Strong to the Finish Challenge – Week 12

Well, I guess my self-care routine yesterday worked, because today I am back to my usual awesomeness!

I got a really solid sleep last night and I woke up feeling bright and light. I had a feeling it would be a better morning for photos, and thankfully it was!

It’s been 12 weeks of intense workouts, clean eating, and positive self-talk. 12 weeks of good ol’ fashioned hard work!

Here is the final result (drum roll please) ….


I can’t believe that this is it. I have come such a long way, in my mind, my body, and my soul. I feel more positive, optimistic, and grateful each and every day. I feel strong, healthy, and I am also down 20 lbs!

I remember when I started this journey my goal was to lose about 12 or 13 lbs – so finding out I hit the 20 lb mark has really blown me away!

I might not be the most ripped, shredded, muscular beast out there, but I am a much healthier version of me. This is a lifestyle that is sustainable, and I think that’s so important. These days, especially in the warmer months, many of us are so inclined to go on a crash diet to lose weight. Oh, if only it really worked that way! They are called crash diets because guess what: you crash! And you will eventually rebound back to how you were before because it was never the scale that needed to change… only your lifestyle.

Getting to my fittest self is a very long journey. For that I am forever grateful, and very humbled. Every tiny little thing that I’ve done has all come together in some way over time to become something more.

What can I say? I’m really glad that I decided to do this challenge.

The dieting game isn’t over for me although I will say: I can’t wait to start having regular treat meals! But mainly I plan to continue on as I have been. I’ve come so far… I am dying to see those abs start popping more! And I know I can get there!

So what’s next for me? Well, I would love to embark on another challenge, but that’s something I will think about more a few weeks down the road. I will continue to post fitness updates once a month here on the blog, just like I was doing before the challenge.

This has been one wildly fun adventure, thank you to all who came on it with me!

Only better things to come!!

Strong to the Finish Challenge – Week 11

Hey hi hello there!

I came to the realization today that this challenge is so appropriately named. It really is about being strong to the end, and I am nearing it.

Week 11 was the hardest, in part because my diet has become increasingly difficult, and in part because I know only a tougher road lies ahead. But, I’m also feeling accomplished. I’m all like ‘dang girl, you said you was gonna do it and you are!’, and that’s how I encourage myself when I am hungry and tired and in dire need of cookies.

If you read my last post then you know I had my last treat meal over the weekend – it was EPIC. I was worried I would wake up the next day feeling bloated, but it’s like my body absorbed it all and used it in every nook and cranny I needed it.

Now I know it’s just mind over matter for the next week!


While on vacation I managed to eat perfectly fine, aside from my treat meal, and we also even managed to squeeze in a workout! Thank you GoodLife Kelowna!


I know this next week is gonna be hella challenging, so I feel like I will probably check in at some point just to bring myself back to Centre.

Dieting is hard. In some ways it goes against what I believe. But in other ways it embodies it. Dieting is all about willpower; it’s about accepting a challenge and rising to the occasion, despite any obstacles or temptations.

On a broader scope, I guess that describes transformation itself: it’s work. A lot of people don’t want to believe that. They want to believe that change happens to you . No – change happens because of you. 


I don’t want to be too repetitive with the food pics so here is one I didn’t include in my vacation post – arugula salad with tomatoes and prosciutto! I’m dairy free and gluten sensitive and this is how I survived in a pizza joint haha!

This next week is all about staying present, mindful, and positive.

Thanks for reading and supporting me as always. You are all wonderful.

Strong to the Finish Challenge – Week 10 

Hey beautiful babes, I hope everyone’s week is off to a great start!

At the moment I’m a bit swamped with work, and it can be easy to get to be feeling overwhelmed. But there is a light at the end of the tunnel! My boyfriend and I have the weekend off and are going on a little getaway! Neither of us can wait. We could both use a little time to unwind! The details of that will be included in next weeks post.

Week 10 : I’ll remember this as the week that I broke 125 lbs on the scale and finally made it for a morning (usually when check) weigh in of 123!

When you are trying to hard and seriously giving it your all, it feels SO GOOD to finally be making some progress in the right direction. Last week it was my goal to up the cardio and see if that helped, which I absolutely followed through on and I’m glad I did. I have been following my diet almost perfectly, and I really have to thank my boyfriend in part for that as he hooked me up with some amazing low carb home cooked meals last week.

It made me realize that support is paramount when embarking on a challenge like this. That doesn’t mean that others need to do the challenge with you, but having people support you and cheer you on is so motivating.

Matthew and I post-workout and HUNGRY!


Only 2 weeks left to go. Staying on track this weekend is going to be so important! We are planning on packing food for the road and I know for me that really goes a long way.

One thing I think a lot of people who are dieting worry about this losing their gains, and I am getting to that point. Like, I worked so hard all winter! I really don’t want to see any of that go to waste! I started using this product by Muscletech called “Clear Muscle”, and that’s exactly what it’s supposed to help with. Dear Muscletech, please help me preserve my gains! I want to show off all the hard work I put in all winter long!


If the goal of this challenge is to beat our previous “best”, I am already there. I have moments where I feel like I’m not making progress at all, and then I look back to pictures of 10 weeks ago and I’m like woah!

I’m feeling motivated just talking about it, I can’t wait to make it to the gym later!!


Little snack at work: Nuts, pickles, and tuna. Protein, healthy fats, and well – I guess I just wanted something salty and the pickles help to quench that craving!


Smoothie bowls are life, am I right? They have seriously become my “go-to” for any time of day. So many dieters would stay away from a smoothie bowl because a banana is a “high carb” fruit. Lucky me – my body loves fruit and practically just absorbs it’s magical awesomeness without the carb value holding me back in any way. It’s a banana guys! Not a double grilled cheese sandwhich. A banana. This is what works for me. It may not work for everyone and that’s okay! End rant.

Last night for dinner I made tofu – normally I would eat it with rice but it was actually pretty amazing on a bed of lettuce with some peppers. Kept it simple.

My goal for this week is to not fall off the wagon, but to still enjoy myself over the weekend. I am looking forward to having one meal with some kind of complex carb while on vacation, and that is almost a treat enough for me! Overall I am feeling really focused right now, and excited about things to come.

2 more weeks – gotta keep getting shredded!!

Strong to the Finish Challenge – Week 9

This post is going to take me forever to write – I am officially brain dead after the crazy leg workout I just had! Does that ever happen to any of you? You work out so hard you exhaust all of your brain capacity? Quite a funny thing really!

Perhaps I’m just exhausted in general. I’ve been sick on and off for the last 5 days, it’s so strange. One day I’m really sick, the next slightly recovered. Then the day after that I have a massive fever. I just can’t seem to shake this, whatever it is!

Thankfully, I only missed my Monday workout as a result of this. Body is boss. You can never get better if you don’t give your body a chance. It was a much needed day of rest.

So needless to say, physically on my body this week was extra tough. But I’m tougher! I worked through it, even on days where I didn’t know how well I would do, I still brought my best in the gym.


The scale has been a tough thing to move. I would like to drop a little more fluff, so I’m left with no choice but to UP the cardio and see what that does. I don’t usually like to watch the scale too closely but when you’re doing a time-restricted challenge such as this it definitely helps you keep in mind where you are at, and to think about where you wanna be. I would like to hit 120 by the end of this challenge, but this is only my ideal weight because my goal is to show off all of this great muscle I have spent months building underneath!

Every day counts, it truly does. Every workout, every meal, every good nights rest, it all adds up.

I also need to work on my tan

I feel it’s important to acknowledge that I am good enough right now. Just as I am. And this is all about pushing the limits just to see what I am capable of.


My only food pic to contribute this update is last nights dinner – Tikka Masala with Cauliflower steaks – it was magnificent.

Until next time wonderful readers!

Strong to the Finish Challenge – Week 8

Well, being that I had the realization last week that I actually have 4 more weeks to go on this challenge, I didn’t end up having the “week 8” that I thought I would!

I didn’t feel the pressure I anticipated. Rather, this week was one of deep introspection.

I keep waiting for this challenge to change me. To make me into something else. To ignite some sort of chain reaction that will sky rocket me into awesomeness!

I had my tarot cards read on Sunday, which was a great experience by the way. My reader told me that the more I tell myself that I need to change, the more I imply that there is something wrong with me. It made me realize that I need to adjust the language I use when thinking and talking about myself. I need to tread lightly with myself. Because in truth, I don’t really need to change. But I want to become better and see improvements in certain aspects of my life.

I feel better just phrasing it differently.

I thought this journey was going to be all about change, but maybe it’s one more of acceptance. Although I feel I have made some great improvements in my body and in my mind, I am also coming to trust myself, have confidence in my abilities, and realize that I am okay just the way I am.

In terms of how my workouts are going: I started adding weighted lunges (using a barbell) to my leg routine I have found that this has been really working for me! And also making my leg workouts incredibly brutal. I suspect that this is mostly because I am just doing a movement that my body isn’t used to – and it always responds well to surprises.


I treated myself over the weekend a couple of times. I ate this dairy-free dessert that was essentially coconut ice cream wrapped in mochi. It was good and to say I regret it would be to admit that I believe it held me back in any way this week, which I don’t believe it did. That being said, there are only 4 WEEKS LEFT! And I am taking these last four weeks incredibly seriously.

Smoothie Bowls are always a fav!
Baked Chicken Legs
Fuel for the day – Egg and Sweet Potato with Salsa


No matter how tired, I won’t miss a workout. No matter how much I would rather be spending time with friends or family, I need to put this challenge first. No matter what the temptation is, I know I’m only four weeks away to getting back to enjoying treats in moderation. No matter the emotional and physical struggles I may come across, I will endure them. I won’t let myself down. I refuse to let myself down.

Currently sitting at 125, and aiming for 120 so I can get those abs poppin’!

Let me know if you guys have any curious questions about this challenge!

Thanks for reading!

Strong to the Finish Challenge – Week 7

Readers, I will be the first to admit that I am not the best at following instructions. That is why I have always found baking to be much of a challenge – it so often needs to be precise, and I have never been one for looking at the details.

ALL that being said: I realized this week that this challenge I am doing actually turns out to be a 12-week challenge! and not an 8 week one.  You see, there was a 4 week period in which you could submit your “before” photo. Me, being as eager as I was, submitted on I believe the second possible day. If I had submitted my photo on the last day, the challenge would have been 8 weeks, but because I did it so early, I have to wait to submit my “after” photo that extra 4 weeks.

At this realization, I couldn’t be happier.

Although I feel overall that the challenge is going very well, change takes time. I can do so much more in 12 weeks than I can do in 8. Having more time to play with is gonna be awesome. I thought I was going to have a pretty amazing before/after comparison already, but now I am like MAN, I am just gonna smash this!!


Week 7 was great. This week I have had some of the best workouts in the challenge so far. It’s interesting how the more progress you see, the more motivated you become! It helped that I had my boyfriend and workout partner along for the ride a couple of times. Having anyone to workout with that shares the same passion and drive as you for a healthy lifestyle is so beneficial, and this has been one great part of the adventure I call life this past year for me.

Matthew and I

This week I ate well. Keeping up with prepping food is hard – firstly because I almost never eat out anywhere, and secondly because we just go through SO. MUCH. FOOD. It’s insane… the appetites in this house!!

I enjoyed a break yesterday out with family and friends to enjoy waffles and a movie. The waffles were BOMB but I honestly could have eaten two of them as the serving wasn’t too crazy huge. Also had some freshly squeezed OJ.


But you guys know me – I will always love my fresh healthy food!

Smoothie bowl with ALL the fruit!

Last week I actually started an Instagram account specifically for the food that I post – check it out here: standingstrongwellness

Nutrition has become such a huge part of my life, and it is an aspect of health and wellness that I intend to move forward with professionally –  but more on that to come another time 🙂

 

Thanks for reading! FIVE more weeks to go now!

 

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” !