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!

Supplementing your Diet and Workout

Let me start off this post by saying that I am actually not a big fan of supplements. In my opinion, the only supplements that you should take are a daily multivitamin and a low-calorie protein shake within 30 minutes of your resistance training workouts to help replenish and repair those muscles to get the most out of your workouts. With that being said, I’ve taken several different types of supplements in the past and usually the reason for that was that I had a certain fitness goal in mind. If you’re aiming to maintain where you’re at, then I’d stick with just the multivitamin and post-workout protein shake.

The reason that I don’t like to use too many dietary supplements normally is that I believe you should be fueling your body with the right food daily and you should be depending on your natural metabolism to get you through a workout. People can become dependent on supplements to get them through a workout and that is not what we want. It’s as much a mental dependence as a physical one and that is why I agree with most supplement companies when they tell their consumers on the bottles of these supplements to cycle off the supplements for at least a month after using them for eight weeks. For me, I’m only going to be doing my supplement stack for a month instead of two because, again, I do not want to become dependent on the supplements for my results. They are called SUPPLEMENTS for a reason. They are designed to SUPPLEMENT your diet and workouts, not to make up your diet and workouts. For another view on the love-hate relationship on workout supplements, check out this post by Fit Dad Nation.

Okay, without further adieu, here is what my supplement stack looks like:

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From left to right: Cellucor NO3 Chrome Nitric Oxide Pump Amplifier, MusclePharm Combat Powder Post-Workout Shake, GNC Mega Men Sport Multivitamin, MusclePharm Assault Pre-Workout, EVLUTION NUTRITION TRANS4ORM Thermogenic Fat Burner.

Okay, great, so now you can see everything I’m taking. But when do you take them and what does each do? Glad you asked, I’m about to break it down for you starting with the nitric oxide booster.

Cellucor NO3 Chrome Nitric Oxide Pump Amplifier: So, the first thing you should know is that when you take a nitric oxide booster, you are not actually taking nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is a gas and I’m not about to inhale a bunch of nitric oxide like a kid inhaling a bunch of helium from a balloon inside the bouncey house at the local neighbors kid’s birthday party. Instead, I’m going to go ahead and take two of these little pills to help boost the levels of nitric oxide in my blood which in turn is supposed to help muscle growth, strength, and performance. Luckily, Cellucor NO3 Chrome Nitric Oxide Pump Amplifier contains Arginine Nitrate and Citruline Malate. Arginine and citruline are both amino acids that help in muscle recovery. Forms of arginine are found in a lot of nitric oxide boosters because there have been studies that show arginine supplementation can increase the amount of nitric oxide in your body. However, some people don’t have any reactions to arginine. This article goes into how citruline may be a better option for attempting to increase your nitric oxide levels. So, my nitric oxide booster has both. I take the nitric oxide booster only on my resistance training days about 60-90 minutes before my workout. Again, not depending on these supplements for my results, just looking to them for a little extra help.

MusclePharm Combat Powder: MusclePharm is probably my favorite supplement company. They make a great, safe product and they used to be the official sponsor of the UFC. The reason I like the Combat Powder is that it has 25 grams worth of five different proteins that fuel your muscles throughout the day. Additionally, it has BCAAs and Glutamine to help your muscle recovery further and it is only 130 calories per serving. In my opinion, using MusclePharm Combat Powder as your pre-or-post-workout shake is a no brainer.

GNC Mega Men Sport Multivitamin: I know, I know…GNC is overpriced. That may be, but this multivitamin is great if your training and want your daily vitamin to give you a little something extra. GNC Mega Men Sport gives you your daily vitamin, plus it has a good amount of amino acids to help with recovery and antioxidants to help protect your body from free radicals. There’s nothing ground-breaking or crazy about this vitamin, but it helps supplement your overall health, athletic performance, and your immune system.

MusclePharm Assault: Assault for years was voted best pre-workout formula on multiple body building sites. It still finds itself in top 10 categories all-across the internet, but it’s one of the most studied formulas on the planet and since MusclePharm is a 100% safe company, it doesn’t get rave reviews from muscle heads as they would prefer a stimulant-rich pre-workout that makes them feel jittery. Not for me. I prefer the scientific research and the guarantee of a safe supplement. You can’t go wrong with MusclePharm Assault to fuel your workout. Make sure to take one dose about 20-30 minutes before your resistance training workouts.

EVLUTION NUTRITION TRANS4ORM: I usually make it a mission to not invest in supplements that use all caps and replace letters for numbers in their product spelling. There is something rather tacky and sixth-grade-AIM-away-message-status feeling about it all. With that said, I did my research on EVLUTION NUTRITION TRANS4ORM and it constantly got good reviews and it’s a safe product. If you’re noticing a recurring theme of using safe products, it’s because in the past I took a fat burner that was not safe. While I remained fine and the product worked really really well, I was naive and young and the product has since been taken off the market. You have to be SUPER careful with fat burners. DO NOT depend on them to burn your fat for you. Your best bet is to find products through bodybuilding.com and GNC as they will carry safe products. Work hard and take two of these pills with breakfast. This fat burner acts as a thermogenic, which works well to heat your body up to burn more calories and keep your metabolism up. But, approach fat burners with extreme caution. I like to take these in the morning with breakfast so I have the whole day to use up all of it’s nutrients and not have trouble sleeping. Would NOT recommend taking these at night time. Please use responsibly.

Well, there you go. There’s a glimpse of how to go about stacking supplements. There are definitely others you can use and there are ones you can choose not to use. Again, these supplements are best for MY GOALS. Be sure to check out the Week 2 Progress Report tomorrow here on “Rebuilding Rome.”