I’ve shared my makeup and I’ve shared my suit. Now it’s time to share with you the handful of things that really got me through my four month prep. These would all be great to have for anybody looking to shed a few pounds, whether you’re stage bound or not.
“I got hot sauce in my bag, swag.”
This line right here could be my entire prep theme song. When you start eating the same thing over and over, you need a bit of variety or a little dash of flavor to spice things up. I carried around varieties of hot sauce during this prep. Frank’s original was my favorite and I should have bought stock in the company due to the amounts I ingested, but I also enjoyed my fair share of Tabasco, salsa verde, and buffalo sauce.
It is also believed that spicy foods rev up your metabolism, so BONUS!
No Sodium and Low Sodium Seasonings
The easiest way to flavor up boring veggies and proteins is to throw delicious herbs and seasonings on them. My favorite mixture during prep has been pizza flavored seasoning. I throw that on lentils, baked cauliflower, tempeh, and more. Opt for low/no sodium seasonings to reduce bloating related to high sodium intake.
When I wanted a little treat, I turned to tea. The herbal and green teas helped me feel full and satisfied, keeping me from turning to unplanned food as I would have in the past. These small wins add up over time and I was able to have those wins just by having delicious tea.
Stevia, sweet nectar of the gods, how I love thee. Stevia is a calorie-free sweetener, so I was able to use it to sweeten things up when I really just wanted to bite into a piece of cake. I put it in my oatmeal, soy yogurt, nice cream, soy milk, and sometimes even my shakes to make them taste like the most decadent desserts. I usually opted for French vanilla flavors, but you can also find it in raspberry, chocolate, caramel, and more!
I know I’ve talked about this before when I discussed 7 ways to trick yourself into waking up for an early-morning workout and I promise this won’t be the last time I mention it. Energize, sometimes affectionately called my unicorn juice, is liquid gold or maybe crack or possibly both. I don’t know what it is about it, but I can’t get enough. Honestly, with my doctor’s permission, I was getting close to the max serving recommendation per day, especially towards the end of prep. I used this before both of my daily workouts (once in the morning and once in the afternoon) and I’d sometimes have a third scoop on my drive home from work. When you’re in a calorie deficit and losing weight, you’re going to be more exhausted than normal. Energize helped me break through those low energy walls and feel more functional than a zombie.
When those muscles got sore, either from lifting heavier weights or working muscles I had NEVER worked before, it was bath time. I used these epsom salts to help relax my muscles and loosen my joints back up after my most intense workouts. Adding epsom salts to my bath was new to me, but it was recommended by my super trainer and I think she knows a little bit about taking care of the body, haha. If I remember correctly, both of these bags had a warning on them reminding you that while the salt smells good enough to eat, it is not safe for ingestion. I’m sure they’re required by law to put that warning there, but I have to admit that I thought it was funny because these did indeed smell good enough to eat. Even if there were no proven benefits of epsom salt, I’d still use this stuff for the scent alone.
One final way to treat myself through prep has been face masks. I used to regularly turn to food and drinks to celebrate achievements in my life. I’d also turn to them when I was stressed or even bored. Now I turn to face masks to solve all of my problems. That doesn’t always work out for me, but those 5-10 minutes where I close my eyes and just breathe help me get refocused and refreshed.
I had three separate types of accountability groups that kept me, well, accountable.
- My challenge group clients: First and foremost, having a place to check in with my workouts, foods, and shakes kept my eyes on the prize. I have people who rely on me as their coach to show up every day. When I let myself down, I’m not only letting myself down. Because of this alone, I did not miss one single workout in over four months. We kept motivated with challenge group themes such as Mermaids & Muscles, Go Green or Go Home (Earth Day lasted all month long!), May the Force be With You (for the month of May, duh), and currently a Broadway Bootcamp. I don’t know if I would have made it through this without my groups.
- My Classic Prep Facebook message thread: Before being a competitor, I thought that all competitors were petty, vain, and catty. That was maybe jealousy speaking, I don’t know. It’s funny looking back though, because this extreme sport is one of support and empowerment, opposite of what I had thought before I entered this world. I somehow stumbled into a Facebook chat with girls competing in the same competition as I am. We aren’t tearing each other down through competition. We build each other up and push each other. We share secrets, tips, meal plans, and what we’ve learned along the way. We turn to each other when things are hard because these people are the only ones who really understand what it’s like when not even our husbands, children, mothers, fathers, best friends, etc. understand. These are my competition sisters and I cannot wait to hug them pre-judging and then stuff our faces with Thin Mints together when it’s all said and done.
- My social media following: If you didn’t fall into the first two accountability categories, you belong here in this group. Once I went public with this huge goal of mine, there was no backing out. I made an entire Bikini Fit Britt album on Facebook. Heck, I had an entire hashtag on Instagram. You all watched my stories and read my blog. You were there to cheer for me when I made progress and you picked me up when I was down. Thank you for rooting for me since day one.
Not everybody can get an award in this prep, but I wanted to take a moment to give honorable mentions to the following:
- Lemon/lime/orange/basically all fresh squeezed citrus juices
- Iced Coffee
- Rice Cakes
Couldn’t have done this without ya!
Keep an eye on my social media pages for pictures and videos from the show! Eep!