Eat meat, fowl, wild seafood, veggies, fruits, healthy starches and fats in amounts that enable you to meet your nutritional goals

No Holds Barred

We’re all familiar with the expression “no holds barred” originating as a wrestling term that meant no restrictions on the the types of holds used.  In other worlds such as nutrition that translates to ‘free from the usual limits or restrictions’.  Taken one step further relates to foods, quantities, macros and overall calories consumed.

Now some of us live that way on a daily basis.  Live that way long enough and you will either develop a lifestyle related disease or get fat, most likely both.  And yea tho genetics play a part and some of us are more resilient than others the better your nutrition the better the overall quality of your life, composition of your body and performance will be.

For those of us that follow the 80/20 rule from a nutritional or dietary standpoint and have a solid training program a ‘no holds barred’ day can actually be healthy especially from a mental standpoint giving you a break and to a degree a reboot.  I love to eat but left to eat as much as I want makes me heavier than I like to be so I have found a maintenance range that allows me to periodically indulge yet still fit into my junior size daisy dukes in the summer.

Once a month I allow myself a no holds barred day.  And it looks something like this. . .

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I’m predictable with breakfast; it’s typically thick sliced bacon, slow cooked grits with a healthy dose of butter, sunny side up eggs and gluten free toast with more butter. #happiness.

Lunch is either some leftovers or something I don’t typically eat like a hot dog and chips. Wellshire Farms makes a nice fat nitrite/nitrate free hot dog.  Put that on a gluten free bun with some sea salted potato chips and I’m a kid again if only in my mind.  Or it may be a grilled cheese sandwich or liverwurst.  Something I don’t indulge in often. It will also vary as I’m usually busy cooking up dinner and dessert.

Some of my favs. . .

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Ribs, baked beans and slaw.

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Wings with sauces and decadent sides

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such as mac n’ cheese.  The grand finale dessert rounds out the meal.

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It may be banana cream pudding

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or an American Flag pie depending on the fruits and the season.  And occasionally I will go out to one of my favorite restaurants in lieu of spending the day in the chicken.

My weaknesses are fattier meats, creamy, cheesy sides and a sweet homemade treat.  You may prefer chocolate, are a pancake person or libations may be your choice.  It’s your day, provided you’re at a weight and body composition you are comfortable with and are training regularly.

‘No holds barred’ days are earned not given and pair beautifully with the 80/20 lifestyle.

Jelly Bean Flu

For those of you that eat relatively healthy or ‘clean’ most of the time following the 80/20 rule do you find yourself feeling a little crappy on Easter Monday and Tuesday?  Not wanting to be ‘weird’ I splurged a bit over the Easter holiday indulging in such delights as my homemade banana pudding cheesecake and some atypical foods that I know were filled with chemicals, toxins and colors not found in nature such as but not limited to:  jelly beans, chocolate eggs, chocolate bunnies, marshmallow peeps, potato chips, corn casserole and ham with nitrates all in quantities teetering on gluttonous.

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After a 2.5 day food fest which began on Good Friday at approximately 6:30 pm and did not end until Sunday afternoon I found myself completely lethargic after returning home from Jacksonville and unpacking.  The couch was calling my name.  When the Jag asked what’s for dinner I looked at him in disbelief.  I am NOT cooking.  You’re on your own tonight dear.  After a 2 hour nap I went to bed at 9:15 and did not awake until he nudged me that the alarm was going off at 5:30 am.

After getting up I felt pretty rested although after stepping on the scale it showed that I had gained 3.4 pounds since Friday morning.  Whoa.  Shall we say retaining just a tad of water?  After a three day sabbatical from physical activity I was glad to be back at it.  The warm up felt great.  When I got to the main lift of the day strength was not where it was last week.  Hmmm.  In general I was quickly winded and moving slowly.  And sweating profusely.  Granted it was fairly humid but still sweating more than usual.  Come on out toxins I thought.

The day seemed to drag by and I was still lethargic Monday afternoon.  When I got home I saw that leftover candy was adorning our table in the living room.  Waste not want not or rather like an addict I fell into the jelly beans again right after dinner.

My stomach hurt and Tuesday morning found me sweating red, purple and green during my deadlifts.  TIME! I yelled and quoth my latest mantra — nevermore and let the spring leaning begin…

The Challenge is over: Now What?

And so it began on January 16, 2016…

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Congratulations to those that completed CF Jaguar’s 8 week Look Better Naked 2016 Challenge.  We had a group of 23 this year excluding coaches and 14 of those participants crossed the finish line!

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Body fat was lost, muscle mass was both gained and maintained, strength increased along with endurance.  There were varying goals and overall amazing results.

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The question is. . . where do we go from here? There are generally 3 ‘types’ of participants in any challenge:

  • The “All In”
  • The “Moderate”
  • The “Blow if Off

Many fall in between but let’s talk about the types…

The “All In”:  this is the Type A, hard driven, do or die extremist and usually the most successful in the short run. For 8 weeks you religiously calculated and logged your macros with the accuracy of an accountant, you worked out consistently a minimum of 5 times a week sometimes doing 2 a days and/or adding in extra conditioning. You stopped drinking, ate no sweets and did not cheat at all.  You are seeing amazing results; you are losing body fat, gaining muscle, performing better and sleeping better.  You will never stop.

The “Moderate”:  you believe in the tortoise.  You have scaled back your nutrition and alcohol consumption and are keeping a fairly accurate log of your nutritional intake or are eyeballing portions with some degree of precision. You are making it to the gym 3-5 times a week.  You’ve made a concerted effort to get more sleep and reduce your stress load.  You are seeing results; you are losing some body fat, gaining a little muscle, your workout performance has improved and you are sleeping better.  This isn’t so bad and you’re thinking you might be able to live like this. Generally this type is the best geared for long term success.

The “Blow It Off”:  you changed your nutrition for 3 days, tracked it for two days, got in one extra workout and wondered why you did not lose 10 pounds by the end of the week and why the hell you signed up and paid for this. You had no idea so much effort was required, don’t they have some kind of a pill for this?  Or you just might not be ready for the commitment right now, maybe later. That’s ok, we’re here for you.

Most people fall in one of those categories or somewhere between 2 of them.  No matter where you fall once the challenge is over it’s difficult to know where you go from there.

Common Pitfalls:


The Binger:  woo hoo! I can have pizza and beer now and all I want.  You fall off the wagon quickly and hard and sometimes don’t get back up.  Within a few weeks to a month you are right back where you were before the challenge started.  This category is primarily composed of the all in and some moderates.  The blow off never sacrificed and continues as they were

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The Attempter:  you may have a meal or two to celebrate and swear you are going to get right back on it next week and maybe you do.  By the next week one or two meals/cocktails turns into 3 the next week and after a couple of months you too are back where you started. This category is mainly comprised of moderates and some all ins.

While neither of these paths is ultimately desirable what is the best way to come off a challenge?  That is the path of The Maintainer.  It is the best path but sometimes the most difficult to find the proper balance.  That balance will be different for everyone.  It is comprised of roughly equal all ins and moderates

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First Step: Re evaluate your goals:  did you reach them?  If yes, you are ready for maintenance.  If no, continue on the path that was working for you on the challenge.

And ask yourself — is this realistic?:  is it realistic for you to continue to live like this?  In other words, what degree of sacrifice is right for you.  None?  Then learn to love yourself as you are.  Some?  This is where most of us all fall, what weight/body composition allows you to still have some degree of pleasure in your eating and socializing. All?  You don’t care what amount of sacrifice it takes you want to maintain a 6 pack year round.  I think that’s obsessed (cause I’ve been there) and I don’t think you’re going to be happy but who am I to judge.  Even competitors that make their living this way have indulgence days.  This type of extreme strictness can lead to eating and/or body image disorders.

Finding the balance.  As I stated before it’s different for everyone.  I’ll use myself as an example and share a brief history.  When I first started fitness and changing my nutrition I was the “All In”.  Yep, no moderation ever for this girl.  After my first competition and achieving sub 10% body fat I turned into the binger alternating with bouts of nutritional extremes.  This pattern continued for quite a few years until I finally found a balance and learned how to maintain.  Here’s what works for me. . .

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I find my maintenance program is seasonal.  We’re going to start in the fall; the weather is turning cooler, the pumpkins are popping out of the patch and it’s time for Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas.  I enjoy seasonal delights and baking.  I start eating more, more treats and since it’s colder I wear baggier clothes.  My training is more of a bulking phase.  I generally gain about 7-10 pounds and continue this from early November until the end of February.  I am like a happy bear hibernating.

Come the first of March, the weather is warming and I find underneath those baggy sweats is a bigger booty and a few rolls in the front.  Not ghastly but enough to not want to appear in a bikini.  Time for spring leaning.  I change my diet slightly cutting back on fat intake and calories around 20%.  Voila, magically those 7-10 pounds melt away and by the time I head to the beach in May or June I feel good in my bikini.

Now summer is hot, my tastes have changed to the lighter side and I’m not wearing a lot of clothes.  There are many trips to the beach, vacations and other events that I like looking like I work out.  I eat clean 5-6 out of 7 days.  One-two days a week I allow myself some homemade ice cream or all the butter I want on my baked potato or a rich indulgence like creamy cheesy scalloped potatoes.  Usually on the weekend. Come Monday, right back at it.  My training remains consistent throughout the year. This allows me to maintain a reasonable weight throughout the summer and early fall.  Until the first sign of pumpkins and then the cycle repeats.

This is my balance.  This makes me happy, I sacrifice some at times but not so much or for so long that I have ill effects.  Take this and tailor it to you.  Do some soul searching on what will work in your life.  I do not drink but I like sweets.  If you prefer socializing with cocktails — make that your indulgence once a week or no more than 2. Remember nothing gets results better than the All In, super dedicated, super strict.  But that is not maintainable and for the majority of us only maintainable will yield success and happiness for the long term.


Yes, I did the challenge this year and while my goals were different I achieved them.  I was in the middle of a bulking phase wanting to regain muscle lost following surgery.  I was more of a moderate this go round.  I didn’t indulge as much as usual but was not restrictive either.  I gained back some muscle, took off 1% body fat and learned that while I still hate running you must leave your comfort zone at times. And practice what you preach.

Challenge Halftime: are you there yet?

It’s midway through CF Jag’s challenge and the participants are seeing dramatic improvements in body composition and performance. A few  members are wondering what they are doing differently.  One participant was asked what “magic bullet” she had discovered.   I also had a comment “I miss the old, back in the beginning tell it like it is Paula Lean”. Really?  Gasp, don’t tell me I’ve become  politically correct?

All it takes are a couple of comments like that to revitalize my inner spewings.  I’ll tell you what the magic bullet is, are you ready for this?  Drum roll please. . .

DIET & EXERCISE.  Shocker huh?  And it’s primarily the nutrition.  While everyone generally kicks up the consistency, volume and intensity of their training a notch what changes most? Yep, their nutrition.  Imagine that; you stop consuming mass quantities of alcohol and crap food and you lose body fat.  Rocket science.  Good old fashioned cut the crap; you add in a few targeted supplements to supply what your diet is missing and facilitate recovery and the results start happening.  The proof is in the pudding, you just can’t eat it all the time. . .


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So simple it eludes even the most savvy fitness enthusiast.  While we all are different to a degree and have different goals there are some physiological truths that can’t be denied. You are what you eat or not.  By tracking her food intake and fueling around activity her body composition is vastly improved.

Personally  that rings true also; I weigh about 125 right now not 115 like I did for a competition last summer.  Why and what’s the difference — oh about 700 calories a day and a much higher fat content. Duh.  But it’s winter and my clothes are baggier. Back to the topic du jour. . .

Here’s yet another stunning example of what can happen in a mere 5 weeks.  This dude not only took out the crap, added some targeted supplements and lost 14 pounds but has been killing it the gym!  He’s set multiple  PR’s and is able to workout more because of reduced soreness through better recuperative capacities.

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I’ve been doing this for 22 years;  I’ve evolved and learned a lot over the last 2+ decades but there have been two constants in the loss of body fat that have been virtually the same for me at age 35 as it is today at age 56:  exercise and nutrition.

The exercise you need to do for multiple reasons; facilitate the fat loss process, build and maintain muscle, improve health markers along with activities of daily living and performance and feel, sleep and look better.  That should be enough to convince just about everyone.

When it comes to fat loss it will not occur unless your nutrition is in place.  I would place it at about 80% of the equation. There is no magic formula other than hard work and consistency. There are individual differences and it will depend on what you are eating for.  Three general goals are:  gain weight, lose weight and performance based. With a few wanting to maintain. Most all of the questions, concerns and comments we get are based on those wanting to lose body fat.  In regards to that let me make this as simple as possible:

  • You will not lose body fat sitting on your ass.  You must exercise and you must include heavy weights and intense conditioning.  i.e. CrossFit works beautifully
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  • You cannot drink your 6 pack and see it too unless you are a genetically blessed 19 yo male and even that won’t last forever
  • You have got to lay off the cupcakes, donuts, pasta and other sugary, refined white flour nutritionally void foods
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  • Eat quality protein — about 1 g per pound of body weight (or lean body mass if obese)Photo Jan 10, 4 23 42 PM
  • Balance your energy sources (fat & carbohydrates) based on activity and genetics; too much of either will put a halt to your fat loss
  • Eat plenty of vegetables and limit your fruit and nut consumption
  • Consume reasonable portions; too much of anything will not make you lean
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  • Stay hydrated consuming 3/4 to a gallon of water per day
  • You need to be consistent for a number of weeks (or months) depending on how much you have to lose
  • How closely and rigidly you follow this will determine your results and how fast they will happen

A big shout out to all of the hard work and efforts we have seen put forth by the Look Better Naked Challenge participants. Stayed tuned —  next we’ll discuss how to maintain after the Challenge is over!

High Protein Omelette

Watching your macros and want a quick and easy meal that can easily split into two? This high protein Omelette is quick, easy and hits all the taste buds!

Chicken Sausage Al Fresco

Chicken Sausage by Al Fresco

I found these Chicken Sausage Patties by Al Fresco that are absolutely amazing. Adding them to this omelette made it so tasty! Score!

I started with 1 Tsp of Ghee in the pan and added the onions, bell peppers and mushrooms. Once these get nice and warm and begin to soften, add the spinach and tomato and chicken sausage and let it cook and heat the sausage through. While you allow everything to cook, you can crack your eggs and get them nice and blended.

Add the Eggs when everything is cooked, and all veggies are tender. I poured the egg into the mixture and let it melt into every crack until I had used it all.

blended Eggs

blended Eggs

Allow it to cook for a few minutes, until you can tell the egg mixture is solid enough that you could turn it with a spatula, (but don’t!) — time for the broiler.

eggs sausage and veggies Heat the broiler to HIGH, and place the pan (mine is cast iron, so I am able to put the whole thing in the oven). WATCH IT CAREFULLY! The egg will rise and finish cooking under the broiler, cook it until its just beginning to brown. (I like mine cooked a little more than most, but this is totally a personal preference).

Just make sure to cook it long enough to completely cook the egg.

Omelette under Broiler

High protein Omelette


High Protein Omelette Ingredients

High Protein Omelette Ingredients

Ingredients & Recipe

2 large, Eggs – Whole, raw
2 large, Eggs – White only, raw
4 cup, Spinach – Raw
0.50 large, Onions, raw
6-8 Angel Sweet Grape Tomatoes
0.25 cup, pieces or slices, Mushrooms, white, raw
2 ounce, Sweet Bell Pepper (Red, Yellow, Green)
1 tsp, Ghee
1 patty, Chicken Sausage Breakfast Patties


Top with:
2 Tbsp, Medium Organic Salsa
2 Tbsp, Sour Cream Pure & Natural
0.25 c, Deli-Sliced Tamed Jalapeno Peppers

Nutrition Facts
Servings 2.0
Amount Per Serving
*Calories 246
*Total Fat 13g 20 %
Cholesterol 242 mg
Sodium 587 mg 24 %
Potassium 704 mg
*Total Carbohydrate 17 g
Dietary Fiber 5 g
Sugars 7 g
*Protein 19 g


finished omellete

finished omellete

Weight Loss Basics: Part III

In Parts 1 & 11 we focused primarily on the nutritional aspect of weight loss; how we got to where we are – then we set measurable goals, gave them a timeline, established a level of commitment and developed a weight loss plan. While nutrition is 80% of the game we still need to factor in exercise.

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If you’ve been training for awhile you will want to maintain the muscle you’ve developed while on a caloric deficit. If you’re new to exercise you will actually be able to build some muscle while losing weight at the same time and your nutrition must support this. While those are typically opposing goals for those just starting out it’s possible to do both in the beginning.

Since we’re focusing on weight loss basics we’re going to direct this towards those that aren’t currently training consistently.  Those of you that have your training down your weight loss will be most affected by your diet.

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What is the single most important thing you can do from an exercise standpoint?  If you’re not doing any exercise the answer is simply to start.  With daily cardio? No. Lifting weights. Why?

If you haven’t been chances are very good you need to build some muscle; muscle is the most metabolically active tissue we have.  With age we lose it if not using it.  The more we have of it the better we burn and utilize the calories we consume and the higher our metabolism runs.


Another reason it makes us look better; more ‘toned’ and defined rather than the dreaded skinny fat (the smaller version of a former fat self).  And whether we will admit it or not we all want to look better naked.

If time is of an issue you can circuit train – performing a group of exercises (generally 2 – 3 back to back for a given number of reps without rest). Rest between the circuits and repeat for a given number of sets. This will will not only enable you to build some muscle but you will get the conditioning effect in also and in a shorter period of time.  Bam!  Mutli tasking at its finest.

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Adding in low level aerobic activity or high intensity interval training can help facilitate fat loss. We’re all different and the amounts will vary.  Some do better with the HIIT and some with the aerobic training — genetics and body type come into play here.  Personally I found that 4 days of weight training and 2 days of low level aerobic activity worked perfectly for me.  Occasionally I would switch it up with HIIT.  Some can tolerate more, some less. Experimenting will dictate which works best for you.

I kept the weights heavy, the reps varying from 6 to 8 some days, 8 to 12 on others and occasionally 10 – 15. Why? Works best for my body type. I’m a 55 year old woman, I don’t have really high testosterone levels. Muscle is precious to me, I want to build all I can and maintain that even when on a caloric restriction.

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Let’s wrap this series up with a little talk about sleep. Your diet can be primed to perfection, your exercise on track but if you’re not getting enough quality sleep that can put a halt to your weight loss efforts as easily as a pizza diet and guzzling your six pack will.

Seven to nine hours of quality sleep is a must. And make sure your bedroom is dark, free of glaring LCD monitors and other distractions, no technological stimulation or horror flicks right before bedtime. Do not eat or watch television in bed– it is for sleeping and sex only. Find a routine that helps you unwind prior to hitting the sack.

The sum of nutrition, exercise, sleep and other healthy lifestyle habits will enable you to reach your weight loss goals.  If you need help getting started. . .

Tampa Bay area residents CF Jaguar is hosting a Paula Lean Weight Loss Basics seminar on Thursday, July 9 at 6:45 pm.  Open to the public.

Non TB area residents:  online coaching available, please contact for details