Strong to the Finish Challenge – Week 6

Hello to all you wonderful people, it’s time for another update on my fitness challenge… I am TWO WEEKS away from the end – isn’t that crazy?

It seems like just yesterday I was searching for that new adventure, that new challenge, that spark of passion and this challenge so graciously crossed my path. I think that’s how good things happen; they find you, but they don’t pursue you. They make themselves present, but it’s up to you to grab it.


The lighting this morning was terrible, which you are about to realize when you see the comparable ones that I took in my bathroom (hah!). But this one is a better overall view of me.

I made it through the challenges of week 5 only to meet week 6 with a renewed enthusiasm. I promised to not let anything going on in my personal life keep me from my goals, and I have kept that promise to myself.

I envision myself as a hunter, and my prey are my weaknesses. I find them, I face them, I destroy them. The insecurity, the doubt, the anxiety… obliterated in the gym. I don’t want to be held back anymore. I don’t want to be seen as someone who is struggling or sick. That’s why I continue to find the things that keep me from being my best, and I beat them to death. I am strong.

Back to the challenge: I stopped counting calories this week. I felt like I learned all I could from that process, and I’ve moved on. It gave me a much greater idea of what I actually need to be putting in my body and I can tell I’ve had a lot of improvements.

I see it mostly in my face. I have lost almost 15 lbs since I started this challenge. But sometimes when it’s you, and you look at yourself in the mirror every day, you just don’t notice the changes. The unveiling of my abs is a good indicator too! As they slowly peek out a little more, week after week.

Abs were the first thing I ever set a goal for when I got into fitness. I worked them almost every single day! I think I had them looking pretty good last summer! Being able to see them a little bit once again brings me back to that time – when I was fresh-eyed and excited at the prospect of where I could go with my body! And although I am no “newbie” anymore, it is great to be brought back in my mind to that time, to know that I have and will continue to keep accomplishing my goals.

I guess you could say I’m feeling positive today!

With only two weeks left to go, if I can keep up this mentality then I’ve got this in the bag!

 

Thanks for following along this journey with me!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Strong to the Finish Challenge – Week 5

Helloooooo and here we are at the end of week 5!

I am a little late with this post – what can I say – life happens. I typically will snap a picture the day of my update post, but you’ll have to settle for this bikini-clad one from a few days back, because I am under the weather today!

This week was okay. I hate saying that. I hate admitting that I’m human. Don’t we all?

I’ve had so much stuff going on, I do feel a bit as though the challenge took a back seat some days. I know I still haven’t mastered the art of “not letting personal things get in the way of my progress”. I get distracted. I let the tough things in life get the better of me sometimes.

All we can do is bounce back.

I’ve lost about 1 lb since my last post and that is progress for me. I feel like I look strong! And I also feel strong. But I’m starting to feel the weight of this challenge coming to an end. I want to look back and feel like I gave it all I got, physically and mentally.

So, that is my promise to myself in these last few weeks; to keep my mind in the game. I want to prove to myself that I can overcome the tough stuff, I can get through the anxiety, I can work through any problems like the strong woman I am… while staying on course in other aspects of my life.

It’s been a great week weather-wise in YYC!

That being said, I’m enjoying this challenge for all of the things it has taught me about myself, about the person that I am.

 

What you’re seeing in the photo above is homemade cashew cheese with cucumber for dipping! You can expect the recipe for that to be up on my blog tomorrow. If you’ve never tried cashew cheese… I mean, you’ve got to.

Another thing I learned this week: chocolate is the best smoothie topping ever ! That one piece can totally be a part of my diet plan.


This hot beverage I bought last week is called the “Golden Guru” ; it’s coconuty-tumeric goodness in a cup. It brought me so much comfort, as warm drinks do sometimes!

As always, thank you for reading. Let me know if you guys have any specific questions about the challenge!

My food is all packed for tomorrow, I’m feeling motivated, I’m ready to go.

Only a few weeks left, gotta own it.

Strong to the Finish Challenge – Week 4

We finally hit the halfway point of the Strong to the Finish challenge!

After some slight apprehension, I started counting calories at the end of last week so I could better track my diet. Firstly I have to say, I have mad respect for people who continually count calories or macros as part of their lifestyle. It definitely takes a certain level of dedication, and I feel like I have really tuned up the approach to my diet using this tool. The first day I counted I realized that I had been taking in way more calories previously than I even guessed. I was eating clean I was just… Eating too much haha.

If I wanted to meet my goals, I needed to make a change. So I’ve been keeping to a certain amount of calories each day, and glad to say I am reaping the benefits after losing another couple of lbs last week. I am currently weighing in at 130, my goal now is to finish the challenge at 125.

That being said, in my own mind I am actually happy with my weight right now. I feel healthy and balanced, and if I didn’t lose another pound I would certainly be a bit confused but I wouldn’t be upset about it.

A pic where I’m not smiling?! Must have been an off moment!

 

3 weeks between pictures

I wish I was a little better at taking these comparison pics, but I can never seem to get the lighting the same! Something to work on. But I digress. Even through my stomach is the ‘last to lose’ on my body I can still see a great noticeable difference! You cant see too much from the shorts, but my legs are leaning out a lot too – probably the biggest difference I have noticed.

Regretfully I don’t have much in the way of food photos to share today! I had special training going on this week and was kind of off my kitchen game. But I do want to share with you guys this recipe I found and used last night for peanut sauce- seriously the best peanut sauce I’ve ever made! Check it out here on She Simmers. I also added a bit of miso paste, but if it’s not something you keep handy the sauce doesn’t really need it.

Time to start upping cardio even more. I don’t hate cardio, but I find it really difficult to do the same exercise for any more than 7 or 8 minutes so I’m guessing that will be a challenge for me!

Ahhh, I’m getting excited for what the next few weeks will bring!

Strong to the Finish Challenge – Week 3

I was wondering when this challenge would really start to feel like a challenge, and my question was answered this week.

The week started off as it usually would, me embracing the low-carb diet, high-intensity workout life. Then on Saturday, it hit me. Like a ton of bricks. I was tired, cranky, and hella irritable. Not only was I craving foods that are way out of my diet plan, but I also felt like I just wanted food I am straight up allergic to.

Most days I don’t think about it, but some days I resent the various food sensitivities I have developed over the last year. I can’t have cheesecake, or ice cream, or a big bowl of mashed potatoes. I guess it all just started weighing on me, mounting and manifesting itself into the most supreme frustration.

It was a bad day for that to happen, as that evening happened to be my Mom’s birthday party. While everyone else was eating hamburgers and cake, I had tofu dogs without the bun and salad. And that has nothing to do with my diet. It’s just the fact that I can’t eat buns, cakes, and some sauces generally because I will likely have a reaction. Suffice it to say it was just plain tough.

As a result of all this: On Sunday and Monday, I fell off the wagon, so to speak. I am still in many ways in the experimental stage figuring out which foods my body is good with, and which ones my body is not. Although I didn’t eat anything classified as “high calorie” I did eat foods that may have (some of which actually did) aggravate my food sensitivities. This can be anything as simple as a spice blend yet to be tested. Well, the result? Crazy bloating, and just a general feeling of yuck.
I can’t look back and say I regret it. I kinda just look at this past weekend and think that I guess it was just something I needed to go through, you know, so I could figure out what not to do.
It could have been the inflammation, it could have been the stress, it could have simply been that I didn’t meet enough of a deficit, but either way the scale didn’t move in week 3. However, I’m happy to say I am 110% back on track today.

Another change I’ve made for this week is that I’ve started counting calories. I have been really hesitant to do so because I am, in general, hesitant to make any changes to my diet that I don’t see as ‘doable’ long term. But the more I think about this challenge, the better I want to do in it. And the more motivated I become to absolutely smash it and attain my goal, the more I am willing to step outside of the box. This is just going to be one extra tool I have for the next 5 weeks to help me meet my goal. I will do whatever it takes to bring this body out and show my absolute best. I’m doing this. I’m giving it my all!

As usual here’s a peek at some of my better choices this week:  
  

Thank you so much for reading this and letting me share this journey with all of you. I can’t wait to look back on all of this and say “I did it” !

Strong to the Finish Challenge – Week 2 

I can’t believe it is still so early on in this challenge, not because I feel like it has been dragging on for eons, but because I am making progress I am so genuinely proud of.

Since my diet has changed to almost 100% clean eating, I have noticed a really positive change in my mood and my mindset. I feel happier in my heart. That happiness is translating to a more restful sleep, better workouts, and the desire to keep eating well.

So here I am after two weeks:

I feel that this photo is a testament to how much nutrition really matters. You can have all the muscle in the world – it will always be hiding under a layer of cushion unless you have your diet locked down!

I am down three pounds since I started this challenge, but I don’t feel hungry and I’m not struggling with any cravings. I’ve done my best to always leave the house prepared with healthy, nutritious food and it’s gotten me this far – for that I am happy!

One thing I am really starting to notice is the drastic change in my legs from last summer! I think I might actually be growing some quads?!

Moving forward, you guys know the drill! Cardio goes up, carbs go down. I will be happy if I continue to lose about 1lb every week – I’ve got enough meat on my bones that I think my body can manage that, at least for the next couple weeks anyways. I love doing these updates because it gives me a change to reflect, assess, and change my goals accordingly as the weeks go on.

I realize that this post makes it sound like things have been easy, but I can’t stress enough that this is not easy. It’s hard work – every single meal, every workout, every day matters. But my heart is 100% in this. I want to look back after 8 weeks knowing I gave this challenge my all, and that the end result is the very best I could have done.

Well, before I wrap this up you guys know I love my food so I can’t help but share the awesome breakfast I had yesterday…


This. It looks like dessert, but everything was naturally sweet – the almond milk, the banana, the strawberry rhubarb jelly, all brought their own natural components of sweetness. But just to satisfy my sweet tooth, I topped it off with some honey.


I grabbed this shake at my favorite cafe the other day and it was heaven – mango, pineapple, vegan protein, almond milk, and MCT oil. Super satisfying. This is really the only kind of thing I will get to ‘grab and go’ these days!

I always have a lot of fruit in my diet – it’s just something that I’ve found simply works for me. And I really must confess, these days I am getting a bit “meated” out. I’ve been focusing so much on getting my animal protein and I feel like my body is on overload! So I will be taking a day or two to focus on fruits and veggies so my body can adjust. That’s intuitive eating for ya!

If you are not following me on Instagram yet check me out! I post a lot on there about my diet and my workouts.

Thanks for reading!

 

Strong to the Finish Challenge – Week 1

Hello beautiful humans.

I’m here to recap the first week of my transformation challenge!

My “all business” face

I am almost astonished to say that this week, diet was easy. I enjoy healthy nutritionally dense food, so most of it has been a walk in the park. That being said, I haven’t gone “all out” on the dieting yet. I’m eating clean, but I haven’t completely cut out all carbs. I’m not counting calories. I’m focusing on eating my meat and my veggies, and I’m feeling good.

In this way I have noticed that my approach is really different from my other coworkers who are also doing this challenge alongside me. Their approach to diet seems to be more intense. But you know what? Different things work for different people. I think if I completely restrict myself this soon into the challenge I will drive myself bananas and end up on a binge! So I’m happy with my approach and as the challenge continues forward I will adjust my diet accordingly.

Chicken and veggies on spaghetti squash

 

Strawberry, banana, and caocao smoothie

I’ve gotta be honest, workouts have been a tough one for me this week. My gym has gotten increasingly busy over the last few months, and it does cause me a little bit of anxiety when I walk in with a plan and I have to do all sorts of maneuvering and adjusting!

I imagined the first week in I would be a lot more “fired up”, but for some reason I was really missing that this week. Maybe it’s just the business of life spilling over into places it has no business being. I would hate to look back and think I let anything distract me from or during my workouts.

I am a solution-oriented person so as soon as I figure out the problem ( which is typically what takes me the longest ) I decide how to tackle it. I think in this case the answer is simply to be creative. Busy gym? Take the workout outside. Busy and stressed? Switch it up and do some hot yoga. Bored with the same old stuff? Incorporate some lifting moved I haven’t done in a while.

I snapped a quick pick this morning post-breakfast:


I am still a bit bloated from last night, but all in all this is a pretty accurate representation of my core currently. Knowing I am no where near where I want to be is really motivating me today.

It’s time to step things up a notch you guys!

Strong to the Finish Transformation Challenge 

As much as I enjoy sharing my thoughts and nutritional information on my blog, I have to say, sharing my personal journey has been a blessing to contribute since I began writing here last summer. Which makes this post all the more special, as I have an exciting announcement to make.
But first, I must admit, I have neglected the calorie deficit I promised to start a few weeks back. It is because I knew that this was coming. And while I’m admitting stuff, I have to say I have been desperate to have a fire lit under me for some time. And as the universe works, if you concentrate on something long and hard enough, it will find its way to you.
And here it is:

I am competing in the Muscletech “Strong to the Finish” 8-week transformation challenge. Now because I work for Popeyes Calgary I will be entering my name into a special category of the competition specifically for employees.

I am truly not competitive by nature, but I do continually strive to be the very best version of myself possible. I have reached many goals in the past two years of my fitness journey, but putting an 8-week time constraint on it is definitely going to heat things up!

Every day is do or die.
Before learning of this competition I often wondered where my fitness journey would take me next. As I’ve written about before, motivation comes and goes like the tide, and often we have to create our own. I guess you could say that this motivation found me, I am grateful.

What I really want out of this is to basically be thrown into the pressure-cooker. I know that the difficult challenges are the ones that make us grow. I hope to find a strength within myself that I’ve never known before. I hope I can bring a passion and enthusiasm to this competition that makes me excited to get out of bed every morning. I’m doing this for me. My mind, my heart, my goal, my soul.

Of course, there are some great cash prizes as well. I have applied to go back to school in the fall, so if I do happen to win any money I will be putting it straight towards my tuition, as the school I am trying to get into cannot except any government loans.
The beauty of this competition is that it’s a win-win. Even without placing, the worst case scenario is that I met a challenge and I saw it through, thereby resulting in me being in the best shape I’ve ever been. That’s a prize in and of itself!

More than that, I want to prove that with some serious hardwork and determination, anything is possible. And I truly believe that. You want that job? Go get it. You want to improve your skills? Figure it out. You want to save for that car, house, trip? You got this. You want to blow this 8-week transformation out of the water? Give it everything you got.

Hardwork beats everything. It beats talent. It beats excuses. And it damn sure beats just sitting around dreaming about it!

Of course, it’s so easy to talk about this right now with a casual optimism because I am not yet down to eating plain egg whites for breakfast and using mustard on everything. So I’ve decided to do weekly updates here just to check in and let you guys know how my progress is going.
I really look forward to having you all with me on this challenge!

Enjoy your beautiful existence today!