oatmeal chocolate chip birthday cakes!!! – bday post

this year, my birthday fell on a monday. YIPPEEEEE :?

so Sonny started celebrating early (like i had hoped).  immediately after church service, we went to get our rings cleaned.

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i promise we’re only in our thirties. lol.  Chiso saw us placing our hands strategically on the display case for this pic and wanted part of the action.

over time, i have come to the realization that i’m a hint thrower.  what a lucky guy Sonny is.  rarely does one go over his head though, i gotta give it to him.  i forwarded him a Ruggles Green brunch email i received a few weeks earlier, you know, randomly.  high-five, Sonny.  high-five.

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so that was our next stop.  only the Heights location serves breakfast / brunch in Houston, and i had been eager to check it out for months.  i chose the delish crab & avocado omelette and Sonny played it safe with the breakfast plate (sausage, pancakes, eggs, potatoes).  Chiso handled up on his turkey sausage, scrambled eggs, and pancakes too.  we love us some eggs.

the next day, my actual birthday, Sonny got up and rushed off to work like normal, so i hit the gym early, like normal.

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but not before making this gorgeous stack of oatmeal pancakes! with the start of my cooking classes, blogging took a small backseat. obvi. but i believe i have a routine going now with my schedule. *crosses fingers, toes, and eyes*.  here’s that recipe:

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Pancakes 

the stuff: (source)

  • 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/4 cup dry rolled oats
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (add more if needed- you be the thickness judge)
  • 2 packets granulated stevia
  • 1 tbsp agave nectar or honey (optional)
  • dash of sea salt
  • 1 tbsp melted coconut oil
  • handful of dark chocolate chips

do this:

  1. mix all ingredients except chocolate chips together in a large mixing bowl.
  2. if ya need more almond milk at this point, add it a tbsp at a time.
  3. heat your griddle or cast iron / no-stick skillet to medium heat and coat with no-stick cooking spray.
  4. spoon the cakes onto your cooking device as large or as small as you’d like them.  when bubbles start to form on top, check the bottom of the cake to see how brown it is first before flipping.
  5. you’re looking for a golden brown color (bout 2-4 minutes).
  6. eat’em up. sprinkles are optional but mandatory if it’s your birthday.

or, you can do blueberries instead of chocolate chips!

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 back to the birthday festivities.

little did i know that Sonny went right down the street to his mom’s house to hide out.

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i took a Barbell Strength class and worked my back a little more on my own in addition to some steady-state cardio on the elliptical. suddenly, i got a ‘lunch?’ text from Sonny, so i said ‘screw this!’ and sped home to get cleaned up.

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 i opened the door and walked right into .. Sonny!?, fit gifts, and cake.

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and a birthday song serenade from my boys!

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 just one small piece before lunch.

   Sonny shocked our palettes and drove us to an Indian inspired restaurant in Upper Kirby called Ponidicheri.  he didn’t know it was ‘meatless monday’ though lol. tasty  nonetheless and i appreciate the experience.

20140407_134832_1i got the Saag Paneer Omelette, Barley Salad, a piece of gluten-free, millet Roti, and one of their fresh, housemade juices, the Hari.

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 Sonny got an omelette too.  They didn’t really have a kids menu, but the guy taking orders suggested this concoction.  can you guess which two Chiso ate? yep, the fries and the Elephant Cookie.

i got a birthday nap back at home (YAAAAAY for daytime sleep) and we went back out for dinner that evening.  i was actually still full from lunch but went anyway just cause it was my bday and already on the agenda.

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my cups runneth over :shock: ! literally and figuratively.  we concluded the evening with Italian food and Neapolitan gelato from Sapore Ristorante, right in our own backyard.  which was awesome cause i had to be up at 4:15am  to teach my class the next day.

i feel like i’m at the age where i forget what i’m even turning and that my birthday is even coming up.  thankful to God for another year though, no doubt, and for Sonny’s impeccable planning skills year after year.

THANK YOU to my family and friends for the calls, texts, cards, gifts, and birthday wishes!!!!!!

and thank you for reading.

le

3rd triggity-tri update

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 it’s happening again :shock: . food aversions have returned and all i want for breakfast, lunch, and dinner is Subway!!!  so i had some last night for dinner.  yes, the entire thing in one sitting. don’t worry, it fit my macros, lol.  i’ve been randomly putting my meals in MyFitnessPal just to make sure i’m somewhere in the ball park of my daily requirements.  anyway, thanks Sonny, you’re awesome.

it’s a turkey breast sammich on honey oat bread with all the veggies except onions and jalapeños with honey mustard.  hadn’t had one since the 1st trimester and boy was it as tasty as i remember.

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uncomfy , eh? understatement. i enjoy the constant reminder that Odego is awake, moving around and doing his thing in here. however, i feel every single twist, turn, kick, punch, head butt, and cartwheel. all of it.  just like Chiso, he gets wired up as soon as i get settled in the bed at night.  but thankfully it doesn’t hinder my sleep one bit.

let’s talk about these energy levels though!  this baby is siphoning mine off day by day and i knew that was coming…just not so dang soon.  so most mornings,

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i wake up like that.

but this morning before teaching my 5:30am weights class i felt good. like really good again. maybe i should eat foot long Subway sammiches before bed more often.

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10 weeks left yall!!! :shock: WAT. i’ll explain more about that #pregnantNOTpowerless hashtag in a bit.

ironically, i’m most uncomfortable when i’m dormant or at home cleaning and picking up random stuff off the floor.  i do all this working out at the gym but when i see something on the floor at home that’s not where it’s supposed to be most times i just leave it there LOL. why is it so much more of a challenge then?!  idk.  i’ve been sleeping with one of those body pillows from Target for the past 4 months now and i highly recommend one.  you can splurge and get the real thing too.

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still not caring for sweets, just all things dairy, mainly cheese.  but every now and then i’ll make this guy instead of going to get fro-yo, soft serve at BK, or a McFlurry – a low-dairy chocolate milkshake at home.  i’m totally satisfied after slurping this guilt-free concoction down.  try it! throw this in your blender:

  • 3/4 cup cookies and cream or vanilla maple Arctic Zero ice cream
  • 1/4 cup + (2 tbsp or so if needed) unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 2 tbsp Hershey’s sugar-free chocolate syrup + more swirled in your glass ;)

before i made coconut whipped cream (which is dairy-free) for the first time a few days ago, i just used fat-free Reddi Whip and chocolate sprinkles for my topping.  legit yumminess for a total of:

Screen Shot 2014-04-03 at 10.53.15 AMthat’s it.


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this little boy here. he has his ‘Odego Time’ every single day, multiple times a day.  he GETS it now.  his little brother is on the way and he can’t wait to slide down the slide with him at the park.  his words, lol. i was worried about how he would be affected (and still somewhat am after he arrives) and i’m reading up on how to make this transition easiest for him.  heck, all of us.  any tips moms, please share!

you have a bigger influence on your kiddos than you think!  i just knew the park would be way more exciting than lil ol’ me, but as soon as we got there he asked, ‘mama can we make a video?  i want to exercise with you.’ floored. so that’s how our 30 week playground workout came about.

check out this adorable article via babycenter.com that shows you how big your fetus is using fruits and veggies, love it.  Odego is the size of a cabbage this week!

le

 

 

3 SPOTS LEFT – HOMEMADE PIZZA COOKING CLASS!!!

it’s finally time… TO MAKE PIZZA!!!!!

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only 3 spots left for THIS coming Tuesday’s class (March 25th) so sign up right here!  remember, there are now 3 options to choose from.  bring a buddy and save.

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be prepared to WOW your little ones, significant others, look, your ENTIRE family will be happy you came ;)

email me directly with any questions whatsoever at:

le@fitfoodiele.com

happy sunday to you and yours!

le

food faces #toddlerfood

having a little fun with healthy breakfasts these days!  it’s whatever works and gets Chiso’s plate clean, and these have proven to do just that. he thinks it’s hilarious (telling a funny story along with it helps too) and i enjoy creating them. just some ideas for your picky eater(s) fueled by Pinterest.

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banana bear faces using Sara Lee whole wheat bread, natural peanut butter, and chocolate chips.

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 the original ‘recipe’ actually used blueberries for the eyes and nose, but they were a no-go.

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this morning we had whole wheat pancakes and i’d love to share this easy recipe with ya as promised.

easy whole wheat pancakes

the stuff:

  • 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk + 2 tbsp
  • 1 packet stevia
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp melted coconut oil
  • 1 tsp baking powder

do this:

  1. heat your griddle or pan to med heat and coat it with no-stick cooking spray.
  2. mix all ingredients well in a large mixing bowl.
  3. drop 2 tbsp worth of batter onto your griddle and cook 2-3 minutes on each side (flip when you see bubbles form)
  4. top however you’d like and eat warm!

makes 15 (or more) silver dollar sized pancakes. for 1:

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i added natural pb and chocolate chips to Ralph too. happy friday :)

le

that’s amore – homemade whole wheat pizza crust + med ball moves

what.a.morning.

 i woke up at 2:30am randomly and just couldn’t get comfy again nor could i go back to sleep! daylight savings time + a kickboxing 27 week fetus = one tired mama.  praying & hoping this doesn’t become a normal occurrence.

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getting to 5:30am class was something like pulling teeth but we made it!  smiling up there in the pic cause my workout was finally over after that :lol: .  i taught Total Conditioning for 1 hr as usual and then did these exercises with the med ball and bands afterwards (listed clockwise):

  1.  medicine ball squat throws against the wall: 4 x 25
  2. med ball squats w/ explosive jack - band is optional but come ooooon! USE IT! 4 x 25
  3. burpees with overhead dumbbell presses. modify where needed! walk back if you are preggo or nursing an injury if you do not wish to jump. it’s your workout. 3 x 12
  4. 90 degree wall sits with extended med ball (see top pic).  hold this guy for as long as you can. your arms will most likely give out before your legs, so let them drop but stay up until you can’t take it anymore. HOLD until it burns ;)

i owe you a pizza crust recipe, don’t i!

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this was Chiso’s cheese pie hot outta the oven.

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the sauce is homemade too!!! i’ll share that recipe in a future post.

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and here’s the pie i made Sonny and i for dinner that night looooaded with goodies!

extra lean ground chicken, red onion, red bell pepper, green bell pepper, grape tomatoes, fresh cilantro,  homemade pizza sauce, and plenty of shredded provolone.

i’m saving my very special crust recipe for my homemade pizza cooking class so you’ll have to join me on March 25th to get that one!

homemade whole wheat pizza crust

the stuff:

  • 1 cup white whole wheat bread flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2-3 tbsp coconut sugar (or agave nectar or honey or pure maple syrup)
  • 1 cup warm water
  • dash sea salt
  • 1/4th tsp fresh minced garlic
  • 2 tsp dried Italian seasoning
  • 2 1/4 tsp yeast (1 envelope)

do this: 

ok, i actually had steps listed out for the beginning part ( :shock: i know) but SEEING it done is the easiest way to actually get it. i don’t want to scare you guys from making it and i haven’t created my own video yet, so i’m going to use a popular youtube vid that is very similar to what i did. also, i added the dry seasonings and garlic in with the wet ingredients.

  1. NOW you’re ready! let the dough rise for at least 2 hours minimum. (whip up a ball right after breakfast)
  2. preheat your oven to 500 degrees and put your pizza stone or baking sheet in the oven NOW.
  3. on a flat, clean, floured surface, drop your round dough ball in to the center.
  4. use your fingers to press the dough out as wide/thin as you’d like it. my Sur la table instructor advised against using a rolling-pin.
  5. sprinkle your pizza paddle (or a pan/cookie sheet with no edges) generously with dry, yellow corn meal
  6. pick up your dough and place it on top of the corn meal bed. is it slide-able? rock the pan back and forth and see.
  7. top your pizza however you’d like. (sauce, cheese, veggies, meat, cheese…but remember less is more! that doesn’t apply to cheese though)
  8. do a slide check one more time, then open your oven and transfer (rock vigorously back and forth til you’ve successfully moved it over) the pizza paddle onto the already HOT HOT HOT pizza stone or baking pan.
  9. needs to bake about 7-9 minutes at most. cooks super fast!

nutritional stats ONLY IF you use the entire dough ball and make a gigantic pizza cut into 8 slices:

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i find that cutting the ball in half first makes the perfect size pie for 2 people. in that instance, stats for 1 slice when cut into 8:

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you can refrigerate the other half for 2-3 days and even longer in the freezer.

1394561058yummmmmmmmmmmmmy!

make your own pizza at home, take a pic, and tag me @fitfoodiele on IG! also, if you send your pics to le@fitfoodiele.com, i will feature them on my Facebook Fan Page, blog, or IG. can’t wait to see the deliciousness you create!

 Q: what do you do when you can’t go back to sleep? read? watch TV? stare at your significant other in the dark? :shock:

le

bottoms up + big news on the way

starting to really feel like i suck at multitasking. or maybe it’s prioritizing. both. idk :roll: idk, but whenever i am focused on my next move it’s like i can’t focus on anything except THAT thing. what thing? hosting my very own COOKING CLASS!!!! i have finally secured a location to do my thang (workout classes are coming right along with that) and i am crazy excited about it. i can’t help but to be. this is what i do! a much more detailed announcement will be made really soon.  extremely soon.

ok so this past wednesday,

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Chi and i hit the road for my monthly check up.  while there, that yummy, delicious, glucose drink was also waiting for me to chug.  i can’t believe it’s time to test for gestational diabetes already! it’s done somewhere in between weeks 24 and 26.

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if i had a dollar for every time i’ve had to look at someone’s confused face and say ‘oh, i’m a blogger’, i’d go buy a pair of shoes with it :lol: . the phlebotomist shot me a ‘why are you snapping pics of that of all things?’ look. when i did this test for my 1st pregnancy i went online to read reviews on how the test would go, and with that came comments about how horrid and disgusting this stuff was. so of course i walked in very hesitant and expecting the absolute worst. verdict: no big deal. seriously. i tuned that bottle upside down and drank it all at once, no breaks. after i told Chiso why he couldn’t have any orange soda lol.

20140305_105027_1waiting for my Doc and admiring my kicks! yep, it’s tha shoes!!!!  the ones i posted about on IG a few weeks ago!  i was actually going to keep them in the box until i reached 9 months.  kinda like a push present to myself.  i couldn’t wait though lol. high top Nike Frees. i’m in complete love.

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some recent IG eats!  man those zucchini fritters are so dang good. please go make them if you haven’t already. i am out but bought a ton of zucchini at Sprouts a few days ago and will be making more soon.

clockwise:

  • lean ground chicken burger w/ tomatoes & mozzarella almond cheese using zucchini fritters for buns
  • crock pot sirloin stead seasoned with Weber Chicago Streak seasoning and cooked on low for 6 hours w/ roasted asparagus and smashed red potatoes.  i boiled the red potatoes until tender, then added green onion, cilantro, some plain  non-fat yogurt, and organic whipped buttery spread. mozzarella almond cheese melted on top!
  • a gigantic salad from the HEB salad bar
  • zucchini cakes with herb goat cheese, pan seared tilapia, roma tomatoes, and strawberries.

still trying to keep it clean for the most part….even though i want Papa Johns pizza all day every day. no sweets for me…cheese must go on everything.

happy weekend!

le

pan fried curry zucchini fritters + yeeeee-haw! Rodeo Run 5k

the response from my last post was incredibly overwhelming.  i’m already hormonal yall, jeez!!!! some of you even shared your heartfelt, REAL life preggo journeys with me.  it just reaffirms the fact that all women have a story to tell.  we all jump through, over, and under hoops all day, every day.  that’s life.  God is true to His word though!  i’m honored and elated that women were able to connect with me on a more personal level and get encouragement and inspiration to keep pressing through their own struggles.  we all need it.  anytime you ever feel the need to share with me or ask any particular question about my journey, do so without hesitation!  le@fitfoodiele.com.  again, thank you all for reading and commenting openly and privately.  to God be the glory.

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the Rodeo Run went down yesterday morning!  i picked up my race packet Friday and brought along a list of 3-year-old b-day party locations to check in the area.  yep, Chiso’s getting a birthday party this year.  we did a small gathering at the house last year for his 2nd and remember i went batty for his 1st  so now it’s time to venture out.  i think. suggestions? email me.

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i broke my ‘no oats pre-race’ rule and had big bowl of them topped with bananas, blueberries, and some coconut crystals before we hit the road.

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i walked/ran with a friend of mine, Krystal, and Chiso got to play and hangout with her son, Max.  Krystal is in FAB shape, right!? that’s her 9 month old daughter in her arms.  she is such a big fitsporation to me!

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 grateful to still be moving and shaking at 25 weeks now. my next race is the Bayou City Classic, and the link is over there in the events side bar!  strollers are welcome, so moms, let’s do this!  email me if you’ll be there; i’d love to meet up at the post-race party.  and if you see me running, SAY HAY!!!!!

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so about that zucchini fritter recipe i own ya…. ugh, they are so incredibly tasty.  Sonny took a bite of one and was like, ‘there’s no meat in this?’

nope.

pan fried curry zucchini fritters

the stuff: (source)

  • 3 large zucchini, shredded/grated
  • 3 green onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup almond meal or flour
  • 1/2 cup light parmesan cheese, shredded
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 egg white, beaten
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 1-2 tbsp liquid aminos
  • 1 tsp cracked black pepper

do this:

  1. use the larger holes when grating zucchini and shred them onto a dry cup towel.
  2. use those muscles and squeeze out all the liquid possible.
  3.  add all ingredients to a large mixing bowl and incorporate well.
  4. heat a pan on HIGH coated with nonstick cooking spray (or pour a tsp of olive oil into the pan and spread it around)
  5. place heaping tbsp size scoopfuls of mixture onto hot skillet and press down flat.
  6. convert heat to LOW and cook for approx. 5 minutes on each side until golden brown and done. be patient.

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makes 20 small-medium cakes!  for 1:

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i have the patience of Chiso sometimes when i’m cooking and i often end up with a scramble instead of a perfect patty or cake.  i am sooooo dang proud of how these turned out!  best ones yet and so much savory deliciousness in every bite. please enjoy them as much as we have.  i got some garlic & herb goat cheese from HEB after the race that i have been spreading on them and, well,

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i really need to go to bed. now.

le

in love with lean

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the wait. that dreaded wait.  we all wait for something at some point in our lives.  His timing is….. impeccable though. perfect. every time.  but while you’re waiting, you don’t want to hear that.  and i wanted another baby. and when a woman wants a baby,  she wants one when she wants one.

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Sonny and i prayed and believed consistently for another Egwuatu kiddo. we knew Chiso was only the beginning. however, after stepping off the stage last year i was head over heels for my ‘new’, lean body.  you might say, ‘but you were already lean.’ there’s a huge visual and physical difference between 21% body fat and 10%.   i was thrilled at seeing 130- anything on the scale.  i had not seen the 130′s in this decade.  ‘long & lean’ was something i had always wanted to accomplish with my body.  so once I got there, according to my standards anyway,

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i wanted to stay there. here we go again…but on a much deeper level this round.

<<rewind<<

my menstrual cycle has always been flaky. it has always done its own thing since it finally popped up at age 16. late bloomer right here. from then on, Irregular City…which was prolly due to my active sports life.

i discovered my passion for group fitness and became an instructor for a few local gyms a few years after college graduation and marriage to Sonny.  i was extremely nervous just thinking about getting in front of a crowd, but the support and encouragement from friends, Sonny, and my family pushed me to just go for it.  i started with a BANG teaching 7-9 classes per week (before and after work) and local boot-camps on my own in addition to my full-time job.  then things got a little crazy with my body. i went from monstrous PMS symptoms including heavy cramping & bleeding, bloating, mood swings, swelling & breast tenderness every one or two days a month to absolutely no period and zero symptoms. nothing. when i first met Sonny in college and had an ‘episode’, he actually called 911, bless his heart.

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 it was just something i lived with, and something my family (mom, dad & brother when i lived at home) adjusted to. on the first day of every cycle, life stopped.  4 aleeve, vicodin, hot water bottles,  massive overnight – diaper sized pads, and my bed was my life for 24-48 hrs. so, this exercise thing was quite alright in my eyes. it was my saving grace.  can i tell you how happy a camper i was?  to not have to deal with any of that mess anymore was….. LIBERATING. living like a boy was fun. no tampons, pads, PMS, none of that. this went on for months…. maybe over 8 or so…unfortunately i lost count.  i later researched this to be deemed athletic amenorrhea, but back then i just referred to it as AWESOME.  when the time came for Sonny and i to really get serious about bringing some kiddos into this world, well i was not exactly in the best position to house a child.  i have never been on birth control. so after being a married woman and doing married woman things for over a year and never being  ‘surprised’ (which was fine by me) i had to really wonder what was up with me.  …or Sonny. which one of us needed to be ‘fixed’?

i learned along the way that you don’t even need to actually bleed to get pregnant…just ovulate. but bleeding helps you pinpoit when to expect to ovulate.  and hello, it just comes with the territory of being a woman!  without a cycle, i’d have to take an ovulation test, well, every single day. that got old and discouraging real fast. and obviously, not bleeding on my own meant that things just weren’t right.  Sonny wanted to expand our family from the jump, but his concern grew as time went by without a positive result.

at some point along the way Sonny did wonder what happened to my angry woman PMS symptoms and asked about them.  i explained how they simply vanished completely after i started exercising a lot…along with my period.  he stayed on me about going to the Dr., and i did. eventually.  he naturally felt irritated and annoyed with me for not taking our health seriously and waiting months to see my OB.  i put it on the back burner countless times and kept reassuring him it would come back on its own if i just exercised less and rested more.  gym members were excited about my classes and attending consistently!  slow down? i can’t now! i’m in demand!  i made so many new connections and met so many new fit friends during that time. i was simply enjoying the instructor experience and wanted nothing more than to keep it rolling.  but i also knew i wanted a baby…sooner or later.

so i prayed. then i dropped a class. and cried. and waited. and dropped another class. and cried. and waited. and dropped another class. and cried. and waited… for negative result after negative result, and no period.  after several months of this draining cycle, my OB referred me to a fertility specialist.  he prescribed me Provera which brought my cycle back the following month.

just. like. that.

i felt tons better and like a normal woman again. our strength and outlook on the whole baby-making process was renewed and TTC (fyi, that stands for trying to conceive from all the mommy-hood message boards i scoured at the time lol) became fun again, not a timed task.  but after a few more months of ovulation tests and scheduled intercourse, that stick just wouldn’t yield a positive result.  so, i had multiple tests run.  an HSG test was done to ensure my fallopian tubes weren’t blocked. what an uncomfortable day that was.  turns out they weren’t blocked though.  Sonny, on the other hand, passed all his tests with flying colors so he was eradicated immediately.  hopes were high again for the next month. negative.  i’ve never been a fan of roller coasters and wanted off this stupid ride. then the guilt set in.  i was extremely close to accepting that my negligence damaged me to the point of never being able to conceive a child.  around that time, God made two extremely special friends of mine even more prevalent in my life, just when i needed them.  they prayed for me, over me, and agreed in prayer with me that God would bless Sonny and i with a child in His time…… and under certain conditions.  i had to chill with the exercise.  i had to sacrifice the very thing i could not imagine going a day without.  i kept teaching my classes (i believe i was only doing 3 a week by that point) and did no other form of exercise outside of them except, walk. walk, walk, walk. nothing else.  this was because i would use my class as my warm up, then go do my own intense workout afterwards, every time.  even on the days i didn’t teach class, you knew where to find me.  after almost 2 months of sticking to the script, spending more time with the Lord (poof, i had a lot more spare time suddenly) exercising less, and giving my body the break it deserved, i had several friends including Sonny’s mom tell me about Clomid. i brought it up to my Specialist at my next visit.

after the very first round of Clomid (+ the self-administered Ovidrel shot, :shock: yikes), boom. our Chiso was on the way.

just. like. that.

35weeks

please read about my 1st fit preggo journey here!

>>fast forward>>

i was eager to return to my regularly scheduled workout program after giving birth….. i could not wait.  i was completely recovered (natural birth + episiotomy) after about 2.5 weeks total.

so, i loaded lil’ Chiso up into our new jogging stroller and hit the bricks! just to the mailbox and around the neighborhood though.  i was a good girl and waited the full 6 weeks to hit the gym again.  trust…Sonny made sure of it :roll:

>>fast forward>>

around Memorial day of 2012  (Chiso was almost 1-year-old), some friends of ours competed in a body building competition which intrigued me tremendously.  i’ve always wanted to be a bodybuilder!!!! always.  this only fueled my fire since it was so close to home.  Sonny has always wanted to compete, but only without the use of supplements.  more importantly to him were the new sleep apnea and blood pressure issues he faced for the 1st time in his life from the added 50lbs he put on after his college track days.  the dr. visit scare reminded him of his late father’s symptoms who passed away when he was 19,  just 1 year before we met.  not wanting to contribute to the possibility of leaving Chiso and I behind too soon, he instantly put his health in the forefront again.  anyway, i would always get crazy looks, comments, blank stares, and ‘are you serious?’ faces from friends and family about bodybuilding so i never took it seriously either.  not this time- Sonny and i agreed to train for our 1st competition together that would take place 4 months later on our 5th wedding anniversary, September 15th.  i still didn’t have a period at this point because i was breastfeeding Chiso regularly.

so we were off!  we committed wholeheartedly to our competition journey and started going hard with the weight training, sticking to our nutrition plans to the T, dropping body fat like crazy, and just training everyday with no breaks or rest days.  the ironic part? after somehow surviving that daily, strenuous, gym, work, home, gym again,  schedule, i was still lactating like crazy.  that was largely due to my diet, no doubt.  no processed or fried foods, only a combo of oatmeal (a big milk production booster), brown rice, sweet potatoes, egg whites, spinach, asparagus, apples, bananas, blueberries, chicken breast, lean beef, tilapia, almonds, and avocado, 5 – 6 times per day. no supplements, shakes, pills, powders were used or wanted because i didn’t want to pass any foreign ingredients to Chiso.

read about our 14 week transformations here.

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the end result? well, we made it! we even ended up bringing home some hardware! (hardware = trophies).  what a weekend and what a ride.

afterwards….. i was in love. i was super proud of my body and the new level of leanness i was able to achieve with the help of my former trainer.  i was fitter and smaller than before i got preggo with Chiso!  teaching my classes minimized my recovery time and got me back to my pre-preggo size quickly, but at the time i was convinced that was the best my body could do.  my clothes fit way different or just didn’t fit anymore at all, and i was slipping into things i hadn’t worn in years  that had been pushed to the back of my closet. my pride wouldn’t let me throw or give anything away.

Sonny and i headed to Jamaica to celebrate our wedding anni the sunday after our show and had a blast.  when we got back, i wasn’t necessarily interested in doing another show right away because, well, i told myself after i was done i would chill out and prepare my body for baby #2.  that was the plan…that fell through immediately.  from October 12 – June 13 i was living and training like i was about to compete in another show.  i’d wake up claiming that day as a rest day and found myself outside running or at the gym anyway raking up cals on my Polar HR watch.  now, being active is important to me.  i recommend daily movement to everybody.  but unless i burned a certain number of cals or was drenched in sweat, i wouldn’t leave the gym.  obsessed & unbalanced.  i was being stubborn and counter productive to my ultimate goal. again.

 let’s be real. we all want to look good, all the time.  for some competitors that desire is even more so magnified once we step off that stage.  when we start to look ‘normal’ again and go off our competition diet in the slightest bit, we feel fluffy, unfocused, and as if we’ve let ourselves go completely.  so, we flip the competition prep switch on.  in my case, i had no scheduled shows coming up.  since my body was on a way fitter level than before my 1st pregnancy, it was twice, no, quadruple times harder to let go of the exercise reigns.

the journey to baby #2 went in a somewhat similar fashion. this time though, increasing my body fat along with decreasing my workout intensity and activity level was number one on my to-do list. first, Provera brought my period back (after i stopped breastfeeding around 19 months it needed another jump-start i guess), then a round of Clomid.  and another round of Clomid. and another, followed by my very first IUI.  i remember speaking with my good friend by phone and expressing my frustrations as Sonny and i were on the rocky TTC road again.  she felt in her spirit that there was one constant clearly hindering the process. again.  and she was right.  of course she was right!  God was speaking through her because i wasn’t listening to Him.  then she politely reminded me about our agreement from my 1st pregnancy when she prolly should have screamed it into the phone instead.  we made the very same commitment with the Lord together in prayer and from that point on i only walked outside of teaching my 2 classes per week.  committing to do nothing but walk… don’t even get me started!  one of the toughest mental battles, ever.  i’d glance in the mirror every so often and see more jiggle here, a new softness there, and it would just make me want to say screw it and go sprint outside in the street!!!!  i could not disregard my promise or my priorities, and worrying so much about every little change in this temporary, earthly body of mine was ruining me.   this process reinforced spiritual discipline, submission, and obedience to God.  patience. faith.. the list goes on.  so while enduring the ongoing, daily spiritual growth (which is most important), there is something greater developing beyond my simple sacrifice:

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our 2nd blessing,

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*****

i have stopped asking myself  ‘why did i wait until 30 years old to finally do a bikini competition?’ and accept that the ‘delay’ was all apart of His plan for my life.  He knows me better than i ever will. He created me.   fitness will forever be my passion. i was born to do this! no doubt in my mind.  but abusing my gift and living an unbalanced, unhealthy lifestyle was never apart of the deal.  if balance is not present in anything we do, the snowball effect takes place.  you may think you can handle it and that things are under control for a few weeks….months….even years… but eventually the scales tip and fall over.  i highly doubt i would have been able to handle sacrificing my body for even one child had i dabbled in the sport of bodybuilding at a much younger age.  i’ve learned that menstrual cycle issues are such touchy and taboo subjects for women competitors, and some would simply rather not discuss it.  apparently some women never lose their cycle, and some cycles come right on back once that competitor’s body fat level rises to a normal range. does that happen for the majority of women competitors? good question. i don’t know. i do know that the road to conception is different for every woman…just like the pregnancy itself, labor, and delivery.  every woman’s got her story whether she chooses to share it or not.

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this post was months in the making.  part of me wanted it to come out perfectly, and the other half just wanted it to come OUT already.  i’m no longer ashamed or so secretive of the fertility drug discussions or questions.   7.3 million active and inactive women face infertility, yet it’s still such a taboo subject, especially in the bodybuilding and athletic arena.  the sense of feeling like less of a woman for being unable to conceive naturally can be overwhelming and lead to a loss of self-worth.  unfortunately, the same can be said depending on the way a woman delivers her baby!  there is nothing wrong with ‘help’. pain meds, epidurals, c-sections, etc.,–  they all go under the same umbrella in my eyes.  infertility is a medical condition, not a measure of who you are as a person.  breaking my silence has been incredibly empowering and played a crazy huge role in eliminating the ‘broken’ feelings i used to have about my body.  this ongoing journey has reinforced how living as a positive, balanced, realistic picture of health to my family and everyone i reach via social media, my blog, and on the street is such a vital part of my purpose.

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transparency is not easy. i feel the reader isn’t affected nearly as much as the writer spilling their beans and putting themselves out there.  regardless, it sure does feel good to share.

as always, thanks for reading.

le

bok bok bok! healthy, homemade chicken nuggets

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after a fantastic early morning church service that concentrated on faithfulness to your spouse, i got crackin’ on meal prep right away.  i roasted some asparagus (seasoned with Weber Zesty Lemon blend) and some red bell peppers (seasoned with Weber Smoky Mesquite) in the oven on 400 degrees for 17-20 minutes or so. for our protein, i made something i will be making more often, especially for Chiso since he loves’em.

the coating for this recipe stemmed from the Fit Sticks recipe in my first ebook!  anytime Chiso eats and asks for more of something homemade i have to shout it from the roof tops!

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healthy, whole wheat, tender, baked, HOMEMADE CHICKEN NUGGETS!

i went a lil’ crazy and made them 3 ways: baked nuggets, and pan seared & grilled strips.

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the coating can easily be gluten-free if you use gluten-free bread to make your breadcrumbs.  i used toasted Sara Lee 45 Calories & Delicious multigrain wheat bread.  a few pulses in the food processor and that’s it!

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healthy homemade chicken nuggets 

the stuff:

  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 + 2 tbsp cup almond meal
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
  • 1 heaping tbsp of your fave no-salt seasoning (lemon pepper, cajun, bbq, etc)
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp parsley
  • sea salt & cracked black pepper to taste

do this:

  1. set oven to 450 degrees.
  2. cut chicken into desired shapes and coat with olive oil.
  3. spread a layer of foil across a large baking pan and coat it with no-stick cooking spray.
  4. add all dry ingredients into a medium mixing bowl; blend well.
  5. in a large tupperware container with a lid, add in a few raw chicken pieces with a few spoonfuls of breading and SHAKE!  (or you could spread out some breading on a plate and dredge the chicken pieces until fully coated but this way was easier and not as messy AND Chiso had fun doing all the shaking :lol: )
  6. space the nuggets out across your baking sheet and bake for 17-20 minutes. (high heat & 4-5 min on each side if grilling, and 7-10 min on each side if pan searing or until done in the center.)
  7. let them cool, then whip out the dipping sauces! we used honey mustard, Weber all natural Buzz’n Honey bbq sauce, and dijon mustard.

i know i cut strips with some of my chicken, but i used 4 large breasts total.  you can cut at least 40 nuggets alone from 4 breasts though.  stats per nugget (using 40 ct):

35 cals,  1g carb, 2g fat, 3g protein

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then we had a biggest belly contest! happy sunday family funday!

le