The One Where Food Became Fuel

Food, in the simplest of definitions, is fuel.


I missed that memo.

Food, for me, has always been entertainment.  It’s art.  It’s an experiment.  It’s what I do when I’m sad, happy, grumpy, tired, bored… I love food.  End scene.

You might imagine that a limited diet is my worst nightmare.  I’ve been trying to prove you can still be creative on a competition diet.  You can… but the last week of cutting is HARD.  You’ll notice from last week’s WIAW at 4 days out, I still had a lot of variety.  This time around I decided to try something new.  Being more boring traditional.

I cut fat and am sticking to lean proteins (mostly tilapia).  My main veggie is asparagus.  My carbs are oatmeal in the morning and sweet potato after that.  I’m not hungry at all… but my palette is bored out of its mind.  Food has become fuel.

4 days out


Why am I doing this?  Quite simply, to see if it’s necessary.  I want to compare last weekend to this weekend.  Will it make a difference if I eat more like everyone else the week before a competition?  Only my abs time will tell!

The fascination with experimentation is what’s keeping me on track this week!


I almost feel like I should apologize for the repetitive nature of this WIAW.  I am 4 days from my 4th figure competition.  It’s the last one for a long while… I promise next week will be more interesting.


Read on for my eats, and then check out Jenn’s blog for everyone else delicious creations!



I still start the day with my Aminos and ACV morning cocktail I swear it’s more energizing than coffee.

Breakfast was oatmeal with a ton of cinnamon, honey, and pomegranate atop a homemade Turkey Breakfast Sausage Patties.  I really do love the turkey “sausage.”  It’s something I would make in the off-season too – they’re a great clean, low-sodium alternative to the store-bought stuff.

As usual, I ate it in the car on the way to work.  Turkey-oatmeal coffee mug parfait!

Turkey-oatmeal coffee mug parfait


Mid-Morning Snack:

Surprise, surprise.  Tilapia.  I did add some variety with cucumbers, red bell pepper, and purple sweet potato chips (with cinnamon).

tilapia and purple sweet potato



Fish variety at lunch – I had Perch with my asparagus.  The asparagus I pre-sauteed during food prep with shallots, garlic, lime juice, and herb.  I’m really loving the perch – it’s super mild.

perch and asparagus


Mid-Afternoon Snack:

Tilapia.  Again.  Added some variety in two ways: I used purple asparagus and I made it into ribbons!  Purple asparagus is thicker, so it makes it a bit easier to shred into ribbons.  Fuel can be fun.  Ish.

asparagus ribbons



Dinner was is my favorite treat – Sea Bass.  It even makes asparagus taste better.  Purple sweet potato is like dessert.  I topped it with some nutritional yeast for a nutty accent.

sea bass and purple sweet potato



It’s not really dessert anymore.  Tilapia topped with a blend of Mexican spices and cucumber with salt-free mustard.  Nom.


I prepped all my food to take to Denver today for this weekend’s competition.  Tilapia and curry-roasted asparagus are on tap for the plane.  Others on the flight are going to love me. #sorryimnotsorry

Do you view food simply as fuel?  Fun?  Something else?

How do you keep it interesting in the kitchen?



  1. says

    I have a question, why no fat? Eating fat doesn’t make you fat (well except for trans fat)… Salmon is a great lean body mass builder.. But I guess you know what works best for YOUUU since your crazy sexy self has done a bunch of these competitions!! I truly wish I were in Denver to cheer you ON!!!

    You should munch all day and night on roasted artichoke hearts!!! YUMMM!

  2. says

    I think it’s great you are right now just focusing on why you are doing this and how amazing you will feel after all of this is accomplished!
    Just think in 4 days you can eat to your regular palette again because for you it’s worth it.
    Even if you think your eats are boring, I don’t find them boring. Probably because I’m a boring eater myself;)
    I also like your dessert, it made me laugh.

  3. says

    Look at that tummy! 4 days….that’s all. I get the boring factor and that it is nightmare-ish, but the effort will pay off!
    Besides that – I NEVER had a purple sweet potato, I am soooo jealous!!

  4. says

    I’ve said it before but for someone on a very restrictive diet- you’ve got decent variety there 😉

    I generally acknowledge food as fuel, but its also fun, brings people together etc… To keep things interesting in the kitchen is to take a leaf out of your book and think outside the box. If I was in competition prep I would have to rethink my ways then 😉

  5. says

    I’ve never had a purple sweet potato, only the yellow and orange versions. What is it like?
    I probably enjoy food way too much. Yesterday I just couldn’t say no to that homemade black forest cake that a co-worker brought. Dang!

  6. says

    I’m sure you explained it at some point but what’s the deal with asparagus? Is it a diuretic? Just curious as why that’s one of your main veggies the last week.

    I would get very bored eating boring food combinations. Mixing it up is good!

  7. says

    Seeing food just as fuel – that’s an interesting back-to-basics thought in today’s world where food is seen as so much more. Admittedly, it’s more than just fuel for me, too. Maybe because the “food = fuel” idea to me usually evokes the picture of somebody shoveling whatever into his mouth giving no are as to what it is – not differentiating between a pile of vegetables or a full-of-crap junk meal – or if it tastes good. But that’s obviously an extreme and I get that your idea of food as fuel is very different from that. I like to keep things interesting by trying new recipes and coming up with my own creations. It’s been said a million times but still rings true: variety is the spice of life.

  8. says

    Is it weird that I finished this post with a HUGE fish craving- thank goodness John Dorry is on the menu for tonight :)! Am excited to see how this experiment turns out for you, Laura :)! Food is much more than fuel to me- it’s definitely a source of enjoyment which is why I don’t mind putting in extra effort when prepping my meals!

  9. says

    I love you are doing this for the right reasons (um IMHO).
    you see it as a scientific experiment and just wanna tweak and see your body’s reaction.


  10. says

    Lately, food has been all about fuel for me. I just haven’t had time to really enjoy the act of making or eating anything. I’m really missing my kitchen! I’m seriously looking forward to Thanksgiving so I can play and enjoy my food!

    Have a safe trip! I can’t wait to hear all about this one. We will definitely get together soon to catch up! xoxo

    • Laura says

      It was definitely fuel… but I think the week before was just as effective. Still strict, but a little more variety.

  11. says

    You are going to do amazing this weekend! You have been working so hard for this and you should feel proud. I actually really like asparagus but I have a feeling I would see it differently if I was having to eat as much as you do right before competition. The people on the flight will just be jealous they didn’t think to pack snacks!

  12. says

    I was beyond boring before my competitions of course I am pretty food boring anyway but it got worse! :) I think it is good for you to experiment like this to see what works best for the future competitions!

  13. says

    Food is Fuel for me since I train hard and I am always on the go, but I also LOVE food and LOVE to eat, so I’m trying to embrace that more and be more relaxed with food. Does that even make sense? HA! Cannot wait to pick up some purple sweet potatoes, hoping this is another healthy addiction. DOH!

    • Laura says

      Makes perfect sense! I feel the same way. Even a cheat meal is fuel – lifting after a big dinner the night before is always a good day for PRs.

  14. says

    i definitely view food is fuel, babe! it was just “something i ate” before and now i look at it as fuel so i can do the amazing things i do each and every day! you’re looking great and i am so excited for you

  15. says

    I think it’s awesome that you’ve found a way to trick your mind into turning this week of boring repetitive food into an interesting experiment. Mind over matter. You’re amazing. I’m going to tyr to mind-talk myself into a happier frame of mind today. Thank you.

  16. says

    Can I cheat and say that food is fun fuel? I’m definitely not in the “live to eat” camp, but neither can I simply pass my eats off as something to just get me through the day — there’s gotta be a good balance of food for the body and food for the soul for me.

  17. says

    I eat very repetitively too (though not for any reason… just that I am single, economical and *ahem* lazy) but I try and keep it interesting by adding different spices condiments and sauces.

    I can have tilapia and asparagus and onions every day (and I usually do some variation of that) but one day it will be Mediterranean and I will add olives and oregano and lemon maybe some hummus, one day I will add nutritional yeast and some past sauce and ital seasonings; aminos, peanut flour sauce and some shredded nori for an Asian Flair, salsa and nutritional yeast and a Mexican inspired Mrs Dash- avocado if I feel frisky.

    But then? LOl. That’s all I got. So I start again. I love the different combos you come up with for seasonings and I need to take literal notes.

    • Laura says

      Economical – I love it. 😉

      Let me know if you do shake it up. A little seasoning can do wonders! You spic rack… errrr.. cabinet is out of control!

  18. says

    Can’t wait to see if you can tell a difference! I love experimenting it’s how I stay motivated to keep going when I change up my diet. otherwise i give up in a day. But doing an “experiment” makes it so much more exciting. At least to this science dork.

    • Laura says

      I didn’t see a big change… though I was pretty strict before and I did have a massive meal after the show the week before. Will keep playing with it… next season!

  19. says

    I have become OBSESSED with white sweet potatoes. There is a guy who grows them around here…you need to look for them. (Although, maybe, you won’t be able to stomach a sweet potato for awhile after this…) I wish I could find the purple ones, too. I haven’t had those since last year, but they made the best chips.

    Can’t wait to hear all about this competition! (Especially since I know TWO of you in it…)

    • Laura says

      We have those at the farmer’s market too! I cannot WAIT for you to come so I can take you there.

      Oddly, I haven’t gotten sick of sweet potatoes. I don’t know if I ever could… they are too much like dessert. :)

  20. says

    We agree food us fuel :)
    your sea bass always looks so good. every time I see you having it – I think yum I need to make me some. But I never do haha maybe I will just come over to your house to have some 😉 hugs

  21. says

    Super interested to follow this experiment and see if your body changes from this nutrition tweak! Maybe I should eat like a body builder for a week, then a month and see if there are changes… Hmm… Kinda like that thought.

    I view my body as an experiment and think it’s good to try things for yourself, with food being one of those things! Food IS fuel, and fuel can be delicious! I think I enjoy things that aren’t good fuel too much to just proclaim that food is fuel, though – it’s also a way to celebrate with friends (wine) and enjoy my taste buds (truthfully – simple sugars make my taste buds happy). 😉

    Side note:! Even for dessert?! Right on! Definitely hitting your protein quotas (curious as to what those are for your body at this stage in the game if you get a chance).

    • Laura says

      I bet if you just amped up protein for a month you’d see big gains! I aim for 1.5x my body weight. It’s a lot, but if you’re lifting heavy you can do it. Just be sure to drink a LOT of water. What are you doing now? I’m happy to talk anytime! :)

  22. says

    I can only IMAGINE what next week’s WIAW will look like! Girl, you’ve got some dedication here…you know my feelings on tilapia. I’m giving you a standing ovation now for just making through this week! And I’m praying that you do notice a bit of a difference so that “dessert” feels more worth it! 😉

    Safe travels, love! Give Heather a hug for me!

  23. says

    Your Thanksgiving inspired oatmeal bowl sounds delicious – I love salty + sweet and I’m going through a huge breakfast sausage kick :) I hope that you have even more success this weekend than you did last weekend, you’re awesome!

  24. says

    I am interested to see if this makes a difference in those abs that are already showing BTW! I eat fairly plain actually I eat really plain but that’s because I like my food that way and since my digestion is not tip top its easier for my tummy to handle plain boring old food. My digestive system is prime when I do the most more than 5 foods and herbs at one meal and space out my small plain meals but that not course isn’t always fun. Stick to it, it will be worth it and I look forward to seeing your next competition photos and after eats !!! Lots of love C

    • Laura says

      I don’t know that super, super strict made a huge difference, but certainly cutting out the more bloating foods does (dairy, brussels, etc). That said… I’m eating a big yogurt bowl right now and happy as a clam. Abs be damned. :)

    • Laura says

      It was JUST for competition, of course. In general I prefer a wide variety of clean foods. I don’t know that cutting it so very strict that second week did much more that my normal version of competition strict the week before. :)

  25. says

    Snack: fish. Lunch: fish. Snack: more fish. Dinner: fish. Dessert: fish. You have got some amazing will power. I think I would hurt someone for something other than fish. I give you mad props though, and despite all the fish and even the asparagus, you’ve mangled to make them all look pretty damn good. That’s some creativity right there. Kudos to you.

    Now did your abs grow gills? Inquiring minds want to know. Or just dumb asses giving you a hard time. Cough, cough.


  1. […] strange but GOOD combo (Sidenote: whenever I have a strange but good combo.. I now think of Laura lol)! I had some cold leftover roasted mushrooms and sweet potato on the side. Totally random, but […]

  2. […] orange explains a lot about why – even at <10% body fat pre-figure competition – my abs barely showed.  Most  ”standard” competition foods are in the orange! […]

  3. […] orange explains a lot about why – even at <10% body fat pre-figure competition – my abs barely showed.  Most  “standard” competition foods are in the orange! […]

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