I weighed myself last night for the first time in months and much to my surprise, I weigh a whopping 140 lbs!!!  I was surprised at this weight because I don’t have much body fat (I just took the pictures you see on the home page and I look the same today).  And although I knew I’d gained quite a bit of muscle, and I know that muscle weighs more than fat, the most I’ve ever weighed in my life before this was 130 lbs.  That was the weight that I’d hit when I really let myself go and didn’t work out for months and ate more fattening foods than usual.  I can remember being 130 lbs and seeing cottage cheese-y cellulite all over my thighs and having a good size roll of fat around my waist line and feeling just horrible my first year of law school that I’d let myself go so badly.  After that, I dieted like crazy and did tons of cardio (of course), until almost a year later I had lost 10 lbs and was feeling good about myself at 120 lbs (although I still had a bit of cellulite on my flat little butt).

Now I’m 140 lbs and have the best looking (and yes, the biggest) butt of my life!  That’s right,  I can’t fit it into my size 2 jeans anymore, but I don’t want to!  Why be skinny and fight cellulite all the time because of a lack of muscle tone, when you can have beautiful, muscular curves in all the right places?!  When I see the curve of my glutes in the mirror, all I can think is “bam!”  (or “Damn!”)

I remember when I used to model in my early 20s and I weighed a mere 114 lbs (and I’m about 5’9″)!  I maintained this weight by starving myself, literally.  I wasn’t vegan and knew nothing about nutrition. I would eat one meal a day and it was usually something small like a potato with a can of La Sur Peas on top (no butter, no way).  At least I was eating a potato.  I know lots of other models who wouldn’t touch a potato or anything starchy or carb-y.  But when I think about what a lack of carbs does to the brain—well, it explains a lot about skinny models not seeming like the greatest thinkers ever—and some seeming like the cheese was sliding right off of their cracker (so to speak—they would never touch a cheesy cracker).

What a fool I was to think that having a nice body required starving myself!  I also have memories of being very weak.  For instance, I remember trying to open a sliding glass door and not being able to do it and having my boyfriend come over and easily open it and laugh and call me “Mr. Burns” (Simpson’s cartoon reference). He was right, I was ridiculously weak from such a severe lack of muscle tone from starving myself so much.

I wonder if this obsession we women have with starving ourselves has anything to do with the fact that we still do not earn equal pay with men or receive promotions to higher levels of power within the work place at the same rate as men.  I mean if we are all walking around light headed and can’t think clearly from the lack of carbohydrates—and if we are so weak that we cannot open our own doors—how are we to be taken seriously and treated as equals in the work place?  Maybe it’s the reason why so many women do not even realize there is a disparagement in treatment or pay and the inequality is allowed to continue.

Besides, take it from me, former model and very skinny person, being stick thin is definitely not as pretty as having nice muscle definition in your legs and arms and abs.  In fact, I recommend that every woman reading this go out and get a subscription to “Oxygen” or “Fitness Rx” or “Muscle and Fitness Hers” magazine.  (“Oxygen” is my favorite—check out their website and you will see what I mean). Once you start seeing what a fit woman’s body looks like and how beautiful muscle definition is on the female form, you will never want to be stick thin again.  In fact, when I get my Victoria’s Secret catalogue, I balk at how they are presenting these women as having nice bodies—with no butts (most of them are pancake flat–really) and stick thin legs with very little curve or definition, and no real definition in their arms.  There have been a few with some muscle definition here and there, like Stephanie Seymour way back in the 80s and early 90s with the nice glutes, abs and legs, Marissa Miller with nice calves and abs and even Giselle Bundchin with nice calves.  Guess what? They all have a background in gymnastics, which is something they have in common with most female body builders. (Gymnastics builds a pretty darn muscular body.) But none of these models’ bodies can compare to Marzia Prince, Annette Milbers, and Alicia Marie.  Female body builders have the whole package—the arms, the legs, the abs, the glutes…

The good news is that we are seeing more and more muscle tone on the Victoria’s Secret models all the time.  Also, the Miss America contestants are showing more and more muscle tone.  This is a sign that the wave of the future beauty ideal for women is a muscular physique.  And since it takes years of consistent training to build a muscular body, we are very lucky to be getting started with this now!

So, please don’t starve yourself!  Even if you are significantly over weight, just eat lots of healthy, vegan meals. Do NOT focus on salad all the time. You need protein to build muscle and muscle burns fat and gets rid of cellulite.  Make sure you are eating lots of vegan protein in every meal— count the grams of protein and focus on getting lots of plant nutrients in every meal instead of counting calories. Avoid sugar and sodium and refined starches (like white flour and things made from it, and white rice).  But do not go hungry—ever!  Eat every 2-3 hours and don’t let your blood sugar drop.  Keep your metabolism working, always be digesting something that nourishes your body.

I would love to see a day when women focus on being strong and healthy instead of just being skinny!  I think the world would be a much better place if women were all strong and capable of opening their own doors and were able to think clearly and feel good about themselves because they eat lots of vegan protein and take the time to build muscles instead of starving themselves!

I am so glad that we are on this journey together.  We are not frail little weak women.  We are strong enough on the inside to go for our dreams of being even stronger and we are getting stronger on both the outside and the inside every day.  We are smart, capable and—yes, heavier than ever!  Ha!

By the way, here’s an idea of how I’ve been eating lately (FYI, I am in a bulking up phase and not worrying about calories, at all.  Also, you should know that yesterday I worked legs and abs at the gym for about an hour, and that is the sort of daily, or at least 4 times a week, activity you should be undertaking on a diet like this.):

Breakfast Options:

  • Smoothie (34 g protein)- 2 cups (16 oz) soy milk (14 g protein), a banana, frozen blueberries, frozen cherries, 1 scoop protein powder (20 g protein), 1 Tbsp glutamine
  • Oatmeal (25 g protein)- 2 packets instant apple cinnamon oatmeal (10 g protein) with a large handful of walnuts on top (15 g protein)
  • Toast (24 g protein)– 2 slices of California Complete Protein Bread (10 g protein) with 2 Tbsp peanut butter (14 g protein) with about 2 tsp cherry preserves
  • Tofu scramble (40 g protein)- 1/2 lb firm tofu (20 g protein) sauteed with 1 tsp Earth Balance, mushrooms, onions, bell peppers, basil, curry powder, lemon pepper, oregano, garlic powder.  Veggie sausage (15 g protein). 1 slice of toast (5 g protein) with flax oil on top.
  • High protein vegan muffins  (20 g protein) See recipe on May 24, 2011 blog entry—easiest way is to enter “muffin” in search box on home page.
  • Pancakes (30-40 g protein) High protein pancakes made with Kamut or soy flour (15-20 g protein) with fruit preserve on top with veggie sausages (15-20 g protein)

Snack Options (for Mid-Morning or Afternoon):

  • Handful of walnuts (21 grams of protein per cup)  BONUS: walnuts are high in Omega-3 fatty acids!!!
  • Handful of peanuts (36 grams of protein per cup)
  • Handful of bean sprouts (17-30+ grams per cup depending on the type of bean)
  • Cliff Builder’s Bar (20 grams of protein)
  • Large glass of soymilk (2 cups/1 pint = 14 g protein) BONUS: add a little glutamine powder if needed to overcome training fatigue)

Lunch Options:

  • Warm Soup/chowder (25 grams protein) with corn (8 grams protein per cup), soymilk (7 grams protein per cup), beans (20-30 grams protein per cup), quinoa (8 grams protein per cup), tofu (20 grams protein per 1/2 pound), Soba noodles (8 grams protein per cup), green leafy vegetable or broccoli (5-15 grams protein per cup cooked), other colorful veggies cooked in water spiced with garlic powder, oregano, basil, lemon pepper, cumin and other spices (avoid using “stock” or boullion unless you can find a very low sodium version).
  • Sandwich (30 g protein) with 2 slices of high protein bread (10 g protein), Tofurky or other vegetarian deli slice (20 grams protein in 5 slices), mustard, spinach leaves, pickles, bell peppers.
  • Salad: large bowl of spinach or other dark leafy greens (5 g protein per cup raw), 1/2 lb baked or sauteed tofu (20 g protein), OR tempeh strips (15-20 g protein), 1 cup sesame seeds (24 grams of protein per cup and BONUS: 3 times more calcium than milk!), lots of colorful veggies like carrots, bell peppers, onions, tomatoes, cucumbers, etc. with a low fat dressing like balsamic vinegar and flax oil or Creamy Miso or Papaya Poppyseed, etc.

***Have Another Snack Between Lunch and Dinner (see above choices)***

Dinner Options:

  • Pasta (52 g protein): Kamut spirals have 20 grams of protein per cup!  with tomato sauce, 2 cups cooked spinach (20 g protein) and 4 veggie meatballs (12 grams of protein) OR cannelinni beans (12 g protein)— or both!
  • “Steak” or “chicken” dinner (35 g protein) Seitan steak or chicken (25+ grams of protein per serving), with 1 red potato and 2 cups of cooked spinach (10 g protein) with lemon juice and herbs or a tiny little bit of Earth Balance on top of the spinach.
  • “Meatloaf” dinner (30 g protein) Lentils or lentil loaf (18 g of protein per cup of lentils) with quinoa (8 grams per cup) with spices, onions, bell peppers and onions and 1 cup broccoli (about 6 g protein per cup)
  • Tacos (20 g protein) made with veggie taco meat filling (15 g protein per 1/2 package), crispy corn taco shells (2-4 g protein), chopped spinach, tomatoes, fresh low-sodium salsa, and a little daiya cheese (2 g protein).
  • Pizza (10-40 g protein) depending on the protein content of the pizza crust and how much veggie pepperoni or veggie sausage you can fit on top!

After Workout/Before Bed (because I work out at night, after dinner):

  • Protein drink (34 g protein): 2 cups soy milk (14 g protein) and 1 scoop protein powder (20 g protein)
  • Cup of chamomile and lavender tea with splash of soy milk.

TOTAL: Approximately 180+ grams of vegan protein! (I bump it up to 200 or more by eating more nuts and bean sprouts between meals and having larger portions at meals some days).


3 Responses to Heavier Than Ever and Happy About It! (With Meal Options)

  1. Chris Siegel says:

    I love this post! I have been pretty skinny since 2006 when I started running. Even though the scale said a really low number, I didn’t feel happy with the way my body looked. My butt was flat but my abs weren’t and my arms looked like noodles. Not a good look. Since I have been lifting I weigh more than I have in years – and honestly even though my body is looking better than ever sometimes I get freaked out by the number on the scale. It takes some adjusting mentally to know that I am working out hard and the scale is going up and my old size 2/4 jeans are skin tight. But I am coming to terms with it and starting to enjoy it. Anyways – I love reading your inspirational posts – I don’t know any other women who lift weights so it is nice to know I am not alone.

  2. Brenda Carey says:

    Chris, I love hearing from you! I am glad that we are forming a little community here of vegan women who lift. I would love it if we could all actually meet some day! I know we would all hit it off!
    Thanks for your great comments (as usual). I know what you mean about the old jeans not fitting. The pants I used to call my “fat pants” are the only ones my new, muscular butt will fit into these days. But I have to say, my butt looks great in them! I have given away my “skinny jeans” to my sister (who has a teeny tiny butt and is fine with being that way from just doing yoga and hiking as her forms of exercise). But for me, the images of muscles are much more appealing than being skinny could ever be. And it seems that men agree. I am getting all sorts of compliments on the new booty from men who’ve known me for a long time and have seen the transition. Yeah, baby–I’d rather be a size 6 and have a rock-hard curvy butt than a size 2 flat butt, for sure! I know you know what I mean, sistah!
    Oh, and about the numbers on the scale, I like to think of myself as a powerful, amazon woman or like Xena, warrior princess. I like feeling like I’m not a little waif or a frail little thing. I like being powerful and strong. That’s what my weight represents—I am weighty, substantial, powerful. Heck, I’d like to weigh as much as I can as long as it’s all natural muscle tone and no fat. I can’t wait to see what my maximum weight will be when I’ve been weight lifting for a few more years and finally become completely ripped all over! (Maybe I’m at that maximum weight already, or maybe there will be more weight. I don’t know. I do have a tiny bit of fat right now from being in a bulking up phase and not worrying about cardio as much as I will when I slim down next summer.)
    If more women were this way, I guarantee less of us would be victims of violent crimes. Men who victimize women are cowards and those of us who project power are safer. Also, it is just practical to be stronger–I can carry more groceries and do more things for myself around the house. There is really no down side to being stronger and more powerful. Men learned that a long time ago. It’s time we realized it too. Glad you and I are on the same page and sharing this experience!

  3. Chris Siegel says:

    I miss your posts. Hope you had a great holiday season. I am looking forward to more posts from you in 2012!

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