Monthly Archives: September 2015

8 Weeks to 40 – Week 3 Recap

Day 21 fitquestmom Gretchen Tseng 9.28.15

Date:  9/28/15

Height: 5’9″

Weight: 139.2 (up from last week…see below)

Last Week’s Macros:

Monday -Thursday & Saturday 1555 calories 125C / 140P / 55F

Friday 1792 calories 190C / 150P / 48F (heaviest weight lifting day)

Sunday 1562 calories 106C / 145P / 62F (rest day)

This Week’s Macros (Staying the same):

I¬†am keeping them the same as last week’s.

Diabetes Walk Fitquestmom

As you can see from the above stats, my weight actually went up 0.7lbs., but I don’t think that is actually an accurate number for the following reasons:

  1. I went out of town this past weekend (for my niece’s Juvenile Diabetes Walk).
  2. I did not sleep as much as usual (raises cortisol).
  3. I was able to still hit my macros while out of town.
  4. The majority of my protein this past weekend came from my husband’s amazing pulled pork, which also happens to be pretty salty.
  5. I drank 3 diet sodas yesterday (I am NOT a soda drinker) because I was getting tired while driving home from our road trip and I needed the caffeine…that’s the only time I ever drink soda…super rare.
  6. Since I was in the car for 7 hours yesterday I did NOT drink my gallon of water.
  7. Lastly, um…how do I put this?…My bathroom habits weren’t normal this weekend.

FitQuestMom Abs 9.28.15

I took above ab progress picture this morning after my workout and despite the number on the scale I SEE the progress.

I think it is important for everyone to remember that we lead busy lives and we need to LIVE them and enjoy them. ¬†It would never cross my mind to not eat my hubby’s amazing pulled pork (it’s soooo good!) because it might affect the number on the scale, or to not allow myself the freedom to have a soda (or three) on a rare occasion, etc. ¬†It all evens out in the end. ¬†Consistency is what really matters over the long term.


Click HERE for the Day 1 Recap

Click HERE for the Week 1 Recap

Click HERE for the Week 2 Recap

Click HERE for the Week 4 Recap



Filed under 8 Weeks to 40, Education, Exercise, Fat, IIFYM and Macros, Nutrition, Weight Issues, Weight Lifting

Jamie Eason Middleton’s From Flat to All That Workout Logs Weeks 11 & 12


Sorry I am so late getting these last workout logs up for you!  These are the final two weeks of the From Flat to All That workout series.  Jamie mentions on the site that she and her husband plan on going through the entire program a second time, so you may want to consider doing that as well.

Click HERE for the week 11 & 12 workout log I created.

Click HERE for Jamie’s 1 page summary of the workouts.


Click HERE for the week 1 & 2 free workout log.

Click HERE for the week 3 & 4 free workout log.

Click HERE for the week 5 & 6 free workout log.

Click HERE for the week 7 & 8 free workout log.

Click HERE for the week 9 & 10 free workout log.

Click HERE for the week 11 & 12 free workout log.

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Filed under Education, Exercise, Weight Issues, Weight Lifting

8 Weeks to 40 – Week 2 Recap

Day 15 Collage Blog

Date:  9/14/15

Height: 5‚Äô9″ (Um…apparently I shrank. ¬†I just went to the Dr. last week and I am no longer 5’9 1/2″)

Weight: 138.5 (down 1.9lbs. since last week / 5.3lbs TOTAL)

Last Week’s Macros:

Monday -Thursday & Saturday 1515 calories 120C / 135P / 55F

Friday 1736 calories 180C / 146P / 48F (heaviest weight lifting day)

Sunday 1562 calories 106C / 145P / 62F (rest day)

This¬†Week’s Macros:

Monday -Thursday & Saturday 1555 calories 125C / 140P / 55F

Friday 1792 calories 190C / 150P / 48F (heaviest weight lifting day)

Sunday 1562 calories 106C / 145P / 62F (rest day)


This past week¬†was a good one, though it was the first week I experienced some hunger. ¬†My goal during this 8 week “cut” is not to lose a ton of weight. ¬†My weight loss has been a bit ahead of schedule, so I am actually adding in a little more food this week and will see how my body responds to that.

If by Friday I am still losing weight at a more rapid rate than I would like, I will make my refeed larger than planned.

Have an awesome week everyone!


Click HERE for the Day 1 Recap

Click HERE for the Week 1 Recap

Click HERE for the Week 3 Recap


Filed under 8 Weeks to 40, Education, Exercise, IIFYM and Macros, Nutrition, Weight Issues, Weight Lifting

Juvenile Diabetes – It Has Hit Close to Home


AnniNever before have I written a post asking my readers to donate money, but for my niece I would do anything. ¬†Last Christmas my sister’s youngest child was diagnosed with Type-1 Diabetes (Juvenile Diabetes). ¬†I am so thankful that my sister recognized the signs and brought her in to the ER when she did…they said it was critical…her sugar was astronomically high. ¬†They spent quite some time in the Pediatric ICU and have been working on regulating her situation since.

She sure has been a brave and tough little girl, but a diagnosis like this really does change your life.  My sister and brother-in-law found a Pediatric Diabetes Specialist at UCSF to handle her care (thank goodness for that!) and are there right now for another all day appointment as I type this.

Next weekend is the JDRF One Walk in Reno and my niece’s Girl Scout Troop decided they wanted to do something to show support for the friend that they love so much; they formed “Team Awesomeness” to rally around her and raise money for research to try and end this disease. ¬†The research is so promising and it is possible to find a cure.

If you are able to make a donation, I thank you from the bottom of your heart.  If you are unable to, perhaps you could leave a comment with some words of encouragement for my little munchkin.

Click HERE to donate.

Thank you so much for all of the support you have shown me through the years…I am so grateful.

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Filed under Children, Diabetes, Education, Research

Roasted Japanese Eggplant

Roasted Japanese Eggplant Balanced Grettie Collage

Eggplant used to intimidate me. ¬†I was always told that if you didn’t prepare it right the eggplant would turn out bitter, so I think I avoided making it myself and just stuck to ordering it when I went out to eat.

This year I decided to plant Japanese eggplant in my garden, so I guess that meant I would have to learn how to work with it.  I have one Japanese eggplant plant in my garden and it has just gone nuts.  I pick at least 10 eggplant on a weekly basis!

When I had my first eggplant harvest I did a quick search for recipes and found THIS one on the Real Healthy Recipes blog.

I simplified the recipe by leaving out the lemon since I like to prepare a ton at a time and want to be able to use it throughout the week for different purposes (not every meal lends itself to lemon).  I also use about 1/2 that amount of oil and found that I only need to roast them for about 18-22 minutes (maybe my eggplant are small?).  The first time I made this recipe I roasted the eggplant for the full 40 minutes and found them too be a little too mushy for my taste.

Scoring the eggplant as she suggests really allows the garlic flavor to get in there and they turn out so pretty.

Head on over to the Real Healthy Recipes blog to find out the method for preparing this yummy eggplant dish.  Click HERE for the printable recipe.

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Filed under Appetizers, Gluten Free, Quick, Recipes, Sides, Vegan, Vegetables

8 Weeks to 40 – Week 1 Recap

Day 8 Collage 9.14.15

Date:  9/14/15

Height: 5’9 1/2″

Weight: 140.4 (down 3.4lbs)


Monday -Thursday & Saturday 1515 calories 120C / 135P / 55F

Friday 1736 calories 180C / 146P / 48F (heaviest weight lifting day)

Sunday 1562 calories 106C / 145P / 62F (rest day)


This past week went very well. ¬†I am feeling great, wasn’t hungry, and plan on keeping the same macros this week.

I lost 3.4 pounds which was awesome, but it is important to keep in mind that a good portion of the weight lost was water since I indulged the weekend before and was retaining water from all of the extra carbohydrates I consumed.

I do not anticipate that I will lose the same amount of weight (nor do I want to) this week and if I do I will need to increase my macros because I want to ensure that the weight lost is not hard-earned muscle.

I have seven weeks left in my planned cut and I am thinking that I want to end-up somewhere between 132-135 pounds. ¬†I may allow myself to get slightly more lean in anticipation of the Reverse Diet I plan on doing after this cut…time will tell. ¬†I am not stuck on any set-number because I want to focus more on how I look versus a number on the scale.

Have an awesome week everyone!

Click HERE for the Day 1 Recap

Click HERE for the Week 2 Recap




Filed under 8 Weeks to 40, Education, Exercise, IIFYM and Macros, Nutrition, Weight Issues, Weight Lifting

8 Weeks to 40

Gretchen Tseng FitQuestMom muscle buildingI am a person who thrives on goals and loves something to work toward. ¬†In fact, when I don’t have a goal I feel like I am just treading water.

Recently I have found myself feeling a little ho hum when it comes to my fitness and nutrition routine. ¬†A quick look at the calendar last week made me realize that in a few days I would be 8 weeks away from 40 years old. ¬†Bingo…new goal.

I have spent the last year working hard to add muscle to my frame (see picture comparison above). ¬†As you saw in my last post about Reverse Dieting, when I originally began IIFYM/Flexible Dieting¬†and got back into lifting weights (really heavy for the first time)¬†I was able to achieve a very lean look, but there wasn’t a lot of muscle under there and I had very little “shape” to my body. ¬†Now that I have put a lot of effort into trying to build the muscle and my metabolic capacity I am pumped to do an 8 week cut to reveal that hard-earned muscle.

Thus, my¬†8 Weeks to 40 plan. ¬†Who doesn’t want to feel their best on their 40th B-Day???

I began my plan last Monday (after letting myself eat like an idiot over the Labor Day weekend…it was fun) and plan on updating all of you every Monday with progress pictures and how the last week went for me. ¬†I know there is a lot of curiosity around macros and weight, so I will be fully open with you and share those with you. ¬†Please understand that everyone is very different and it would not make sense for anyone to jump right in and eat my macros thinking they will get the same results. ¬†We all start in different places metabolically, so there is no way my macros are right for anyone or everyone.

I make no judgement when it comes to what other people choose to eat (that is why flexible dieting is so great), but for the next 8 weeks I am going to be a bit more strict for myself than usual because I want to FEEL my best too. ¬†I suffer from multiple auto-immune issues (one of which is¬†hypothyroid) and really want to focus on eating those foods that make me feel my best…yep, that means no froyo for me.

So here are my rules for myself:

  • I will stick to my macros every day
    • Will reevaluate weekly based on results
      • Don’t want to lose weight too fast
  • I will post my results weekly
  • No candy, processed treats (unless I make a healthy version myself at home), artificial sweeteners (yep, coffee creamer is out…I’ve been meaning to break that habit anyway)
  • Will complete my planned workouts (I workout M-Sat and rest Sundays)

Now something I feel like I want to make perfectly clear is that fact that I am NOT unhappy with how I look now.  I feel like I am in pretty darn good shape for an almost 40 year old and I do not place my value in how my body looks.  I have a lot of fun with fitness and nutrition and enjoy taking care of myself.  There are worse hobbies out there.

Am I going to be any happier when I am leaner? ¬†Nope. ¬†Happiness does not come from how your body looks. ¬†Sure it is fun to fit into your clothes, etc., but I have finally come to the place where I understand that my family and friends don’t love me any more or less when I am a different size.

When I am done with my 8 week plan I have every intention of Reverse Dieting again for at least 20 weeks.  It will be awesome timing (if I do say so myself) with the holidays coming up and I will make sure I take you along for the ride with weekly updates on that as well.  Like Hana DeVore mentioned in my article on Reverse Dieting, that process can actually be harder than trying to lean out since systematically increasing food actually ramps up your hunger in a major way.  I will be counting on you guys to keep me motivated and accountable throughout my Reverse Diet.

With that being said, let project¬†8 Weeks to 40 begin. ¬†Below you will find my baseline pictures and stats from Day 1 (Ignore the paint samples on the wall…they’re killing me…we have decided to redo our bathroom and won’t be painting it before then). ¬†I’ll update you on this week’s progress this coming Monday 9/14/15.

Gretchen Tseng FitQuestMom 8 Weeks to 40 years oldDate:  9/7/15

Height: 5’9 1/2″

Weight: 143.8 (A lot of that is water weight from my weekend of indulgence)


Monday -Thursday & Saturday 1515 calories 120C / 135P / 55F

Friday 1736 calories 180C / 146P / 48F (heaviest weight lifting day)

Sunday 1562 calories 106C / 145P / 62F (rest day)


Click HERE to see how week 1 went for me.

Click HERE for Week 2



Filed under 8 Weeks to 40, Education, Exercise, Fat, IIFYM and Macros, Nutrition, Weight Issues, Weight Lifting

What is a Reverse Diet?

There is a great deal of confusion when it comes to Reverse Dieting.  What is it and why do people do it?

Reverse Dieting can be done for a few different reasons:

  1.  To increase the amount of calories someone is able to maintain weight on so they can diet down at a later date
  2. To increase the amount of calories someone is able to eat while keeping their current body weight and composition
  3. To increase the amount of calories someone eats in order to gain muscle

Let’s go into detail about number 1 above:

Oftentimes clients come to me wanting to lose weight and once they turn in their introductory questionnaire and food logs to me (this happens prior to my creating their nutrition program) I see that they have been maintaining their weight on very few calories. If they are consuming on the low end (1200 or below in my opinion) and not able to lose weight, I do not want to reduce their calories any further because it will damage their metabolism (and let’s face it…eating that little is too hard to maintain and usually results in a cycle of restriction followed by overeating). ¬†At this point I am forced to discuss Reverse Dieting with my client. ¬†There are times when a client does not want to go through the process of Reverse Dieting and I let them know that their health and well being are more important to me than the income I would get from coaching them through a metabolically damaging diet. ¬†If they decide to pursue nutrition coaching with someone else, I understand.

Once a client grasps the importance of Reverse Dieting we begin. ¬†From their food logs I am able to establish a starting point and from there we slowly work their calories up week by week which generally allows them to maintain their current weight. ¬†No two bodies are the same, so it is important to understand that there are times when a client will actually LOSE weight during this process (these clients are referred to as hyper-responders¬†and this is not the body’s usual response), and also times when a client will gain some weight throughout the process. ¬†It is important to always keep in mind the fact that the Reverse Diet is being done with one main goal in mind; to increase metabolic capacity so that once you are done you can lose weight while eating more calories. ¬†For example, a client might come to me eating 1100 calories and then take 5 to 6 months increasing their calories to 2200 at which point they are able to diet on 1800 calories and lose weight.

In this situation and in most situations it’s worthwhile to take the time to try and repair your metabolism and increase the amount of calories you’re able to eat on a daily basis. How long someone has to Reverse Diet depends upon how long they have been dieting. ¬†It is generally thought that the time spent Reverse Dieting should equal the amount of time the client has spent living life in a caloric deficit. ¬†Someone who has spent YEARS yoyo dieting may have to invest more time Reverse Dieting.

I also have clients who come to me wanting to lose weight and we diet them down until their calories get down to the 1200 mark at which point we Reverse Diet their calories back up for 20 weeks and then begin the process all over again.  Some clients have a lot of weight to lose and prefer to lose as much weight as they can prior to beginning their Reverse Diet.  For example, a client may come to me with 50 pounds to lose and eating 1600 calories a day.  We may begin their weight loss on a diet / macros totaling 1400 calories, they will lose 15 pounds and then hit a plateau, so we reduce their calories / macros to 1200 calories where they will lose another 10 pounds.  Once they hit another plateau we will begin the Reverse Diet and bring their calories back up before beginning another weight loss phase.

Let’s go into detail about number 2 above: ¬†

Then there are the people who have achieved the look that they want and have the body percent fat percentage that they are happy with, so they choose to Reverse Diet slowly in order to maintain their current look on more calories. ¬†Who doesn’t want to be able to eat more on a daily basis?

I have personally gone through the Reverse Dieting process twice.  The first time was when I dieted down for a High School Reunion (the ultimate motivator, right?).  In the picture below you will see my starting point at the top and where I was 13 weeks into the Reverse Diet on the bottom.

Gretchen Tseng fitquestmom Reverse Diet wk 1 vs. 13

At the time I shared my progress on my Instagram account:

“I am 13 weeks in now and am so glad I am investing in my metabolism this way. ¬†

In the top two pictures my weight was 130.6 and my macros were 1543 calories 155P / 125C / 47F and now my weight is 133 and my macros are 1844 calories 155P / 180C / 56F.

Have I been perfect along the way? ¬†Nope. ¬†I’ve had a cheat meal every week, went on vacation for almost two weeks (where I tried my best to track, but stopped and indulged at the end), and have had a couple of candy gone wild incidents which left me feeling disgusting, but I jumped right back in and NEVER restricted myself…I stuck to my current macros.

I plan on continuing this reverse at least through April / May (which will be a full 20 weeks). ¬†This is seriously one of the best things I have ever done for myself.”¬†

That being said, Reverse Dieting is fun, but it is also a process where if you are looking to maintain your current physique you need to be very precise and follow as closely as possible¬†(no unplanned binges) or your body will put on weight. It is a ton of fun to eat more week to week, but like I said, it required vigilance. ¬†As you read in my Instagram caption above, I wasn’t perfect and I did put on some weight. ¬†Had I been on track the entire time I am almost positive I would have stayed the same weight. ¬†I actually ended-up liking the fuller look in the bottom pictures since looking back I felt a little too lean in the pictures at the top.

Let’s go into detail about number 3 above:

In order to gain muscle you need to eat in a caloric surplus and put a lot of work in at the gym lifting heavy. ¬†When I say that I don’t mean eat gluttonously or you will likely gain a lot of fat with the muscle you are working so hard in the gym to build. ¬†This is where a sensible and controlled Reverse Diet works best.

I follow Hana DeVore’s Instagram Account. ¬†She is a 3 time NPC Nationally Qualified Bikini Competitor for Team FitBody Fusion and she has definitely put the work in Reverse Dieting in order to keep her metabolism healthy and to help increase her muscle mass between competitions. ¬†It is so inspirational to watch her compete while taking care of herself. ¬†So often bikini competitors are put on strict meal plans and extreme levels of cardio to diet down for the stage after which they go nuts with ¬†cheat meals and put a TON of weight on post show (20 pounds in 2 weeks is not unheard of). ¬†Hana does NOT do this because she works hard to Reverse Diet and has a coach (Jami Bernard) who has her best interests at heart.

Hana DeVore Reverse Diet

Above you see Hana’s 7 month transformation. ¬†On the left she was 6.5 weeks out from one of her bikini competitions eating¬†1350 calories and on the right was 7 months later and 7.5 weeks out from another bikini competition eating¬†over 2000 calories daily. ¬†By eating more calories and continuing to work hard in the gym she was able to build muscle while staying relatively lean.

Below you can see her July to October glute gains thanks to Reverse Dieting (remember you have to be in a caloric surplus to add muscle) and continued training in the gym.

Hana DeVore Glute Progress

I asked Hana about her experience with Reverse Dieting and she said:

“Before I met my coach, I was only eating about 80 grams of carbs per day and doing a ton of cardio, simply because I thought that was what I needed to do to get a lean, ‘toned’ physique. Jami slowly rebuilt my metabolism to the point where in my offseason I could eat up to 300 grams of carbs a day while barely gaining any body fat. I also meticulously reverse dieted in between each competition to avoid rebounding, in order to build my strength back up, and to make the next prep that much easier. Reverse dieting can actually be a tougher process for some than prepping for a competition, since boosting your metabolism can definitely boost your hunger as well. But if you can stay in control and closely monitor your progress, you can get some really amazing results. And of course being able to eat more each week is always fun!”

Another great example of Reverse Dieting can be found on JoSandiFIT’s blog. ¬†She documented 15 weeks of her Reverse Diet with weekly blog posts. ¬†Click HERE to read those posts.

I hope this post has helped clear-up any confusion as to what a Reverse Diet is and why someone would want to go through the process.  As you can see, there are many reasons to Reverse Diet.  Please let me know if you have any questions.

If you are interested in working with me, click HERE for information about the nutrition coaching programs I offer.


Filed under Althletics, Education, Exercise, IIFYM and Macros, Nutrition, Weight Issues, Weight Lifting