Tackling Eating Disorders

*The following post was written by Brooke Beneze and all of the views expressed in this post are hers. As her brother, I absolutely am thrilled that Brooke wanted to come on here and talk about a subject I have very little knowledge or experience with. The beauty in people is that everyone is different, even if they share the same blood. Brooke and I may have slightly different methods for our own health and wellness…but we are both enjoying the journeys that we are individually on. So, of course, I support her and this post wholeheartedly. Enjoy!

Hello! I am very excited to be here! I am Cal’s younger sister, Brooke, and some days, I think we couldn’t be more different. This is why I volunteered to write a post from a different perspective. I really don’t like juice cleanses, food rules, and I don’t feel the need to exercise five-to-six days out of the week, though there was a point in my life when I let those things define me. While I believe Cal’s journey is incredibly impressive and his dedication is inspiring, I think I speak for many when I say that I also think he is CRAZY! All that money?! How many workouts per day?! I couldn’t do it. With that being said, he’s mentioned several times that this is his story and he isn’t trying to tell others how to lose weight.

Everyone goes on a unique journey when it comes to weight loss, body image, and self-esteem. I remember in the fourth grade, one of my best friends made a comment about my looking at food labels before I would eat a snack, and I guess that’s my first memory of when my obsession began.

I don’t think I ever had the healthiest relationship with food and the worst of it was probably from the ages 18-20. I counted EVERYTHING. I counted the calories of the gum that I was chewing, I weighed myself every single day and felt like a failure when I didn’t lose weight and I would never eat a dish if I didn’t know what was in it. I even remember going to bed very early because I was hungry and wanted to just time-warp to breakfast. Today, this behavior is called Orthorexia. I wasn’t Anorexic, I wasn’t Bulimic, I never binged, but I was incredibly restrictive to the point where it was very difficult for me to have a social life and actually like the person that I was in any capacity other than my appearance. I was holding myself back all because I let a number on a scale determine my self-worth. The lowest weight that I ever got to was 101 pounds. And now I weigh about 20 pounds more, I can definitely say I don’t ever want to go back to those days. All of the counting, rules, depression, and isolation was not worth being “skinny.”

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Nearly seven years into my journey, it wasn’t until last October that I gave up counting calories for good. I gave myself a break exercising, too, and I’ve never felt more free. The crazy thing is, I think I’ve actually lost weight, but I don’t really know since I stopped weighing myself, as well. It took me a long time to realize that my habits were detrimental to my mental health. I could never be satisfied with myself and I wasn’t very fun to be around, either.

These days, my goals and my lifestyle are very different. I’m still learning and getting better every day, but I feel like I’ve got a better grasp on balance. I focus on making myself feel good and fueling myself with primarily whole ingredients, while still allowing myself to drink lots of wine sometimes and have a piece of bread at dinner without feeling guilt. Sometimes I do still have weight loss goals, but I feel like it’s more important to just eat some more veggies and less packaged stuff, move around a little bit more, and let my body find it’s happy place. Ultimately, no one really cares about how much you weigh or if you have abs. Most people just want to see you be the happiest and most confident version of yourself.

Now, I want to help others! I want to help people that have had a negative relationship with food in the past, and/or peers that, like myself, work a 9-to-5 desk job and are just starting to become interested in beginning an exercise routine or meal prepping. With so much information out there and different methods being thrown in your face all of the time, it’s really daunting to get started.

My brother is very unique and extremely driven. For him, he can handle exercising as much as he does and being very strict with his diet. For most other people, however, his habits aren’t very realistic. Cal is absolutely fun to watch and his progress is astonishing already, but no, you do not have to do what he does in order to lose weight.

Cal, keep doing you as long as it makes you happy! Thank you for giving me the space to tell my story and offer a different perspective. I began this by saying that I feel like we’re awfully different people, but there’s no denying that we are both also very long-winded, driven, and “fitness-y” people, as well. Love you, brother!

So…How Much Does All Of This Cost?

make_it_rainOkay, so this post made me cry a little bit. But, not really. Anyway, I aim to be transparent with all of you all of the time and with that in mind I wanted to go over the rough overall cost for “Rebuilding Rome” in 90 days.

Just remember that this is what I deemed as a priority. I chose to invest in myself. The more you invest in yourself, the more likely you are to follow through since you’ve already spent all of that money. Ever wonder how Planet Fitness profits when their gym membership costs are so low? They make the money on the people that will never show up. They make the money on people that are motivated just enough to spend money for some membership, but not motivated to stick with it. If you don’t believe me, READ THIS ARTICLE!

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Okay, so I’m finally (sadly) ready to break the news about how much over the next three months it is going to cost me to build myself back up. Without further adieu, here we go: Let’s start with the easy stuff. The juice cleanse from Clean Juice I did to start the year? $275. From there, the first week of my BistroMD plan was $130. The rest of the weeks will be $200 per week for 20 meals, so multiply that by 10 weeks. My gym membership is $50 a month, so multiply that by three months. Additionally, let’s add $208 for my 10 week boot camp class I attend two times a week. Then, let’s add $265 for a 20 class pass to Arrichion Hot Yoga, where I go to a class once a week. Now, let’s also add the supplements I am taking for a month. Those three (the pre-workout, the nitric oxide booster, and the fat burner) come out to $66.98. Then let’s add the GNC Mega Men Sport daily vitamin I’m taking for three months and the MusclePharm Combat Powder I’ll be taking pretty much all the time on resistance training days after the workout is done. The rough cost of the protein powder over three months is $80.97. Then add that to the daily vitamin that’s $36.99 and you get $117.96 for those two products over the next three months. Think we’re done? Not yet, remember in my Gear Essentials post? I talked about getting good headphones, luckily those only cost me roughly $50. How about those nice Asics Gel Kayano 24‘s? Let’s be conservative and say I got them for a steal at $120. Let’s not forget my Fitbit Charge 2. That’s another $150. Then, to finish it off I have my workout wrist band to hold my phone while I run that cost me $16.99. Luckily I already had a shaker bottle, but my brother got me a new one for Christmas and the price for my ASU Shaker Bottle was about $12.99. Again, luckily I have a loving sister who bought me an ASU gym bag a few years back…but a gym bag is essential too. I “Googled” similar gym bags and I’ll estimate that it cost about $40.

Cool, let’s total all of that up. Now, keep in mind I didn’t buy ALL OF THAT all at once. I already had the bag, shaker bottle, headphones, gym clothes, (that I didn’t include because I assume most people have some kind of athletic gear they can get by with) and yoga equipment (also didn’t include because, again, not necessities). For arguments sake, let’s say I bought all of what I mentioned on January 1, 2018 and it’ll last me until April 2, 2018. Let’s total it all up, as if it were a starter package. If I started from scratch and bought all of that stuff in the paragraph above, then the cost of “Rebuilding Rome” over three months would be roughly $3,602.92. If you average that cost over the three months, it comes out to roughly $1,200.97 per month.

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So, besides the physical and mental investment it has taken me. It also is a substantial financial investment on my end. Again, this is where MY PRIORITIES may differ from YOUR PRIORITIES and I am not saying, “you have to do it this way.” I’ve done research and I know myself and I know what I feel I need to reach my goals. You definitely do not need all of this stuff. My first time when I lost 20 pounds in a summer, I was a college kid working at a theme park. My diet was not as strict and my workouts were not as intense. But, I was still learning. Now, I know both the information better and I know myself better. So, there you go. Depending on how much you want to invest in yourself and prioritize your body transformation, it can end up costing you a pretty penny in the short-term. However, the results are long-term and are well worth the investment!

 

Following the “80/20 Rule(s)”

Hey all, not a super long post today…but an important one nonetheless. There are a couple “80/20 Rule(s)” that every person practicing a healthy lifestyle should live by and I’m going to break them down really quick for you.

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Yes, I know the quote is, “60% of the time it works every time.” Just go with it.

The first 80/20 rule: 80% of your weight loss goals are made through the kitchen and 20% of your weight loss goals are made through exercise. Now, every person is different, so you may be a 60/40 person or a 90/10 person. But, read this livestrong.com article about why diet typically yields greater weight-loss results than just exercising alone. You need exercise for sure, especially if you want to speed up your results. However, think about how hard it is to burn 500-1000 calories for one-to-two hours exercising versus how easy it is to consume 500-1000 calories for fifteen minutes at a restaurant.

The second 80/20 rule: Follow your daily diet 80% of the time. You WILL go crazy if you try to follow a super strict diet your whole life. Check out this health.com article on the best way to follow this 80/20 rule. Remember what this blog is all about. Everything in moderation. Enjoying your life while making healthier life choices. Remember my blog post about BistroMD? For my meal deliveries, they leave me one night a week for a structured break from my plan. It is completely healthy to enjoy the foods you love and not feel like you’re “cheating.” Do you honestly think I’m going to be consuming BistroMD meals my whole life? No. But, this is all a design to get me into the habit of being satisfied with less and making, what I like to call, “simple sacrifices.” That restaurant you love? They probably aren’t known for their fries, so get the salad with oil and vinegar or the bowl of fruit instead. You can still have the burger (hell, even keep the bun.) Be educated, if they have whole grain bread for the bun…ask for it! If you want it wrapped in lettuce…ask for it! If they say no, they say no. That’s literally the worst that can happen. If they have bison meat as an option, get it! If they don’t, no biggie. That caesar salad with buffalo chicken tenders…fake healthy. That house salad with grilled chicken tossed in buffalo sauce…real healthy. We don’t need the instant gratification. Sweet tooth at night? Don’t do the ice cream. Do the homemade casein protein bar and the homemade casein protein shake instead (yes, there will be a recipe and video about how to make those within the coming weeks.) These are some examples of “simple sacrifices.”

Be sure to check in with me tomorrow as I have my Week 3 Progress Report for all of you as well as an exciting announcement concerning “Rebuilding Rome” becoming available on multiple platforms! Happy Sunday!

Getting Invested with a “21 Day Challenge”

 

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Hey everyone, during my “Pilot” post I mentioned that I was going to cover mental, physical, and financial investment. And, in my “Week 2 Progress Report” I mentioned we were going to cover my “21 Day Challenge.” Well, on this very snowy North Carolina day, I figured today was a great day to discuss the mental and physical investment of transforming your body and eating healthier and how that can be developed through a “21 Day Challenge.”

The first thing I want to point out is that this is A “21 Day Challenge” and NOT THE “21 Day Challenge.” There are many out there with many different rules, but this is the one that I AM DOING and one that I developed on my own. The reason you’ll notice that there are a fair amount of 21 Day Challenges or a lot of other programs that key in on the number, “21” is that it is commonly believed (not correctly, mind you) that if you do something for 21 days, that activity becomes a habit. To learn more about the myth of this habit and how to actually form good habits just in life in general, check out this Forbes article.
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Still, 21 days or three weeks is a good extended period for you to make changes and a good period of time for things to come up where you have to say “no” and stay committed and remind yourself of your goals both short and long term. If you do something for three weeks every day, you’re more likely to stay committed to it. That’s your mental or psychological investment. Your thought will be something like, “well, I’ve done it for this long…might as well keep doing it.” The physical commitment is that you’d be taking in the same calories or going to the gym day after day for 21 days so your body just gets used to working out and your body just gets used to a consistent caloric intake. It becomes your routine. Humans by nature love routines and are creatures of habit. A very easy example of this is when someone asks you, “what’s your drink?” Everyone has a drink and everyone has a story behind why that is. We want to repeat positive life experiences and forget negative life experiences.

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Okay, okay. I know, just get to what the “21 Day Challenge” is, Cal! I got it, I got it. Here is what I’ve been doing and the rules I’ve been living by since January 2, 2018 and what I plan to be doing all the way through April 1, 2018:

  1. No Soda
  2. No Fruit Juice
  3. No Coffee (can’t say “No Caffeine” because some of the supplements I’m taking have caffeine in them)
  4. No Alcohol
  5. Only consume water (or soda water if you must) when drinking fluids. Liquid enhancers like MIO are acceptable. DON’T DRINK YOUR CALORIES!!!
  6. No Meals after 9 PM
  7. No Meals before 5 AM (notice that this is ideally eight hours without food. Ever wonder why they call it BREAKFAST? You’re supposed to “break” the “fast” while you’ve been sleeping. Check out the Wikipedia page if you don’t believe me.)
  8. 16 ounces of water before every meal and 16 ounces of water during/after every meal
  9. Get an hour workout in (or an hour-long equivalent workout in) everyday for 21 days.
  10. If you must snack, try to do it before 9 PM and only do it 2-3 times throughout the day. Make sure it’s not over an appropriate serving size. ***On the nights where I may work past 9 PM, I have a homemade casein protein shake with a homemade casein protein bar…and yes, I’ll have a video on how to make both in the near future!***

Okay, so there you go. For me, I’ll be following all of the nutrition rules for the full 90 days. For the working out, just 21 days in a row. You need rest days, one-to-two ideally. You need recovery days so that you can continue to improve your workouts, but working out for the first 21 days is one way to get in the habit of getting yourself moving for 60 minutes a day.

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You are what you Eat!

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It’s a total cliche title for the post, I know, but it’s TRUE! Here’s another tried but true saying, “you get out of it what you put into it.”

Now that I finished my first week with a good base, I wanted to start developing healthier eating habits. My diet in the past hasn’t been terrible, but my biggest issue was portion control. Following up in a close second was late night cravings. So, I identified the problem and went out to find a solution. The easy answer to this was meal prep. Meal prep is an awesome concept and I do know how to cook (quite well, I might add), but I also know I wouldn’t enjoy cooking and trying to calculate how much fat, carbs, calories, etc. was in each of the meals I was making. Too much math for me. So, I let someone else do it. Enter BistroMD.

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Just a snapshot of the meals I get to eat on a day-to-day basis!

What is BistroMD? BistroMD is one of those meal-prep food delivery companies. Why I chose this one? It was the right one FOR ME. BistroMD believes in “eating better, not less.” Although, I am eating substantially less that I previously have, but that’s probably a good thing. Remember, it’s all about moderation, not restriction. Anyway, the founders of BistroMD are a husband and wife duo. Dr. Caroline Cederquist and Ed Cederquist wanted to develop a weight-management program that didn’t sacrifice taste for nutritional quality. They go by “the foodie & the M.D.” and I love their concept. Dr. Cederquist studied bariatrics, which is the study of medical weight management. Dr. Cederquist’s extensive work with patients and knowledge of bariatrics is what created the nutritional foundation for BistroMD. Ed Cederquist is the foodie and CEO. Ed came up with the idea of combining his wife’s nutritional expertise with his love for food and BistroMD was born. BistroMD hires nutritionists to come up with menus that have the right balance of macronutrients for healthy weight-loss. Ed and Caroline emphasize (and this is something I 100% agree with) that BistroMD is not a diet, but a healthy lifestyle change. Once, the menus are made, the BistroMD chefs go ahead and make the dishes and Ed is often in the kitchen to make sure that the food tastes good too. The concept they have really is genius.

Additionally, BistroMD comes up with a menu just for you. And the best part, you can edit it. You can change out the food for other delicious substitutes on a week-to-week basis to fit your food preferences. Each meal varies in calories, but on average it comes in around 300 calories per meal and I’m on a plan where I get 20 meals sent to me a week. BistroMD builds in a “My Night” where you get a structured break from your plan. Note: this does NOT mean pig out and eat everything in sight. It means you can go out to a restaurant and eat something different and maybe something a bit bigger. I wouldn’t advise having 20 wings and four slices of pizza. That is a bit much. The program costs about $200 a week, so that averages to $10/per meal and the first week is about $130. Again, you get out of it what you put into it.

Be sure to check out my post tomorrow where I go over all of the supplements that I am taking with my food and workouts to get maximum results!

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Week 1 Progress Report

Hey everyone, welcome back to “Rebuilding Rome!

Thanks for checking back in with me through week one after my juice cleanse. In one week I’ve lost 9.4 pounds and I feel great! I ate today for the first time and it’s been really justifying to eat smaller portions and feel just as full as when I had larger meals prior to my juice cleanse.

In the video, I go over my week one progress, answer a few questions I’ve received concerning videos in the future and when to weigh yourself, interviewing people in the field of nutrition, fitness, and health, and addressing what is to come in this week’s posts.

Enjoy!