January Reset

I am so so happy to introduce the newest addition to programs at Standing Strong Wellness!

When I was coming up with the Reset program, the motto I kept in mind was “health for everyone”. Years ago I would have loved to work with someone educated in nutrition, but I could never afford it.

I was determined to come up with a practical solution that worked for everyone, no matter what their budget or personal diet preferences (vegan, celiac, etc…).

Thus, the Reset Program was born! It’s affordable, practical, easy to follow, and effective! Health – for everyone.

I’m so proud of this program, and I’m excited to start January alongside all my fellow Strong Babes!

Sad you missed it? Don’t worry, we’ll be doing this program quarterly! Every 3 months we’re going to reevaluate, reassess, and reset!

It’s gonna be a great way to start off 2019!

Want to follow my January Reset journey? Follow me on Instagram @standingstrongwellness !

Later babes!

Favourites Giveaway ! 

I’ll show you mine if you show me yours…

Favourites, that is!

To celebrate reaching 500 followers I’ve decided to do my very FIRST giveaway! When I first started this blog, I had no idea how much I would fall in love with it – and how much I would enjoy connecting with all of you.

I would have to say that the community built with my readers and other bloggers is easily my favourite part of the entire process. So I want to celebrate each and every one of you and YOUR favourites too!

To enter the giveaway, here are the rules: 

First and foremost, follow me! If you do already, awesome. If not, just press the follow button on the side bar and subscribe either through email or through wordpress!

Then in the comments below, send me the link to one of your favourite bloggers, and tell me why you love reading their posts! I will be visiting each and every one – and I can’t wait to be inspired and enlightened by the bloggers that you absolutely love!

And for sharing your favourites, I’ll share my favourites with you:


Included:

  • Iron Vegan Sprouted Protein – Chocolate and Vanilla 
  • Praire Naturals Coconut Seed Snacks
  • Smart Sweets Gummy Bears
  • Lara Bars – Blueberry and Chocolate PB
  • “Dreams are Worth Chasing” mug
  • “Noteworthy” notebook
  • WOW Peppermint Relief Roll-on

I am not associated with or sponsored by any of the pictured companies – these are just items I enjoy day to day, and I wanted to share them with you!

This giveaway is open to Canadian and US Residents. The winner will be drawn on Sunday, April 23rd. One entry per person, but if you want to share more than one blog that you love, please do.

I look forward to seeing your favourites!

 

April Update 

Hey you, how have you been?

Oh me? Oh you know, I’ve just been hanging out here on my beautiful white chair, in this room this pristine decor, hanging out in a body suit. I’m pretty sure that’s what bloggers do.

Jokes aside, it was a pleasure to have my sister take these shots the other day. I am in awe of how well she captured me. I think there is something to be said about being able to be vulnerable around someone. During this shoot, I was able to be and embrace myself,; I felt completely comfortable. And isn’t it interesting how that can come across in a photo? It reminds me that energy transcends everything.

I have been feeling so comfortable in my own skin lately. They say that is something that comes with age, and now at 28 years old I can say I believe it is true. Even when my skin was fresher, or I was smaller, or my eyes were brighter – I never appreciated all that I was. But now I look at myself with the audacity to say “I’m cute” ( I am though).

I wish I could go back and shake the younger me – I wish I could just say STOP! You are beautiful! Stop criticizing yourself! But I guess that it’s all a part of growing up.


So I will do my usual fitness update but first I want to say: even if my cutting season didn’t go very well, I would still rock a swimsuit with pride. My eyes are nice and my butt is round and my stomach is cute… so take that, society!

I’ve been cutting for the last couple months, but only last week since Brittany left have I actually kicked it into high gear. You know how it is #fitfam – less carbs , more cardio. I’ve been doing at least 30 minutes of cardio with each workout – sweater on and sweating up a storm.

I’m trying to keep my carbs under 100g daily for my cut, with refeeds when I really feel I need them. And before you begin to believe that this means I am restricting myself, please remember that I eat in abundance. Ask anyone who has the pleasure of eating near me about the size of my meals. It’s ridiculous…ly awesome. At the same time, in this lifestyle, sacrifices must be made – I know this game. And I love to play it.

Although this is an important part of my lifestyle, I want you guys to know that I do this for me. I’m happy with who I am. No number on a scale can ever change that. And restricting carbs will never make you happy. Being skinny will never make you happy. So I urge you to be at a good place before you put any additional stress on your body. And as always: love yourself first (the rest will follow anyway).

 

 

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If you are wondering what has been on the menu lately, a day in the life of me eating looks something like this…

  • Meal 1 – Breakfast shake (fruit, veg, Iron Vegan protein powder)
  • Meal 2 – A banana and a handful of almonds
  • Meal 3 – A large salad with greens, vegetables, and nuts
  • Meal 4 – A bit of protein and greens (usually tofu or chicken)
  • Meal 5 – Raw fruits or veg with almond butter or a piece of choc, etc…

Does anyone else get mad sweet cravings before bed? I’ve been making my own chocolate with melted coconut oil, raw cacao, nuts and stevia. Then I just pop it in the freezer for a couple minutes – voila!

Oh one more thing – only 3ish months of school left! I can’t wait to begin taking on clients. I’ve learned so much and my passion for health is a fire burning hotter than ever before. We can all be healthy. We can all be happy. And we all deserve it.

 

Stay tuned for my next post – it’s coming up tomorrow and it’s going to be a good one!

I hope everyone’s April is off to a great start, and onto an even better end!

Catch ya later

 

Don’t forget to subscribe to my blog on your way out, if you haven’t already!

Find me on Instagram: www.instagram.com/standingstrongwellness

Watch me on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC9XftlyYl711lf0o7MMt8MA/videos

Anxiety Roller Coaster: The Least Fun Ride Ever

When I was 16 years old, I had my first panic attack. Not a feeling of panic, but a full blown, out-of-my-own-reality panic attack. I felt the intense weight of the depersonalization and derealization as the world seemed to slip away from me. I’ve never been the same since. I’ve been struggling with some pretty intense anxiety for the past 10 years. For the most part it would come and go. I’ve had really good weeks, and really bad weeks. On some occasions it’s been so awful that I became agoraphobic. Anxiety has kept me from meeting new people, taking healthy risks, getting the grades in school I was worthy of, and even getting my drivers license.

ugh

 

More recently the experience has been more akin to waking up on the wrong side of the bed. I feel so wrong and uncomfortable, but I can’t explain why. The little things bother me, the really little things, like having to get cream for my coffee, or not having my clothes hanging in the closet ‘just-so’. When things don’t go ‘according to plan’ – this has also historically been a big trigger for me, as well as being exhausted or hungry. Needless to say, I’ve felt pretty vulnerable.

Anxiety is a slow build up. It’s like the rise before you get to the top of the largest hill on the roller-coaster. You hear the slow clicks as you ascend closer and closer to the top. You know exactly what’s coming. But you can’t stop it. Suddenly it’s that moment before the drop – the beginning of the panic attack – the adrenaline rushing through your veins. Fear takes over, you are in fight or flight mode; feeling like your life is in jeopardy. But it’s not. You’re just walking the dog, or getting bread at the store, washing the dishes, or riding a roller coaster.

It is likely I have some genetic predisposition for anxiety and panic attacks. Of course there are environmental factors at play too. For a long time I felt that it was an inevitable part of life, and the only way to deal with it would be to smother it with alcohol or prescription medication. One day I changed my mind, and I decided that I would figure out how to live life in such a way that my anxiety would always be manageable.

I found a way. Self-care is extremely important when it comes to managing anxiety. I know what gets me in a bad space and I avoid those situations. These are the following changes I have made to better manage my anxiety:

  • Sleep. Specifically, getting more of it. I know that when I’m tired I simply do not function well. I’m not talking about just being a little sleepy. I get complete brain fog, and I can’t think properly. And not thinking properly is a recipe for disaster. I need at least 7 hours a night!
  • Exercise. It’s good for the body and the mind. It gives me a healthy outlet for any of my negative feelings. And exercise releases good endorphins into your body, physically making you feel good!
  • Limiting Refined Carbs. A lot of people with anxiety aren’t aware that there is a long list of foods that can trigger anxiety. I found this out in a very round about way: I cut out refined carbs during my last cut, and I saw a noticeable decrease in my anxiety. In general I had a greater sense of well-being and more balanced moods.
  • Spending time with positive people. It’s the worst to spend hours and hours in a downward spiral of negativity. Energy is contagious. It’s important to be around people who want to talk about hopes, dreams, and possibilities. Not people who will get you thinking about all the difficulties of life.
  • Limiting Alcohol. I don’t go out partying like I did before (I’m getting old now anyways). In the moment I always feel great. It’s the next day when my body is recovering and all out of whack that I struggle with my moods. One night out every one in a while is okay. Binge drinking every weekend is not an option for me.
  • Relaxing, or “me time”. This one has always, always been hard for me. Sometimes I have to force myself to sit down and relax. But I absolutely need to do it. I need to stop and hold time every once in a while, whether that means sitting down for a movie with my significant other or taking a half hour at the coffee shop to read, I take downtime now.

The worst thing about having anxiety is when it disrupts your relationships. Yes, I’ve cancelled plans with friends before because I wasn’t practicing proper self-care and just felt overwhelmed with anxiety. I’ve lashed out at people I love because I didn’t know how to deal with the feelings I was having inside. No one should have to live that way. Anxiety is a cruel monster, and I won’t let it creep up on me anymore. I have daily practices in place to keep my anxiety under control, and when I follow those guidelines to a T I’m at my very best. No panic attacks. This is my way of beating anxiety – the natural way – so I can bring my best foot forward every day and live a happy, healthy, and full life.

I tried SPIN for the first time and here’s what I thought of it.

Walking towards the studio, I feel pangs of excitement and nervousness. I guess that’s normal when you’re trying something new. Especially if you’re not sure you’ll make it out alive.

I was invited to try spin for the first time with a friend. I know it’s healthy to get out there and try new things, so I agreed.

Now I know what you’re thinking : What’s so scary Jen? Don’t you lift weights? This class should be a breeze!

Spin is so different though. Spin is endurance. Coordination. And a whole lot of legs. All of which are not my strong suit.

But in the spirit of challenging myself, I found myself in the studio and ready to make an attempt. My friend walked me through the basics, and the instructor came over before the class started to give me a few tips.

Because we are all in control of our own bike and resistance settings, the class is simply as hard or as easy as you want it to be.

I was in the back of three rows, which calmed my nerves because I knew I wouldn’t be seen. Then they dimmed the lights and I really knew I wouldn’t be seen. I thought to myself this class is an anxious person’s dream! I’m practically invisible back here! 

Then the pumped up dance music came on – and I was like yeah! This is my jam!

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You know what it felt like?

It’s reminiscent of the moment you are walking into the club, when the music is pumping and the lighting is just right. Only instead of alcohol, everyone’s drinking aminos. And instead of dancing, everyone is working their butts off (my kind of Saturday night!).

Pedaling to the beat of the music, we went up and down and imaginary trail that albeit had some pretty steep hills. But I smiled the whole time. The instructor was invested and encouraging. The other spinners cheered when they felt challenged.

The environment was so different than from that of any gym I’ve been to. It was energetic, electric, and best of all…. contagious.

Not only did I survive, but I will also be back again.

I would recommend spin to anyone who:

  • enjoys being encouraged during a workout
  • is looking for a high energy fitness atmosphere
  • want to get high on endorphins and doesn’t mind a sore butt

Thanks for reading!

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Easy Quinoa Salad 

Carbs are a big part of the food story in our household; we go through rice like it’s going out of style. I mean, my boyfriend eats mounds of it with almost every meal!

And um, confession time, we even feed it to the dogs when we accidentally run out of their food!

The other day Matthew said “I’m sick of rice. What’s that other stuff you used to make?”

“The quinoa?” I asked, and he confirmed.

It has been so long since I cooked up some quinoa. Remember when quinoa became such a popular super food? It was such a fad for a time! Just another trend that has come and gone in cooking.

I still love it though. Easy to cook, so versatile, and contains a complete protein!

This quinoa salad is a dish I always used to fall back on in my early days of food prep. It’s awesome because it’s almost better after it sits for a day or two!


Ingredients: 

  • 4 cups cooked quinoa (cooled)
  • 1 pepper, diced
  • 1/2 purple onion, diced
  • 1 small can of corn
  • 1 can of chickpeas
  • Bunch of cilantro
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 avocado
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • Himalayan salt and pepper (to taste)

Instructions: 

Add quinoa, pepper, onion, corn, and chickpeas together in a bowl. Finely chop cilantro and add with cumin, coriander, salt, and pepper. Squeeze each half of the lemon over the salad. Top with avocado when you are ready to enjoy it!

Before I was allergic to dairy I used to add in feta cheese! So if it fits your eating habits I highly recommend it, although it is just as good without!

Try out this salad and let me know how you like it!

Need a little push?

Ever just wake up on the wrong side of the bed?

Of course. It happens to all of us.

We all have different techniques to turn our day around. Today, I’m sharing one of mine.

When I first started my health journey, I was introduced to motivational videos on Youtube and I fell in love (okay, became obsessed… you caught me!)

We all need a pep talk sometimes… something that can speak to that voice inside of us, something extra to get us going! In my last semester of University I was getting up for school everyday at 5 am and it was rough. I would play these videos every morning, and they would help to get me pumped! I mean, I’m a morning person but not a “5 am” morning person!

But I digress. Fast forward a few months later and I stumble across the channel ‘Your World Within’ . This channel is amazing! Not only are the messages really beautiful and inspiring, but each video has a message that really resonates with me. Imagery is also quality but I typically just listen to the videos as I go about my business.

Anyways, if you need a little push today or any other day, this is my sneaky suggestion.

(I just had to share!) 

 

Have an incredible existence today!

Advocate for Yourself

Being an anxious person with any kind of actual physical health issue comes with it’s own special set of challenges.

It could perhaps mean you are going to engage in circular cause and effect arguments with yourself trying to figure out your symptoms. It could mean googling your symptoms until you convince yourself you are probably going to die. It could mean making your illness worse by having your stress levels burst through the roof.

Or it could mean not getting the help that you actually need.

In the last ten years, whenever I have paid a visit to the doctor, I have felt dismissed. I’m guessing that somewhere on my chart there is a little note that reads “anxious person”. I am also very forthcoming about my anxiety; if the doctor asks me if I’m anxious I’m going to say yes.

Usually it’s at that moment, I look at the doctors face, and I can see that he or she has stopped listening to me. They already know the answer. Whatever I am dealing with can be easily explained (or if you ask me, dismissed) as anxiety.

I get that anxiety can manifest itself in physical ways. And I’m positive that people with anxiety sometimes seek out medical help for these issues.

But wait…

Don’t anxious people deal with legitimate health issues too, just like everyone else? (rhetorical question).

I’m sure I’m not the only one who has been through this.

All we want, all we really want, is five minutes of the doctor’s time in which we are actually heard and listened to. And you know what? If by the end of that you still think it’s anxiety related, I personally will accept your opinion.

But when you stop listening (and stop caring) as soon as the word “anxiety” comes up, I don’t know how else to feel but angry, disappointed, and unheard.

In this case you have to advocate for yourself. If you feel, like me, that you aren’t being listened to, then you need to do something about it. Don’t give up. Don’t let that be the end-all be-all. Find another doctor, find another way. See a chiropractor, dietitian, naturopath, do whatever you have to do to figure it out. You deserve a healthy body operating at full capacity.

Don’t give up on your health! Advocate for yourself.

 

 

 

 

 

 

What I Lost to Fitness

When it comes to what I’ve lost to fitness, it’s not so black and white. You see, I’ve lost good things, and I’ve lost bad things. It’s just change. It’s just life. It’s a part of my journey that I want to share with you.

This is what I lost to fitness.

I lost that “not caring” mentality.

I do care. I care so much. About how every hour of my day is spent. The #fitlife has inspired a passion in me that never lets me go. And I mean that. I care what I put in my body. I care if I have a good workout. I care if I’m making a step in the right direction. I remember not caring; I remember floating around aimlessly in the Universe under a cloud of beautiful, light, blissful ignorance. I remember when the thought of “what should my workout be today” never crossed my mind. Fitness changed me, I lost my apathy. I realized I cared, and I want to win the challenge of me vs. me.

I lost my old body.

I had to say goodbye to the girl whose outside didn’t match the inside. I was never athletic my entire life. But inside I always felt strong. I had to say goodbye to the body I knew, to realize the body that was becoming. I lost the body I was estranged from. I traded it for one I’m so close with, we’re like best friends. I have a better connection with my body than ever before, and I’m so thankful for that.

I lost my connection.

I feel like I got along better with people when my values weren’t so different from the rest of my family and friends. Sometimes I feel like when I talk to people that they think I’m some crazy banana hippie who doesn’t believe in modern medicine and wants to cure the world with epsom salts. Of course, my healthy lifestyle is really not that extreme. I just know what I like. I love holistic health, fitness, and being productive. When I changed, the way I connected with people changed. And in some cases, the connection just got lost.

I lost my friends.

It’s so hard to say, or rather to admit. Is it because they don’t feel like they have anything in common with me anymore? But I’m the same person I always was, only with a few new interests. I’ve found happiness, and I have joy to give. I want to share and give all that joy away, but there’s few to share it with. Maybe people feel like they can’t talk open up to me, because on social media I seem like I “have it all together”. Who really does though? We’re all human.

I need to say this: being into fitness isn’t a prerequisite to be my friend. I’m like an onion, I have layers. I have other interests: cooking, horror movies, true crime, minimalism, and more. As ludicrous as this sounds to even read as I type it, I know this to be true: I lost friends to fitness and this is a sorry thing.

I lost my fear and inhibition.

I used to struggle with my anxiety every day. I used to drink to numb the pain of being extremely depressed. I used to get through every day just praying that the next one would be better, desperate to pull through. It wasn’t easy. It took me one year to completely turn my life around. I started to believe that wild things were possible for me.I proved to myself that I am a strong woman. I’m a woman who can do anything she sets her mind to. Now I have the life I only dreamed of when I would lay awake in my bed at night wishing for something better.

I lost being lost.

I found myself in the gym. It’s both cheesy and it’s true. In fitness, I found a safe space in which to challenge myself, to overcome, to dedicate all my hard work and focus. I welcomed the challenge of growing both physically and mentally. I found the person I was always supposed to be.


Have you gone through a transformation that changed you? What did you lose?

“I Have Anxiety Too”

Yesterday, a man and I began talking about protein.

He told me : “I can’t take that powder because it triggers my anxiety”, and was quick to apologize with, “sorry, is that too much information?”

I could have said no and brushed it off. But I was intrigued. Intrigued because I know exactly what it’s like to have your anxiety triggered by certain foods.

“No, I get it”, I explained, “I have anxiety too”. 

I sensed he was a little relieved.

“It’s so interesting; the relationship that food has with our bodies. It matters more than people think. Especially for people with anxiety. Why doesn’t anyone talk about this more?”

He agreed, and said he knew what I meant.

Our conversation went on. I was comforted to meet someone like me.

Someone whose body is, for lack of a better word, finicky. There are just certain things my body doesn’t process well. It’s complicated.

“Cake makes me crazy!”, I told this complete stranger.

“Oh, don’t even get me started on fast food!” he said.

We chuckled in agreement.

A day or two of eating junk, a week or two of too much sugar, and it feels like I am basically signing my life away. Like I’ve signed some kind of agreement to feel physically and emotionally drained.

Sometimes it sucks. Sometimes I want to be… what do they call it… oh – normal.

At the end of the day, I know that I have these struggles for a reason. I’m here to figure it out, and fix it. The relationship between food and anxiety. The relationship between fitness and anxiety. Lifestyle and anxiety.

This conversation made me realize I’m not alone. And if you’ve ever been through this, you are not alone either.

For anyone out their with anxiety, I would love for you to share your triggers! I’m always intrigued to help you solve the mystery.

Stay strong, and keep fighting for your health!