Mind Over Matter

I turned a year older last week! It was a more subtle birthday because I had spent it out of town and away from the familiarity of Metro Manila’s small social circles. Outside of Facebook notifications for birthday greetings, I got a handful of phone calls from different parts of the world sending love and warm thoughts over the wires (my favourite phone call coming from California). I could be glum about being 35 and feeling like I haven’t done much. Or I can stop being overly critical of myself and be thankful for everything good that I’ve experienced, gained, received, as well as the not-so-good that helped build character and strengthen me mentally.

birthday beach pose
Beautiful Montemar Beach Club, Bataan, Philippines.

After a fun four days at the beach with friends (to celebrate my two best friends getting married, and conveniently, my birthday), I’m back to regular programming. I’m definitely hustling my way back into bikini athlete form and the first step is getting my meal plan together. There was enough torture at the week-long celebration by the beach thanks to the wedding menu which included burgers, steak, and S’mores.

None of those is my hand.

Everyone who’s ever gotten into bodybuilding might tell you that the hardest part about it all is not the 5 days a week of working out at the gym. Not even having to get up at the crack of dawn to hit the iron (which is my preferred time to train). The hardest part is the diet and meal planning. Even if you aren’t into bodybuilding but are seriously into fitness–trying to get in good shape and eat right, then you’ll appreciate the value of meal preparation.

meal prep
Fish, beef, chicken, broccoli, asparagus.

Meal prep can be expensive and time-consuming but it is definitely worth all the trouble. I’ve started making my chicken stock from scratch because I get more bang for my buck (it’s better for me too since I know it’s made from fresh ingredients and I can control the sodium content). One carton of chicken stock from the supermarket is about $2.99 for a litre. But I get twice and a half that amount for less then $5.

chicken stock prep
Celery, onions, leeks, carrots for my mirepoix.

Sometimes I hit a brick wall and really struggle to get through my meals because I’m craving something savoury and decadent. But I have to keep reminding myself of my goal and that it will all be worth it. Months from now, after the first competition is over, I’m going to be so glad I powered through and didn’t give up. For now, I’m going to have to toughen up and consume my required daily protein and vegetable intake like it’s nice, silky foie gras spread on a perfectly toasted crostini.

Are you on a certain kind of diet? What do you find most exciting/most difficult about taking fitness and health seriously? I would love to know what you think and what your diet menu is like!