Posted in Nutrition/ Diet

Nutrition; it’s NOT all or nothing 

When it comes to health and weight loss the “diet” part can seem like a war. However, it does not have to be all in or all out. Focus on the ‘big picture items’, these are things that make up the bulk of what you eat and have the largest impact on your health and waistline. When those are mastered, you can pay more attention to the ‘small details’ and do some fine tuning to help with those last pesky pounds. With that being said you should always keep in mind that it’s more about give and take than take away all of your favourite foods.
Everyone has certain foods or habits that they will never be able to fully eliminate from their diet, and that is ok! When it comes to the larger picture of your health and body composition, the little things you enjoy are not going to be as big of a factor as you may think.
In fact, as long as you focus most of your energy on ensuring the ‘big picture items’ are taken care of, you can be more lenient with the rest of your diet (exercise also contributes to how lenient you can be with your diet – but more on this another day, another blog). This is not to tell you that if you eat a salad with some chicken for lunch that you can eat junk food for the rest of the day, this is to tell you that you can feel good about the good choices you do make, without beating yourself up for not being perfect.
Now, before I get too deep into this post you are probably wondering what are the ‘big picture items’ ? I will give you some examples below. Basically they are the BIG NUTRITION DO’s that every healthy diet should include.
Examples of big keys:

* Drinking an adequate amount of water (2-3L)

* Eating a variety of vegetables and fruits (try to get one or the other in every meal/ snack)

* Eating a serving of protein at every meal
And ‘small details’ are things that are still important, but if you currently have not mastered the big picture items, then there is no use worrying about them.
Examples of small details:

* Drinking diet pop

* Eating white bread or pasta instead of whole wheat everything

* Using cream in your coffee

* Having a glass of wine at dinner every now and then
Furthermore, remember that everything must be within reason, you can’t tell me one of your “small details” is that you eat a tub of Ben & Jerry’s every night before bed, and then wonder why your pants aren’t getting any looser. It’s about making overall healthier choices, minimizing the unhealthy choices and not about giving up everything all at once.
Now, I want you to look at your nutrition habits – which “big picture items” need a little bit more work? Are you getting in 5 or more servings of vegetables everyday? Do you need to add a little protein to your breakfast? Etc.. Focus on one at a time, this way you can make sure that each items gets properly integrated into your lifestyle and you will have more success.
Ok, now you have some big goals; great! I totally believe that you can add in these new healthy choices to your lifestyle without much trouble. It may take a bit of working reminders at first – but soon they will become second nature!
So, let’s say it’s been a few months and you have started drinking an average of 3L of water a day, you get protein in at every meal and are eating 6+ servings of veggies a day, you’ve lost a fair amount of weight and most importantly feel amazing… But now you’ve plateaued, this is when you want to be a bit more strict with your small details and start to either slowly limit them or pick and choose which ones you can live without (everyone now and then) first.
So where to start? Think about the habits that you currently have that you could adjust… Ok, so you can’t give up the cream and sugar in your coffee, but maybe you could cut back to half the amount? You absolutely need to have a snack before bed – no problem, just swap out the tub of ice cream for some yogurt and berries!

Whatever the habit is, I guarantee you that there is a healthier option – you may just need to get creative!
Just make sure when you start hammering down on of those small details , you also keep focused on the big picture items or else those little details won’t be very effective!
Lastly, the whole goal with eating healthy (even if your main goal is to look better) is to feel better. So don’t beat yourself up for those little habits that you can’t seem to shake yet, and be proud of yourself for all of the larger picture items that you are implementing.
Trust me, you don’t need to give up your favourite foods to live a healthier life and achieve your goals!

Posted in My Fitness Story

My Competition Experience 

The best day of my life. Saturday, April 9th, 2016 is the day that I competed in my first fitness competition, IDFA 94, and I absolutely loved it!

I placed second overall in the Fitness Model class and first overall in Women’s Bikini!


So now you are assuming that I enjoyed it because I walked away with two trophies, which I’ll admit is part of what made it such an enjoyable experience, but it is not the main reasons!
I want to share a bit of what I experienced, some of my thoughts, some of my insider information that I got from the experience of the other competitors and my future plans.
The week leading up to the show is called, “Peak Week” as your nutrition and workouts are quite different and sometimes seem unorthodox, but this week is designed to get you to your peak physical condition by the day of the show.

This week can either be extremely fun and enjoyable or it can be extremely hard physically and mentally. The difference is in your approach. I luckily had an amazing and smooth prep due to the great health I was in mentally and metabolically before I started prep (see previous post on my transformation and >25lb bulk in 2.5 years), and the knowledge from my coach, who because of her education was able to keep me healthy and my metabolism high all throughout my 12 weeks of “dieting”. I was eating so many carbs (even white breads, pastas, etc.) the last few days before and of my show that when it came to my post show meal I didn’t even know what to eat because I didn’t feel deprived of anything! I’m not going to lie to you and tell you I went to Pita Pit and got a salad, because I went to The Mandarin and ate 5 plates of food, including all my favourites from pizza and sushi to cherry cheesecake and frozen yogurt, but I ate those things because that’s what I would normally eat at The Mandarin not because I felt starved or deprived.
Now onto the show…
First of all, the energy in the theatre was amazing! All of the other competitors, coaches and volunteers were are all so kind and inspiring, plus if you were missing something (like me and scissors) and you asked if anyone had it there were at least three girls back stage ready to help! Furthermore, even though we were literally competing against each other everyone is so supportive and sweet backstage which definitely made the experience amazing! The nice thing about compliments from other competitors and coaches is that they truly appreciate the work you put into your physique and understand how much effort it takes to earn our muscles and bodies.
Now, for those who know me in real life and didn’t recognize me in my pictures, that is because I had professionals do my hair and make-up… Which judging on how often I do my own was the right choice! I got my tan, hair and makeup all done by Cherry Dolls and was super pleased with how it all turned out. Plus, it was fun to feel all glamorous for the day having someone, “doll you up”!


However, your first spray tan can be a little awkward, but you get to know the person very quickly (you basically have to) and let’s face it, by the end of show day you have little to no privacy issues left involving your body.
After getting dolled up I had a little bit of time (not as much as we had planned) to stuff my face with some more carbs and do my “pre-show pump up”… by then the nerves had kicked in. One of the organizers came and knocked on the door and called out the numbers for the first round of judging… My number was called and the nerves were now in full swing. Next thing I knew we are on deck standing right behind the curtain ready to go on. Then we’re on stage I am right in the middle of the pack, and as I stood there – holding my pose, barely breathing – I watched as the girls before me went through their posing routines, their routines were much more elaborate than mine, and I started to freak out. I instantly got even more nervous thinking that I had to add to my routine, but I knew that would be a bad idea if I tried to change it now so I gave my self a mini pep talk and just went along with my routine… Shaking and all, I will admit I rushed it a bit and totally beat myself up for it after, but I smiled my way through the first class and had officially completed judging round one. Luckily for me, I was a little rushed to get back to the stage for my second class, due to talking and being distracted by my amazing and supportive co-workers from Headwaters Racquet Club, so I had no time to even think or be nervous! This time I felt much more relaxed and didn’t rush my routine, although I was still super nervous, I felt much more confident and had now made it through all of the judging rounds!

During the intermission we had a lot of time backstage to relax, eat, and socialize with the other competitors. This was great, because one of my reasons for doing the show was to meet new people and get to know more people in the industry. The whole time everyone was either complimenting one another, talking about what they wanted to eat after, eating, or going over their posing routines…. They were all a little shocked by me eating bread the day of the show, but I had learned that many girls didn’t have the same prep experience that I did.
I think it’s important that I share with you some of the comments and issues some girls had because not everyone has such an amazing experience with competing…

Many times, especially if you do not take a healthy approach, doing a competition can ruin a persons relationship with food. The whole prep can make them “scared” of certain foods/ food groups, because they don’t think they can eat certain things and still achieve their goals. Furthermore, some competitors also get nervous about what they are going to do after the show, and what will happen to their bodies. This is another reason I am so thankful for my coach and not only how we approached the show, but also our plan to increase my food intake back to and above what it was before, while working on my future goals.
Funny enough, whatever their experience was throughout prep, almost all said they wanted to do it again.
I will most definitely do it again.

So many people complimented my physique and told me I had great potential and should go for my pro card, so of course this lit a fire underneath me and encouraged my even more!
Overall, one of my many favourite parts of my first competition was making everyone who had supported me proud.

Seeing the smile of pride in my coach waiting to hug me back stage, waving to my Mom who has the biggest smile I’ve seen on her in the last 12 weeks (maybe because my diet was over? Who knows) and running over (still in my heels) to hug her, finding my Dad after and running across the Mandarin parking lot and jumping into him like the little child I still am, seeing half of my extended family and best friend with flowers and smiles, and then getting to share my excitement with all of them.

I cannot say how much all of the kind messages, either wishing me luck and telling me that I would “kill it” before the show (thanks for not putting any pressure on me haha), or in kind congratulatory messages after the show have truly meant to me.

Furthermore, all of the people who have told me how much my hard work and dedication have inspired them are my true motivation for what I do. All I want to do is share my passion with others and if I can help and inspire at least one person, then I will have accomplished my goal. So now, I am going to continue to do my best to inspire, educate and help as many people as I can because now I know I can!

Then, after all the hype was over and I got home, the adrenaline still hadn’t worn off. I literally felt like I was on top of the world.

I have never felt so motivated in my life, not only to continue on and bring an even better final package to my next show (no I haven’t picked a date yet), but to keep on this path and continue to follow my dreams.

Posted in Healthy Lifestyle Advice

The Importance of a Strong Support System

Think of the type of person you want to be. Think of the type of people you admire.

Think of your goals.
Now, think of the people who you spend the most time with.

Are they people that you would want to be like?

Do these people exhibit traits that you admire?

Do they support you and your goals?
Over the last 12 weeks I have been truly blessed with support and encouragement towards my competition and I cannot express of thankful I am. I have really enjoyed my journey leading up to the show so far and would like to believe that I have stayed quite positive throughout the process… However, there were days that I doubted myself, felt unmotivated and scared and just wanted to stop.
BUT, then I would receive an encouraging message, compliment or just some motivation from one of the many kind people who I consider to be in my support system, and I felt a million times better. So many of you have totally brightened my day or my spirits, you may not even know that I consider you to be apart of my support system, but you’re there.

So, thank you.
Whether it is someone reminding you of how far they’ve come, giving them some inspiration or motivation about hard work, or just kind words and compliments, all of these things can have a positive impact on them and their goals. In my opinion it is important to have a strong support system, not only to reap the rewards yourself, but to have the ability to encourage and help others. When you compliment someone or inspire someone to keep going, especially when they may be struggling, you are changing their path and potentially their life.

These are really simply things that we can do, every day to not only be a better person – but be apart of a bigger movement.
They say that you are the sum of the 5 people you are around most. This is why it is so great to have friends, family, co-workers, or just a random support group, to help you reach your goals and impact your life. When you have a goal, or an obstacle you would like to overcome, seek out people who have similar goals (by joining a gym, finding a running group, getting a workout buddy, finding a healthy cooking class, joining a group on Facebook, finding a support group for people who may have the same struggles as you..) this will help you stay motivated and enjoy the process. Furthermore, not only are you more likely to reach your goals by having people support you, but it feels good to support others and see other people succeed as well, knowing that you played a role in that.
This isn’t to say that you should ignore all of the people in your life who don’t have the same interests or goals as you, because all relationships are important, and most of the time everyone in your family and circle of friends will have different plans. However, make sure that they still support you and your goals as it is possible for people to motivate each other towards their goals, no matter how different they are, just through listening (sometimes taking some effort to understand) and then encouraging them and just being happy for their success. On the flip side, if you have certain family members, co-workers or old friends who are negative and discouraging, this may be the time to distance yourself from them. You don’t need to cause a scene and be rude, just ignore any negative comments and you will be surprised at how quickly all of the negativity in your life will disappear.

*Speaking from experience, as a young female who experienced many people trying to bring me down, especially in my teenage years (yay for High School making me stronger), it is possible to live a drama- free life without any negative people… You just have to turn away from the negativity. Yes, this may mean cutting off or distancing yourself from people, but if these people make you feel bad about yourself are they worth having in your life anyways?
The best decision I ever made in my life was to surround myself with positive and encouraging people. My support system includes so many people including my family and friends (who still really don’t quite understand “body building” but I have slowly been teaching them what it’s really about and they now sort of understand things, like “peak week” and what it means to be “4 weeks out”), my co-workers and members of the club I work at and my online following, and although these people don’t really know what I’m talking about half the time they are positive, kind and excited for me, and that has made all the difference in the world.
So the big takeaways from this post include:

1. Find people with similar goals to help keep you motivated and on track, without cutting off the people who are still important to you even though they don’t have similar interests, as long as these people are still supportive of you and your goals.

2. Distance yourself from people who either bring you down a lot or are very negative towards themselves and their own life and goals.

3. Lift other people up! It’s nice to be supported, right? So, make sure you share that feeling with other people by being a cheerleader for your friends and family as well.

4. THANK YOU!

I also want to take this time to thank you all as I am 5 days out from my competition and would not have been able to get this far and enjoy the prep as much as I have without all of your encouragement and support!