MILF Monday: 4 Weeks Out & Prioritities

4 Weeks Out

This past week has been a whirlwind.
I was kicking ass and taking names with my workouts.
My dad had been sick all week, so my family had all been keeping kind of a close eye on him.
Apparently not close enough...

Friday morning, when I was on my way to the gym my mom called in a panic:
"Brandi, you need to get up to the hospital NOW, your dad is not doing well and I need someone here!"

I was in my car and en route not 30 seconds later.
When I got to the hospital and saw my dad I knew things were bad.

He'd been fighting an intestinal infection for several days and was SEVERELY dehydrated.
He had dangerously high potassium levels (7.6 - normal is .8 - 1.2) and could not walk or see.
He was not very coherent and could not speak very well.
He looked like he was 88 years old. This is not like my dad at all. My dad is a very active and healthy 53 year old.
So to see him like that scared the living bejeesus out of me.

His kidneys had shut down from dehydration. His diabetes medicine that he takes regularly (he's type 2 diabetic) is also very hard on the kidneys.
So those two things put together caused his kidneys to stop working.
He hadn't urinated since Wednesday.

He was transferred to a bigger hospital in Dallas where we were told he needed to be put on dialysis.
The second I heard that word and looked over at my moms face, I lost it.
My mom had watched her mom, my Mema, who passed away in December, go through dialysis for years. It was not pretty.
So when we heard he needed dialysis, we all freaked out.

The plan was to jumpstart his kidneys so they would start functioning on their own again.
If they didn't start functioning on their own after dialysis, we made a decision right then that whoever was a match for him was donating a kidney.
There was never a question in mine, my sisters, my brothers, or my moms minds that we would donate a kidney to my dad.
It was all just kind of a known fact.
And I love knowing that we've all got each other's backs like that.
It's a powerful thing.

Saturday early morning my mom was woken up in my dads room by hospital staff saying that her stepdad, my Papa, was brought in to the hospital for a pneumonia in both lungs.
His oxygen levels were around 60, they are supposed to be at 100.

So him and my dad are in the same hospital currently, two doors down from each other.

My dad has vastly improved since Friday.
He underwent two rounds of dialysis and his kidneys are functioning again. He is urinating on his own without a catheter now.
I know this sounds funny, but it's a huge deal!
He was up walking around yesterday!

My Papa is doing better as well. They are keeping him a little while longer as well.

So clearly, things have been a tad out of whack this weekend.
My number one priority was being there for my family.
It always is, but my workouts and nutrition were the last thing on my mind this weekend. I still did okay, but I had a few slip ups. I'm not stressing over it.
I'm taking this last 4 weeks to hit it HARD.
Harder than normal.
No once a week cheat meals, like I was previously allowing myself.
I'm still doing great with my workouts and getting them all in, no problems.
I'm just finding it difficult still to stick to plan 100% of the time.
Y'all know the food is not easy for me. It's no secret I love to eat crap food.
I'm still struggling with it, but I just try to take it one meal at a time and focus on making healthy choices NOW.

And it's OKAY if I don't get where I want to be with this phase. It's a learning game and I'll just get right back up and try again next time.

How did you do this week?
If it was less than great, let's just get right back up and make up for it this week!

And thank you all for the prayers and kind words regarding my dad and grandpa.
It truly means a lot to me.

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My Favorite Workout Gear

Y'all. I got dressed IN REAL CLOTHES before 10am today!
This is big.
Like monkeys using forks, big.

Since working from home my wardrobe consists of workout gear and MORE WORKOUT GEAR!
And of course my favorite workout gear happens to be super cute, too! #winning
I came across Glyder several months ago and fell in love. A deep, everlasting kind of love.
Their pants are SO COMFY, don't show sweat, and make my ass look phenom.

Their shorts are ALL THE BOOTY.

When I was bigger, one of my goals was to be able to wear cute booty shorts and not feel self conscious in them.
And y'all, it's hot as balls in Texas in the summer. And I work out in a warehouse gym.

And this just in... their sports bras are awesome. I was hesitant to try them at first, because, well, these things need to be wrangled, y'hurd?

I even wore them to sprint in the other day and was totally fine.
I don't do long distance anymore, but they were perfect for my sprints. And lifting.
I like them because the straps are small and they're cute. They're not bulky, which is nice.
And they come in fun colors and shit.

Know what else is pretty awesome?
Glyder has agreed to give the winner of the 8 Week Challenge a $100 gift card!

You can also get 20% off with coupon code 'MAMALAUGHLIN'.
Who doesn't love a discount??

How are you doing in the challenge?? Tell me what you're struggling with! Let me know I'm not the only one who has been licking Reese's wrappers like it's going outta style. ;)

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MILF Monday: 5 Weeks Out

5 Weeks Out

This week was much better than last. I didn't sneak bites. I didn't cheat, for the exception of my "cheat meal" which was some bites of some festival food (chips) when we were at the Deep Ellum Arts Festival on Saturday.

I got in 6 workouts including 2 cardio workouts. I typically try not to do cardio on the days I work out with my trainer, because, well, he kicks my ass as it is.
But this week I did double up on working out with Travis and then left and went immediately to my gym to do sprints.

I thought I was going to DIE.
Those cardio intervals are BRUTAL.
9.5 speed on a 4.5 incline; sprint for 20 seconds, straddle the belt for 40 seconds.
I'm sucking major air by minute 5.
I do that for 20 minutes.

I brought up adding in more cardio to Travis, asking if I should be doing 3 times a week instead of two to increase fat loss, and he said no.
Saying that when he'd added in more cardio with other clients at this stage that their fat loss stalled.

Interesting isn't it? Since we seem to think that to burn fat you need to be doing copious amounts of cardio?
I sprint twice a week, lift a lot of weights and I'm leaner than I've ever been.
I have not re-taken my body fat percentage since beginning my challenge, but plan to do that next week.
I am also toying with the idea of going a solid 4 weeks with NO CHEAT MEALS.
Not even the once a week I've been allowing myself up until this point.
My treats will be my Spark and ReHydrate and my Dymatize protein powder
Everything else will be clean and boring as hell.

Trust me, I'm already planning my moments of gluttony after this challenge is over.
It will most definitely include a damn King Size Reeses, a Cherry Vanilla Coke from Sonic, and some kind of amazing cheeseburger with like queso or some shit on it.
No lie, I once ate a cheeseburger with a fried onion ring on it with QUESO INSIDE the onion ring! Like the onion ring was a little bowl holding the cheese in.
Holy Inner Fat Chick, that thing was AMAZING.
It will be EPIC.

I know I will hate myself during that entire meal, but that's okay.
Go big or go home, right!?!

So I kind of wanted to go over my plans for this leaning out phase, and what to expect.
I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt that I will not be happy with this first phase of leaning out.
It's my first go round, I'm still learning what my body responds to and this takes time and several phases.
Say I get down to 20% body fat this go round, that's the goal anyway, then I will go through a bulking phase where I am adding more muscle to my frame and eating more, etc. Maybe I'll get back up to 22% body fat.
I'll maintain that for awhile before going through another cutting phase.
Maybe then I'll get down to 18% body fat.
Back up and back down again. With the ultimate goal to be around 10-13% before stepping on a stage.
This will take time, trial and error, and patience. I know that.

Like I said, I'm still learning and this is all new to me.
It's definitely different from the steady downhill I've dealt with up until this point.
Weight loss tends to be pretty steady downhill. You're always focusing on that number on the scale going down, but building muscle and cutting body fat is a different story. It's a lot of building up muscles to cut back down again.
Which I think plays with your mind more than people realize.
I'd always heard that the bodybuilding industry was a tricky one. That it was dangerous. I am beginning to see what was meant by that. From a mental aspect, at least.
But I also think it's only dangerous and self destructive if you LET IT BE.

People are always going to have their opinions on your lifestyle choices. I can't tel you the number of times I've already heard "you're not drinking? why not? are you pregnant? why can't you eat that? it's just a little bite, it won't hurt".
And that's just part of it. Not everyone will understand your journey. Not everyone will be supportive 100% of the time. They'll make remarks and comments about it because they don't understand it.
It's not their journey to understand.
Brush it off and stay strong. And know that most likely, they don't mean anything by it.
Your life. Your grind. Your journey. No one else's.

Also- If you're in the Dallas area, we're having a meetup on Friday and I'd love to meet you!
It's free food and drinks when you RSVP! Bring your mom, sister, friends, or significant other. Just come out and have a good time with us! You don't have to be a blogger to come! 

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MILF Monday: Self Doubt

6 Weeks Out

This past week hasn't been great. I'm beginning to doubt myself. Doubt that I can even do this. Doubt that I'll ever get to a place where I feel no emotional connection to food.
Doubt that I'll ever be where I want to.
That I'll ever be able to wear that tiny bikini on stage.

As I sit here with tears streaming down my face, it seems so far away; these goals I've set for myself.
It seems unattainable. Like I'll never get there.
And I think back to when I was overweight, and I thought the EXACT SAME THING.
How I never thought I'd reach the goals I'd set back then.
I doubted myself then, big time. And I can feel those feelings start to creep back in.
And the truth is, I AM making progress. It may not be HUGE improvements, but small progress is better than no progress.
I'd be stupid to think this would happen quickly. It won't. I know, more than anyone, that this journey takes time. It takes patience. It takes continuous effort and mistakes are inevitable.
But I still can't help feeling so far away from my goals, even despite my progress.

I screwed up with my eating this week. I would do fine at breakfast and lunch. And even at dinner. Eating clean and not having cravings. But then after dinner I'd start snacking. Going in the kitchen, opening the pantry and mindlessly grazing.
A handful of Goldfish here, a few bites of cereal, some granola there, a bite of the boys fruit snacks... It was constant. Every night.
I had the mindset of "a little bit won't hurt."
And it's JUST what I've said I CAN'T let happen.
When I get into that mindset, I'm screwed. Because those little bites add up!
And the truth is, it turned into more than a few little bites this week.
I'm talking probably an excess of 300-400 calories of food PER DAY I didn't count because they "didn't matter."
That's a big deal.

I know this is not a feasible lifestyle for everyone. I know these things may seem insignificant to many of you, they once were to me.
I've always gone by an "everything in moderation" mindset. Which is GREAT, and it WORKS.
But NOT for what I'm trying to do now.
And it's been very hard for me to switch my thinking over from "moderation" to "it's only a few weeks."
I thought it would be a fairly simple task, really.
I don't know why I thought that. Everything I've done up to this point has not been easy for me.

I often find myself comparing myself to women in the fitness industry. Not on purpose, just wondering if I'll ever get to a point where they seem to be.
And then I think "what the fuck does it matter anyway?" I'm not them. They're not me.
Maybe they've never dealt with emotional eating. Maybe they were never addicted to food. Maybe they've never had weight issues. Maybe the thought of Reese's Eggs repulses them. Maybe they're aliens.
Maybe they're just fucking rockstars and I suck at life.


I must stop comparing myself to anyone BUT ME! Who I was yesterday. Who I'm going to be tomorrow.
It only makes me doubt myself more.

"Comparison is the thief of joy." -Theodore Roosevelt

It's going to take me years probably to build the kind of physique I'm wanting. It may take me years to step on a stage at a bikini competition, I don't know.
I feel pressure from everywhere. People asking me when I'm competing, judging my slow progress, etc. and I'm just over here like "mmmm this granola is amazing!"


And sure, it's better than it once was. I know that.
Once upon a time I'd slip up on chocolate ice cream and Taco Bell.
I haven't had either of those in a very long time.
Again, progress, not perfection.

I'm not telling you this for your sympathy. I don't want it.
I'm telling you this to document my journey. To share it with you and let you know that it's okay to doubt ourselves.
It's going to happen.
I know it's just a phase. I know I'll snap out of it. I've done it before.
And hopefully something will click in my head and I'll be able to cut the emotional ties I have to food.
I'm not perfect and this journey isn't easy.
But I know I'm not growing or learning ANYTHING if I give up.

So I'll keep moving forward, like I always have.
Trying to find my way.
One day at a time.

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8 Week Challenge FAQ

I've have some questions about the 8 Week Challenge, so I'll post those answers here.

I'm gonna be real honest...I took 2 Benadryl Allergy's aboouuuttt an hour ago, so if I start trailing off or not making sense, you know why. :)

Do we send you before pictures now or wait until after the 8 weeks?
Wait until the 8 weeks is up, please! :)

How do you measure your body fat percentage?
I bought these fat calipers that I use. I also measure the same spot every time, which is my low belly.
Measure the area where you carry the most fat. And make sure you are measuring the same area every time!

What does your typical day of eating look like?
I'd say I eat about 90% clean every day, the 10% being my Advocare Spark, Rehydrate, Arginine Extreme (pre-workout) and my protein shakes.
I am currently eating (as of today) 1800-1850 calories a day (decreased already from 1900 a day last week).
That is FOR ME, decided by my trainer.
Not everyone should do that!
I eat lean meats, whole grains, healthy fats, fruits and veggies.
Such a cliche answer, right!? #douchey
But it's the truth.
I do sniff Nutella on occasion though... soooo there's that.
My calories will also slowly decrease weekly for me (in 50-100 calorie increments).
I'm guessing I'll END UP eating around 1600 calories a day in any specific leaning phase.

How are you measuring your thigh and quad? Aren't they the same?
When I measure my thigh, I am measuring high up on the leg. My quad measurements are above my knee. I know my right leg is stronger than my left (more so in the lower quad), so this just helps me keep a better track of progress on my legs.

How many times a week are you working out?
I work out 5-6 times a week. With my trainer three times a week and on my own 2-3 times a week.
I am only doing cardio twice a week. And when I say that, I mean I am doing 20 minutes of cardio in sprint intervals. Sprint 20 secs, rest 40 secs. If on a treadmill, speed is 9.5 and incline is at 4+.

Does this mean no alcohol?
Yep. It's just 8 weeks. You can do it!

Are you going to be picking a winner based on weight loss or by body fat %?
Body fat %, and overall best before/after pictures. Don't pull my chain here either... I'm before and after picture queen... I'll know if you've fudged up. :)
It would be AWESOMESAUCE if you could take before/afters in the same outfit, etc.

Are you serious when you say you need to diet? If you lose any more weight you'll look anorexic.
Scouts honor, someone said that.
NO, I don't think I need to lose weight. YES, I have FAT to lose. Most people do.
And NO, I don't "diet". When I say "my diet" I mean my way of eating. IT DOESN'T MEAN CALORIE RESTRICTION. If you will see above, I'm eating a crapton of food, uhthankyouverymuch.
Moving on. ;)

You look a lot leaner than the before pictures you shared, what's the deal?
Those bikini shots were taken last week, before I started. So I've already had time to flush all the trash out of my system, etc. with my diet being on point.
And honestly, clothes hide things well, folks. My limbs are very thin and lean. I tend to hold most of my fat in my stomach and hips.
And in workout gear, compression pants, etc., that shit is sucked in.
In a bikini, much different.
You wanna post a picture in a bikini for everyone to judge you?
Damned if you do and damned if you don't.
It is what it is. Only moving forward from here.
And it's sure a lot better than it once was. :)
This picture was taken after a full week of my diet being on point. My abs started to peek through. I'm also flexing like a mother in this picture for the sole purpose of showing those muscles off. They're there, dammit. There was just some trash and a few layers of fat on top of them.
The bikini pics are non-flexing pictures.
They were also taken on a non-leg day, so there is no "booty pump" going on.
Basically, when we work out our muscles, the blood flow to those specific muscles causes that area to "swell", often referred to as a "pump".
Have you ever gotten that feeling after working out that your muscles are going to bust out of your skin? THAT'S a pump.
Booty progress pictures are ALWAYS taken with a booty pump, bro.
When the booty is swollen. It's science. Or some shit. I don't know. I just know my ass looks better after I've deadlifted, lunged, and squatted that thing to the max. So I'm all "YES! PROGRESS PICTURE TIME!" And then I wake up the next morning and I'm all like "awww... I'm sad when my booty pump is gone."  
Thus the reason some pics look different than others.
Stop being such a skeptic. I've never claimed to have a Kim Kardashian ass.
Just that I don't have a Miley one anymore.
I call that a slow win.
Progress, not perfection.

Here is a great article (albeit a little old) explaining all about "the pump".
And here is an interesting video about "the pump".

When does the 8 weeks start for us?
I've already started this process, I am 7 weeks out now. You will start NOW. Today. Not tomorrow. Not Monday. NOW. And you'll go the full 8 weeks, so you'll just finish after my challenge is already over.
No big deal because I have 2 photoshoots that are May 17th and May 25th, so technically 8 & 9 week challenges for me, so I won't be "stopping" after the 8 weeks.

Hope that clears some stuff up!
Let's rock this 8 weeks, ladies!

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MILF Monday: 8 Week Challenge

7 weeks out.

Alright, let's jump right in, shall we??
Last week I told y'all about the 8 Week Challenge I'm doing.
I am leaning out for a couple photoshoots I have coming up that are in May (8 weeks away).
What I'm doing in this 8 week period is making sure my diet is ON POINT.
NO cheats.
No sneaking bites, no nibbling, NOTHING.
For 8 solid weeks.
I know, it's tough. But I want to see what I can make my body do in those 8 weeks when my nutrition is top notch.

 This past week I did really well. I tracked my food every day and ate between 1850-1950 calories a day.

I had one cheat meal on Friday night. It was a bowl from Chili's with grilled shrimp, lettuce, rice, black beans, pico and avacado.
It was a little too high in calories for my liking (after looking it up AFTER eating it- NEVER do that, by the way!), so I'll have to find an alternative there since that will likely be my "cheat meal" restaurant. The kids like it, I love their tea (UNsweet), and it's loud enough to where if the boys get wild, I don't feel bad.
The Hubs had this insane looking cheeseburger with like bacon and sinful goodness all over it.
He's not allowed to order that again.

It was hard. And when we had people over on Saturday night I really wanted a glass bottle of wine. But I resisted.
It's just 8 weeks.

I took my measurements last week at the beginning of the week.
Here are my measurements as of 3.17.14:

26.1% body fat in low belly (where I typically hold a lot of fat).
Weight: 145.4 (not worried about that at all)
Waist: 29"
Hips: 38.5"
Bust: 36"
L Bicep: 11'
R Bicep: 11.5"
L Thigh: 22"
R Thigh: 22.5"
L Quad: 17.5:
R Quad: 18.5"
L Calf: 13"
R Calf: 13"

I will re-take those measurements at the end of the 8 weeks.
I'm not really looking to improve on the measurements so much as I am the actual body fat percentage.
I'm trying to get down to 20% for this leaning phase.
Just for a reference point, most bikini competitors are anywhere between 8-13% on stage.
And you can typically gauge between .5-1% loss PER WEEK in leaning out phases. Provided you're doing them correctly, etc.

As of this morning, my body fat percentage is at 25%, so I'm already making progress. And I'm happy with that.

I took before pictures for y'all as well.
What is it about "before pictures" that gives me hives?
I'm queen of before pictures, and STILL, EVERY time I post some I always get nervous.

It's like throwing it out there saying

It's all relative, folks.
3.17.14 Before leaning out phase 1 - 26.1% body fat
Now, as far as y'all joining in on the 8 Week Challenge with me, you can DEFINITELY do that!
You will be eating clean for 8 weeks, with ONE cheat MEAL (nothing Big Mac status) per week.
Keeping track of your measurements, weight, body fat %, etc.
Taking progress pictures is a MUST.

At the end of the 8 weeks, you will send me your results with pictures, measurements, body fat %, etc. and I will pick the person with the best results and post them on the blog.
The winner will also receive some cool prize which I haven't even thought about yet, to be honest. But it will be awesome.
Maybe a Glyder gift card, Kiki La'Rue gift card, Ruffles With Love shirts or something.
Or hell, maybe all 3!

Are you in??

Also- don't forget the coupon code for 30% off your Glyder order expires at the end of the month, so go grab your gear with coupon code 'MAMALAUGHLIN'.

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