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

 

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

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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?

Is Self Love a Physical Concept?

Does our own self-love sets the stage for all other relationships in our lives? Of course – If you don’t know your own self-worth, how can anybody else see it?

I love exploring the idea of self-love and encouraging it in others, and I feel like this is a movement that is gaining a lot of momentum today. It’s cool to love yourself. In in to feel good in your skin.

At the same time, I see the concept of self-love taking a bit of a twisted turn.

I hear people saying “self-love”, but the image I see alongside it is a body. Usually, a minimally clothed body. Is this self-love? Well, it’s body appreciation, and that is certainly a form of self-love.

I encourage you all to love your bodies. This isn’t easy –  as they are ever changing. To get to that place of unconditional love is difficult, so it is an amazing place to be. We can’t hate ourselves into a version of ourselves that we can love. But when we are kind and nurturing to ourselves and our bodies, we free ourselves from the pressure that society puts upon us.

Displaying our bodies proudly in all their glory is amazing and beautiful. But I feel like another component is missing here.

What about the rest of the self? Are we just a body? Do I truly love myself if I’ve learned to appreciate my body as it is?

You are more than just your physical self. You have a mind. You have a soul. You have dreams. You have thoughts that are astounding and unique. I feel like this other part of ourselves often gets lost when we are thinking about the concept of self-love.

To truly love yourself, you must love your whole self. You have to appreciate your inner qualities as much as you appreciate the outer ones. You have to see yourself as a whole.

So if you are starting on a journey of self-love, start wherever you like, and just don’t forget all you have to offer.

Self-Esteem is Work (and it’s worth it)!

We’ve all had those days when we just wake up, and we don’t feel good about ourselves. Maybe it’s your hair, maybe it’s your clothes. Maybe it’s your weight. Or maybe it’s something less physical, like your ability or your strength. Whatever it is, or combination thereof, it’s taken a hit.

You stopped believing you were great.

Where did this self-esteem deficit come from?

It’s different for everyone. And the list is so long. From trying and failing. From feeling overwhelmed. From taking on too much. From comparing ourselves to others. From our culture and our society. From our anxiety and depression. From listening to other people. From letting the negative energy in.

I want to clear the air: no amount of material goods can cure you of a lack of self-esteem. You can buy all the make-up, clothes, electronics, and whatever else you desire. There is no expensive luxury item that can fill that void. There is nothing you can buy.

We tend to go there though. We feel bad so we go shopping. We feel bad so we get our hair done. We feel bad so we hide behind some $50 eyeliner. It can’t fix you. It can definitely give you a boost. It can for sure make you feel good in the moment. But it can’t fix you. And here’s why:

The real problem is inside. A lack of self-esteem truly stems from one thing and one thing only, and it’s this thought:

“I’m not good enough”.

I’m not saying that well-off men and women all suffer from a lack of self-esteem. But if you don’t feel good about yourself unless you have those material things to hide behind, then you’re hurting.

You don’t need to have the best of everything and fit into a size zero to be good enough. You don’t have to spend half your paycheque at Sephora, or almost kill yourself on the treadmill to be good enough. You are good enough. Just as you are.

Once you believe that, once you believe that you are enough, no matter what the scale says, or your crazy hair day says, or your especially hectic and overwhelming day says, then you have self-esteem.

Getting there, unfortunately, doesn’t just happen. I wish it did.

I wish we could just sit in a chair and “dig really deep!” and find that self esteem that we’ve been missing. But like all other good things in life, it takes work. But it’s worth it.

Self-esteem is something you grow. You nurture it and give yourself the love you need.

Take on small challenges and own them. Try something new. Do something you didn’t know you could. That builds self-esteem.

Stop taking people’s shit. Be impermeable to the negative energy from others. Do what’s best for you. That builds self-esteem.

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Look in the mirror and say “I love you no matter what”. This is your body, and it’s the only one you have, so cherish it. Know that you are so much MORE than a body. You’re a mind. You have things to offer. Begin to believe that you are good enough. That builds self-esteem.

When all else fails, put out into the Universe what you desire most. Tell someone you love their sense of humor. Highlight someone’s strength. Let a friend know how much you appreciate them. Make someone else feel good, and wait for the Universe to deliver that energy back to you.

My sister sent me a message yesterday to tell me how much she appreciates my love and support. It meant everything to me. I thought to myself “yes! I did something right. I’m a good sister”. That built up my self-esteem. Highlighting something I’m good at.

I want to end this post by letting you know that you are a miracle. The chances of you being born were so slim, you are inherently a miracle on this earth. Inside of you is boundless potential. And you can do anything., granted you put all of your passion and hardwork into it. No one can live this life the exact same way you will. You will affect others, you are special.

Please don’t forget that!

“Perfection” Pisses Me Off and This is Why

God, life is hard sometimes.

Like, it’s not enough to feel like a work horse all day just trying to make enough money to provide for yourself or your family, and cook and clean, and call your mom, and make sure that this time you make it to that coffee date you promised your pal you wouldn’t bail on this time… no.

Not only that, but we feel so much pressure to do all that and look perfect while doing it to.

Men and women are all under an immense amount of pressure every day to look “good”. And I’m not talking about that general sense of looking “put together”. I’m talking about juggling the complex aspects of our lives while looking absolutely tanned, toned, and perfect. An unscarred, unblemished body. A new outfit. A new haircut.

Perfect white teeth, perfect lips, perfect laugh. Perfect.

It’s pissing me off. It’s pissing me off because it’s not. real. And even though we know it’s not real and can accept that to some level, it is still a struggle when the images we take in daily through social media reflect such insanely high standards.

Maybe one day when I’m famous I’ll be able to pay a team of people to dress me, do my face, follow me around to knock pizza out of my hand, and make sure I look hot all the time. Even then, it’s not realistic to attain that “perfect” look. Because that perfect look isn’t real.

But it’s unlikely. What’s more likely is that I’ll probably continue to show up at work in my old leggings and grandpa sweater with my hair up in a bun. I care about looking good, but most days I find that I’m too busy creating and building a business to try and put on the appearance of perfection.

And the truth is that the older I get, the more I start to see how beautiful is actually just a state of mind. You might think if you looked like those stars you idolize, you’ll finally be happy. But do you know who are the most beautiful and happy people out there? The people who stopped giving a fuck what other people think of them. The people who know they are beautiful no matter what society tells them.

Me

Me Eating Breakfast

So for me this pic is pretty much as real as it gets, that’s me eating breakfast in my boyfriend’s t-shirt. And no I don’t give AF about trying to be sexy, when there’s food around I’m only thinking about one thing (hint: it’s the food).

I’m 100% not afraid to share this. Firstly, because I think I’m pretty cute no matter what state I’m in. I don’t care if you like my piercings or my short hair or my baggy ass t-shirt, I’m not living for you I’m living for me.

Secondly, I have other things going for me, so even if I didn’t think I was cute (which I know I am) I know I have a lot more to offer the world. I’m actually pretty smart, and I’m kind. I’m a great listener and I’m hella empathetic (I will get on your level and live there). I’m also funny, at least I think so, and I have a great sense of humor I would probably laugh at your jokes too. So I’m happy with who I am. Blemishes and all.

We need to stop idolizing people based solely on the fact that they are totally hot. And don’t get me wrong, being totally hot is great. But I really don’t look up to anyone unless they have something inside I’m attracted to: inner joy, peace, ambition, enlightenment.

Imagine if the people in our society put as much work into improving their mind and growing spiritually as they did on their outer appearance. Man, that would be so cool. I think it’s possible if we reorganize our priorities (being nice> hotness) and embrace our individuality. We also need to stop, just STOP trying to be “perfect”. There’s no such thing. Isn’t that great? You can breathe now.

I love you all for the magical unique beings that you are. Never stop being you, if anything the world needs more of you to balance all of the other un-you stuff out there.

I hope you love yourself today.

Idolize Yourself

In the past couple of days I have been asked a few times: “who is your role model”?

The short answer is: I don’t really have one.

I used to idolize a few women in the fit community: Paige Hathaway, Dana Linn Bailey, Nikki Blackketter. Each one of those women is beautiful and strong. I spent so much time going through their photos thinking “I want to be like them” . But there is a reason that they say ‘comparison is the thief of joy’; the more you compare yourself to others, the less you focus on your own personal positive attributes. I mean, I spent months of looking at their pictures religiously and saying “someday that will be me”.

Now let me take a step back for a moment so I can explain better why and how this changed for me. Because truly, this is the actual picture that started me on my fitness journey:

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Beautiful mystery woman with amazing core

This is the first picture I looked at and said “this will be me!”. I remember it seeing it for the first time so well, as I was vegging out on the couch scrolling through Instagram. I was fed up with the way I looked and felt. I believe at that moment, I took the leap into fitness and never looked back. And I don’t regret that. But what I realize now is that I will never be this mystery woman. And I will never be Paige Hathaway, Dana Lynn Bailey, or Nikki Blacketter. We are different people with different lives and different bodies. We are different, right down to our genetics. When you set your sights on being just like someone else, you set yourself up for failure. In comparing my own photo to this one, it is clear that we have completely different bodies. Mystery woman has a tinier waist, and her abs are shaped differently than mine. Her hips are also wider than mine. Check it out:

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My fit body, looking nothing like the mystery woman’s

There is not a thing wrong with either of our bodies, we are simply built differently. My fitness looks nothing like her fitness. My best cannot be her best. After realizing this, I decided I would look up to myself. Not myself in the present; myself in the future. I close my eyes and envision the best possible version of myself. I tell myself “that’s the woman I wanna be”. It motivates every day. It’s also a much more positive and realistic way of looking at our bodies and ourselves.

I still look at pictures of other beautiful fit women and think how amazing their lats are, or how much I envy their quads, but I acknowledge that my progress at that point might look a little different, and I’m okay with that. I’m beautiful and I’m only getting better and better.