When I first found out I had a cyst on my hip that was going to require workout modification my immediate reaction was to panic. I feared that falling out of my routine would cause weight gain, muscle loss, and lack of motivation. I feared that if I slowed down or dialed things back my mental health would suffer. I was way more worried about what would happen to me mentally rather than physically.
I’m proud to say I persevered through this time. I took this injury as a sign from my body that maybe I wasn’t doing the right exercises for my body and that maybe my routines didn’t match up with what was best for me. I took this injury and stayed positive and turned it into something that I know was meant to happen.
Because I was self aware of my fears right off the bat I made a plan for my mental health. My usual methods of coping always include working hard at the gym but what I hadn’t realized before is that it wasn’t all about these big heavy intense gym sessions but just moving my body and getting into a certain head space that brings my enthusiasm for life.
I tried to keep my mindset at making sure I was getting some exercise, any exercise. I reminded myself that the only way I was going to heal and get better from my injury was to be careful and not to push myself so any light exercise is better than nothing at all. I set move goals for myself and listened to my body and honestly just talked nice to myself A LOT. I used self affirmations and encouraged myself. I reminded myself that I AM enough, regardless of what I was able to physically do.
I also focused on NUTRITION. I tried my best not to over eat and only ate foods that fit my macros and made me feel good about my decisions. I slipped up a few times because it was the holidays and because everyone slips up. But I’ve been getting better and better at forgiving myself and moving on and learning from these slip ups and why they happen. There is usually always a reason for overeating so if you can find that reason prior to bingeing or indulging you can gain more control.
I feel as though my mental strength just keeps growing and growing. It comes with time and practice and patience. It’s worlds better than what it used to a few years ago when I was riddled with self doubt and constantly questioning myself. It’s something I have achieved because I put myself first and make it a priority to grow.
I find that set backs always make me stronger so anytime something happens such as an injury or an emotional event that causes me to second guess my goals or routines, I feel inspired. When you develop the mindset that things happen for you and not to you then you can use this as fuel!
Fuel for your mind and body can come in many forms if you choose to utilize it. Fuel is just another word for energy and it really is what you make of it.
Things that have worked for me over time is using whatever I can as fuel or energy, talking nice to myself, and learning to gain self control by becoming more self aware of my routines and habits.
Hope you all can find this information useful and start building momentum from your set backs and learning experiences!
How do I make a positive change in my life? How do I create better habits? How can I work on living a healthier lifestyle?
If you are asking yourself these questions let me help you get started. I truly believe that the first thing you need to look at if you are wanting to make a change is how you are going to stay consistent. Consistency and sustainability are the two most important qualities in achieving a healthy lifestyle.
Consistency is sticking to something despite everything. Despite ANY excuses or any adversity you remain consistent with your habits.
So if you want to become healthier or make a positive lifestyle change, you first need to REALIZE that consistency is the most important aspect. It’s not a different diet you are going to eat or a new “superior” exercise regime. Finding something you can be the most consistent with (preferably something you enjoy) is the most important thing.
But it’s hard to just change a lifestyle, pattern, or routine. It’s hard to just change an ingrained habit. So how do we make a change and continue this day after day, month after month, and year after year?
Well the good news is that after you have reached a certain time threshold (this will be different for everyone), your new routine will start to become a new habit and it will get easier. But it doesn’t mean you won’t have to continue to work on willpower or motivation. It will be a constant journey with no finish line and you just have to embrace this idea.
When you first start a new change you MUST be patient. Nothing drastic and great comes over night. Plus take into account that consistency is something that is built up over time. Although results may not come right away, they WILL if you stick with it – I promise.
Here is a five step activity that will help you find the motivation for change and can help you stick with something new when you’re having a hard time.
One: Visualize yourself in six months or beyond that. Imagine what kind of person you can become if you treat yourself and your body better. Think about these questions: How would it feel if you lose that extra weight you have been wanting to lose for years? Think about the feeling of loving every inch of your body? Think about how it would feel to have only positive thoughts about yourself and 100% believing in yourself? Think about being the person you ALWAYS wanted to be? How would these things feel for you? In what ways would you change the way you see yourself or talk to yourself?
Two: Now write the answers to these questions down. I’m serious! Grab a pen and write down specifically what your future would look like and how you would feel if you changed.
Three: Now write down your why. Why do you feel like you need to change? Everyones got a reason to get into better shape or decide to change their diet. Could be for your kids. Could be constant feelings of inadequacy. Could be because you suffer from a mental illness and you’re looking for better ways to cope. Everyone has got there why. So what is yours?
Four: Now for the heavier stuff. Write down how you feel after overeating. How does it feel to wake up the next day after a night of crushing as much food as you can? How does it feel after ordering and eating the extra large portion rather than the small? How does it feel to not drink enough water and KNOW that you ate way too much food? How does it feel to decide to skip out on exercise and stay on the couch?
*If these kinds of things are positive feelings for you then that is OKAY there could be no need to make a change in your life if you are happy. Just keep feeling those positive emotions! At the end of the day we just want positivity and happiness in our lives. But if these questions are negatively affecting your life then try to remember that the next time you’re faced with a choice.
It’s really NOT about looking better, it’s all about FEELING better. So asking yourself these questions will help you understand how you feel in hopes to start feeling better about yourself and feeling better about your life. Then you can start working towards your dreams, crushing your goals, and be that role model for so many others in your life that may need it.
Five: The last thing I want you to write down is what you can do TODAY to help achieve your future goals. You can write this down everyday if it keeps you focused. This will help you focus on things one day at a time. If you are caught up too much in the future you think too much of how hard things are going to be, you’re never going to develop the self awareness of how you feel at that moment. It makes it harder to practice the will power and discipline today if your mind isn’t “in” today or the present moment.
These visualizations and questions can absolutely help you stay consistent. Staying mentally focused and driven is something that many people forget they have to work on BEFORE starting or incorporating a healthy lifestyle change and habits. Being self aware is also so important. When deciding to live a healthier lifestyle many people will bounce from one fad diet or experiment to the next with failure after failure. When failures occur it makes it so hard to continue.
There are only three things that I personally need to do in order to have a great day and I remind myself of these every morning: drink 3-4 litres of water, move (could be a walk, could be the gym, could be taking the stairs more), meditate.
Work on the mental part first. It is so very important. Do my five step activity first before looking at new diets or new workouts. Give yourself the benefit of the doubt! You are way stronger than you think, you just have to find it up top first!
This has been my most evolved recipe. It’s been through about five different testing stages throughout the years and I think I’ve nailed it…
This recipe started out as a little date ball that was still super healthy but just straight carbs. I then evolved the recipe into a protein bar with added protein and pressed into a pan. They just did not slice well and weren’t a good “bar” material but they were so delicious so the flavouring was there. So I went back to the ball form but rather than having them super sticky I decided to roll them in hemp seeds therefore adding more protein and some omegas to the mix.
They are now perfect! These sweet treats are so delicious and have a ton of health benefits. They can be used as a dainty around Christmas time, they can be made to throw into lunches, they can be frozen and used later. They make a great little healthy gift as well all wrapped up in a little tin.
The hemp seed really makes them gorgeous and gives them a little crunch too. They are really satisfying and just a couple will keep you feeling full. You definitely need to try out this recipe and share with friends!
Makes approx 30 balls
Cals per ball 60
2 cups dates soaked in water for atleast 10 minutes
⅓ cup oats
⅓ cup unsweetened coconut
2 tbsp flax meal
1 tbsp chia seed
2 big tbsp peanut butter (or wowbutter for peanut allergies)
2 scoop chocolate protein powder (I used Quatro Chocolate Love)
Approx ½ cup hemp seeds for rolling
Mix all ingredients except hemp seed in a food processor, blend until combined well. Mixture will be super sticky! Wet hands and roll small tbsp sized balls. Roll in hemp seeds and set onto lined cookie sheet. Chill for an hour in the fridge. Transport to container and keep in fridge or freeze.
You would be surprised at the number of people who would choose a healthier option for a meal, snack, or dessert if presented to them (and if just as delicious). The reality is that eating healthy can be quite time consuming, tedious, and not very transportable or made available. And lets be honest, if it is available somewhere it’s twice the price… (cue eye roll).
Our society can make it so tough sometimes and ESPECIALLY around the holidays. Often the stores are flooded with treats, chocolate, candies, carbs, cheese, and don’t forget the horrendous figgy pudding lol. These items are not only stocked to the max in stores but put right up front, readily available and right…before…your…eyes.
This also makes it tough when travelling during the holidays because you are not at home cooking and relying on either others to prepare your food or you are eating out which has challenges in and of it’s own.
In these situations being prepared is always your best option. Taking time for yourself to move, breathe, and be still is always very important as well. I know often we have a hard time making ourselves a priority with so much going on. Delicious food seems to be the most easy way to cope.
But what if there was magically healthier options? What if we take time out of the equation? Money out of the equation? and painfully tedious tasks such as chopping vegetables out? Better yet what if you could gift these options to somebody else? Tis the season for giving and spreading cheer right?
I bet you anyone can think of someone who is going through some shit this holiday season. Someone who’s having a baby? Someone who’s loved one is sick? Someone who is too lonely and socially anxious to leave the house?
You would be surprised how a good nutritious meal made with love could make someone feel!
I know not everyone chooses to focus on their health but if the option is there and the food or snack is STILL just as delicious what would you choose?
Sometimes it just takes one day of pumping the body full of vitamins and minerals to start to feel good again, get some energy back in the system, and gather some motivation to start treating yourself right!
Eating right isn’t about focusing on our appearance but it’s 100% practicing self care!
So next potluck you attend, next holiday meal you were asked to bring a side for, or next time a loved one is in need of a meal, choose to bring a little bit of health into someones life to show them you want to take care of them too. Leading by example sometimes is the best gift you can give someone.
Here are some of my healthy ideas I will be dropping off tonight:
Before starting to exercise, any exercise whether it be walking, running, weight training, HIIT training, it is important to initiate a bracing sequence. A bracing sequence in simple terms is setting up proper body mechanics and engaging your core.
When we “brace” ourselves we are getting into a neutral spine position, we are activating our core to put less strain on our back and joints, and we are able to use more torque or force effectively to enhance performance.
When should we be using a braced stance?
It really should be something you practice all the time to be honest. It is a good habit to get into even for standing in one place for long periods of time. As you practice it you are actually simultaneously strengthening your core as well.
This is the bracing sequence that I use step by step:
1)Stand with feet shoulder width apart and pretend you are splitting the ground below you with your feet, screwing them into the ground. Toes should ever so slightly be pointing out to the side. This is going to prevent your knees from falling inwards which is very hard on the joint especially if you are walking around this way.
2)Roll your shoulders back and tuck them down away from your ears with your chin slightly tucked in.
3)Take a big breathe in and draw your abdomen in and up. Picture a string pulling your belly into your spine then squeeze your abdominals. Don’t suck in but squeeze instead. Exhale but continue to squeeze.
You are now braced.
A good way to check for neutral spine is to place one thumb on your sternum and one thumb just under your belly button. If your hands are parallel to each other up and down you are in neutral spine.
If you are performing an exercise you will first inhale and start bracing when you extend or before you lift, then exhale and squeeze as you flex or lift/push/pull or whatever exercise you are performing. Exhaling will also give you more force behind the move.
If you are running or doing cardio. Practice the braced position before you head out. As you are running try to remember to activate those abdominal muscles periodically during the run. Even when walking try to periodically think of engaging your core. Every little bit will help you to become stronger and give you more support.
For a more thorough read on proper body mechanics and techniques a good book suggestion is “Becoming a supple leopard” by Kelly Starrett.
It’s that time of year again… where every temptation that you’ve ever known gets placed right in front of your face. I know I just finished my Christmas baking and damnnnnn they are so tasty.
If you have no discipline and willpower throughout the rest of the year how can you expect to resist during this time? And if you have developed a certain amount of willpower and discipline how can you become a little more lenient and enjoy yourself still?
I’ve struggled in previous years with both situations. One year I said screw my fitness and indulged like crazy feeling disgusted and ashamed going into the New Year. In other years I had been really strict and disciplined leaving me with constant cravings and not really enjoying the holidays in all their glory.
I have finally met myself in the middle and have a pretty solid strategy going into the holidays that leave me with a good healthy balance of keeping promises to myself and indulging in some delicious treats and boozy drinks.
First off PLAN AHEAD: Like I always say as quoted from my dear dad, “failing to prepare is preparing to fail”. Get your December calendar out and find those days or nights you have social events, nights off from work, date nights, or Christmas dinners. These will be your higher calorie days. Try to exercise on these days before your event so the food you consume can be used to repair tissue.
Do NOT starve yourself the day of the event! You can consciously eat a little less or smaller meals but if you fast before hand you are setting yourself up for the ultimate binge eat. Make sure to hit your protein and hydration targets that day. Fill up a big water bottle in the morning and sip on that throughout the day. Eat a sufficient amount of protein before your event having a protein shake or a bowl of greek yogurt are some ideas.
If going to a dinner or buffet pick foods higher in protein first before loading up on sugar, carbs, and fat. Higher protein (meats and cheeses are usually common) will keep you feeling full and will prevent you from over eating. Drink the water!!! If you can remember try to continuously drink water throughout the night. Mix a water in between each alcohol beverage to help you stay hydrated (and prevent hangovers).
On a normal basis I usually follow an 80/20 rule which means 80% of what you eat should be considered healthy (veggies, fruits, lean meats, whole grains, rice, dairy products such as yogurt, healthy fats etc). The other 20% can be whatever your heart desires that day. In December you can bend this a little bit do a 75/25 or even 70/30 rule and it won’t hurt you. On event days this rule will understandably be pretty much tossed out the window.
After indulging in some delicious food that everyone has made with love and BEFORE considering seconds… pause. Take a conscious second and listen to your body. Consider how it will feel to eat more and how it will feel to not eat more. Drink another glass of water then make your decision. There is no wrong decision here but try to stay self and body aware.
If there is dancing involved at your party… DO IT. Or start a dance party yourself! Dancing can help you burn some extra cals and get everyone else fired up.
NON EVENT DAYS:
Because it is Christmas time we usually want to continue to feel the cheer and enjoy Christmas treats pretty well every day of this month. And this is just fine! There is a way to go about it without overeating every single day.
First off start your days off with a good healthy breakfast. Try to include a source of protein and a healthy fat. Next decide what kind of unhealthy Christmas baking or treat your going to eat that day and work the rest of your meals around this. Again when you plan ahead you are preventing a lot of mindless munching and over indulgence because you will look forward to those pre planned treats.
If you are a flexible dieter. Punch in or minus the Christmas treats you have picked for the day first thing in the morning. Work your macros around these. Simple as that.
End each day with a herbal tea. There are many festive herbal teas out there that can taste amazing especially when sweetened with a little stevia. One herbal tea with stevia has zero calories but also adds to your daily hydration. Prior to going for that last Christmas cookie or handful of nuts and bolts have the tea first, then decide if you still want it. Again there is no wrong decision here but be conscious of whether you are hungry or thirsty. Listen to what will feel right for your mind and body. Be conscious!
Continue to exercise like you normally do throughout the year. Don’t give up on this just because it feels too cold to leave the house or you’re just too busy. There is always time even if that means a five minute body weight workout. Your mind and your mental health will thank you dearly if you just keep moving. Some people will choose to ramp up their exercise because of the extra goodies and others will dial it back. Whatever you choose, just choose to do it. Whether it be a walk on the treadmill with some Christmas tunes or doing some stretching on the matts, getting in the gym doors or getting off the couch is the most important part.
I know it is easier said than done when it comes to temptations and often you will end up going overboard on the food. It’s important to stay resilient. Just because you had one night where you lost all control doesn’t mean you might as well give up. You are just one meal, one tall glass of water, or one positive self affirmation away to get yourself back on track. Forgive yourself and move on.
Start each day with a positive attitude. Say things to yourself such as “today is a new day” or “today will be a great day”. With every new day you have new opportunities to prioritize your health and to create joy. Treat December one day at a time and enjoy the Christmas season. Do one Christmasy thing per day. Christmas doesn’t have to evolve only around food and drink.
Here is my list of fun Christmasy ideas (that don’t involve food):
Ice skating, hockey, sliding, building a snowman or snow fort, snow angels, skiing/snow shoeing, Christmas decorating and lights, walking tour of Christmas lights, Christmas markets or craft shows, Christmas concerts or shows, Christmas paint night, and Christmas crafts.
Wishing you all a very happy and cheerful Christmas season!
Now I know what your thinking… This is not a very healthy dish and why would I be posting a dish like this on my health and fitness blog!? What am I thinking right?
Well I did have a reason for making this dinner today and I will explain why.
Nutrition is all about balance right? And with flexible dieting (see my blog on this) we aim to balance our carbohydrates, fats, and proteins, throughout the day. Today I had planned to have a day where I wasn’t going to eat the most healthy things just because we all need a day like this and it is around the holidays too right. But also… because it was Christmas baking day…
So why make this unhealthy dinner on a day I had planned to eat a bunch of sugar? Because the majority of Christmas baking is sugar. Sugar is a carbohydrate. In order to balance my carbohydrates with my fats for the day cue: my low carb cheesy cauliflower casserole.
It’s got a significantly higher fat intake with only 11g of carb from vegetables in it. So today I didn’t focus a whole lot on my micronutrients but instead I consciously chose to not overeat but to BALANCE my macros out as much as I could.
So on days you plan to eat all the Christmas treats try to stick to lower carb dishes like this to balance your carbs and fats and of course get your protein in too, always! Then tomorrow you can focus on filling up your nutrient tank.
Cals per serving 319
4-5 strips bacon
1 onion diced
2 cloves garlic minced
1 head of cauliflower chopped
½ cup low sodium chicken broth
½ cup shredded parm
2 tbsp margarine (I use becel olive oil margarine)
½ cup cheddar cheese
2 scallions (green onions) chopped
In a large skillet pan cook bacon until slightly crisp (not totally). Remove from pan and drain grease but don’t wash pan. Throw onion and garlic onto greasy pan on high heat and stir for 2 minutes. Throw in chopped cauliflower and toss to coat. Pour chicken broth in and cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Cauliflower should be soft. Stir in parm and butter to combine. Pour all of this into baking dish, sprinkle with bacon, cheddar cheese, and scallions. Broil for 5 minutes.
If your looking for a nice healthy and hearty meal to keep your immune system effective, this meal is a great option. It has all my favourite veggies in it.
As a flexible dieter sometimes we tend to focus way to much on macro nutrients, hitting our protein goals and not going overboard on carbohydrates. We tend to forget the importance of micronutrients.
In order to ensure I’m getting enough vitamins and minerals I try to make at least one nice healthy meal per day with lot’s of vegetables. If you aim to get more vegetables in at least one other meal on top of that one and also include a piece of fruit in at least one of your meals or snacks, then you should be getting your fruit and veg servings for the day.
More is always better when it comes to vegetables but be careful with excessive fruit as fruit has a lot of sugar in it and excessive sugar can increase your risk for diabetes.
Make sure you are getting a wide variety of vegetables and fruits as well mix things up each week or every couple weeks. If you’re a very picky eater and only like certain veggies then getting those veggies in is more important than trying to force other veggies in and end up not eating any at all.
This recipes micronutrient count per serving includes 4g dietary fibre, 26% daily calcium intake, 10% daily iron intake, 728mg of potassium, 383% daily vitamin A intake and 64% daily vitamin C intake (per my fitness pal app).
Cals per serving 283
16 ounces chicken breast
½ cup basmati rice
¾ cup chicken broth for rice
½ cup chicken broth for chicken
1 tbsp margarine
1 large zucchini diced small
2 large carrots diced small
2 stalks celery diced small
1 red pepper diced small
1 medium onion diced small
1 handful fresh parsley chopped
2 tsp seasoning salt
1 tsp paprika
Pepper to taste
Make your chicken either in slow cooker the morning of with chicken broth OR instant pot set at manual 20 with 10 minute pressure release. Cook your rice in chicken broth. Add margarine to big skillet pan and melt on high heat. Throw all diced veggies in season and sweat in the pan until soft and starting to char stirring often. Throw shredded chicken and rice in and stir to combine. Add fresh parsley at the end.
Making things homemade may seem like a lot of work. But if you stick to the mentality that less is more you can make big portions of homemade things such as dressings, sauces, or jams in very little time that can be used multiple times.
Using less as more makes things a little more healthy when using whole natural flavourful ingredients. For example dressing a salad with a little olive oil and vinegar = delicious.
If you start reading labels at the store of what actually goes into a lot of these non perishable items, it’s a lot. This is for the fact too that these items have to have a certain shelf life so things are put in to preserve and bulk make these items.
So yes normal non perishable items made homemade aren’t going to last as long but they’re going to be healthier for you and really don’t take much time at all.
This jam recipe took me five minutes total to assemble and cook. It did have to sit and simmer but that’s the easy part! My homemade jam only lasts about a month in the fridge because there are no preservatives in it BUT the good news is it freezes well! So whatever you don’t think you will use in a month can go into the freezer. When your ready for more just let thaw and place in a jar it should be good for another month.
Because this jam is so dang delicious I doubt it’s going to last me long but it will take me no time at all to whip up another batch if needed.
For this jam you can use ANY frozen fruit therefore making it any flavour you like. Here I used strawberry! I use a little agave or honey plus some stevia as well for sweetness you can omit the agave and it would be totally fine for a little extra calorie cut. Chia seeds are used to thicken the jam and also provide some added fibre!
Because it’s close to Christmas time this jam would be a great filler for delicious jam jam cookies but must be kept in the refrigerator.
Approximate cals per tbsp:
20 cals, Carbs 4g, Fat 0.6g, Protein 0.7g
1 package of any frozen fruit
6 tbsp chia seeds
1 tbsp agave or honey
1 tbsp granulated stevia
On medium high heat in a pot place frozen fruit and continuously stir until fruit becomes mushy and melty. Once all thawed mash with masher. Stir in sweetener then stir in chia seeds. Turn heat to low and allow to simmer for 20 minutes. Stir then let jam sit and cool fully. Pour into a mason jar and keep in refrigerator. Freeze portion you may not use in the next month!
These warm and bubbly stuffed mushrooms are literally to die for. They are an easy crowd pleasing appie to make but only if you have access to an oven. They are best served hot right out of the oven.
If you are hosting a Christmas party this year and looking for food ideas, look no more. This is a must have appetizer. It is a prep before hand dish so when it comes time to eat all you have to do is throw it in the oven for only 20 minutes of cook time. You can prep the filling anywhere from 1-2 days before hand depending on your organization versus “shit to do” list.
If you really want to have a holly jolly frecklefit holiday party prepare a batch of my Sriracha meatballs as well for another app. Two low carb dishes that everyone will love.
Makes 24-34 mushrooms
Cals per mushroom 34
2 small packs or one big pack of mushrooms
1 tbsp EVOO
1 small onion chopped fine
4-5 cloves chopped garlic
4 oz cream cheese
¼ cup whole wheat panko crumbs
¼ cup parm
¼ cup shredded cheddar cheese
Salt and pepper
Wipe mushrooms with paper towel (do not wash) De-stem mushrooms, set caps in a big bowl and toss with ½ tbsp olive oil. Chop up stems of mushrooms. Use other half of olive oil in a pan to cook onions and garlic until softened then add mushroom stems cooking down until all is carmalized and soft. Add salt and pepper and set aside to cool. Once cooled add cream cheese, egg, panko crumbs, and parm, stir well. Fill mushrooms caps with mixture and set on a lined pan. Sprinkle with cheddar and bake at 400 for 20 minutes. Serve while hot!