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!

 

March Check-in

Even as I write the title to this post, I can’t believe it’s MARCH.

These last two and a half months have gone by so quickly. I think it’s because I’ve been working so much. I barely have time to catch my breath, let alone realize what day it is!

I have taken an interesting turn in the journey towards my best self over the past couple of months. You know, I never realized that self-acceptance required a certain amount of continual maintenance. A year ago I was at a place of radical self-love and self-acceptance. I felt untouchable, simply because I knew who I was and loved that person, flaws, mishaps and all. I acknowledged myself as a human moving forward.

But over time people do change. As I changed, I think I began to lose that acceptance in some ways, because the person I accepted myself as was gone. And not to say in any way I have changed for the worse. I’m just not a student anymore. My work is different. I’m not the single student out there exhausting herself trying to prove something anymore, or make her way. My whole life has essentially changed, and I need to accept who I am now in this space.

So that’s what I’ve been working on. Anything good that will ever come from me will come from a place of love. When you accept yourself and love yourself, you strive to be healthy in all ways. Without that motivation we are just lost. We might be moving but we have no direction. I needed to find that again.

Improvements: My improvements over the last month have been less physical and more spiritual. I have absolutely no sense of shame in saying this. A lot of people fall and feel like a failure. You are only a failure if you don’t get back up! And I always get back up. I’ve just been focusing on a different aspect of my wellness lately. Not to worry, I’m still on track with my fitness in working towards that summer bod!

Current Focus: My current focus is to continue on my physical fitness journey without compromising how far I have come emotionally and spiritually. I want to continue to accept myself at this time and in this body while also working towards bettering myself.

Eating: My eating has been so much better since I removed dairy from my diet. I don’t experience the same mood swings or physical symptoms that I was before I knew I had an allergy! I’ve been eating about 80/20 these days and I am happy with that. My issue most recently has been not eating frequently enough. So although my meals are quality, nourishing, and healthy, I feel like I undo that to a certain point when I’m too busy to eat or I’m unprepared! I would like to start eating 5 meals a day again. Grocery shopping is today so I will definitely be doing some prep work tonight!

Feeling: I feel like change is on the horizon. As a person with anxiety, sometimes I spend more time thinking about doing something than actually doing it. Now, I am at the stage where I am ready to stop thinking and just get my feet moving, you know… move forward.

I am told so often that I am the “healthiest person” that somebody knows. I am met with shock and disbelief sometimes when I share my own struggles. Yes, I go to the gym. Yes, I prefer healthy, homemade cooking. Yes, I continually embark in a spiritual journey towards the betterment of myself! That doesn’t mean that I don’t struggle. Struggling is simply a part of the human experience.

I cannot sit here and be an example as somebody who is perfect, because as we all know, perfect is a myth. What I can do is be open about my knowledge, experiences, and my healing in the hopes that you will connect with something that I’ve said somewhere along the way and that it will resonate with something in you.

Today I am human and I am humbled.

 

Moving Forward (onward and upward)

I’ve made my share of mistakes in life. I’ve said the wrong thing, done the wrong thing. I’ve acted selfishly. I’ve had one too many drinks before and thanked the lord I woke up safely in my home. I’ve blown up in anger, I’ve missed opportunities, I have been stubborn once or twice in my past.

I have embarrassed myself like you wouldn’t believe. I’ve tripped, I’ve fallen, I’ve realized I’ve said too much when it was too late to take it back. I’ve had panic attacks in public, and I have cried in a chair all by my lonesome in a nearly packed Starbucks.

I have been hurt. I’ve trusted the wrong people. I’ve been absolutely crushed by people I invested in. I’ve spent hours trying to understand how any decent human being could treat me in such a way.

But to be honest, I haven’t thought about any of that in a very, very, long time.

Why?

Because that’s all in the past, and I don’t live there. What purpose would it serve me to think of it, to revisit it over and over again?

I’ve learned from every mistake, every hurt, every failure. I carry the lesson with me, not the pain.

So often lately I find myself in contact with people who are very much stuck in the past. They just can’t get over that one, or sometimes the many events that have been negative experiences for them. The friend who lied, the boyfriend who left them, the opportunity they missed. They can’t let it go.

In order to move forward, you have to be facing that direction. No one walks down the sidewalk with their head turned around backwards. Why would you operate in such a way in your mind?

The past can be such a distraction from what really matters, which is the here and now. That’s all we really have. And if you are too busy dwelling on things that have already happened, you are bound to miss the precious seconds passing by. Moments meant to be cherished and appreciated. You will miss that if you’re stuck.

I think a lot of people get stuck in their past because they are still looking for answers. If only it were so easy. Those black-and-white answers are not so readily available in life, and you may never find the one you are looking for.

But don’t be discouraged, because there is one thing you can always find: Meaning. What you have been through, the hurt and the pain and the agony, can mean something. But that’s up to you, to attach a purpose to those negative experiences. You might never be able to say “This happened because…” , but maybe you could say “because of this the positive change I made was…” . That’s your meaning right there.

I know it’s easier said than done, I know this. That is the rule for most things. These are the emotional growing pains, even positive change can be a painful process. But you have every right to live a happy life.

You deserve to move on.
Onward and upward !

 

Girls Can Have Big Arms Too

Are you guys on Youtube?

If so, check me out! Posting videos has been somewhat on the back burner for the past few months, but finally I have followed through with my intention.

 

I’m so excited about my channel because it gives me a new way in which to share my passion for health and wellness. I’ll be posting workouts, recipes, wellness thoughts, nutrition, and anything else health and wellness related.

Don’t forget to subscribe!

Where the Energy Goes.

We are more visible now to others than we ever were before. Our world is shrinking in a way, thanks to social media. Our daily routines and events can now be followed by people all over the world.

It’s an interesting time to be alive, isn’t it? And to think that this wouldn’t have any effect on us at all is outrageous… Our world has changed dramatically.

When I was a kid, I never dreamed that I would be posting pictures on social media of myself in the underwear equivalent of a bathing suit. But it’s not weird. It’s as normal as washing the dishes.

And so I’ve noticed my energy shifting outward. Has anybody else felt that? The world is watching. Likes are being thrown around. How many people are going to post a picture without first wondering what others are going to think of it? I myself am guilty as charged.

Now, I don’t obsess over what people think of me.

But I do believe that the time and energy I do spend investing in guessing or caring could be better spent on something else.

I think that’s why I’ve noticed such a radical self love movement on social media. People are beginning to proudly display themselves as they actually are, instead of how their ego wants them to be seen.

I’m talking armpit hair, no makeup, food baby hanging out. Zero filters allowed, no flattering angles necessary.

I think it’s beautiful. And challenging. On one hand, it’s challenging because it’s scary to be so vulnerable in front of other people. On the other hand, it’s scary because you are about to scream from the mountain tops “I LOVE MYSELF UNCONDITIONALLY” , and so you have to mean it. That’s the challenge. Not saying it, but meaning it. With your whole being.

It’s not easy to face ourselves and say “I love you no matter what”.

It is freedom though.

And it’s a great way to use the energy that we have.

This is something I will be focusing on for the next couple of weeks, or months. Or however long it takes to feel like I’m finally at that place of radical self love.

 

I dont care what you think of this photo

Where does your energy flow?

Hitting Rock Bottom

Bad days come and go, difficult things happen in our lives, but we work through them.

Hitting rock bottom is entirely different.

I can pinpoint events in my life that served as catalysts for change. In reflecting on those times, I notice that it was not the great and wonderful events in life that changed me, but rather the situations that brought out the very worst in my life.  It was rock bottom that brought me to my knees, the lowest I ever felt, the furthest down I could ever go.

Rock bottom is different because it’s do or die. When you hit rock bottom, that is the Universe telling you “something’s gotta give, it’s time for a change”.

You’re on the precipice of complete and utter destruction. At this time in your life, the world holds up a mirror, and you are challenged to face who you really are. Are you a fighter or not? Because in that moment, you are running out of options. So what do you do?

If you don’t fight, you die. And I don’t even mean in the physical sense. If you don’t fight, you are spiritually dead. Because you let that event beat you down. You didn’t listen to the Universe when it encouraged you to change. You got stuck. at the bottom. And that’s where you’ll stay until you find the courage to move on from where you are.

Change can mean many things, but as the saying goes it is not easy. Change is hard. Worse than that, it’s uncomfortable. The way things are, miserable as they may be, can be comforting when it is familiar. You’re going to have to be brave. You might have to do things a way you have never done them before. You might have to reinvent yourself. You are going to change your life.

Getting out of rock bottom is up to you. It is no one else’s job to bail you out. No one else can be responsible for changing your life! Other people can offer support, your friends and family can share their wisdom, but at the end of the day change is about action, and it’s up to you to take that action.

The reality of the situation is that everybody goes through this. Multiple times. We want to believe that once we’ve been to the bottom we can never go back there again. But it can and likely will happen. That’s just life. At 27 years old I have hit rock bottom more than once. I know when the time comes I will visit it again.

What gets you through is an intense regimen of self-care. What gets you through is a support system of family, friends, and/or faith. What gets you through is that inner voice that tells you not to ever give up.

It sounds cliche, but you’ll get through it, and you’ll come out stronger than you were before. Smarter than you were before. And damn proud of yourself.

 

Tips on working through that shitty thing that happened to you 

A part of what I do, aside from writing to you lovely people, is work with individuals in crisis.

It’s not easy work, but it is rewarding. I have learned so much in this particular environment that I couldn’t have realized otherwise.

Today I want to share with you one of those key pieces. Because we are all bound to encounter hardship, and we deserve to have some knowledge on how to deal with it.

I have noticed an almost instinctual response to stressful and difficult situations, and that is the desire to go into action and solve the problem right away.

The issue with this is that when you are in the deep of it, you might not be thinking straight yet. I find that people in crisis, big or small, are initially caught up in the emotion of it all. The emotion blinds us from being able to evaluate our situation properly. When you’re upset, angry, or anxious you aren’t solution-minded, you are emotionally driven.

Think of it like this: your house lights on fire. What’s the first thing you do? Do you start thinking about where you are going to move next? Or do you get the heck out of the house, call 911, and cry?

We have a similar response emotionally to other crises situations. We’re in panic mode.

While in panic mode, don’t rush yourself to solve the situation! Work through your feelings. Be kind and patient with yourself until you have the wherewithal to step back and look at things clearly.

This goes against our instinct of going right into “fix it” mode. But it makes sense. We need to give ourselves permission to say “this is important to deal with, and that’s why I’m not going to rush myself”. This helps us steer clear from making emotionally-driven decisions, which aren’t always beneficial for us in the long run.

So what to do in the mean time?

Often during times of difficulty, the first thing that a person tends to neglect is their basic needs. These are simple things like eating, sleeping, and showering. As small as these things seem, they are so important. They are the backbone of our self-care.

It’s also important to note that distraction techniques such as watching tv or surfing the Internet are totally okay. Don’t beat yourself up for “procrastinating”! You’re not. You’re buying time; you’re waiting for the emotional storm to pass.

Once you feel a little more calm and collected, begin exploring options on how to solve the actual problem (if solvable, sometimes they’re not). This could take a day, or it might take several. Problem solving could involve talking to friends, seeking counselling, looking for advice from an expert, or just plain going into action.

Thanks for reading! I hope the next time you are going through a difficult time you remember to be patient with yourself, and allow yourself to feel your feelings.

 

January Check-in

Hello beautiful people.

It’s been an incredible first month of the year. And I’m not trying to be cheesey or cliche – I really mean it. I’ve made some great strides towards bettering myself and creating an even closer relationship with me and my body.

Something really big has happened (if you read my blog post on developing allergies this won’t be a shock to you!)… I’ve discovered that I developed a milk allergy! If right now you’re scratching you head thinking “what”? You can read the post here.

Before discovering this, I had been feeling unwell for months. I was constantly ill, but I never understood why. My skin was breaking out. I could tell my body was fighting something.

I cleaned up my diet. I increased my water intake. I got all my vitamins. I started taking baths. I tried everything under the sun to figure out why I was constantly sick and bloated.  I went to doctors (yes plural); I had blood work done. I looked into consulting with a Naturopath, but at an estimated $400 a session there was just no way I could go for it.

So I tried an elimination diet and started with the usual suspects – dairy and wheat. After three days of being dairy free, I began feeling so much better.

I am only on my 8th day of living dairy free, but I my body feels renewed. As a result, my mind feels renewed. I have so much more life and energy. I’ve struggled just to maintain weight over the last few months, and since last week I am down 5 lbs.

I feel really great and I’m so glad to share that with you guys. If your body is telling you that something isn’t right, never stop searching! Never stop discovering. There were moments in this part of my journey that I felt hopeless. I’m glad it’s not in my nature to ever give up.
Improvements: NO MORE BLOATING. No more feeling yucky. No more allergies. A feeling of supreme wellness. I’m even feeling my energy shift in a more positive direction. Everything is improving.

Current Focus: A few times on this blog I have mentioned that the scale kept climbing over the last few months, but I didn’t know why. Now that I’ve got that under control, I feel like the sky is the limit for me. It’s been over three months since I’ve seen my abs. If there is one thing I have realized these last few months, it’s that I’m so much more than abs. Our society values an ideal that is extremely hard to maintain. My focus right now is on my health and my energy. That’s the place that my workouts and meals will come from.

Eating: Okay, I’ll say it one more time: now that I’ve eliminated dairy, I feel so much better. I am also going to continue to keep my wheat intake to a minimum and focus on getting my carbs from brown rice and sweet potato. My eating right now is clean and carb conscious, but I haven’t eliminated carbs for any meals specifically.

Feeling: Physically I feel empowered. I have been able to overcome something that plagued me for so long. I am so much reminded right now why I am so passionate about health and wellness. Because I know that the pursuit is a daring experiment, and finding the answer is worth it.

I find myself having a renewed sense of enthusiasm in my passion. May it carry on for the rest of the year!

Being Selfish vs. Setting Boundaries 

The other weekend I had to bail out of a friend’s birthday party.

Okay, to be fair, I didn’t bail. I actually did not confirm that I would go, but promised to let her know the day of. And that day, I told her I couldn’t make it.

A lot of people from the outside looking in are going to see that as selfish. A lot of people would question why I was unable to put my own needs aside for my friend for just one night.

But that’s a question that almost answers itself: because these are my needs. 

The week prior to this party I was exceptionally busy ( and yes, it’s the Calgary lifestyle, we are all “always busy!”). I hadn’t slept much; adequate rest and nutrition were definitely lacking. I really needed that evening to get back on my feet.

As a person prone to anxiety, these are just things that I normally keep in check. If I’m not my best self, what can I possibly give to anyone else?

I think when it comes to deciding if you are making a selfish decision or setting boundaries, intention is everything. Are you making this decision out of fear, or out of love? Are you making this decision from your ego, or your soul?

We all have to set healthy boundaries, in both our relationships with other people and also with ourselves.

Luckily I have the most beautiful and understanding friends in the world. This one in particular didn’t hold it against me, and we enjoyed a belated birthday brunch the following weekend.

All decisions made from love require no explanation or justification. But I wanted to share with you guys this example to highlight the difference between being selfish and setting boundaries.

A selfish decision would be cancelling because you don’t know anyone at the party. Or out of past resentment towards the friend. Or even going simply because you feel obligated.

Practice good self care, always. These decisions are for you to know and decide.