Thursday, July 31, 2014

*CoHostess* LIP Linkup #3

I am so honored to be co hosting the LIP Linkup for the month of August! Thank you Linda for the opportunity :)

From Linda's blog:

What is “Life In Pictures”?

Take as many pictures as you want throughout the week or day to recount the things you did avoiding as much text as possible. Your job is to guess what happened!

I love, love, LOVE the idea of this Linkup. I think Linda is a genius for creating it. A picture really is worth a thousand words, and I love being nosy and seeing what is going on in people's lives. ;)

Please, join the fun. Link up your post here!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Why I Stopped Counting Calories

I've always been a perfectionist. I still am. For the most part, I think it is a good thing. It motivates me to work hard and usually, succeed at my goals.

But other times, being a perfectionist is a curse. That is what I want to talk about today... how my never ending battle to become fault-less easily turned into something that damaged me both mentally and physically.

I started to count calories around age 11. Looking back on this, it sounds so depressing. An 11 year old shouldn't be worried about calories, she should be focused on school, friends, and having fun.

Around this time, I also started to work out. I found simple workout videos on YouTube and did a few each week. I lost weight, and was so proud.

Now, I don't think counting calories is necessarily a bad thing. If someone is very over weight or has a specific goal, counting and tracking food intake can be very useful and sometimes even mandatory. However, I was doing this task in a very wrong way.

1) I ate processed, fake food. Special K, Yoplait, and 100 calorie packs were my friends. I cared only about calories, not food quality.

2) I restricted way too much. Counting became obsessive, and soon I was eating below 1000 calories.

3) I thought I could "reverse" eating with working out. Ate an extra bowl of cereal? Time to walk on the treadmill for an hour.

4) In relation to the above, I would over eat "bad" foods (like cake, cookies, candy) as a reward, or because I felt so restricted and let wanted to let myself "loosen up."

This was a bad phase in my life. My parents were divorcing, I was not living in my own home, and school was becoming very difficult for me. I used food as my only means of control in this hectic time.

About two years ago, I was at my lowest weight ever. I might make a different post addressing this area in my life, because so much happened then. I was dangerously sick with an eating disorder. However, I will not go into great detail in this post.

Powerlifting saved my life, seriously. This was last year when I first dipped my toes in the world of weight lifting. Still very underweight.

With much struggle, I gained back a healthy portion of weight. Along with outside support, I found it easier to gain weight through heavy lifting/ powerlifting. Eventually I stopped weighing myself all together (I have not been on the scale for months.)

About three weeks after I posted that I was going to start counting macros, I quit counting calories entirely. One day at lunch, I felt weighed down by the fact I was going to have to track what I just ate. I looked at my mother sitting across from me, and simply said, "I'm done."

I have never felt so free. No longer am I bound to a railroad track by the ropes of food restriction- because, honestly, counting calories/macros is exactly that. A form of restriction. (This is just my opinion. If you have a different one, feel free to share, but don't bash me just for thinking differently than you might.)

As I mentioned before, I developed a very bad relationship with eating. Hunger cues were (and still are) all over the place, and the horrible cycle of "restrict/binge" happened a lot. Since I have stopped counting calories entirely, I have improved in the area DRASTICALLY. If I want something sweet, for instance, I will make a batch of healthy, gluten free cookies and have one or two and be done. I never could have done that just a year ago.

My best friend Abby and I, enjoying some fresh cookies before I left to return home to Texas. I act and look so much happier now that I don't count calories!

So, why did I stop counting calories?

To reshape my relationship with food.

To stop over eating.

To stop hating my body or feeling guilty for eating.

For freedom.

Do you count calories? Why or why not?


Friday, July 25, 2014

Food Bullying Needs To STOP



It's a word we all know, an action that most of us have probably endured (or even caused.)

But what about when bullying goes beyond the playground? When it is more than pushing or shoving, calling someone fat or ugly, or talking about people behind their back?

What happens when you go to a party and people laugh at you for not eating something?

Or when your friends and family tease you because you are passionate about supporting organic farming, and a healthy environment?

How about if someone forces you to hold or be around food you don't eat, just to poke fun at you?

FOOD BULLYING comes in many shapes, but it all boils down to this:

We feel BAD for eating foods that make us feel and look GOOD.

My best friend Abby, who is also a clean eating foodie, and I drinking some yummy tea when I visited her. We are proud to be different than others our age, or otherwise.

Especially being a teenage girl, I get picked on all the time for not chowing down on store bought pizza and ice cream and candy.

It's become easier to handle these people because now I know how to approach the situation when it happens.

No longer am I ashamed to eat healthy, or in a way that makes me feel good about myself and the healthy environment I am supporting.

Have you ever experienced "food bullying?"

Natalie NGYY

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Week of Workouts #25

Check out last weeks workouts here.

Bench: 4x4x55#
DB row: 10x2x25# 8x30# 6x2x30#

SS DB shoulder press: 10x15#, 8x20#, 6x2x20#
Single arm chest cable fly ES: 4xsame reps as abovex10#

T bar row: 10x75, 2x8x80 4x6x85

SS Single arm incline DB press:3x8x20
Facepulls: 3x8x35

1 round 54321 DB shoulder press 20# DBS
3x10 ES 20# DB row
3x10 DB floor chest press 20# DBS

Restarting Jonnie Candito's 6 Week Powerlifting Program!

Squat: 45x5, 65x5 85x4 90x4x6
Deadlift: 95x5 115x2x5 130x2x6

Front squat: 45x5, 65x3, 85x2x1, 70x5x3
BSL: 3x8 ES total 60#

Back lunge to kick: 2x8ES 30#
Single leg ext: 2x6ES 40#
Side lunge: 2x8ES 25#

Today I met with a trainer at my gym and worked on form for my powerlifting. It helped a lot.

I also did some sprints in the AM.

Bench: 2x10 45# 8,6x55
DB row: 25x10,10 30x,6

DB shoulder press: 15sx12,12 17.5sx10, 20sx8
Single arm chest fly:8x4 10#

T bar row: 75x12,12 77.5x10 80x8

Push press: 45x3x5

Facepull: 35x8x3
Single arm DB chest press:20x8x3

I loved some battle ropes today, and some biceps and triceps work!

45x5,65x5,85x4, 90x10, 95x5x3
Pause deadlift:100x8x3
Front squat: 45x5, 65x2x4, 70x2x3, 75x2x2

BSL: 60# total 3x10 ES

Single leg ext: 40x2x8 ES

I need to start going back to church, so I went today. I woke up early and got in a workout.

Bench: 2x10 45# 8,6x55

DB row: 25x10,10 30x,6
Single arm chest fly cable: 4x8 10#

DB shoulder press: 15sx12,12 17.5sx10, 20sx8
SS incline pushup 4xsame rep

T bar row: 75x12,12 77.5x10 80x8

3 rounds:
6 face pulls 40#
6 single arm db press ES 20#
6 shoulder press ES 15#

How did you workout this week?

Natalie NGYY

Saturday, July 19, 2014

LIP Linkup 2

Check out previous LIP linkups here:

From Linda's blog:

What is “Life In Pictures”?

Take as many pictures as you want throughout the week or day to recount the things you did avoiding as much text as possible. Your job is to guess what happened!


Before and after...

Head to Linda's blog and join the fun!!


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

WOW LInkup 7/16/14


Diatta Harris
Femme Fitale Fit Club
Sheila Simmons
The Frugal Exerciser



Sheila Simmons
The Frugal Exerciser

Posts and Videos I'm Loving

So apparently, if you are an athlete and have taken Biogrow, you are no longer Natural.

Lindsay loves interval yoga just like I do!

What? A way to workout without leaving your desk?

Heck yes!! Thank you Tara... Lifting weights will POSITIVELY change your body!

Julie has some great ideas for on the go snacks.

Don't forget to link up with us!!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Tiffany: "The Gracious Pantry"s Head Chef!

Today, I am thrilled to be interviewing Tiffany, the mastermind behind the very successful food blog, The Gracious Pantry.

But the Gracious Pantry isn't just any old food blog... it is an incredibly well written, fun and detailed Clean Eating food blog! It also happens to be the very first clean eating blog I ever laid my eyes on.

This is really a special post for me, because without Tiffany, I don't think I would be where I am, doing what I am doing today. She inspired me so much when I first found her, a little 6th grader five or so years ago.

Where were you born and raised and what were your eating habits then?
I was born and raised in Concord, California, very near to San Francisco. I was raised
on healthy foods as my grandmother did most of the cooking. I spent my days with her
while my mom worked full time. She was a single mom too. My grandmother was a
very old fashioned cook. Everything was made from scratch, except it wasn’t some kind
of diet, it was just the way we ate. I didn’t know it then, but we ate about 95% clean.
So I grew up eating clean. But then I turned 16, found some freedom and a paycheck,
and suddenly there was this great big world of fast food and restaurants. I managed
to stay pretty thin thanks to modeling being a dream of mine. But once I realized that
wasn’t going to work out, I drowned my sorrows in food. I just kept eating.... and gaining

How did you learn about Clean Eating?
After my son was born, I knew I had to get healthier for both of us. So I spent an
evening in a bookstore and ran across several books on clean eating. In looking through
the pages, I realized that it was almost exactly the way I had eaten growing up. It was
that night I knew what I had to do.

When did you start making changes in your diet and why?
I started making changes about the same time I started my blog. In September 2009. It
took me a good long while to really incorporate clean eating into my everyday life. But
I finally did it. I still slip now and again, but it’s really just the way I do things now. It’s
once again just the way I eat.

What is it like raising a son on a clean eating diet? Do either of you ever stray?
Absolutely! Life happens. We can’t stick to an eating plan 100% of the time. It’s just not
human to be 100% perfect. I shoot for the 80/20 rule because holidays, birthday parties
and “girls-night-out” happens.

Does your other family eat healthy now that you are known for your Clean recipes?
No. They do their own thing and I do mine. But I’m okay with that. If somebody asks, I’ll
talk to them about it. But for the most part, they do their own thing.

Have friends or family ever came to you asking for advice? What do you tell them?
Not friends or family, but I do get asked for advice all the time in emails from readers.

How do you deal with eating out or going to parties with food? Do you ever experience “food bullying?”
I think any time you eat differently than somebody else, you will most likely experience
some resistance. People don’t like it when you do something different. It pushes them
out of their comfort zone. So yes, I’ve dealt with all kinds of “bullying” from people
around me. Some of those people became so mean, nasty and persistent that I had to
cut ties with them. Others, I just have to keep reminding them that it’s okay if I don’t eat
like they do. The world will not end.

What does a day of eating look like for you or your son?
Right now, I personally am following a low carb, clean eating plan. Something my doctor
recommended. But I don’t push that on my son. I cook him whole grains and clean
treats, and he really doesn’t notice the difference too much. He’s never eaten any other
way with me. Now when he goes to his dad’s house, that’s a different story. But we’re
working on that.
Typically, It’s eggs or oatmeal for breakfast, nuts and fruit for snack, a salad or tuna
fish sandwich/salad for lunch and maybe a taco salad or turkey burger (no bun for me)
for dinner. It’s basic, but it works. Many of the recipes on my blog are what I have for
dinner. I don’t cook separately for the blog. What you see there is what I eat, often
photographed moments before I ate it.

When and why did you start The Gracious Pantry? How has it impacted your life?
At first, it was just a way to keep track of my recipe and my progress. But then it grew.
And the incredibly supportive community that began to surround me online was what
kept me going. I love my readers. They inspire me daily.

What has been the hardest thing about running a blog?
Stolen content. People seem to think that anything on the web is up for grabs. So I
spend at least a small part of my week hunting down stolen content, though truthfully, it
could be a full time job.

What has been your favorite thing about running a blog?
The readers and independence. My readers are fantastic people. I love talking to
them via comments and Facebook. They are amazing people with brilliant ideas and
fascinating backgrounds. I also love that I’ve been able to support myself with my blog
for about 2 years now. Being able to work my schedule around my life instead of the
other way around has allowed me to be home for my son. It’s an incredible thing and I
am deeply grateful for the opportunities that have come my was as a result.

What is your favorite clean eating food (your own recipe or otherwise)? What is your favorite not so healthy food?
My favorite clean recipe is also on my blog. It’s the Clean Eating Plum Torte. It’s crazy
good, especially with a small scoop of ice cream!
My favorite not-clean food would have to be Red Hot Blues. A blue corn chip that is
basically a healthier version of Doritos. If I get off track with my eating plan, it’s usually
because I ran into a bag of Red Hot Blues.

There are so many new diet trends. Paleo, Vegan, Vegetarian, Low carb, ext… what is your take on them? What is your approach to eating?
Yes, there are many options out there. But I view it as a good thing. The human body
is such a specific and individual thing. What works for you may not work for somebody
else. And that’s okay. You have to figure out what works for your body and stick with it.
For some that being vegan, for others it’s paleo. I say, do what works. But in the end,
the real focus and push towards better health falls on eating real food. It’s amazing how
many people can go for days or weeks in this country without ever taking a single bite
of real food. That’s why I love clean eating. You can follow any of those diet plans to
suit your own needs, but as long as you are eating real food, you are essentially eating

Where do you see yourself in 10 years, and what is your ultimate goal?
Oh gosh. At least a few more cookbooks!
And with any luck bigger opportunities will come my way. I’m always looking to grow
and expand both as a person and as a business. So anything that comes my way that
helps me grow is the direction I will head in.

Fun question: If you were stranded on an island and could only bring three things, what would they be?
My son, my sunglasses and a big strawberry patch. We both love strawberries!!!

Thank you Tiffany!! For the interview, your blog, and being my inspiration! I can't wait to see what all you have to offer the Clean Eating community in years to come.

Be sure to follow Tiffany on all her social media!

Twitter- Facebook- Pinterest- SU- Google+- IG

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Week of Workouts #24 WEEK OF PRS

Yet again, Natalie has failed to supply you with the past two weeks of her training. Life gets hectic sometimes.

Basically, the past two weeks have been Weeks 3+4 of Jonnie Candito's Powerlifting Program.

The days I did not lift, I went for outdoor workouts like this with friends and did some yoga (a few games of Twister were also involved. I count it as a workout.)

Bench 45#x5, 55#x5x2, 60#x4
DB Row: 30#x8,6,6
DB shoulder press: 20# (40# total)x8,6,6
T bar row: 80#x8, 85#x6

SS facepulls: 35#x10x3
single arm chest fly: 10#x10x3

Some sprints with friends.

Todays leg day felt really good. I pumped myself up beforehand with music and foam rolling. I REALLY wanted it to be a good one!

Back squat: 45x10, 65x5, 85x 4x 95x3x2, 100x3x2
Deadlift: 95x5, 115x4x 135x3x2, 140x4

Front squat: 45x5, 65x4, 85x1x2, 90x1, 65x3x3
BSS: 50# TOTAL 3x10ES
Leg ext: 105x8, 110x8x2

I did 30 minutes of power yoga!

Sprints with my gal pal Alden in this blasted Texas heat!
20 min AMRAP 50 lb Sandbag carries, sprints, bear crawls, and crab crawls
Spider crawl width, money run width
Human pushes

Bench: 45x5, 55x3, 65x2, 75 failed, 70x1 !!!
DB row: 10,8x25 6,6x30
DB shoulder press: 10x15lb DBS, 8x6x6x 20lb DBS
T bar row: 75x1010,, 80x8,8,8,8 , 70xamrap 8

SS Pushups 4x10-8
Facepulls 40x8,8 3x8,8

DB press 4x6x 25#lb DBS

Squat: 45x10, 65x5 85x4 95x3 105x1 125x1, second attempt failed 115x1 95x3x3

Deadlift: 95x5, 115x3 135x2 155x1 165x1 135x2x3

BSL: 3x10 ES with 25# DBS

Leg ext: 3x8x105,110,115

If you looked up the word "sore" in the dictionary, my face would be right there. Oh my gosh.

I did an hour of intermediate, light yoga!

Sprints didn't work out this AM with friends, but I managed my own home workout.

10 50lb sangbag pickups
10 minutes HIIT intervals

50ish yard sangbag carry, 100 yard sprint x4
3 burpees each time sandbag touches ground

bear crawl around my house

How have you been working out?

Natalie NGYY

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

WOW LInkup 7/9/14


Diatta Harris
Femme Fitale Fit Club
Sheila Simmons
The Frugal Exerciser



Sheila Simmons
The Frugal Exerciser

Videos and Posts Im Loving

Seriously, Jonnie is always great. I love his take on how to handle a bad workout.

I dig videos like this from Matty Fusaro... it shows clips from their regular life! Watch his brother pull three plates (even though he's never deadlifted in his life. Yeah, I cried too.)

I participated in the first ever Life In Pictures Linkup this week! Check out more about it here!

Wow! Look at all the different workouts Heather checked out at Fitbloggin!

My best gal Abby from Yes To Yummy has worked her magic yet again. Gluten Free and Vegan Cannelloni!

Don't forget to link up with us!