In 9 hours I will be on my way to the airport to enjoy the sun and sand in St. Lucia. But, of coarse, not without a little bit of planning! 

Aside from planning what to bring, and ensuring I have all of my gym accessories and clothes, there was one other important plan I had to do - my meal plan for the week I return. 

Think about it, when you go on vacation and you come home, what is one of the first things you do? Go grocery shopping! So, instead of relying on myself, when I'm in a lazy state, to try and quickly compile a plan, I decided to put it together ahead of time. This way, I'm ready and prepared for when I come home!

Now, if you are wondering why I am still putting together meal plans while I'm building (a.k.a. bulking), it's because I want to ensure that I am:

       a) not over-indulging in junk food and turning this build into a 'dirty bulk' - I want to keep it    
       clean so that I make lean gains as opposed to fat gains. 
       b) strategically placing my carbs and fats throughout the day so that I minimize the risk of 
       these extra calories being stored in my body as opposed to utilized for muscle 
       recovery/building. 

So, in order to do these things above, I continue to design meal plans! Plus it just makes shopping and packing my meals a heck of a lot easier - I don't have to think later :). 

One of the other reasons why this next plan is so important is because when I return I will officially be entering into the building phase. Currently, I've been working on slowly increasing my numbers, but it won't be until I am back from vacay that I will officially be above my maintenance caloric intake and putting on muscle - so this plan deserved a lot of focus and attention.

Well, anyways, I thought I would let you guys know what I'm up to. If you want to see my meal plan for when I am back from my vacation, check it out below! I tried to incorporate foods that are rich in anti-oxidants, fiber, vitamins and minerals, as well as carbs that are less likely to contain lots of gluten (with the exception of oats pre-wrkout) as I think I am having a reaction to it (I'm testing this theory). So rather than rice, pastas, WW breads etc., I will primarily be eating fruits, veggies and sweet potato for m

Thanks for checking in!! And if you want more frequent updates, please 'like' my facebook page: www.facebook.com/kristen.v.adamson  

kristens_build_plan.xls
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As most of you know I have been eating at, or just below, maintance calories for almost 3 weeks now. This experience has been awakening for me, in so many ways.

First of all, I realized that bumping calories up by 700 isn't as scary as it seems - and I am so happy I did it. It was tough for me, at first, to get over the mentality that I might "gain" a little, but once I conquered that notion and understood it would primarily be water, I believe I became stronger.

It's so important not to get addicted to cutting calories, you always want to make sure you are taking a healthy approach to weight management, and I believe that bringing myself back to maintenance helped, not only to propel me closer to my goals, but to prevent me from becoming unhealthy in the long run (weight loss addiction). 

With that said, let me say that I have only gained 3lbs so far. And yet, I've had tons of people come up to me and say, "wow, I can't believe how much weight you've lost since 2 weeks ago!". I find this so funny - if only they knew I was eating close to 2200 calories every day.

I, personally, feel a little bloated and "soft", but I am excited to see how my body responds when I slowly begin cutting back again in 1 week.

In case you are thinking about re-visiting maintenance in the near future, here is a list of the things I have noticed. You may or may not experience the same things, but I figured I would forewarn you :) 

  - Bloating
  - Gas
  - Water retention
  - Thirst
  - Sluggishness
  - Carb cravings
  - Weaker workouts (I don't think others usually get this, but I sure did!)
 
Face it, we all love electronics. They’re usually a ton of fun to play with (at least for me), and they almost always make life easier. But like most things in life, there comes a point when they just stop doing what they’re supposed to do.  So, how do we fix them? We hit the reset button! 

Now, what if I told you that you can do this same thing to your body when it plateaus, or stalls during your weight loss journey?  Sounds pretty hokey right? 

Well, it may not be as simple as pushing a big red button, but I just found out that there is a way to reset our body when it stops losing, and that is what I am about to embark on myself! 

For the past couple of weeks, my body has been stubborn. I have been sitting at 148lbs no matter how hard I try to keep losing! I’ve cut more calories, I’ve changed my routine a few times, and I’ve even tried increasing my fiber intake – but, nothing! So, after consulting my online trainer Kim (www.iron-kim.com), she immediately knew what to do – it’s time to reset my body! 

At first I was puzzled, I believed that the answer to continuous weight loss was through constantly cutting calories, but that isn’t always the case. You see, when you’ve been dieting (eating in a caloric deficit) for as long as I have (8-9 months), and you’ve slowly been cutting back on calories, your body begins to retaliate. 

It’s almost like it’s screaming out to you, “Hey! You keep taking away my food, so I am going to stop shedding your fat! Take that!”. Now, although it does this as a way to protect itself, it can be rather discouraging for the average person looking to lose more fat. So, the way to get around this is to trick your body. 

For 4 weeks, or so, I am going to give my sneaky little body all of the calories and macros it needs to satisfy itself and maintain it’s size – this is called my maintenance caloric intake. Then, just when it starts to get comfortable, I’m slowly going to begin scaling back the calories again – much like I did when I first started my journey.  

Why does this work? Well, the body stops freaking out, for one, and instead it becomes comfortable with the idea of shedding again. And because it feels like it’s not at risk for starving anymore, cutting a couple calories here and there (afterwards) no longer shocks it– giving me the ‘upper hand’ again and allowing me to continue losing fat. 

Like it is for most women, this type of change to my diet can be very nerve-racking. Over the past 8-9 months, my brain has been programmed to keep cutting back, but it’s important for me to remember that this is part of the process. 

Yes, I will gain a little weight along the way, but if I do it the right way and avoid treating it like a big cheat month (making healthy choices instead), I will only gain water. This means that as soon as I begin cutting again, it will fall right off! Yay!

So, here I go! I begin my maintenance calories today! Check back in the diet section, where I will soon be posting all of the details. 

If you’d like some more information on pushing past a plateau, read this article – I think it explains it well. 

Enjoy!