept that you are in this for the long haul!
Posted by Stephanie Davis at 12:13 PM
Sunday, October 18, 2009
and trying not to hate it!! haha. let's face it, its difficult to go from seeing your dark, rock hard physique on comp day and knowing how hard it was to get, to watching it slowly fade... at least it has been slow otherwise I can't imagine how I would feel! I feel like going to get a spray tan to wake up and see it really aint all that bad haha. I've been trying my best to put the brakes on gaining this weight which I know is necessary to get back up to a healthy offseason size. I've fallen down a few times now but refuse to feel guilty because I'm not on a diet and guilt/beating yourself up just starts that 'all or nothing' cycle of binging that I refuse to return to.
Posted by Stephanie Davis at 9:30 AM
Sunday, October 11, 2009
Hehe the first pic here makes me laugh, it was taken the day after the comp and yes Im eating broccoli! Ali and I came home that night and spent about an hour in the shower scrubbing ourselves and eachother so I was left with a decent tan for a little while compared to my natural white-ness!
Posted by Stephanie Davis at 7:01 PM
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Even though we go to the same gym here in Brisbane, I only met Michelle a couple of months ago, when she was about 6 weeks out from the INBA state show and I about 8 weeks out from the ANB state show. How glad am I that I happened to comment on her jacket and introduce myself in the locker room, we immediately became friends and were able to support eachother through furious text messages of encouragement the rest of the way to our respective shows J
Best of luck to you in your journey and I hope you find as much support and friendship through blogging as I have been blessed to receive. My best advice is to be kind to yourself, always find a way rather than an excuse and of course to never give up on your dreams!
Posted by Stephanie Davis at 9:25 PM
Sunday, October 4, 2009
I like having goals, whether they are short, medium or long term- I like knowing where I want to go in certain areas of my life and not feel like I'm just spinning my wheels. I don't put a lot of pressure on myself, I go at my own pace etc but when I achieve something I have been working toward for a awhile- it feels amazing! I like to live with purpose, to feel like my contributions to work, training, eating well etc each day are all adding up to better health, lifestyle and a happier me! No need to question yourself, no need to overthink or overanalyse.
Posted by Stephanie Davis at 6:04 PM
Friday, October 2, 2009
After going backstage, putting the stripper heels on again and the rest of the routines ran through we all filed back out onstage in a long line up once more. The announcement was that if you’re number was called, to please move toward the back of the stage…. Mine was called first…(family told me they were nervously wondering at the time whether or not this was a good sign!?) followed by four other numbers. We were the top 5 competitors in the class, I acknowledged and congratulated all the other girls as they left the stage. 5th place was announced … followed by 4th and these girls were presented with their trophies. All that was going through my head was my number #48 and knowing that the longer I didn’t hear it, the better- haha! So When it was announced that I had won third place, for one split second I thought ‘damn’, but then it caught up with me and I realised wait, I came THIRD in this impressive lineup? Awesome!!
Second placegetter (blonde hair, blue suit) had the most amazing set of legs and shoulders- I watched her win her novice tall class at the INBA comp the week previous to ours. Which made Loretta the winner- I couldn’t have been happier for her- in the few short days we had known eachother we had really come through a lot! She looked even harder and more vascular when she got onstage for the overalls and took that out too, Amazing achievement!
Posted by Stephanie Davis at 2:55 PM
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
So following quite a stressful few days, on
Saturday morning everything seemed to fall into place. We had a good night's sleep and woke up early to an interesting dry breakfast and continuing the carb up. I thought I'd wake up with one hell of a dry mouth however, the water deplete was not too bad other than swallowing some large tablets dry. Was instructed for the next meal to have some steak, potatoes and peanut butter which was by far the best comp prep meal ever! Although I had to shove it in my mouth while Ali's mum was doing my makeup! Ali was such a sweetheart and cooked this for me as he was ready earlier (bit simpler for guys!) and as we were both covered in dream tan by this stage and were getting ready at Jon's house, he was chopping and microwaving and moving around with a teatowel in check wiping up his fingerprints :S
Posted by Stephanie Davis at 5:07 PM