Prep 911: Sugar Cravings

Poor pup! I feel you!
Poor pup! I feel you!

If you are cutting.. then you know about sugar cravings!  I’m no stranger to this!
On my Bro-science prep, there were ZERO options for taming that. It was  cold turkey and it was tough.
On Flex.. it’s tight but you can be creative.

My perspective on Flex/IIFYM prep
I follow the guidelines of the original IIFYM protocol. 
In a cut, ten percent of your daily can come from ‘fun foods’.
I currently have 150g Carbs per day. That leaves me with 15g of fun carbs daily.
If I get my fiber in and the rest of my day comes from whole foods, that leaves me a little teeny
bit of yum.  I have to be careful, as do many  clients, of triggers. Some foods trigger binges!

I KNOW that IG
is full of awesome competitors who eat lots of variety of foods on prep.
That is awesome!  They may have more macros and my guess is that they still kept their
food pretty tight. Stage lean , is no joke.  You do what it takes. Whatever your coach tells you, go with.

For me and mine..
In Flexible dieting, while I still keep things very tight, there are more options, you just have to be creative.

Some possibilities that may work for you.
Gum:  Everyone loves the sugar free EXTRA gum. I do NOT use this. Some sugar Alcohols are a trigger for me and stimulate my appetite.  Each stick also has 1-2 carbs.  One day I had 73 pieces of gum. (It was a hard day, don’t judge). My poor stomach. I’ve left most sugar alcohols behind.

Bars:  I have become obsessed with BUP Sugar Cookie bars.
C: 25g  P: 25g F:6g  fiber 20g
The macros are fantastic on that. One of my awesome Bikini Competitors also turned me on to Oh Yeah, ONE bars. The Coconut Almond tastes like Almond Joy.  Myself, I use them until later in prep.. .
I could make bars fit until the bitter end but I don’t. I don’t stay full as long when I eat them. So..I  actually choose other foods to stretch out those macros I would have used in a bar. So in my last weeks, I don’t see them. I don’t avoid them because of any other reason.

My Favorites
Stevia drops are fantastic. You can flavor your food /drinks  with just a few drops.
If you use the English Toffee in your water, it tastes like hard candy. I use the flavors in my oats, shakes, yogurt.
Locally, you can find them at Dierbergs (just vanilla and chocolate) but Amazon has ALL the flavors. There are many, many flavors.  Search stevia drops!

Skinny Mixes!
Jordan’s Skinny Mixes. I mix this with fuzzy water for a little treat.
The macros on the mixers for 4oz  (120ML)
Calories: 30
F: 0
P: 0
C: 7g

So that fits in my 15g of fun carbs!


The peach one is awesome. It has zero everything!
I love this with fuzzy water! Peaches floating in it.. Use the ninja for a slushie!
I found these at TJ MAXX stores.

Pinterest is your friend!
You could go to Pinterest and look up Protein ice cream. You will have to search some recipes but you can find
whole ingredients that will meet your  prep macros.

I also look up
Protein cookie dough
Overnight oats
Protein pancakes
Low carb desserts (tread lightly.. but you never know)

If you like you can search on RippedRecipes the macros you have available for
your treat, but also.. look. You can search for what you need by filters.
I tend to stay low carb, high protein so I can incorporate it into my meals.

I wish I could make this fit all the way to the end but I can make a little of it.
I just modify the recipe so I can have a little.

Iced coffee plus 1 scoop vanilla whey in the blender!
I love this. It’s fantastic!
Icy Donut (my hubs created this one for me)

Add your own protein powder to this. I use Quest Salted Caramel! It’s amazing.
I don’t know what the macros are for Starbucks protein but I know my own!!

My Birthday cake shake

Last but not least.. my favorite low carb crepe is here

I know it’s hared. It’s going to be hard! Track everything that goes in your mouth! Don’t give up though.

Macro counting: Does quality of food matter?


When I first began IIFYM/Macro Counting I was coming off 48 weeks of ‘clean’ contest prep. I had a bad case of “Bro-fatigue”.   Bro-fatigue is when you hit the wall on the few  foods you are only allowed to consume in prep.
Sweet Pot
brown rice
rice cakes

I had begun piecing together my new IIFYM/Macros and found that I could eat lots of amazing food in my off season and still hit my macros of Protein, Carbs, Fats and the micro nutrient Fiber.  I had no issue doing it and I got nice results.  It was nice to eat things I really wanted everyday.

The longer I did that, the more I whined about broccoli taking up my carbs because I wanted gold fish cookies.  What I found was I was whirling out of control and filling my days with a little high quality food and lots of processed fun foods.

I did not really feel my best. My training began to suffer a bit.


Let me clarify the basics of IIFYM. You should hit your macros of Protein, Carbohydrates and Fats +5/-5 daily. You must also hit your minimum grams of the micro nutrient fiber.

If you follow my blog, you know I have  struggled with sugar. In the past, certain foods have triggered binges for me.  I’m doing much better so it’s not as big of an issue, however for many.. it is..

I hear the question a lot “How much sugar can I have?”

Sugar reads as a carb so if you are counting carbs you don’t need to count sugar. I don’t.
Sugar is in many things.. Lactose is natural dairy sugar. Dairy is a great source of protein!! Fruit has sugar and it’s amazing for you. ❤

The goal of IIFYM in the beginning was not to fill the day with junk, but to ease “bro-fatigue” and fit in some things you like.  This concept is sometimes lost in the IIFYM community.
It’s lost on the people who look at the concept as a ‘fad diet’ or are under educated in the concepts of Flexible dieting.  For a was lost on me. I flew too close to the sun.

The original concept for IIFYM was that  80-90% of your daily intake would come from healthful, high quality food.

Let’s say we have a bikini athlete who is cutting for a show.
If you are cutting (active fat loss), only 10% of your macros should come from ‘discretionary foods.’. Of course if you are bulking and have lots of carbs to work with, that will look different than, for example, my day.  I have 180 carbs a day on my cut so only 18 carbs should be discretionary macros I use those 18 carbs pre-workout to help me lift.

Edit: in my  actual prepping: I use 95%/5% as my ratios. My food has to be tight. But that’s just me!

Ok.. I know, what are healthful (nutrient dense) foods?  You and I both know healthy foods. Yes, pink cupcakes have macros but they might have very little fiber. They don’t fall under the “profoundly healthy” category, but once in a while I could make them fit.
Discretionary means: I don’t really need it.

Did you know you can see your ‘food score’ rating in your tracker?

While the macros of lots of fun and exciting foods could fit your plan, think about how you are fueling your body. The bonus of eating well is all   the extra micro nutrients that come with eating vegetables and fruits. Not to mention fiber.

My journey
I have made  a conscious  effort to get a very large portion of my daily carbs from vegetables. I like the way I feel better when I eat more whole foods. I see a difference in my skin so that makes sense to me. I do eat greek yogurt and some are quick  to point out that’s processed. I don’t necessarily believe that processed  defines a food as crap.

When I look at a food I want  to judge it  in the context of my whole days food.

If 90% of my diet comes from nutrient dense foods, half  a pop tart isn’t a big deal. I’m consistent with my choices.

You don’t have to fall under the spell of “bro foods ‘ to reach your goals, especially if you are not a physique competitor .

Edit: Simply because you choose to do IIFYM/macro counting/flexible dieting, you can still create amazing, nutrient dense treats  that fit your macros . Check out
for ideas!


Update: 8/30/2016: Lifestyle and off season clients may use 80/20 as their guidelines
as long as they meet their fruit and veggies, EFAs and fiber numbers.
One goal I was missing:  was to strive for my Protein first to help stop potential binges.
This is working great!

Motivation Monday: Suriving cheat related set backs

I think my success should be a straight shot to the sun.. just sayin.
I think my success should be a straight shot to the sun.. just sayin.

Set backs are a part of life. No matter what your goal you are going to have set backs.


Knowing this information doesn’t make it one bit palatable. I’m an over achiever and I suffer the highest level of frustration when I have a diet related set back. It’s the worst! Super-human, over achievers don’t give in to the urge to cheat! What???
No matter how hard I push, or how much I want to reach my goals, sometimes I’m my own worst enemy. And while my lifestyle is very clean and an occasional binge may look to others like a non issue, in my head it’s the ONLY ISSUE and it’s bad.


This is my shirt.
This is my shirt.

I know you too have had moments where you just said “whatever” and ate and drank outside your meal plan. Maybe you run all the scenarios in your head of how you’ll”work it off tomorrow”, or how you “owe it to yourself for being good on your plan”. Been there! Frankly, slip ups, and over indulging happen to most fitness people so it’s really not that big of a deal. Just as having one healthy meal won’t make you “a healthy person” eating an unhealthy meal won’t undo your hard work. Now the real world is much different than what’s pounding around in a Type A brain.

When I come off a over lax cheat, the next whole week is a mess. My body can hardly function any more on bad food. I’m usually sick at my stomach, bloated and feel unmotivated. My next workouts are miserable and I’m a raving crab apple from the sugar-YOU KNOW it’s always sugar. The next day feels like day one. It’s miserable. My brain says.. “you get what you deserve”. “You should know better”. “You ruined your progress.”

Sound at all familiar?

I never say “I might as well give up” because I do know better, but I sure do teeter on “why do you even bother”.


Taking back the brain:

Let me just say that my brain is no where anyone would want to live.  I notice a lot more negative self talk after any sugar, white flour, white potato or simple carbs, sanctioned or not. So I recognize this as chemical.

I also do know that repetitive negative self talk is a behavior and it creates little grooves in the grey matter of the brain. You can cease to feel negatively about yourself, but that little record of negativity will still play in your head. You can stop that by stopping that behavior and changing it to something else. Switch the negative to the positive and those little grooves will change too!


My post food disaster protocol
Waking out of a bad food coma with a sugar hangover and pink icing my hair is no fun. Getting myself back together is like walking though fire in a gasoline G-string. For the next 4-5 days I feel like the Stay-puff marshmallow man. I usually dress all in black to mourn my loss of self control. That’s a joke, but black is slimming so….


My Secrets to surviving a cheat related setback.
Consider this..

Leave it behind!!  It’s over!! 


Depression is in the past:
If you are down, you are thinking about the past. What has happened, happened and it’s over. Slip ups don’t define us.
Put that cheat in the past. Don’t think about it, don’t dwell on it. Don’t talk about it. Don’t panic and tell the world you ate cheese.
Don’t commiserate with others. It’s over. Let it go.


Fear is in the future
If you are worried that you will never make your goal you are thinking in the future. Fear=future.


Be in the present
The best advice I have ever received is to put the past away, only think about what I can do today.
I will set a goal for today and give myself  a success. I know I’m not running on all cylinders so I will be kind to myself and not make that goal 4 hours of cardio. My general practice is to fight the urge to over compensate at the gym and stick to my original plan. I also set my water goal and try to flush.. These are very positive steps that give me control of my food choices. Now is NOT the time to cut back on all your meals and skip carbs. I eat on my meal plan as written. I KNOW I can do that even if I have to just do it for today.

Resist the urge to drop calories down to poverty macros to compensate. We tell our clients to just go back to your normal routine and it will sort itself out.  It does.

The best protocol for me is to simply look at my plan as a daily goal. I know what my big picture is. Living in the present keeps me focused.

I will string together successes each day and focus on change. My results will come in spite of my self!

How do you handle cheat related set backs?

You don’t HAVE to have belly fat!

Note: Dr. Oz and I do not normally see eye to eye. This video was filmed when I still loved him and before he sold out to the diet industry.
This video is not about a product, but about what SUGAR does to you. It’s mind-blowing!

In my 30 plus years of being in the fitness industry, the question I’ve probably been asked the most is “How do I get flat abs?” Our Rock Star Abs series will give you great tips, workouts and nutritional information so you finally get the abs you want!

Part TWO: Drop it like it’s hot!


What you need to know: In part one we talked about HFCS and it’s effects on belly fat, weight loss and health. Now it’s time to address sugar.

Fact: Belly fat is unattractive as it is unhealthy.
Good news: You can get rid of it .
It’s all about keeping insulin low.
Why? High insulin causes your body to store belly fat and lock it in place.

Two hundred years ago, the average American ate 2 pounds of sugar a year.
In 1970 we ate 123 pounds of sugar a year.

Today we average 152 pounds of sugar a year.
That’s 3 pounds of sugar or 6 cups a week!
That’s 31 teaspoons a day! **

Remember: 4 grams of equals 1 teaspoon.

A typical 12 ounce can of soda contains
40 grams of sugar. That is the equivalent of 10
teaspoons of sugar!

Imagine drinking a super large gulp of soda.
It’s around 64 ounces and it contains 53 teaspoons of sugar!

Sugar = Belly fat!

Where are the hidden sugars and how do I find out how much to eat?
Be a label sleuth!!

Names for sugar on labels:


•maple syrup
•corn syrup
*corn sugar

•Brown sugar
*coconut sugar
*turbinado sugar



•Fruit juice concentrate

•High Fructose Corn syrup

According to Jorge Cruise, best selling author of ‘The Belly Fat Cure’ we need to
keep our daily consumption at 15 grams of sugar a day.

Pay attention to the fancy product aisle. Organic catsup made with agave is still loaded with sugar!

*Remember though: This does not include naturally occurring sugars found in fruits (fructose) and dairy products (lactose).

For more on the Belly Fat Cure, be sure to visit
Jorge Cruise’s blog

Check back for more RockStar Abs!

Motivation Monday: Things you need to know to get flat abs.

Ryan knows that abs are made in the kitch!
Ryan knows that abs are made in the kitch!

Want to know how to get flat abs?  Here are 10 things you need to know to help you
get the body you want.

10.  Supplements will not give you flat abs.
No matter how many times Dr. Oz tries to sell you the newest belly fat cure, nothing will work unless your food is right.  Remember, Dr. Oz gets a check.

9. Machines that zap your abs while you watch TV will not give you flat abs. Nothing will work unless your food is right.

8. You cannot spot reduce.  That Pinterest workout for flat abs is great!  You need to know, though that you can’t target fat loss in one spot.  You lose body fat all over. You can target muscle development but until you shred away the body fat that is covering the muscle, you won’t see it.

7. Sugar causes belly fat and you are getting too much of it. Check your gummy vitamins. They can contain up to 9 grams of sugar in 3 chews. Who really eats just three??    Viactive calcium chews have High Fructose Corn Syrup-the grand master of belly fat!!

6. Artificial sweetners are no better. Kick the pink, blue and yellow packets to the curb. Aside from being chemical nightmares, they ‘fool’ the body into thinking it’s having
sugar.   Our clients drop belly fat right away when we pull those little packets.
If you have to sweeten, use the green packet but sparingly.  Jury is still out on that.

5.Diet soda is the devil.  There are many reasons to ditch diet soda and
drink water.   How about this.. it makes you store belly fat.  Your insulin spikes in the same way as when you eat real sugar.  See number 6. Oh.. The Blue packet has a little tiny bit of arsenic in it.   There it is. Go Google that!

4. Fruit is great. It’s healthy.  It’s sugar.  Limit your fruit to lo-glycemic
choices like apples and dark  berries. Tropical fruits, bananas, and melons are high in sugar content. Fruit juices and faux fruity drinks are belly fat contributors. If you have fruit, eat it in it’s whole form. At least it has fiber.

3. Diet food is giving you belly fat.  Frozen diet dinners advertise that
you will ‘lose’ weight if you eat them.  If you read the labels though, they are loaded
with  sugar, High Fructose Corn Syrup, chemicals, sodium and other suspect ingredients. High Fructose Corn Syrup or corn sugar as it is now called, causes your body to turn off the ability to know when you are full for up to 24 hours.  You feel hungry  and you eat more food.  HFCS and sugar both cause belly fat. How is it possible that ‘Skinny Cow’ makes you skinny?  It doesn’t. The weight loss industry would go out of business if it did.  Oh, fancy pants products like agave, honey, turnbinado, and coconut sugars are still sugar. Steer clear! Gluten Free is not diet. Gluten free brownies  are still brownies. You weren’t really fooled by all that???

2. Alcohol gives you belly fat.  Unless you were dropped on this planet with the
genetics of a Greek god, you can’t escape the beer gut. Simply put, alcohol turns to sugar and you’ll wear it.  I’m not here to judge, but you can’t have it both ways. If you want to see those glorious abs you worked for, put down the bottle.

1. For maximum, banging, rockstar abs… Fix your own food!
Clean food, you prepared yourself will help you achieve the sleek belly you want.
Bring your food with you. You cannot be sure of marinades or sauces in restaurants.
You can control your meals, you will get the results you want!

If you need further help, information or meal plans, I’m happy to help. Contact me here or through my website,