It’s no secret that I love treats. I’ve already planned my post-competition, food-fest party which will include everything from Stoney River’s Carrot Cake to Levain Bakery’s double chocolate peanut butter chip cookies, shipped from New York City. I am a self-proclaimed foodie, and even during prep, I try to trick my taste buds into thinking I am having the real deal.
Here are some of the recipes and products that I’ve grown to love and rely on during my 15 weeks of training so far.
1.) Nuts N More Toffee Crunch peanut butter. Not your average nut butter. Nuts ‘N More’s toffee flavor has been a staple in my pantry for many years since I first saw it on Shark Tank. I have tried all of the other flavors, and toffee is still my favorite. It boasts 12g of protein in 1 serving, while regular nut butter has 8g. It also has only 1g of sugar.
2.) SO Delicious CocoWhip! Like cool-whip without the dairy, fake ingredients and GMO’s, the SO Delicious is the perfect topping to just about anything from protein bread to waffles. I store it in the freezer, and scoop just a little out when I need it. Throw a few Guittard chocolate chips on top, and my sweet tooth is satisfied.
3.) I’ve recently gotten completely hooked on MuscleEgg protein egg whites. I have a freezer full of chocolate, pumpkin spice and cake batter flavors. They have a blog full of incredible recipes, including the protein crepes which I made last month which are super low carb and amazing. I was hesitant at first because the shipping is pricey, but now I am a MuscleEgg for life fan. They can also be purchased at some local gyms, so check their website for locations.
4.) FlavorGod seasonings are my go-to spices because they are low sodium and non-GMO. They also come in unique flavors like Taco Tuesday, Spicy Everything, and PIZZA. My favorite sweet seasonings are gingerbread cookie and chocolate donut. I sprinkle them on my protein bread before I bake it or add it to anything that needs a little extra flavor. They are awesome!
5.) I am a big fan of the flapjacked muffins and pancake mixes. I buy them on Amazon for the best price, but they are also sold at Vitamin Shoppe. The Chocolate Peanut Butter muffin tastes like a molten lava cake, and the carrot spice pancake mix is so flavorful. You can also use the pancake mixes to make breads and muffins, so they do double duty.
Speaking of pancakes, I top mine with organic powdered peanut butter (which you add water to and make low fat peanut butter) and Mancakes Syrup, which has less sugar and carbs than real syrup. The ingredients are a little fake, but they are non-GMO, and I use just a tablespoon per serving.
6.) When I need a little something sweet between meals, I use SLAP Nutrition BCAA’s as my drink of choice. I just tried their new “Slappy Hour” Strawberry Mojito which is great if you like a minty flavor. This one also has electrolytes added, so they help to replenish those key components that are lost during my sweaty workouts. Use code MARY for 10% on their website.
Feel free to message me @marydavisfitness on IG for any questions that you may have on these products.
I named the subject of this week’s post after a researcher/storyteller whom I admire very much. If you have not seen her TED Talk abut being vulnerable, take 20 minutes of your day to watch it.
Vulnerable: (adjective) susceptible to physical or emotional attack or harm
When was the last time you were vulnerable? When was the last time you let yourself “be seen, deeply seen, vulnerably seen?” – Brene Brown
For me, that was this week.
I talk very openly about how I like my nighttime snacks. It’s one of the reasons that I love macro-counting, which allows me to build in treats each day so I never feel deprived. With 8 weeks until my show,
it was time to get really serious about my pattern of after dinner eating. Yes, I can still have a meal 6 whenever I want, but sometimes my meal 6 sometimes ends up a bit larger than I intended.
Sometimes it’s because I am hungry. I am definitely in a full-on calorie defect of about 300-500 calories a day, depending on my activity level that day. A few nights a week, I eat dinner and am hungry an hour later because my body immediately uses that food to refuel the training I just put it through. So sometimes, that night hunger is seriously LEGIT. But sometimes it is just a pattern. And when I discover a pattern in my life, I know well enough that there’s a reason for it – and that reason usually has to do with feelings, not ice cream.
After 35 years, I’ve lived enough life to know myself pretty well. I am well aware of the type of personality I was born with that allows me to easily fall into patterns, sometimes healthy, sometimes
unhealthy. When I was in high school, I was always looking for a way to fit into my social circle of smart, athletic girls who were popular and well-liked. I never really felt “a part of” during that vulnerable
time in my life. I never really felt good enough. It was during that time where my first (of many) patterns developed: disordered eating. It was a sad and dark period in my adolescence where I would not eat at all during the day and would binge and purge at night. The cycle allowed me to numb my feelings, so I didn’t have to feel them. I engaged in this behavior for about a year. Finally people were looking at me, and telling me how skinny I looked. I liked the attention, even if it was negative attention. It made me feel like I belonged. My behavior eventually became unmanageable. I withered down to about 110 pounds (I am 134 pounds today) and my parents gave me an ultimatum: get healthy or no college. I knew I wanted to go to college, so with some outside help I was able to arrest my disordered eating. When I went off to JMU that fall, I was able to leave that pattern in the past, but I picked up some others along the way. I had the disease of “more” because “more” was always better. In my twenties, I did a lot of work on myself, so for the most part all of my patterns and numbing are gone. Sometimes minor issues still crop up, but I know myself well enough to look at the feelings behind the behaviors to find out why.
This week I posted a sign on my fridge that reminds me of my goal, and I posted a picture of it on social media, to connect to others. I was
vulnerable. I try to be as real and transparent with others as possible. I work hard, and it is hard sometimes. It’s discipline and sacrifice, and sometimes I struggle. I am a real person just like you. I try. I fail. I try again. I always try again.
So when I posted that sign on social media, I did it without caring “what people would think.” I didn’t care if people saw me as weak. “Why can’t Mary get control of her eating and be PERFECT during prep.” I didn’t care at all if you judged me. Go for it. It’s none of my business what you think.
I posted this sign to help others. I never want anyone to think that I have it all figured out, because I don’t. I am far from perfect, and I use my imperfections to help me grow.
Here are some of the comments I received on Instagram:
“Same for me!! I’m good all day and then I’m trolling for dessert!”
“Clean eat all day…SUGAR CRAVE AT NIGHT! Stop the madness.”
“Lol. Me Right there. All me.”
“No comment because I sooooo agree.”
“I’m right there with ya! Between 8-10pm the struggle is real!”
The list goes on. I even had someone approach me this week to share with me some feelings she had about her nighttime eating which she
believes may be disordered. While my pattern should not be confused with “binge eating” which is a very real and serious eating disorder, it’s
still a pattern that I am uncomfortable with.
What feelings am I numbing?
*The pressure I put on myself to do well in my show.
*The pressure I put on myself to balance everything in my busy life.
*The pressure I put on myself to do it all, even though no one expects me to do it all.
All of my feelings are derived from my own thoughts.
Life is HARD sometimes, and as humans we look for ways to cope.
So, just for today, I am going to sit with my feelings and just feel them. I’m not going to look for comfort in an extra scoop of peanut
butter with chocolate chips. I am not going to allow my pattern to stand in the way of my goal.
I want to help others. It is always my goal to inspire and motivate. This week my goal is to share with you the real me so that you
can allow yourself to share the real you with someone you trust. Maybe there is a pattern in your life that you know keeps cropping up. A
pattern you tell yourself each morning that you’re not going to engage in, but by lunchtime you’re back at it. It’s OKAY. Allow yourself to
feel your feelings. They are just feelings, and they are fleeting. Allow yourself to be vulnerable today. You just may help someone else
in the process.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the word competition. So much so, that it has taken me two weeks to write this blog post.
Compete (verb): strive to gain or win something by defeating or establishing superiority over others who are trying to do the same.
My husband is a football coach for the United States Naval Academy. He and his players tediously prepare for their game each week. They dissect film in dark rooms for hours upon hours. They study past games, past coaches, past meetings. They prepare strategies against each tendency. Then they study and practice some more until it’s gameday and time to perform. They know exactly who their opponent is, what they are capable of and if they have won or lost to them in the past. They are as prepared as they can possibly be for each game.
I’ve been thinking about the word competition when it comes to daily life. I saw the movie “Bad Moms” recently which highlighted the competition between women and moms to be the best, “establishing superiority over other who are trying to do the same.” There’s a “keeping up with the Joneses” competition in society to have the best cars, houses, STUFF. And as back to school approaches, we are reminded of the competition between parents to send their kids to the best schools, prepare them to excel in sports and to get into the best colleges.
Competition is pretty damn exhausting.
I posted a quote on social media last week that describes my feeling on competition: “If you continuously compete with others, you become bitter, but if you continuously compete with yourself, you become better.”
I know I’m only 35, but I’ve lived enough life to know that I have absolutely no desire to compete in the society’s competition. I don’t care if you handmade all of your kids Halloween costumes while planning their flawless birthday party and create DIY Pinterest projects each week. That is awesome, but I suck at that stuff, and I am fine with it. I don’t care if you have the entire fall line of Tory Burch. I am happy with my stuff. Some of it is old. Some of it is new. I don’t wear 90% of it because I am in workout gear or pajamas for most of my life, and I am fine with that. I am happy with my level of parenting. I crush it in the kitchen (I know my strengths), but I can’t take my daughter to her weekly gym class and see every new thing that she does exactly when she does it, because I work and I have a full-time nanny. I am happy with my effort to do as much as I can in my family to be a supportive wife and mom. I don’t need to do more or be more or have more just because you do. I am so grateful that I have that peace of mind and my society competition meter is broken. I also know enough about myself to know that if that meter every gets “fixed” one day and I start to compete with you to have your stuff or to do more and to try to be perfect in everything that I do, that something is seriously wrong inside of me. I know, for me, that inner peace is an inside job, so if I start to compete with you, then something is not right on my inside.
In the dark hours of the past 11 weeks that I have been training for this competition, I’ve had to channel that inner peace when I’ve wanted to blow it all on some cake. I’ve had to stop and think WHY I started down this path 11 weeks ago. I WANTED this challenge. I chose it. My husband reminds me of that when I complain about my lack of cake. (He is currently singing a song in the kitchen as I am typing this: “Who likes hot dogs more than me? No one. No one.” I can’t make this shit up).
I have no opponents to study, no film to watch, no previous meetings to compare my performance to. It’s just me. When I step on stage on November 19th, I could be competing against 5 women or 50 women. I could be competing against newbies or stage veterans. I have no idea.
So as my father-in-law, a former dual-sport college coach, reminded me last week, “You just have to train like everyone else is training harder.”
Have you ever had to channel that inner motivation during some dark hours in your training? Maybe you’re trying to lose the last 5 pounds of your baby weight. Maybe you’re trying to lose 30 pounds that I have crept up on you slowly over the years after some stressful life changes. Maybe you want to maintain your weight but you really want to grow those beautiful muscles.
Whatever your goal is, I challenge you to compete against one person only: YOURSELF. Look in the mirror. That is your competition.
Say no to the comparing game on social media as you scroll through your IG news feed. Say no to feeling inferior to the PTA mom that “makes it all look easy.” Say no to the endless pressure that we all put on ourselves to do everything perfectly.
Just try to be better than the person YOU were yesterday. Wake up, and do the very best that you can each day. Some days that’s getting out the door without spilling coffee on your shirt. Some days that’s crushing your workout and your nutrition, and getting 8 hours of sleep. Just honor yourself. You are enough. Now go out there and crush it.
Have you ever had a diet or a new change in your life get in the way of your REAL life? That was one of the fears I had before I started training for this competition. The fear wasn’t around what people thought of me because frankly “what people think about me is none of my business,” a phrase I learned about 7 years ago that has forever stuck with me. I really didn’t care if people rolled their eyes if I brought a container of pre-weighed, perfectly portioned food to the beach or social event. I didn’t fear if people thought that I was obsessed with my body or selfish and self-centered. It was not my job to convince people of my motives, of my desire to challenge myself more than ever before. It’s absolutely none of my business what anyone thinks, and that is a very freeing feeling. Feel free to borrow this phrase anytime and apply it in your own life. Go on. Try it. You’ll thank me later.
The fear that I had was around if my training would negatively affect my family – my daughter – my husband – our marriage.
My husband is a football coach, and the summer is his only real time off. We spend a lot of time together which is well deserved and needed, because during the season, he works 7 days a week from August until February. So beginning this training during his time off was something that we talked a lot about before I committed to this challenge. Would it affect our traveling, our ability to eat out, our time together if I had to pull away for training? I decided that it would only negatively affect us if I LET it, and during this part of my training while my husband is off from work, I have to be a bit more flexible than I plan to be as I get closer to my competition. So when our four-year wedding anniversary came last week, we decided to head to the beach for the night.
I texted my coach a progress picture the day before, and he gave me permission to have a cheat dinner AND dessert. Score! I am very pleased with the changes I have seen in only 3 weeks of working with him. My lower fat macros, although very hard to hit, have set off some changes, notably in my abs and my legs. I am not complaining.
We had an amazing dinner at Salt Air Kitchen in Rehoboth Beach that evening. The wait at 6:30pm for 2 people was quoted 90 minutes, but they got us in after about 40. The place reminds me of one of my favorite Baltimore restaurants where we spent our two year anniversary, the Woodberry Kitchen. The atmosphere was rustic and charming, and the food was comforting and so fresh. My cheat meals have to be “clean cheats” so I opted for filet and crab cake with a “candy bar” dessert.
Even though I got a pass for dinner, that is only one of the meals that I would be eating while traveling for the 36 hours that we were away. I still had to plan for 2 breakfasts, 2 lunches, and snacks. I packed a lot of food with me for the trip – protein bread, chicken salad made with Greek yogurt, celery and onions, a nuts ‘n more toffee crunch and jelly sandwich on flax and quinoa bread (bread, nut butter and jelly all weighed on a gram scale), harvest snaps for snacking on the beach. We ate out for lunch at the hotel when we arrived, and I ordered a spinach salad with a piece of salmon on top. It had minimal ingredients in the salad, so it was pretty easy to log into My Fitness Pal, and I asked for salsa for the dressing. That is one trick I always use when I dine out – use salsa for dressing and save the fat that is in oils for something much better, like avocados, nut butter or red meat. In the morning before we left, we opted for the free hotel breakfast, and I had a small serving of steel cut oats and snacked on my protein bread. I also made sure to load up on water and BCAAs during the trip so that I did not get dehydrated. These BCAAs have a sweet kick, so they helped me with any cravings I had as I passed the local ice cream shoppes. Overall, I was able to do pretty well considering all of the temptations that are available on vacation.
We headed home to Annapolis at around 1pm on Friday, and after we got home and put Gianna to bed, I headed to the gym for an evening workout. Since this trip fell on Fourth of July week and I had already taken a rest day on Monday and Thursday, I HAD to get my workout in. I didn’t want to get home then rush off and miss out on time with my daughter whom I hadn’t seen in a day. I was back in time for a late dinner and a relaxing Friday night in. On Saturday morning, I was back on track 100%. An hour of weights in the gym, a one-hour grueling spin class and close to 1000 calories burned.
So, for now, my fears (false evidence appearing real) are just made up scenarios in my head that are not true or real. I can still prep for the toughest competition of my life while being flexible with my methods. I think we’ll even go back to the beach next week and bring the peanut. This time no cheats, more food for the hotel fridge, and more fun with my whole family.
Lately I’ve been snacking on some chocolate chip protein bread when I want a sweet treat. It’s great cold from the fridge, and I love it because it’s dense and filling. And who doesn’t love chocolate chips!?
I have made this protein bread a few times with different protein powders, and I definitely recommend Slap Nutrition – Peanut Butter and Slappy Birthday are amazing! This protein powder is hormone free, antibiotic free, soy lecithin free, and sweetened with Stevia. It also bakes very well and comes in a variety of flavors. Use code: MARY for 10% off.
I also really like the PEScience brand for this recipe. It also bakes very well. Use code BEYONDFIT for 30% off on their website. I like the Gourmet Vanilla and Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup flavors. This brand uses artificial sweeteners.
Feel free to do some experimenting of your own to change up the flavors. This bread goes great with 2T. of truwhip (a non-GMO version of Cool Whip). Here is the recipe!
Chocolate Chip Protein Bread
adapted from iheartmacros
Serves 8. Macros per slice: 103 cal, 3g fat, 7g carbs, 11g protein, 2g sugar, 3g fiber
1/2 cup coconut flour (56g)
1 scoop of whey protein powder, recommend PEScience protein
1 tsp. baking powder
1T. Stevia (optional)
4 ounces whole milk Greek yogurt or So Delicious unsweetened plain coconut yogurt
12 liquid ounces of egg whites (making sure to use a liquid measuring cup or a gram scale to measure)
2 whole eggs
15g (about 2T.) semi-sweet chocolate chips (recommend Guittard – they are amazing)
15g unsweetened coconut shredded (toast at 350 degrees for 5 minutes for even more flavor) – optional, not included in macros
Mix dry ingredients in a bowl (excluding chocolate chips), making sure to remove any clumps. Add wet ingredients and wisk together until fully combined. Pour into a greased loaf pan. Sprinkle chocolate chips on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes until golden brown. Let cool, and cut into 8 slices. Store in an air tight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. Enjoy!
How do you stay motivated?
I get this question a lot. For me, the answer is simple: “it comes from within.” I know that is not very specific, and it doesn’t really help to explain my personal motivation, so let me share a little bit about motivation in general, and maybe you’ll see what I mean.
There are two types of motivation: intrinsic motivation and extrinsic motivation.
Intrinsic motivation means that the individual’s motivational stimuli are coming from within. For instance, a person is taking a spin class at the gym because he or she gets pleasure from taking the class and from the feeling that results after it’s over. It’s motivation that comes deep from within the core. Not everyone has it, but everyone can get it. People who are intrinsically motivated are physically active because they truly enjoy it.
Extrinsic motivation means that the individual’s motivational stimuli are coming from outside or really anywhere except from the inside. Examples of an external factor that motivates people are: to lose weight, to be healthy, to make their spouse happy, to look good, or to meet new people.
Very few people are entirely intrinsically or extrinsically motivated. It’s usually a combination of the two.
Now here is the KEY…
You are more likely to stay on-track with your fitness and nutrition plans if you are INTRINSICALLY motivated.
The boyfriend, the hot bikini body, the compliments, they are great and all, but you have to want it for yourself from within in order to ensure long term success.
Here are some strategies for transitioning towards intrinsic motivation:
- Remind yourself why you are here – If you’ve taken one of my spin classes, you’ve heard me say, “why are you here?!” Remember your personal goals and motivating factors for getting to the gym and staying on track.
- Stay hooked on that feeling – Reflect on the positive feelings and successes you’ve previously experienced from regularly exercising. How did you feel overall? Did exercise improve other aspects of your life besides your physical appearance? For many people exercise is a mental stress-reliever, not just a physical one.
- Set GOALS – I cannot stress this enough! I ALWAYS have a goal in mind. Create a short-term (weekly), medium-term (monthly), and long term (6+ months) goal for yourself. Make sure it is a S.M.A.R.T. goal, meaning Specific, Measurable, Attainable, REALISTIC, and Timely. For instance, “to lose weight,” is NOT a good example of a S.M.A.R.T. goal. I want, “to lose 5 pounds by June 1st” is a S.M.A.R.T. goal if the current date is May 1st, because that is a realistic and achievable goal that you can measure.
- Keep in mind that change takes time – It is important to remember that change does not occur overnight. Recognize that in order to obtain desired results both time and continued effort are required. Consistency is key to success!
- Remember that you have to do this for YOU – You will have the most success if you are your own cheerleader, not your spouse, your best friend or your weight loss group. In the end, it’s you vs. you in the mirror.
More to come on motivation, but I hope this helps to start your weekend off with a little extra pep in your step for staying on track. Stay healthy people!