Meal Plans Aren’t Magic

When I started competing in jiujitsu, I found very few resources to help myself cut body weight without using extreme measures like severe calorie-restriction and sweating out pounds of water. It seemed that I was always 3-4 pounds away from my target and scrambling to get the weight off any way I could.

Shifting over to a whole-foods based diet with tons of vegetables and cataloging that journey on Instagram over the past few years is tons of fun and highly effective for maintaining my fighting weight all year. Many people messaged me on Instagram with a general interest in a meal plan before I wrote my guidebook. So I listened and created the Yasi Fit Meal Plan. It was exciting to launch, but guess what? It’s nothing new! My meal plan is similar to other whole foods-based meal plans, but in the guidebook I add a few extra psychological tips to get anyone started. Yes, it’s all there in the book but will this actually jumpstart a person towards healthier eating? Um, the answer is no. Let me explain why.

Most people I talk to tell me that they know they should eat healthier. I then ask them, “what should you be eating exactly?” and they respond in kind – less sugar and processed foods and more vegetables and water. My next question addresses the WHY. Why haven’t most people wanting to change follow through with it?

What stops a successful meal plan?

Poorly Planning. Picking the start date of a new meal plan is easy, but what is often overlooked is how much time will be needed to prep for the day or week. Think about this. If you decide to try a different way of eating, you will need to look through your existing food stash, go grocery shopping, then prepare the food. Add extra time if you come across any hick-ups like not finding an ingredient in your usual supermarket, having to learn about a new cooking method (i.e., blanching, poaching) and execute it properly. Give yourself adequate time, weeks even, to increase your familiarity with the new plan.

Hopeless Mindset. Starting off with thoughts of failure and hopelessness before you start eating indicates that you already doubt that you will be successful. If this isn’t your first meal plan rodeo, then there may have been roadblocks in the past. Review what didn’t work in the past and plan around that. Think of your meal plan as a lifestyle change, not as a punishment. Trying a new meal plan is already a positive move on your part! Give it a shot.

Expecting the weight scale to move fast. Unless you are already enacting successful change with your nutrition, it takes approximately 6 to 12 months to see stable results. Day-to-day weight fluctuations are more a reflection of water and food processes than of overall body weight reduction. Do not get hung up on daily weigh-ins unless you are in the final phase of competition prep. The 2-4 pounds variance will drive you crazy! If you like weighing frequently, be sure to set your expectation that the scale will tick up and down slightly.

Self-criticism. Eating according to the meal plan is the goal, but life happens and moods fluctuate which can negatively impact sticking to the plan. The stress from a missed meal or a cheat meal can be overwhelming. Just know that at the end of the day, food is food. And all bodies need food. Criticizing yourself over a meal after it was eaten is an unnecessary use of mental energy. Give yourself some wiggle room for “noncompliance” – that donut is not going to ruin you in the long run! Monitor your thoughts for these sneaky criticisms and challenge their validity.

Seasonal (or cyclical) eating. Typically, competitors eat according to a meal plan until they fight and then they eat whatever they want for days or weeks afterward. We call this offseason eating. For me, it’s donut season. It’s normal to cycle on and off of a meal plan. I don’t see this as a  failure, but rather a food break. In many societies, people are inundated with advertisements of unhealthy, delicious foods like . . . donuts. Then there’s events and holidays that are structured around fun foods – think Easter candy (USA) or pumpkin spice lattes in the winter (Also USA). Allow for times when you might go rogue but also plan for your return to the meal plan.

The meal plan is just a tool to help change eating patterns. It doesn’t magically do the work by itself. What is required, however, is careful planning, setting the right expectations, keeping a positive mindset, and planning for times when you have to practice some flexibility.

Until next post, train smart and eat well.- Dr. Yasi


Are you Gi-Obsessed?

According to WebMD, you might have OBSESSIVE GI DISORDER, or OGD, if you have four or more of the following symptoms. (This is just for fun, okay?? (Wink-wink.)

Diagnostic Criteria for OGD:

  1. Recurrent and persistent thoughts about gis, at times causing fear of negative evaluation from others. 
  2. Often hides behavior associated with buying and selling gis from others. 
  3. Repetitive website checking for available gis. Also may include repetitive checking for new release email announcements.
  4. Has surpassed threshold amount of 14 total gis, calculated at 14 gis (i.e., 2/day x 7 days).
  5. Obsessed with acquiring gis with certain features such as size, limited edition collaboration, or color way. 
  6. Compulsively tracks down others who own gis of interest to negotiate sale, either in person or online. 
  7. May resell gi without gi bag due to particular attachment to gi. 
  8. Living environment may no longer accommodate hoarded collection. 
  9. Gi washing, folding, and storage is prioritized over daily wear clothing. 
  10. Gi collection consists of gradual shifts in sizing, most notably from larger to smaller. Significant distress or inability to get rid of poorly fitting gis is present.
  11. Gi collection broken down into two or more of the following categories: training rotation, competition, special occasion, and NWT. 
  12. Can readily identify subtle differences such as a 350 GSM pearl weave versus gold weave 550 GSM gi top blind-folded. 
  13. Hoarding behavior tends to increase sharply after belt promotion.

To be fair, I’m calling myself out as I’m a little gi-obsessed these days. I’m selling two gis that fit too big, I have a collab gi on the way and just purchased another one from a friend. I decided that my goal is to have a collection of awesome gis that fit great. 

My gi collection lives in the lower left corner of my closet.

Actual Collection: 16 Gis

Moya Brand | Albino & Preto | Fenom Kimonos | Ctrl Industries | Habrok | War Tribe | Fuji Sports

No shame in my game – I’m a proud gi collector! Just gotta let a few go. . . or NOT. Bwahahaha!

Until next post, train smart and eat well.- Dr. Yasi


Top 10 Jiujitsu Emojis

Emojis have really found a permanent place in our daily electronic communication. As an active user of social media, I find myself spending what feels like an excessive amount of time selecting the right emojis to accompany my message. The latest emoji update to the apple and android keyboard was fantastic with the addition of tacos and unicorns, among other icons. When posting about Jiu-jitsu related content, there are some emojis that are obvious stand-out winners. But first, please note that research informs us that females use emojis more frequently than males (See links to articles below.). The research studies on emoji use are really interesting and secondly, I might be biased as a woman writing a blog post about emojis in the first place.

1. ๐Ÿฅ‹

The classic kimono with black belt. This emoji might represent multiple martial arts that require a gi with belt, but I really feel it was made with us BJJers and/or judokas in mind. Again, biases prevail here.

Cons: There are no belt colors here, only black. I also donโ€™t think people are accusing me of claiming black belt status based on an emoji.

2. ๐Ÿ’›๐Ÿงก๐Ÿ’š๐Ÿ’™๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿ–ค

Belt rank-colored heart emojis. Perhaps heart emoji usage is more prevalent among females, though a proper observational study is in order. Now, this emoji category provides a nice range of color. Iโ€™d say that a majority of my posts on social media contain a belt rank-colored heart.

Cons: We face the same issue as with the lack of variation of color as noted for the kimono-black belt emoji. It would be very helpful to have heart emojis for white belts, gray belts, and brown belts. Iโ€™m not even sure if a white heart would even be feasible. An outline of a heart with some shading? Good substitutes for brown belts are the chocolate bar, the poo emoji, and the bear depending on who you are referencing.

3. ๐Ÿ•ท๐Ÿฆ‘๐Ÿฆ–๐Ÿฆ‚๐Ÿ›๐Ÿฆˆ๐Ÿฆ๐Ÿผ

The animal kingdom of jiujitsu. Here we use different animals to represent styles and types of guards or movements. Iโ€™ve personally used the spider for spider guard, obviously, but I like to throw in the spiderโ€™s web for extra emphasis. I really wish there was a lasso. Iโ€™ve been playing more lasso guard than spider guard anyhow. Heavy weights are represented as the gorillas and the porradeiros of the mat seem like sharks to me, but less sneaky than real life sharks.

Cons: Not all guards and styles are represented, so this is not an exhaustive list. Seems like people are always inventing their own signature moves. Even Keenan Cornelius claims several of his own (e.g., Mantis Guard).

4. ๐Ÿฅ‡๐Ÿฅˆ๐Ÿฅ‰

Podium Medals. Cannot not have these. Glad there is not a fourth place in ibjjf competitions, just double third. And rightly so, because it would just suck to fight for 3rd place over 4th. Not sure when this gem of double third began but I like it.

Cons: Absolutely no cons for these emojis.

5. ๐Ÿค”

Thinking emoji. If you are active on social media, it seems that every week thereโ€™s some online drama or commotion of some sort. Impassioned outbursts, rants, and criticisms run amuck. This emoji is for those who are making a low key statement of WTH or general confusion.

Cons: It would be nice to have the thinking emoji flipped on its vertical axis. Thinking in both directions implies deep thinking, extreme confusion, or indecision.

6. ๐Ÿค•

Injured emoji. Letโ€™s face the facts. Jiujitsu is a combat sport. The majority of us claim a multitude of injuries and chronic pain issues, but we keep on training. This adequately represents general injury, head trauma or concussion, and accompanies announcement that one cannot train due to said injury.

Cons: Every limb can be represented here: An elbow in a sling, a foot cast, rib cage bandage, etc. I really could go on here.

7. ๐Ÿค™

The Shaka. Internationally known as the thing to do with your free hand as you side-hug with your other arm. It indicates that you are a laid back, easy going person that loves to socialize with others in the sport. It may also indicate that you are possibly Hawaiian and possible a surfer. The hand gesture translates to โ€œhang looseโ€ and also represents friendship and solidarity.

Cons: Because of the stronger relation to surfing, this emoji may be misleading. Apart from BJJ selfies and in group photos, the Shaka is not in common use in-person.

8. ๐Ÿ•๐Ÿ”๐ŸŒฎ๐Ÿฉ๐Ÿฐ

Post-weight cut foods. Each person has their own tastes and preferences, but generally one must avoid sweet and savory carbs and sugar. These emojis increase in frequency of appearance leading up to tournament dates as a list of restricted foods and reappear as a list of foods eaten.

Cons: Foodies with cravings for more unusual foods are out of luck. Still looking for a good representation of pandan waffles and red bean paste sticky buns. Also, I have no idea what this emoji is: ๐Ÿข.

9. ๐Ÿ”

Slang word for cool in Brazilian Portuguese. This emoji was most likely designed as a directional symbol to indicate north of or above as โ€œtopโ€. Coincidentally, one may use the emoji to reference a post or comment by saying, โ€œHey look, this thing right above is pretty cool.โ€

Cons: Only those individuals that know the term top will understand.

10. ๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡ฏ๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ

Brazil, Japan, and USA Flags. The first two flags represent the birthplace and rebirth of two styles of jiujitsu: Japanese, or OG jiujitsu and Brazilian Jiujitsu. Flags are used to indicate national heritages of the sport or to indicate a passage written in English, Portuguese, or on rare occasions, Japanese. They make nice accent emojis, end-caps to a message.

Cons: Some might feel that jiujitsu Should not be considered solely Brazilian at this point. Although it is important to note that BJJ is still the formal title of the sport.

Emojis we need:

1. Cauliflower ear ๐Ÿ‘‚

2. Ear guardsโ›‘

3. Brazilian Referee

4. Flip flops ๐Ÿ‘ก

5. Weight scale โš–๏ธ

6. Food baby belly ๐Ÿคฐ