New Venture

21 Jul

Hello Everyone!

oh goodness it has been forever since I’ve posted in this blog. I am really sorry about that.  Life has been insane since I guess… October 2013 haha.  I finished my MA April 2014, traveled Europe for two months, and started my PhD September 2014. I’ve literally been everywhere and back again, while going to school.

After reviewing my previous posts, it is so cool to see how much effort I put into this! Why this makes me excited is because I have a new venture that I’m taking on with my long-term boyfriend, and I think the reason this will pan out better and I’ll stick to it is because he will be there to help me, and we can work together.  I’m sure people with blogs can relate … it’s hard work. It takes a lot to write constantly, be funny while writing, and to actually write something decent that people would want to read.  I remember October 2013 very well. It was one of the lowest points in my MA for many reasons, and I literally just slept on the couch for over a month, watching Netflix, while I waited for things to pick up. Then after that, things did pick up, so much so that I just kind of … lost track of all this.  I’d love to say I stayed on a healthy living path, but depression got the best of me.  I am so thankful Tone It Up now has their weekly schedules, I really enjoy them and try to stick to them.  Which is also why, after reviewing my own site, you guys don’t need me to attempt to do that, when you have amazing professionals doing it.  So if you haven’t be sure to check out Tone It Up’s weekly work out schedules on their website  and if you aren’t a Tone It Up member, that’s ok too, you don’t need to be a member for their work outs.

What I will be turning my attention to, outside of trying to get through the PhD, is a our new backpacking lifestyle brand, imagine backpacking.  We are starting as a blog and travel review site as we build our brand which will turn into apparel and equipment.  The photography is amazing and was taken by myself (unless otherwise sourced) and will be written by myself and my boyfriend – whom we’ve traveled together for 5 years.  If you are looking for an amazing resource about how to travel, on a budget, explore the world, and see everything, then imagine backpacking is for you.  We believe in budget, we believe in taking buses and trains to save money, we support hostels!!! Not sure what a hostel really is?? Check out our site!!



I will when I can, try to post on here as well, since the viewership has been amazing over the past 2 years which I wasn’t prepared for.

But in the mean time, check out my new site and accounts

twitter, instagram and pinterest







Review: Seeing a Dietitian

8 Oct


Hello everyone!

I have been very MIA because since JULY a lot has happened.  The long weekend of August I got very sick due to an IBS flare up, then I was traveling around for weddings, then some down time, thesis writing, more vacation and moving back across the country for my last 8 months of grad school.

Get to the point: Seeing a dietitian

September 13 2013 I met with a dietitian.  I went in for a full assessment and was asked a lot of questions. Most were pretty expected and contained some of the following:

Food allergies
About of liquids: water, coffee, juice and alcohol
Average hours of physical activity
Food preferences

It was all pretty basic. But I was asked one question that I have a lot of respect for: “Is there anything you won’t give up” Now I am notorious for being known to hate salads. One of the reasons is because I am so picky I don’t like most of the salad dressings, am too lazy to make my own dressings, and I am lactose intolerant so I can’t have the cream ones.  So it just ends up being a bowl of veggies.  So I would much rather steam or roast my veggies and just eat them as a side instead of a salad because I’m so picky.  I also mentioned that eating sandwiches is kind of my thing.  I’m a big bread eater for many reasons: I love carbs, sandwiches are easy and portable, and because of my IBS white bread calms down my stomach and helps with loose stools (sorry, TMI). So it’s actually really important for me to have bread in my diet.  I also mentioned about how I was really willing to adjust a lot of things – amount of consumption, types of food, and timing of food, just don’t make me eat a salad and we will be fine.

When I was asked about my goals I was really honest. Sure I have a goal to lose 40lbs (re lose the 33 I already lost last year) but most importantly I wanted to feel well again.  I wasn’t concerned about weight loss when I saw my dietitian because I knew once I got my food back in order, I’d have the energy to work out, and the lbs would be dropping again.  I made it clear that my goal was to feel better, to have less IBS flare ups, to prevent several days in a row of feeling sick, and to bring my energy back up.

Due to the trial and error with my IBS to test what makes me sick and what doesn’t I felt like I was backing myself into a corner with diet.  Being a picky eater, a carb lover, and someone who’s always hungry I wasn’t sure I was consuming enough vitamins, minerals, or calories to help my body function properly.  This was one of the main reasons I went to see a dietitian.

What my dietitian helped me with

My dietitian gave me a food plan based on portion size, and then a list to choose from for each food category.  The way my program works is I go for the assessment and then I get the plan a couple days later then I do “accountability” for 8 weeks where I email every night what I ate for the day.  The accountability thing I think is awesome for people starting out and for me it’s been helpful because I’ve been able to tell my dietitian things that were / were not working and then she makes adjustments.  For example, I’ve finally been feeling well enough to weight train again and I demand having whey protein post weight training so we were able to adjust my protein so I can have 1 full scoop post work out.

I was also guided about what counts as carbs and protein, and what has been awesome is I get to eat English muffins which are fantastic and a ton of veggies.

Because I’ve been eating healthy for about 2 years now, the food wasn’t a huge adjustment for me like it would be for someone else but it was incredibly helpful because I feel like every meal is contoured to my body.  I feel like when I eat I am actually fooling my body with what it needs. It really is an awesome experience to have someone listen to everything you need to say about your health, diet and preferences and have someone design a plan just for you.

So, who should see a dietitian?

If you want to lose weight

If you want to eat better, higher quality food

For specific health concerns regarding heart disease, diabetes, IBS, crohns, etc.

To learn how to eat better to fuel your type of daily activities

For help on how to better structure your food into full meals.

There are a lot of reasons why someone would want to see a dietitian. I can say my experience has been awesome and I feel a lot better since going, have already lost some lbs and inches, and most importantly, I have the energy to work out every day again.  I’ve never had a problem with getting the time and focus to work out, but when you’re bloated and experience stomach cramps, it makes it pretty difficult to go jogging.

I can honestly say I am doing so much better even with just under 3 weeks. I can see the weight coming off my face. I feel alive again and no longer feel like a sick person.

I’m happy and healthy. That was my goal, and she totally met it.

Thank you to A for all your help.


Living My Best Life

21 Jul

Living My Best Life

I’ve been tweeting a lot with the hash tag #LiveYourBestLife because this has really come to inspire me.  There are many people who I think are not living their best life – and this has nothing to do with weight or fitness, I mean in general – people in unhappy relationships, people who hate their job, people who are just generally unhappy.  And it really bothers me because I’ve always been one to try my hardest at everything I want, and to keep going, and fight until I get exactly what I’m looking for – this, apparently, is rare.  I’m leaning more and more that people generally do not always *give it their all* they just kind of wait around till something falls in their lap – while maybe it’s the capitalism speaking but – pull up your boot straps and get to freaking work!  I was raised in a single parent home with my mother, who when I was younger worked 3 jobs and I spent the majority of my time alone – oh yeah, and I’m an only child.  Being alone is really normal for me – I learned how to entertain myself – but I also learned how to work hard because my mother has always, always worked hard. Statistically speaking I should not be where I am – stats show that children raised in single mother homes experience higher rates of poverty, test lower on exams, and are set up to stay in lower class.  Well, I’m in grad school, I was given a full ride entrance scholarship and just won a national scholarship for my second year – I am in great shape for a future PhD program and my mom owns and runs her own book keeping business. Stats mean nothing (don’t tell my colleagues this 😉 but in reality stats show the norm – many people fall above and below this norm, and I’m very thankful to be above it.  But I couldn’t have done this without a lot of hard work.


So on July 18th

I set out to do my first HIIT session on the treadmill in MONTHS – and I mean MONTHS – so long I can’t even remember. I felt like I had gotten in such bad shape running wise there was no way I could do HIIT again but I decided to do it for 13.50 mins – now I had been 9 days of clean eating and perfect fitness (this HIIT day was day 10) so I was back on the fitness wagon (or machine if I can say 😉 and I was feeling really great – so at about 12mins I realized I wasn’t tired, I still had a lot of strength in me and I decided to DOUBLE the minutes making it a 27min HIIT – which I had not done probably in about a year. Wow.  I did it – and again, wasn’t really all that tired after.

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This was my twitter / instagram post after my HIIT session!

I put myself in the statistic

I realized that I was incredibly surprised because I was thinking, statistically speaking, I should not be able to do a HIIT session for 27mins because 1. I hadn’t in a while, 2. had just started a full fitness routine again and 3. just didn’t believe in myself.  Thankfully, my whole life has been about breaking stats, and being exactly who I want to be – and here I am, breaking my OWN mold that I made for myself.

Beyond happy

I was so proud of myself after this work out. I was pretty sure I would not be able to do a HIIT for a while, let alone double one.  It made me realize that after 2 years of healthy living – muscle memory is amazing (lol) – and that I being back on track for the 9 days really put me back to where I was – which was just beyond amazing!


Today I am on day 14 of #30DaysClean – the challenge I set out for myself – this means as minimal as possible of junk and processed food – and so far I have lost 4lbs and 3.5 inches – thank GOODNESS!!! seeing results just makes me want to give it MY ALL again and again.  Today I started the 5 Day Slim Down by Tone It Up ( and I’ve done it before and have seen amazing results (at least 4 lbs each time and around 2-5 inches lost) so I am really excited to give it my all this week, work even harder and just keep going.  I’m so happy to be back where I am, because there was a time when I thought all this was over.  I thought healthy living was out the door because I couldn’t even make it two days in a row without getting sick (IBS) – now – I’m better than ever.

Live Your Best Life

The point of this post, even though it’s a bit of a bounce around – is to show, by example, that I believe we can choose to live our best life.  Yes, I understand that discrimination and oppression exists (I am female after all, and have experienced sexism) but I think within our own world we can really try our best to be who we want to be – and that doesn’t mean having a high profile paying job – that means having some close friends, love in our life, and finding a place that makes us happy.  I’m very thankful to be currently living my best life – and I just turned 25, so it’s even more amazing that my life is just getting started.

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There’s Always a Way, Find Yours!

15 Jul


It’s been a while, and for good reason! As seen from my previous post, I apparently now have IBS. Which I don’t believe because apparently IBS is related to stress, and I have huge IBS problems when I am the LEAST stress, so I don’t know wtf is going on, but after 3 MONTHS of trial and error, I have FINALLY found what makes me sick, what doesn’t, what I can kind of get away with but might feel some discomfort and what to never eat again, otherwise, my tummy will die (lol – but seriously).

Around July 1st (when sadly my boyfriend got food poisoning) I decided that I had had enough food trial and error and was ready to put in a full weeks worth of full food and training.  Give it a try. Because before when I started to feel a bit better, I’d work out, have a solid work out, but then would be sick that night or the next day and would have to take at least 2 days off between work outs.


“The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people.”
– Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture 


This was frustrating because looking back to when I lost the 33 lbs I kept asking myself *what was I doing then that I’m not doing now*  Well, there were some things, and I was surprised to realize how fundamental these things are:

Problem 1. Junk food – I don’t eat A LOT but I am one of those mindless munchers. So if I do have a bag of chips to munch on, I will most likely eat the whole thing in one sitting and not notice. Solution. Do not buy junk food!

Problem 2. Consistency – it’s not always about WHAT you’re doing (unless you have specific fitness goals) but it’s about HOW MUCH AND HOW OFTEN you’re doing anything.  ie. You don’t need to lift weights every single day, but you should have some routine set so 6 days a week, for 40-60 minutes you do SOMETHING! Solution. Do something every day, even if it is just walking.

Problem 3. Water – I was doing SO GOOD with drinking my approx. 70 ounces of water a day but then I just fell off the wagon and was maybe drinking 20 ounces a day.  I just lost track, and lost my tracking method to make sure I was drinking enough. Solution. I bought a 4L water jug and now I have to finish the whole jug before the end of the day, the good news, IT’S EASIER THAN I THOUGHT! And I’ve done it 5 days in a row now!

Problem 4. Pre and Post work out food – I was pretty good at eating something before and after working out, I don’t know how proper it was based on the new information I’ve read, but it was something that worked for me. After reading a lot more about it and tweeting with some great people I found a routine that works great for me. Solution. I bought Complx5 as a pre work out supplement, it does not contain creatine and caffeine, it is a natural health product that has Ginseng in it (fat burner) and some N-Acetyl-Tyrosine to give some pumping boost but not as powerful as the NO stuff from cellular.  I got this one because creatine makes me nervous, I know people who have been on it and have gotten chest pains, yeah they gained muscle… but at what cost?  Also, this one was $55 CA for 120 servings, where as the cellular C4 was $40 for 20 servings. So I wanted to give it a try.  Even if it doesn’t work as well as the reviews say it should, it still gets me in the zone mentally *ok 15 mins, drink this, then get ready* and boy do I get ready.  On weight training days I have ½ a banana pre work out with my Complx5, then I have the other ½ of the banana post work out with whey protein shake (just 1 scoop whey protein and chocolate almond milk).  This works for me! Complx5 has been said to be great for muscle recovery and I gotta say, so far, it really has.  I didn’t lift weights for about 7 months and I was only sore for 1 day post work out, THAT’S LIKE A RECORD!!

Problem 5. Role models – After I lost the weight, I think I fell off the wagon not just because I was sick but because I hit a plateau. Instead of being so incredibly proud at how far I’ve come, I was discouraged at how far I had to go. Telling you now, after I’ve gained back the weight from being sick, MAN do I wish I was back at that mark that I was too rude to myself to feel a sense of accomplishment.  I was starting to idolize the skinny instead of the strong, the Victoria secret model instead of the Bikini competition model, I just lost a good sense of who I wanted to be, and what was attainable for my goals. Solution.  I started to follow a lot more people and pages on my facebook that represent female strength training. So now my page is blown up with fitness motivation, women with fantastic muscle definition and just a lot more inspiring for me to want to go and life heavy weights.  Followed some more personal pages like @KyleTheGirl or Fluff to Buff on facebook, Esther Gray-Fitness & Nutrition, and of course the now almost classic, LauraMustLoseWeight who is now @eatcleanhangclean on instagram.  I reconnected and started checking in more with my Tone It Up Community and just dove back into some great role models and motivating people.

Problem 6. Time Management – this became a big issue for me the past year.  September 2012 I moved for grad school, moved in with my boyfriend and out of my mom’s house (who has almost a full gym in the down stairs that was basically all for me). Thankfully our apartment has a gym, but it can hold max 2 people, even though there’s 2 treadmills, and elliptical and a fairly large weight station  -the space is still really small and gets really WARM really fast when there’s more than 2 people in it.  The issue is I don’t like working out around other people.  I don’t work out in large gyms because I like to be alone. Working out is my me time, not a *get everyone’s sweaty body in my face* time.  Luckily you can usually find our apartment’s gym empty at some point to get ready and jump on something – but the issue, I’m working on my Master’s thesis and the stress of not committing every single moment to it is very powerful.  It took me 7 months to find a healthy routine that allowed me to work hard and play hard. Solution. I started to work out more and more in the morning for a couple of reasons. 1. If I’m going to have stomach issues, it’s going to start around 6pm, so evening work outs would be skipped because I felt sick. 2. It made me get up early if I wanted to start thesis work by 1200 (yes, that’s early for me shut up). 3. It made me feel more focused and its least likely someone would be lifting weights early in the morning because my building is full of younger working families and students. While I’m at my mom’s for the summer, I’m using the time to get focused on working out in the AM to get into the routine for when I move back for September.

So those 6 things were my biggest problems that I learned to really start to focus on, outside of how my stomach was feeling, because if I wanted to work out and I know I most likely get sick in the PM then I moved some work outs to the AM (big adjustment for me).  They sound easy enough to overcome, but as a grad student… the guilt of not working 24 hours on your project really is powerful.  For me, I found a schedule that works. I alternate between waking up early and sleeping in, weight lifting in AM, cardio in PM (alt days.) and I start my thesis work by 1200pm and I finish by 800pm –  a solid 7-8 hour block of time where I sit and focus.  I had to turn it a bit into a work day schedule to give my life some structure, otherwise, procrastination became my best friend.

july 2013

I have a solid food plan that keeps me going now.  I’m excited about it! My staple for the morning is Kashi cereal (eggs and greek yogurt haven’t been doing too good for me recently), it never ever makes me sick, have about 1 cup with almond milk, and then my Royal Gala apple, some solid fiber and fruit for the morning.

Lunch is usually a wrap, portion controlled soup, or really anything I want to eat just portion controlled. I avoid anything with cream in it now, including soup and sauce (bye bye alfredo sauce *wwaaaaahhh!!!*). I usually roast some veggies, zucchini and sweet potato fries (home made of course) have become my latest love.  I enjoy veggie burgers and some portion controlled pasta 🙂 really anything that limits the cheese and cream.

Snack before dinner is baby carrots, snap peas, and / or protein bar.

Dinner is usually some type of meat with a bunch of veggies.  If I did weight training I might add in some extra carbs for recovery and to get the cal count up, but I’m a huge veggie person, love my broccoli, asparagus, bok choy, corn, really anything. You name it I’ll eat it.

OH AND QUINOA! Whenever I can get some quinoa in, I’m alllll over it!

Anyway. It’s been a long work in progress but it’s working.  The weekend of July 6/7 2013 I decided this would be the last weekend I would ever feel bad about my body. I’m DONE feeling shitty, I’m done being the sick one, I’m finished eating stuff that makes me sick – both knowingly and unknowingly – I’m over this feeling of *damnit – why did I lose where I was*.  Some was out of my control. But some wasn’t. How was I supposed to know eggs were making me sick? Along with oatmeal, along with grapefruit!!! Healthy living staples and these were making me want to throw up all over the place!!!  I shouldn’t have lost my way as much as I did but man, am I ever so thankful to be back where I am right now.  The way I feel after this week just makes the last year forgettable. Yeah, I lost the weight, yeah I gained it back from being sick – but man, did I learn a TON along the way – I found what works for me.

I think that’s the real take home message. You can follow programs like Tone it Up, Fighter Diet, Jamie Eason’s Plan, P90X, Body Revolution, etc. But if you don’t find what you love, if you don’t create a food plan that you CAN AND WILL stick to… honestly, you’ll lose your way.  I’m obsessed with Tone it Up, their plan changed my life for sure! But I still don’t follow everything they say to a T. I hate booty calls (fasted cardio) and I hate long distance running. So I don’t do them and I find stuff that’s challenging and keeps me wanting more.

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**The good news** – I was able to do a full week of training this past week! Perfect food and perfect training! I took my rest day on Friday so I could hang out with friends and it ended up being a good thing I picked that day to rest because my doctor put me on new medication to try for IBS (even though I swear I don’t have it lol) and for the first 30 hours it made me really sick – I still got my strength training in for Saturday night but it was just really really slow, but I made it through. I’m incredibly proud of myself for making it through a full week, this has been my first full week of training since SEPTEMBER 2012, that’s how long it took for me to get back to 1 FULL week, not just a couple days, not just here and there, not every third day, a full week! It took a lot of time, but I honestly never gave up. I even upped my weights this week for weight training!  This just goes to show if you’re sick or have life issues, or have something going on that you think you can’t fight through – you can.  Keep trying, keep going, try everything to not get discouraged, find your 6 issues you can learn to manage, just try. If you want it bad enough you’ll keep going!!

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This was just kind of a personal update to show that I’ve come around the corner and can see the blue sky! Haha.  Things are going much better and I’m incredibly thankful for where I am now.  It’s for sure not from a lack of trying.  It’s from hard work, trial and error, some really bad sick days, and some really great discoveries.

As always, check me out on twitter and instagram – @kristen_tonesup



Two Years of Healthy Living – The Lessons, Set Backs and What my current MEALS look like after being diagnosed with IBS!

1 May

Two Years of Healthy Living – The Lessons, Set Backs and What my current MEALS look like after being diagnosed with IBS!


May 1 2011 was the day I decided I was going to change my life.  Wow, two years. What a DIFFERENCE two years makes! I’ve seen results, the lowest weight lost was 33 lbs, I’ve fluctuated between the 20-30 lb mark but thankfully have never gained all / most of the weight back.  My life has changed dramatically in these 2 years: I was diagnosed with pre-systolic ventricular heart beats (Fall 2011), my best friend became my boyfriend (Fall 2011), I joined Tone It Up (Fall 2011), I graduated undergrad (Spring 2012), I travelled Europe (Summer 2012), I moved across Canada for grad school (Summer/Fall 2012), I moved in with my boyfriend (Summer/Fall 2012), I was diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (Winter 2012), and I moved back home for this upcoming summer while my boyfriend is in a different city for the summer for an amazing job opportunity (Spring 2013).  All these changes brought on different adventures and weight management issues.  I gained 10 lbs from traveling Europe – NO IDEA HOW since we walked at least 20km a DAY.  I experienced horrible stomach pains since April 2012 and to say the least, after losing 33lbs from December 2011 to May 2012 – these stomach pains were no joke.  Everything made me sick.  20/30 days in Europe I was sick with stomach pain, and when I started grad school the first 3 months were stomach hell – had no energy to work out, everything made me sick, and life just sucked.  Then I was diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome and it felt like I had to start all over again. Certain things I loved to eat now made me so sick I actually went to the emergency room one night in pain. After much trial and error, I have found several food groups I cannot eat, and several that some cannot eat / should not eat often (like beans) but are amazing for me and my stomach – which again, doesn’t make any sense.  To say the least, the one thing that has for sure happened in two years is I am stronger, mentally, physically, I can handle so much more these days.  I’ve worked in an amazing routine where I’ve had more energy the past 2 months than I have in a year. My muscle development is phenomenal, and while my weight fluctuates, most of my clothes still fit great (except for the couple I bought at the -30 mark, but those I will get into this summer I am sure of it!).  The best part is getting back on the horse is a lot easier than it would have been 4 years ago.  I know so much more now about what to eat, what to do, and exercise just gets easier from working out 5-7 days a week for 2 years.  When I started working out, lunges killed me, I could do 8 and then be on the ground with a leg cramp, now, even when I have taken things slow, I can still get up to over 20 lunges no problem. *this is progress – you might not see it, but you can feel it, be proud*.  So, I have some great information I want to share.  I hope to inspire those who have too, gone through some epic events the past couple of years – this is for you.

1. Food is more important than people let on

Jillian Michaels’ ends most of her DVDs by saying something along the lines of “if you go eat that pizza, you will undo everything you just worked for”.  I would always get pissed off “but what if it’s just ONE piece?!”.   Food matters. But here’s the secret: portion control, cheat meals, and finding creative ways to love your food will make it all worth it.

I see a lot of tweets coming in from ladies who just confessed to a huge binge fest (I’m guilty of this too).  Binges often happen from limiting yourself something you love for far too long that you legit go crazy and eat every freaking thing.  To prevent this, it is actually important to include cheat, portion controlled meals in your diet.  Some have cheat days on Saturdays, some have a cheat meal once or twice a month – it varies, but all the people who I’ve seen go on to lose epic weight and stay fit have cheat, controlled, meals.

For me, I freaking LOVE CRABS! Pasta, bread, rice, fries or anything potato basically… I’ll eat it all. I know how terrible McDonalds is, but offer me their hash browns and I’ll kill for them. I freaking love them!!!  So. How do I fill this craving? Whole wheat pasta about once a week, whole wheat bread for a sandwich at lunch a couple times a week, white rice when I’m making a dinner for 2 (brown rice just isn’t worth it), and fries when I’m out for lunch with a friend.  Whole wheat items are healthy cheats you can add to your lunches and is actually recommended by a lot of fitness plans.  A lot of people are going completely wheat free – this is fine, but unless you’re Celiac you kind of don’t actually need to. BUT everyone is different, I know people who cut out wheat and have been feeling a lot better – when my stomach is upset I actually EAT wheat and feel better (2 pcs of ww toast) so it depends what you’ve got going on. Carbs are actually incredibly important to fuel your body – just finding the best way to do it (whole wheat, beans, fruit, veggies) is the trick.

2. If you don’t like it, don’t bother

I hate grapefruit, I hate having a salad as my whole meal (they’re called side salads for a reason) and I freaking love cheese.

The past 2 years I learnt what I’ll give up, what I’ll take up and what I refuse to budge on.

i. The things I gave up completely are: milk, pop (was never a big pop drinker), artificial sugar (ie. candy, cookies, and adding it to my tea), white bread, condiments

ii. The things I mostly gave up are: chips, popcorn, red meat, white pasta, potato products (hash browns, fries, etc), butter, salt, shake and bake, sausage

*when I say mostly I mean I gave up a lot compared to how much I WAS eating – but I still munch here and there – especially movie theater popcorn (went without it for 6 months, my longest record, saw over 5 moves in theatre during that time, was horrible lol).

iii. Things that are recommended to eat but I refuse: grapefruit (upsets my IBS), huge salads (no thanks, give me some carbs please), coconut water, tofu, and 5 egg whites in 1 serving (who can afford that?). I learned that I don’t need to eat these bad boys because there’s better options for me out there anyway (sounds like a bad relationship lol).

iv.  I have learnt to portion control because I cannot live without: cheese!!!! and basically everything in the “mostly” category, but cheese specifically I eat about 5 times a week – I know, I’ve heard the bad rep, but I freaking love it, love it on EVERYTHING, and just refuse to give it up – this inhibits my progress, maybe, but it sure as hell prevents me from bingeing!

v. Things I eat now I that didn’t 2 years ago: FRUIT!!! I have so much fruit now! whole wheat products, ALMOND MILK!!!!! flax seed, chia seed, spinach, protein powder, protein bars (Luna, Lara, etc), water!! (I never ever drank water before I signed up with Tone It Up)

Here’s the thing: I. Love. Food. and I’m legit, always hungry!! I’m just never full. A salad just doesn’t do it for me – I need some carbs at lunch, I need to eat a huge plate of veggies for dinner, I need snacks, I need my fruit smoothie for my second meal – I NEED POTATOS ONCE A MONTH!!!! so I do.

I learned that I can give up a lot, but not everything, and certainly not all at once. So, to show kind of what my meals look like, check it out:

*meals show one or the other per meal, not all at once and includes drinking at least 70 ounces of water a day – after 2 years of trial and error, this works for me*

Meal 1: organic cereal with unsweetened almond milk; greek yogurt with berries & flax meal; breakfast sandwich with either ww english muffin or ww toast with egg whites and a little cheese; ww french toast with ww bread and egg whites and portion controlled real maple syrup;

Meal 2: 1 apple or 1 banana if I am on the go; or 1 fruit smoothie mixed with chia seeds if I will be home most of the day

Meal 3: organic soup with 1/4 cup of quinoa and kidney beans added; ww sandwich with chicken breast and veggies; 1/4-1/2 cup of quinoa with kidney beans some veggies and portion controlled butter chicken sauce and cheese (amazing- at least twice a week); greek qunioa with 1/2 cup of quinoa tomato cucumber feta cheese and greek dressing; if it wasn’t in the AM then breakfast sandwich from Meal 1

Meal 4: depends how much I have eating at this point but usually; protein bar; if I missed my fruit smoothie I’ll have it now (if I didn’t eat any other fruit that day); cucumber celery & carrots sometimes with some hummus or just plain; if I haven’t had carbs yet then 1 pc or ww bread of half a English muffin with tomato and avocado

Meal 5: this is usually the same, 4 ounces of protein with approx 2 cups of veggies, some options are; 4 wings and asparagus, chicken breast and veggies, chicken thigh and veggies, edamame and veggies, shrimp and veggies, steak and veggies, tilapia (or other fish) and veggies – its all really the same, everyday.  I often have my cheat meals here at meal 5 because I get so bored.  Add in some pasta, potato, etc to some of these dishes.

Meal 6: depends what’s going on – if it is post work out then 1 pc of bread with jam or honey; if it’s just the end of a day then herbal tea;  if I’m really craving something then hot air popcorn with seasoning salt.

So I mix and match – if I had a breakfast sandwich for M1 I’ll have quinoa for lunch instead of a second sandwich with no cheese, etc. I move things around, keep it interesting, but it’s usually a rotation between all these meals, with some cheats, going out to see friends for lunch here and there.

3. Be realistic about who you are, and where you come from

Rather if it is a mental thing, or some childhood addiction I’m not sure, but I love greasy terrible food that is most likely microwaveable, so to go from that to having 90% of my meals not come from a box was a HUGE learning curve for me, not just what to buy, but how to freaking cook it! My whole life we had the same thing for dinner, chicken, rice and veggies just about every single night. Sometimes we had a roast, some pork chops, some homemade mac and cheese, but it was usually the same thing. Then on weekends, Saturday and Sunday we had 2 eggs, 2 pcs of bacon and hash browns.  It was just my mom and I for most of my life, she worked 3 jobs, and I was busy with school and sports and mostly staying out of trouble – we ate fine, my mom never bought chips or ice cream, popcorn has always been our treat of choice, but it added up, the carbs, my love for eating everything on my plate with extra cheese sauce, eating out with friends once we could drive, and then moving away for undergrad = freshman 30 (not just 15).  I never learned how to cook because I didn’t need to, and when I moved for undergrad I had a pass at the dining center and just cooked what I knew how (mostly soup and pasta).  The last 2 years I had to completely learn everything. But I wasn’t alone.  Joining Tone It Up was the best decision I ever made – found so much support and connection to other people and just finally had an outlet to ask questions and actually get the proper answers to it.

I love food, but I love to work out too, I have always been active, did all the school sports, etc. So getting back into shape near the end of undergrad was way freaking easier than changing my eating because I have some weird sickness where I just love the horrible food out there – this isn’t trickery from tv ads, or from fast food chains, or from laziness, I actually enjoy the taste LOL so, I’ve learned to work hard, eat what I love (in moderation) and if it’s deep fried, I try to pass on it.  With having IBS now, it has become a lot easier to pass up certain things because I know for sure it will make me sick and I HATE feeling like that so it’s gotten better, but I still freaking love hamburger helper so once a month, is ok 🙂

4. Here’s another truth…Keeping Fit and Having Fun is what will keep you going.  Some love their booty calls, I personally do not enjoy booty calls (AM fasted cardio work outs), some love lifting weights, some do not… some love one type of exercise, some dabble into a couple of other exercises, but overall what you love is what will help you keep going because the truth is… you will stop doing what you hate and you will stick to what you love.

I’m going to use my own example to explain this.  I don’t like doing booty calls because (1) I hate showering twice a day (2) I hate showering in the morning period (3) In order not to shower I don’t work out hard enough and it just becomes a waste of time (4) I find that some days I get too much energy and I can’t focus on the homework I need to do (5) I hate waking up earlier than I need to. So, overall, I don’t do booty calls unless it’s for the 5 or 7 Day Slim Down or after a holiday weekend with a lot of eating… I’ll suck it up, shower twice a day, and burn an extra couple hundred calories.

But what is significantly important about this, is I know booty calls are not sustainable for me.  Change means being uncomfortable right? So I get extra uncomfortable in my PM workouts, because I can sustain my PM workouts.  Do you see what I mean? When it comes specifically to time, develop a program you know you can commit to.

Now, when it comes to types of exercises, every program argues that change is key.  So you plan a program that fits your specific weekly schedule.  Do you feel you need extra time with your weight training than you do with your cardio? Then plan that.  Change things up at a minimum every two weeks – I personally change my program every week because it keeps things exciting, and I find changing my goals each week keeps me going.  What’s great about the 90 day programs (such as Jillian Michaels” Body Revolution, P90X, etc), is each week is different so the programs can really help you get uncomfortable, experience change, and learn how to incorporate exercise into a sustainable program. But I find for me, 90 days following 1 persons plan = boorrriinnngggg. So I usually just steal from a couple of days, add it in here and there, and do my own thing.  I’ve always kind of been defiant like that “you want me to do what? I’ll show you!”.  I love work out DVDs, love all cardio (except long distance running these days with my bad knee and just purely not enjoying it lol).  I like to sweat hard, get in and out, and keep it under 60 minutes.


5. Myth I need to confront: working out twice a day is key to weight loss

Yes and no.  It depends.  If you do a booty call and a PM work out you will lose more weight faster (granted you’re eating right) but will you do this everyday for the rest of your life? if yes, then wow, that is epic, and you will truly have an amazing epic body.  But I hate working out in the morning (as mentioned) so my 2 a days include a 30 min walk at lunch, and then an intense 30-50 minute PM work out.  This works for me and I LOVE doing it.  But you really don’t need to work out twice a day – in fact, some actually suggest not doing it!

The truth is: it’s all about you and what you will sustain.  What do you want your day to look like?  I love my lunch walks because it gets me away from whatever I’m working on, gets me away from a desk / table, and lets me just enjoy my thoughts for 30 minutes.  I’ve worked out some major problems during these walks (including picking which grad school I would attend after 5 offers came in!!).  Then your PMWO you give it YOUR ALL!!! HIIT training, weights, circuits, DVDs, whatever it is, get in, give it your 100% and then leave with a smile.  If you only want / can work out once a day that is FINE you do not NEED to do twice a day, just find something you love!!! If you can sustain working out once a day and are committed to that, then that is amazing and go for it – if you’re doing AM and PM work outs and you got the time and energy, then best to ya – for me, I can sustain my walks and my PMWOs – and I’ve seen great success with this.

6. Customize everything

In March 2012 I injured my hand.  Pulled a tendon and got a ganglion cyst right in the middle of the top of my left hand.  Couldn’t lift weights for 5 weeks, it was horribly painful, no push ups, no burpees etc – I actually got it from a challenge I was doing through an online thing and I had to do something like 50 push ups a day, then the next week was burpees, and one day I was sitting at work typing and just this rush of epic pain came to my hand and I had a bump for 4 weeks – went to the doctor got it x-rayed, etc. It went away on its own, but even now I’m paranoid about doing push ups, etc. and there’s just some moves I refuse to do (like side planks and any move involving a side plank).

Here’s the truth: there are a billion different work out moves that do the exact same thing as the move you don’t want to do – does. The best thing I got from Jillian Michaels’ Body Revolution (90 day program) was the variety of moves I’ve never done before.  So whenever I do a DVD or see a routine, and there’s a move I just cannot get the form right – I don’t bother and just do something else.  This is not cheating – never compromise form, if you cannot do it for a specific reason like my hand injury – do something else or don’t bother at all. I’m serious when I say this.  I HATE that move where you go into crab pose, you have to lift 1 leg and bend up and down?! NO THANKS! I’ll do tricep dips off the edge of my couch or bench instead.  Same goes for the crab crunch thing Tone It Up does, nope, just regular crunches for me.  Anything involving me balancing on my side I just don’t bother because of my hand, do it in a different position and move on.  Whatever you pick, just give it your all – that is all that matters.

Oh and supermans… I hate supermans. Mostly because I’m wearing a heart rate monitor and the little device stabs into my abdomen.

7. Plan Everything

I used to think that my fitness schedule had to fit around all my other activities, eating, homework, hanging out with friends, downtime, etc. But I realized quite recently actually that all my other activities should work around my fitness schedule. Meaning, my fitness schedule should actually come first.  I realized this during the month of April (this past month).  I handed in my thesis proposal April 5th, was waiting to move back home for April 24th so I did nothing for April.  As a student, who has written final exams 6 years in a row – this is my first April without finals. It was incredibly weird – since I live with a law student (my BF) and all he has done since mid March is study every single day and all I’ve done is play video games!!! I thought when I moved out here for grad school, I knew I would have a lot more free time. Compared to undergrad where I was taking 4 classes and working 3-4 research jobs, I was always insanely busy.  Grad school is a little bit different.  The stress of grad school is very real, scholarship applications, reading and writing take up most of your days, but because my thesis work is well, research, it’s like all project, there’s a lot of stop and go.  You can and will spend months working on one thing every day until it’s due (like me from February 1st to April 5th) and then have a hug lag time while you’re waiting for something to be reviewed to move on.  I assumed that since before moving away to grad school I had lost 30lbs and had an amazing fitness schedule I would just work out all the time. Wrong. I’ve actually done the opposite. I’ve worked out less with the more free time I have.  This is because I just kind of make it up as I go along. I don’t have anything to accomplish most days so I just wake up and do nothing, sleep in, then all of a sudden it’s 9pm and I’ve sat around all day.  This summer I am not working, I’m only doing thesis work, which will be some stop and go, but mostly consistent work.  So I’ve realized that my thesis work will have to work around my healthy living schedule, otherwise, I’ll never get back on track and will just waste away.

8. Dress to Impress

Couple of things here;

1. wear clothes that fit you.  When I started to lose a lot of weight fast, my clothes noticeably did not fit any more.  It made me really uncomfortable so I spent a lot of money on new clothes (mostly old navy because you can get a lot for cheap). So be aware that you will need and want new clothes during your healthy living life.

2. nice, fun gym clothes make a huge difference. work out clothes are extremely cheap – target, superstore, costco even, has some great stuff for some good prices.  Don’t work out in your old high school sweats, go get some nice stuff you LOOK and FEEL good in. It will make you want to put those bad boys on!

Overall, just be comfy and happy with what you wear, dress for YOUR size and YOUR shape!!

9. Probably one of the most important: dealing with setbacks.

So I lost 33lbs in about 4 months in 2012.  All I did was eat clean and work out and significantly increased my water intake.  And when I say eat clean, I mean complete, no junk food, no sugar, no nothing, just fresh mother nature food.  April 2012 I started to get sick after I ate some meals (never the same one which was why I didn’t pay too much attention).  At first I just thought “that meal wasn’t clean enough, I need to eat cleaner and Subway is no longer clean enough”.  I stayed within the 25-30lb lost till August 1 2012 when we left for our 30 day trip to Europe.  I was sick 20/30 days, ate a lot of pasta, drank little water, and even though we walked at least 20km a day, I gained 10 lbs (making my weight lost 20lbs, no longer 33). Like I said before, I moved for grad school, so after Europe I actually started class the very next day so there was little time to adjust.  Food was in general more expensive, and the tax was a lot higher, so groceries became incredibly expensive.  I was now getting sick a lot more often and it started to be from eating clean foods (grapefruit, quinoa with shrimp) so I finally went to the doctor.  After first being treated with a stomach lining issue (was treated with ulcer medication that increased the stomach lining to help my stomach repair whatever the doctor thought was wrong) my symptoms were less during the medication but came back (and sometimes worse) after I was done.  So again, I focused on clean food and ate extremely well – after 10 days of being sick in a row from eating clean I knew something was wrong.  So I went back to the doctor and this was when I was told I could have irritable bowel syndrome and would be getting blood test results to rule out celiacs and crohns.  After a long delay in the blood results, they came back negative and there I was, with irritable bowel syndrome, now 20lbs gained back, no energy, no motivation, no nothing.  This was me 1 month before posting this blog (so lets say April 1 2013).

Shit. I worked so freaking hard to lose the weight, eat healthy and this is how I get paid back?  The part most frustrating, the doctors advice was “eating clean meals that are not processed is extremely important for you” and my response was “I DO!! AND I’M STILL SICK!! HELP!!!”

Now let me quickly define sick / my symptoms so you know how I really felt.

– 3-4 days of constipation followed by sever diarrhea, then back to constipation
– every night before following asleep I felt like I was going to throw up and often lied there awake because of the feeling
– sever stomach cramping. and by sever I mean on a scale of 1-10 of pain, this was about  a 35.
– extreme bloating and gas (I had just moved in with my boyfriend, talk about embarrassing)
– limited to no energy, having to stop during work outs due to feelings of nausea, and       finally
– just generally discouraged.

So lets do the math: weight gain + no energy + digestion issues / pain + expensive healthy food + stress from being a grad student away from home = a mess.

I felt like death 5/7 days a week.  I didn’t care to eat healthy because why would I? It made me sick anyway, may as well eat shitty food that makes me sick too.  Why work out, I won’t lose the weight because I cannot figure out wtf to eat to do better. I was completely discouraged, felt completely alone and felt extremely ashamed and embarrassed over my weight gain. Losing 33 lbs was an amazing accomplishment, to gain over half of it back felt like an utter failure, and what would I explain to people who noticed I gained some of the weight back? “Yeah I gained some of the weight back because I felt like I was going to throw up after every meal, had no energy to work out and just generally wanted to sleep all day and do nothing because of the stress from it all, on top of being far away from home, having limited money, and having to pay higher prices for the same food in my home town”.  That’s a long sentence to explain to people who weren’t there and have no idea wtf it felt like to go through this.

I had to start back at square one. “Eating healthy and clean” no longer cut it. I had to start to play around with my food to find what made me sick, what didn’t, and this actually included ignoring some advice given to me (for example, I think beans have a bad rep for bloating, gas, and bowel irritation, for me, it’s one of the only products that does not do this to me so I eat them everyday now).  I completely cut out sugar because the majority of the time I was in the most extreme pain was after eating a cookie or a cup cake (literally) so I said hell no, get them away from me.  I’ve significantly limited my animal products, now I eat meat once a day, for dinner, and eat less than 4 ounces. Over the past 9 months I’ve just less and less enjoyed eating meat.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ll kill for a steak from the Keg, but at home, generally, I cut out a lot of chicken, lunch meat, ground beef, etc..  I’m actually lactose in tolerant but the only items that make me feel pretty sick is milk, and if I eat cheese in more than 1 meal in 1 day, so I limit 1-2 ounces of cheese for my lunch because I freaking love cheese, is a great source of many healthy vitamins and shut up, I love it.

How did I deal with all this?

Well, I’m a student, so recording everything I do is part of what I do for school work, so that is what I’ve done since January 2012, I recorded my food and workout schedule- and even before that date I was recording my work outs. I keep track of what I did do while I was sick.  I still managed to work out (even just walking) around 4-5 times a week during this time.  Not to the same degree as before August 2012, but I still kept moving.

I still tried and tested food.  As much as my bad attitude allowed me to eat shit food more often than I normally would have, I’d say at least 4 days of the week were relatively healthy eating, but because the other 3 days a week were so bad, I did see weight gain.  But I was always testing something new, and have now finally formed some specifically selected meals that will not make me sick, so the trial and error was really worth it – even figuring to what degree the bad food makes me sick (for example, kraft dinner makes me so sick it’s not even worth it, but hamburger helper… not so much!).  

Really important: I always focused on portion control.  Even when I’d eat a pasta dish, I weighed my pasta and my meats, I portion controlled my hamburger helper by literally weighing out the ingredients, including the seasoning pack, and I always portion controlled the meat I was eating.  So even though I was eating more white rice or white pasta than I should have generally speaking, specifically, I portion controlled the crap out of it.

Overall, I never completely gave up.  When I did work out between the couple of days breaks, I was never as sore as I would have been a year earlier, portion control has been a life saver, and preparing my meals kept me on track more often than not.  As lame as it sounds, I kept trying. And I asked for a lot of help, tweeted with people, emailed questions, looked up stuff on websites.  I’ve done a lot of research to figure out wtf is making me sick, why, and how to replace that item so I can keep eating healthy.

After much fail, much pain, a trip to the emergency room, and a lot of self-esteem issues (like when you put on pants that used to fit you and are now too tight), I’m finally getting back on my feet.  I’m learning to say “no, sorry, cannot eat that, I’ll get sick” and people generally understand.  The one good thing from this, it’s an easier way to get out of eating meals you know are not healthy living approved, but you don’t want to offend someone.  So when offered seafood fettuccini instead of being tempted to pig out, I can now say “great thanks, I’ll have a little (ie. portion control) but not too much or I’ll get sick, do you have a side of veggies I could have with it please and thank you :)”. That way, you get to have a little cheat, portion controlled so you don’t get *too sick* and you can ask for a substitute they most likely have.

Also, I never really lost my fire.  I started to lose weight for health reasons, now, more than ever, eating healthy completely influences my entire day, how I feel, my energy, and if I’ll be going to bed sick or not.  So really, the frustration I felt made me search even harder for answers.  I just kept going.  It was horrible, 9 months of weight gain, pain and no energy is just awful, completely influenced my mood and my social life, and just had a huge impact on me.

Dealing with the most difficult part for me, admitting I gained weight back, and feeling like I let down so many Tone it Up women who said I “inspired them” after my weight loss.

Ultimately, I felt like I let a lot of people down. Not just myself, but everyone watching my progress. “You’re so inspiring I love your blog posts!!”  are messages I get often and are incredibly humbling, but I started to feel like “am I a liar?”. I mean, yes, I did lose 33 lbs, tried so freaking hard to do so, had a great attitude about it, but now, 20 lbs backwards and being told I’m an inspiration?  Truthfully, it was kind of confusing for me to move forward with this positive role model feeling, and feeling like a complete failure.

But then I stopped and realized that the people that inspire me the most are those that achieve greatness, achieve failure, and still somehow find a way to 1. get back on their feet, 2. inspire others to keep going too, and 3. are realistic about their failure to do better and move forward, not only for themselves but for everyone else watching.

So, if there’s one thing I can be that would “inspire” people, is I never gave up.  The weight gain was a symptom of things I just could not control at the time.  I was sick, it sucked, I wasn’t able to achieve the max healthy living, I’m better now – so now it’s time to get back full throttle and dominate, lose those 20lbs I gained back, AND MORE!!!

I don’t think of myself as an inspiration, I think of myself as a normal person, with an amazing boyfriend, a supportive family, and a love for eating with a love for working out.  However, tell me I can’t do something, or experience a set back? Watch out world, I’m back, and here to kick the door down, kick my health into over drive and get past these horrible 9 months.

10. What did I learn in 2 years?

– be realistic, understand what’s going on, what you can and cannot control, and wait to get better, rest is the best – rest up, dominate later

– it’s ok to say no to food. Recently on twitter we spoke about the weight women gain when in a relationship. AH! When I moved in with my BF we never eat the same thing, have the most opposite schedule, so it was easy to meet up have dinner and then go about our things. I learned that he really really does support my healthy living, and I need to give him the opportunity to do that by saying “no I don’t want nachos tonight” and making something different

– routine is key. Not being in a routine is so tough because you just start to flop around.  As a grad student who didn’t work outside of my teaching assistant position, 6/7 days of the week were just me by myself. I really didn’t develop a schedule because my sleeping pattern sucked and I think I was just a bit depressed, missed home and wanted to get the hell out of Halifax as soon as possible. I never developed a routine, this was a huge issue and something I’ve continued to work on

– love yourself. I’ve always been a big fan of myself. I’ve accomplished a lot and am still going. I have amazing mentors in my life and have always seemed to be able to connect with people. I’ve never really “hated” my body, that’s why when I first started to lose weight it was great, but I already loved where I was.  I did it for health reasons and because I was actually afraid to gain more weight.  But truthfully, I’ve always been more muscular than others so 190lbs looked differently on me than on someone who just had a belly, etc. I always looked even, no major areas like some have, so I’ve always been ok with how I looked.  However, losing the weight and gaining it back was the first time I ever didn’t love myself and how I looked, because for the first time, my clothes didn’t fit.  Shit. that was a horrible feeling.  Here I was buying smaller clothes, donating the bigger ones, assuming I’d never gain it back until I was prego or something, and here I was… shorts a little too tight, shirts a little too small. DAMN! But you know what, I’m awesome, I love myself, my body, and everything I’ve worked for I’m going to keep working for.  So find some love for yourself, it’ll keep you out of the dark hole of eating disorders and binge eating.

– Find people to connect with.  If I hadn’t found Tone It Up I know I would not be where I am today. The community of women are amazing and I truly have some great connections with wonderful women all around the WORLD!!! who else can say that?!?! Pretty freaking amazing!!

Overall healthy living is like anything in life, there will be ups, downs, set backs and triumphs.  If you make it a big part of your life, it’s only normal for it to fluctuate.  Stay consistent, stick to your goals, and be realistic.  But most importantly keep trying.  As much as the past 9 months have been amazing and completely sucked at the same time, here I am, doing 2 a day work outs, getting back on track for 2 weddings this summer!! It is possible, just keep at it, be smart, realistic, and find something you love to do¸ because you will keep doing it!

Happy 2 Years to Me!!




Confession – Students, listen up.

22 Mar

Today I presented my thesis proposal presentation.  Every day since February 1st has been preparing for this moment.  January was filled with another project I had to work on every day till January 30th. The difference between under grad and grad school, I would argue, is not the amount of work you have to do, but the amount of time you spend on one thing.  I’m one of those students that kind of becomes in lock down obsessed.  I haven’t been sleeping well, so the little energy I did have the past couple of months were spent on school.  Wow, has my weight suffered.  I’m horrified to say that my clothes are fitting a little too tight recently.  However, I am feeling the same way I felt about the weight gain of my undergrad – I focused on school, and I am not ashamed to be proud of that.  I have struggled in the short term, but I will be back on it in the long term!!  Being a student and managing a healthy lifestyle has been the hardest thing to achieve in the most recent years.  I’m not a mother – so I’m sure my future has much more in store for time management issues, but at this time in my life, my thesis is my baby and I’m a momma bear with no sleep and a lot of pride (yes, I just busted out that example).   

I frequently try to post about being a student because it’s so, so difficult.  I’ve eatin ok this week, and have walked 4km a day Monday to Friday this week – I try in little ways to do the best I can.  It’s the little victories as a student that makes us proud, strong and capable of moving forward.  Do not give up, keep going. School is important – just try to think of long term goals both in health and in school to keep you from not getting so down on a couple of short comings.

Today was an epicly fantastic day for me.  I was accepted into 5 graduate programs in the top universities in Canada. I obviously could only pick one, so I picked in my eyes the best program for me and the project I wanted to make happen.  Today my program completely lived up to my expectations and showed me that I made the correct choice.  No regrets, only moving forward today, tomorrow and the next day.  I’ve had many fall backs this 2013 already and it’s not even the end of March!!! but that’s life – picking myself up, and lets go!!!!

march 22 2013

bye for now,



Not a Runner? Same Here!

3 Mar

Hello everyone!

I took so long to post because February was again, another sick month.  I wasn’t sick, but my partner was and he was sick for about 2 weeks, so because I didn’t want to get sick I took it really easy during those times. But now I’m back at er’ and couldn’t be happier!


So it’s March – this time last year I created the challenge #MarchingToBeFit and it had a ton of goals – and guess what, I accomplished all of them, but I also gained 2 injuries out of it, including a hand injury that still has issues 1 year later.

The inspiration of this post came from a tweet.  I had mentioned #MarchingToBeFit in a tweet and someone who I’ve been following on twitter for over a year now tweeted me and mentioned that she remembered how last year I had that challenge! We exchanged some tweets and Joyce (@Joyce_TIU   go follow her she’s great!! xo)  said something really great:

“I’ve found my likes and not likes fitness wise. I won’t ever be a distance runner and I found out that’s ok”

YES!!! I found this to be so great because this is where I’m at too.  I don’t like running, I like doing HIIT and strength.  I’ll switch it up and do walking, biking, and elliptical, but no, I do not want to run 5km, 10km… or more.  I did 5kms and 10kms all the time in my youth, did a couple of races and it was fine.  But I never trained for them I just went out and ran them – I guess because I could at the age of 15 haha.

But now, I just don’t have the time.  I love to work out, but more than 30-45 minutes a day is not realistic.  I’ve lost over 25lbs and I’m heading to a great place.  This summer when I have more time, I’ll do HIIT in the morning and light cardio (walking / biking) in the PM because I’ll be back in my home town where I have a home private gym and I can just get on the bike at 1am, watch something on the PVR and not worry about anything.  That will be this summer – but right now, in Grad School, thesis proposal mode I get stressed when I’m away from my work for an hour, so I just cannot do it – and truthfully, I don’t want to.

So, what I’m trying to say is find what works for you.  If you want to work out twice a day, train for a 10km that is fantastic and I fully support you.  But if you’re like me and you just don’t enjoy that type of physical activity then find what you LOVE!! Yoga, strength, kick boxing – there is SO much out there!! You do not need to train for a 10km to get there!

To show some ideas of how to schedule for physical activities outside of running take a look at some ideas below:

Goal Type Length Equipment / Comments
Fat Burning HIIT – High intensity interval training 12 to 20 minutes is appropriate for most people, but this includes FAST sprinting when you’re doing your “high intensity interval” and jogging not walking when you’re doing your “low intensity interval” I use the app Seconds Pro – the one you pay for, it is AMAZING! create your own HIIT based on your goals and abilities!

If you need to start off slow, walking as your low and jogging as your high – then do that! That’s what I did when I started a now I’m at a full jog / sprint pace!

Fat Burning
Muscle Development
Strength Training 10 to 40 minutes
This really depends on your goals and abilities and just your personal feelings.Goal: always increase your weight / rep each time. Do not use the same 5lbs weights and you can get away with doing 20min strength
Dumbbells, kettle bells, medicine ball, basically anything with weightThere are a ton of routines online, or make up your own! I always invent my own, I never follow a guide 100% because of my hand injury there’s a lot of moves I still cannot do. of course has a ton of routines!

I do not do more than 30 minutes of strength because I get bored, and I’m always changing up the moves to keep my body guessing.Always check out pinterest!

Intense Cardio without Running There are a lot of DVDs our there with cardio DVDs range, but the average is 30 to 40 minutes, some as low as 20.  If you want to get in an extra cardio, do the DVD first, then do a cool down 10 min walk on the treadmill, bike, or elliptical – but you don’t HAVE to if you do a DVD I own the following great DVDsJillian Michaels Body Revolution (full 90 day pack)

Jillian Michaels 30 day shred

Jillian Michaels kick boxing

Karen & Katrina @ Beach Babe DVD (great HIIT “HIIT the beach” workout!)


Turbo Fire

Pinterest too has a ton of cardio routines – jumping jacks COUNT as cardio!

New Classes Check out your local gym / fitness studies Class change from 35 to 60 minutes usually. Check them out! You don’t need to bring anything, just show up

New classes are a great way for variety to keep your body guessing!

Cardio Walking,Biking,


30-60 minutes Shoes & musicI really enjoy walking. I have bad knees so running isn’t always the best for me.  I always really love biking and my home gym has a stationary bike (got it for under $300 it was so worth it!) and I own a mountain bike.

Light cardio is actually really great – did you know light cardio often targets fat MORE than going for a long run? When you’re running 5km, 10km, your body relies on carb storage in your body, ie. food you’ve eatin recently etc. But when you’re walking, your body’s heart rate increases while staying at a lower level that focuses on fat storage! Don’t rely on walking as your main focus, but supplement it with HIIT and strength for a well rounded routine

My somewhat regular schedule

Day  AM  PM  Total Length
 Monday  HIIT or DVD    30-40 mins
 Tuesday  Walking 3km  Strength Routine  60-70
 Wednesday  Trail Hiking    60-70
 Thursday  HIIT    30
 Friday  Walking 3km    40
 Saturday  HIIT & Strength  Walking  90
 Sunday  REST    0

Note: I don’t usually work out twice a day, but sometimes I do to complement a work out.  I enjoy extra walking on Saturday because it’s the weekend.  The “walking 3km” is my to and from walk to school, and is usually early in the morning – so I support a schedule that complements this. Notice, at least 3 times a week I do HIIT? This is the minimum you should be doing HIIT if you’re trying to burn fat! And always include at least 2 strength routines to keep those muscles working.  This is what works for me and no one can tell me that this is a poor schedule because it is my schedule so focus on YOURS!

I hope this was helpful and / or motivating!