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Breaking Up With Kayla

*Disclaimer: this post is my PERSONAL opinion and thoughts based on MY experience, both from a personal level and a business perspective. You do not have to agree.

This isn’t the first time I have written about BBG:

  • See my post about how to stick to BBG here (which can really be applied to any fitness journey not just BBG)
  • My “Kaylaversary”/1 year of BBG post here
  • A post about tackling another 12 weeks of BBG here
  • The first BBG post I wrote, about attending the 2016 LA Sweat Tour and meeting Kayla herself, here.

However, this will be the last time I write about BBG.

I will be the first to tell you that Kayla Itsines’ Bikini Body Guide (BBG) was what got me started. In my teens and early twenties, I was your typical thin girl who could eat whatever she wanted, whenever she wanted, and never gained an ounce. I didn’t exercise; I didn’t need to. As I got older, and destroyed my metabolism because I stopped eating properly (or much at all really), I inevitably began to gain weight.

I think I was about 27 when I decided that “ok, it’s time to make a change and try exercising.” I was never an athlete (unless you count swimming as a kid until I was 13), and I didn’t really know where to start. I tried CrossFit for a year, liked it but didn’t love it, got a gym membership and would go very sparingly. A friend told me about BBG, and after looking through the guides, I gave it a go. Failed, tried again, failed, and tried again. That third time it stuck. I stuck to it for 60 weeks – with injuries, illnesses, and breaks – but I did 60 weeks over the course of 1.5 years. The program was simple enough to follow: four 7-minute circuits, three times a week, add in some cardio – done. It gave me structure, routine, and dedication. In the past year and a half I found confidence in the gym, and in myself.

I created a fitness Instagram (@accountantscanbefit) when I began my BBG journey, as I had been lurking from my personal account, following Kayla and seeing the incredible transformations that she posted, checking out other accounts from girls around the world who followed the program. My account allowed me to stay accountable, find like-minded women, and even make new friends. All of this from a simple app on my phone.

Online Friends to Real Life Friends

When I started BBG, the community meant everything to me. The constant support and encouragement, the tags like #whatsonmyplate and #stopdropandselfie were such a great way to interact and meet new people. Then ‘BBG Meet Ups’ started happening. I first noticed the ones in Orlando then the ones in NYC, and I felt that Calgary should have the same! They looked like a lot of fun and brought girls from the same cities together. So I posted on my Instagram and created the #yycbbg #bbgcalgary hashtags in hopes of finding other women in Calgary following the program, and was successful. In December 2015 I ran the first YYC BBG Meet Up with 8 other girls. From there, it increasingly got more popular. Word of mouth and hashtags allowed more and more women to find out about the monthly meet ups. I started working with businesses (as many local as I could) to offer door prizes at every event.

As I ran the meet ups and continued with the BBG program, I made some amazing friends, both locally and internationally. I went to LA to meet up with one of these friends I had never met, as well as a couple of my local friends, to attend Kayla’s LA Sweat Tour and was able to connect with even more people I had only interacted with online. While that trip was amazing, I think it is where I started to notice a shift. Some of the BBG “stars” if you will were also in LA. I won’t mention names, but for people who portray themselves online as open, accepting, and positive, well they sure weren’t in person. I have never claimed, or ever will, to be anything different than I am, and while I am not a “popular” account, witnessing others dismiss you because they view themselves upon a pedestal was an eye opener. It’s always interesting meeting people in person, when they aren’t behind someone’s phone screen with their carefully crafted captions and methodical pictures. Some people are exactly who you envision; others are the polar opposite.

A Shift in the Online BBG Community

It was after this trip I started to notice a shift. This exact shift has been quite the topic of conversation on social media lately, but it isn’t something only one person has experienced. I’ve lived it, and so have so many others. I know first-hand several women who agree with me on this stance. The shift is hard to explain, but I think it’s best described as one of competitiveness: who has the most collaborations, who has the best-looking photos, who writes a caption that inspires the most people, and inevitably, who can get their transformation reposted by Kayla herself. I’ll be transparent here, I used to want that repost too – that validation that all my hard work was recognized. When she did repost my progress, I was like “Woah that’s cool.”, but it wasn’t that “OH MY GOD, MY LIFE IS CHANGED!” feeling I used to think I wanted – that affirmation that my hard work was worth it. Guess what – I didn’t need someone I didn’t even know to notice me to know that it was worth it. I already felt that within.

Workout Boredom

The first two rounds of BBG worked for me – it’s a great starting program and I will never deny that. As a person grows stronger and more able to challenge themselves though, the BBG program becomes stale and boring. For some people it is a long-term program, but for me it is not. After 4 rounds (BBG 1 twice, and BBG 2 twice) I had intended to stop following the program and try something new. That changed, and while I regret the decision to stop the new program I was following, it was something I did for the Calgary community, which I will talk about next.

A Shift in the Local BBG Community

The shift I sensed in the community when I went to the LA Sweat Tour was also present in the YYC BBG Meet Ups. What was once an environment of support, encouragement and no judgement started to change too. The meet ups stopped being something I enjoyed running, and became a part-time job that I began to dread. People started to expect a lot from me and didn’t seem to realize that running these events took time, money, and WORK. I did all of this myself, spending around 20+ hours a week of planning, organizing, emailing, and staying on top of the Facebook account I created, responding to questions, encouraging the women as well as trying to stay on top of all the local women’s fitness Instagram accounts so that I could be a proper leader and remain involved in their lives. More women starting attending, participating in the Facebook group, and I felt obligated to follow every local Instagram account. It was exhausting, so I decided to start running meet ups quarterly instead of monthly. I never asked for help – I took on this role and these events on my own, knowing their potential to grow, and never took any compensation for my time. All and any money that was earned in surplus of what was needed to cover the costs of bookings were donated directly back to the not-for-profit facility I used to host these events. Earning money was never the reason I started these events – it was to create a community for women where they could feel safe, supported, and empowered.

Working with the Sweat Team: 12-Week Challenge

In November, Kayla’s very own Sweat Team reached out to me about the next 12 week challenge, beginning in January 2017, which would focus on the BBG community and meet ups themselves. They asked if I would be interested in having the YYC BBG Meet Up in March be part of the 12 Week Challenge to represent Canada. They would be providing tank tops to everyone who attended, products to be given away, and (what was a relief for me), support. This would be so huge for the community in Calgary and for the Canadian communities as a whole. I obviously said yes. I also started an accountability group for this challenge for Calgary and area girls, where I would do daily check-ins with everyone, provide the weekly workout requirements, and provide any tips and tricks I could think of. This provided a space for these women to ask questions, support each other, and ideally complete the full 12 weeks. I chose to also do BBG again in order to facilitate this group, as well as feeling semi-obligated to follow the program since my meet up was part of it.

Fending for Myself

I have never, ever, been more stressed about a meet up than the one on March 12. The promise of a tank top for everyone fell through (whether it was a misunderstanding or not, I still don’t know) – I was in fact only being sent 30 in total. This caused so many issues – I have never gotten so many angry emails in my life once I explained to people that there were only 30 tanks total. I deal with conflict on a daily basis, but when people assumed I was making these choices to put them out, well that was a little hard to handle. Working with the Sweat Team was very stressful and disconcerting for me. I would go days at a time without any correspondence when I had sent time-sensitive and important questions, which caused me a lot of concern. When I sent out an email with questions I had (because I was being asked them), I didn’t get a single response for two weeks – that was extremely frustrating. When I ran the meet ups myself, at least I could provide the answers. While I understand the time difference can create an issue, I work in finance for a multinational corporation and the time difference has never been this much of an issue for us. I was sincerely under the impression that the tank tops were being sent for everyone, so that’s what I said, and when that changed, I was the one who got the blame.

Lack of Engagement Support

I was also very frustrated at the lack of advertising on the Sweat Team’s end. If they had properly communicated that the focus was on the communities and made people aware of where those 12 meet ups were going to be held, the communities would have gotten more attention and support as they all came together. Instead, as per my usual meet ups, the advertising fell on my own account, which doesn’t have the same type of reach as theirs.

Poor Delivery on Promises

I wasn’t sure the swag that was promised was even going to make it on time. People kept saying to me, “Well, I didn’t get a tank top, so I assume I will get swag to keep things fair.” I was a little overwhelmed, to say the least. The products arrived a mere three days before the meet up due to customs complications. I was extra stressed – if people were upset about not getting a simple tank top, the lack of products was sure to send them over the top. Thankfully they DID arrive, and I made sure allocation was fair (with no help from the Sweat Team). Of course some people were still disappointed, which of course was directed at me.

The Unfortunate Aftermath

I stopped feeling like the meet ups were a safe space. I felt the competitiveness infiltrating the meet ups, the judging eyes, the “I have more followers than you” vibe – all things I never wanted to be a part of my life, or part of the community I had worked so hard to create. I appreciate all the people who follow me, and I hope that one day something I say can give them a little bit of encouragement or support when they need it, but I don’t post to gain followers. I post for me, to track my progress, to document my journey, and honestly to find like-minded people and create lasting friendships. I don’t want followers for the sake of a number; I want connections.

The Straw That Broke the Camel’s Back

A week before Kayla’s NYC BBG Meet Up, I received an email from the Sweat Team inviting me to attend. Knowing that others were being offered flights and accommodations, I asked if this was something that would be covered for me. I was told no, and this felt like a slap in the face. I highly doubt that was their intentions, but that is how it felt to me in that moment. While I never asked for anything in return, to be asked to attend an event, and then told I had to pay for it anyways, after everything I had done for them on my own time and with my own money – it hurt. I’ve since spoken to the team to express my concerns and I hope that things will begin to turn around.

It was due to this shift, the loss of enjoyment, and this experience that I made the decision to stop running the YYC BBG Meet Ups. The lack of support for event planning, communication, and consideration for me as a person was more than enough reason for me to stop. This came on the heels of my decision to stop following the BBG program entirely.

BBG Long Term: Not Sustainable

For that 5th set of 12 weeks, I dreaded every single workout. I didn’t enjoy the movements or the workouts, and I didn’t feel challenged. My body did not change at all in those 12 weeks, and I just started to hate the gym again. Again, this is a great program when you start, but plateau is inevitable. I know dozens of girls personally who experienced injuries, just like I developed a knee issue due to the high amount of plyometric movements. This program is amazing for women who want to lose weight and tone up, but not so much for muscle growth. It is heavily cardio intensive, focusing on HIIT style workouts, LISS, and HIIT within the program. It is also a 5-6 day workout program per week, and for many this leads to burnout and exhaustion, and ultimately injuries. Many girls also develop the feeling that they have to continue to maintain 5-6 cardio workouts a week in order to maintain their progress, make further changes, and begin to feel poorly about themselves if they do any less, when in reality, rest is just as important as exercise!

There has been absolutely no progress in the variety of the workouts, other than being able to continue the weeks through use of the app. What started as a grass-roots organization that empowered women and taught them that working out doesn’t have to be an embarrassing ordeal, but can be done with just body weight and the encouragement of your BBG sisters, has become stale after “X” amount of cycles. It needs to be progressed past just body weight and updated faster than once every year and a half (i.e. the app, which is still the same thing, just continuous). Once women stop seeing results, the workout becomes boring and tedious, which leads to less time being active. When you don’t enjoy what you are doing, you inevitably stop doing it.

Find What You Love

So many people ask if they should just keep doing BBG, and my response is always: does it make you happy? THAT is what you should ask yourself in any program you follow, business, career, life, etc. If it doesn’t make you happy, why are you doing it? You are never obligated to only follow one thing for the rest of your life – so why should you? Being featured by Kayla isn’t the only way to recognize your hard work – look in the MIRROR. Be proud of your commitments, your drive, and of who you are. It isn’t the program that works; YOU work.

What works for some will not work for others. Some people are paid to post products on Instagram, are featured by Kayla regularly, and while that may seem great, do not compare yourself to others. Fitness shouldn’t be about Instagram fame – in all honesty, very few will achieve that level of success. Do not define yourself by the success of others. Define yourself by your own achievements.

So there you have it. I am now a #bbgquitter and I’ve broken up with Kayla. Maybe we will get back together some day, but for now, I am leaving the negativity behind me.

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Endometriosis

You are the face of endometriosis. If there was a poster or billboard of what endometriosis was, it would have your face on it.
This is what my gynecologist/endometriosis specialist, Dr. Liane Belland, told me in October.

Endometriosis is a disease. It affects 1 out of every 10 women and I am one of them.

What is Endometriosis?

The following information comes from the Endometriosis Association.

Endometriosis is a medical condition that occurs when the lining of the uterus, called the endometrium, grows in other places, such as the Fallopian tubes, ovaries or along the pelvis. When that lining breaks down, like the regular lining in the uterus that produces the menstruation, it has nowhere to go. This misplaced tissue develops into growths or lesions which respond to the menstrual cycle in the same way that the tissue of the uterine lining does: each month the tissue builds up, breaks down, and sheds. Menstrual blood flows from the uterus and out of the body through the vagina, but the blood and tissue shed from endometrial growths has no way of leaving the body. This results in internal bleeding, breakdown of the blood and tissue from the lesions, and inflammation – and can cause pain, infertility, scar tissue formation, adhesions, and bowel problems.

Endometriosis is no joke. There is no cure. It is excruciating, debilitating and hands down nothing I would even wish on my own worst enemy. It affects every aspect of life. Day-to-day movement, thoughts, and actions. Beyond the day-to-day it affects my future; my fertility, my job security (as I miss a lot of work lately), and my overall mindset as I wonder if I will ever feel “normal.”

Symptoms:

  • painful periods
  • pain in the lower abdomen before and during menstruation
  • cramps one or two weeks around menstruation
  • heavy menstrual bleeding or bleeding between periods
  • infertility
  • pain following sexual intercourse
  • discomfort with bowel movements
  • lower back pain that may occur at any time during your menstrual cycles

Most people I tell that I have this disease have never heard of it, or have any idea what it is. I want to change this. Awareness is half the battle. The more people who understand, the more research there is, and the more options there are.

Diagnosis is difficult, and can only be doing through a laparoscopic surgery, which is hard to get into because symptoms can sometimes be treated with medication (i.e. birth control and anti-inflammatories) and once it’s even diagnosed you have to fight to see a specialist for further treatment, heavier medication, and further surgeries.

When I was 12 I had my first period. While I can’t really recall all the details and timeline, what I can remember is excruciating pain, bleeding that would last 3-4 weeks, no menstrual cycle for a couple of months at a time, and then having the next one come back stronger, more painful, and for longer. I missed numerous days of school, just thinking I was cursed with awful periods. I began birth control when I was 14 to regulate my cycles.

That did the trick for a while, once we found the right pill (I take Yasmin 21 now, and have for years). Things were manageable and I didn’t think a lot of it. Once I got into college, I started having terrible stomach pains on my right side. I went in and out of the emergency room over the next couple of years, getting morphine through IV and sent home. At one point at work, the pain shot through me like a burning branding iron and knife, like my insides were exploding and I dropped to the ground. After spending another night in the ER, I learned I had just had a cyst rupture. Painkillers and sent home.

In 2010, the pain was again so bad I was back in the ER, and they were then concerned it was my appendix, so it was then removed. Of course, it wasn’t inflamed and the surgery wasn’t necessary.

The pain continued off and on. In 2012 I saw a gynecologist who performed my first laparoscopy and diagnosed me with endometriosis. She burnt out some of the tissue, but as my ureters and bladder were also covered she didn’t touch the or any other major organs. To continue to manage the pain, she prescribed me to take my birth control back to back – i.e. no breaks like you normally do to allow a period to occur.

I have been following that process for 5 years now. The constant hormones have been wreaking their own havoc, and the pain is still not gone. Over the past month, the pain has been so high I have missed 1.5 weeks of work – more than I missed all of last year. I have tried two different anti-inflammatories, lie on my heat pad constantly, and question when this pain will end.

Right now? My option is an extremely invasive surgery that requires the lasering and removal of infected tissue, the shuffling and moving of organs, and hoping they can get it all. Recovery can be anywhere from 1-6 weeks dependent on the amount of infected tissue and what organs are affected. There is also no guarantee that this will end my pain. I will be writing again about this topic once I have surgery and experience the recovery time.

In the meantime, I have to take anti-inflammatories, continue taking my birth control, try to exercise when I can as the endorphins released from exercise can block pain receptors. Getting to the gym can often be a challenge in itself, and I’ll admit I haven’t been able to go very often.

I was lucky enough to discover and read Kristyn’s blog yesterday and reached out to her about her experience. She directed me to a couple of Facebook support groups, and her story was shared on CBC last night. I am so grateful that she is she to share her story and that it is getting so much attention! This is what is needed; awareness. Endometriosis is hard. When a disease can be seen on the outside, people understand and show compassion. When the disease is internal, there isn’t a lot of information available, and people don’t understand, it is a lot harder for the person who is suffering to make sense of it all.

March is Endometriosis Awareness month. Awareness and understanding need to happen. I want to make a change. Even if this isn’t something you suffer from, your aunt, niece, boss, coworker, best friend, or your third cousin twice removed could be suffering. Please understand and show compassion. I don’t want sympathy. I want a cure.

On March 19, 2017, the Langevin Bridge in Calgary was illuminated in yellow; raising awareness for Endometriosis. I took these photos to help spread a cause that means so much to me.

LISS…what?

LISS: a type of cardio exercise that has become popular and well-known due to the inclusion of it in Kayla Itsines’ Bikini Body Guide, but many still don’t know what it is, what activities count, or how long to do it. Especially those who have never done her program before! So here’s some facts.

What is it?

LISS stands for Low Intensity Steady State cardio, and is when you maintain the same intensity/pace for a set period of time, generally 30-60 minutes for maximum results.

Within Kayla’s Bikini Body Guide (BBG), she recommends you complete 2-3 sessions of LISS during the first 4 weeks, 4-5 sessions during the next 4 weeks, and 3-4 sessions during the last 4 weeks.

Why do it?

LISS on its own will lead to a negative yield in lean muscle mass and basal metabolic rate. What this means is that while you do LISS, your body metabolizes fat for energy consumption. Consistently incorporating this into your routine will build your cardio endurance, while seeming like you aren’t pushing your body to its max.

If you only do LISS, and no other form of physical activity, your body will start to break down its own muscles as a source of fuel. While you may get lean, you will lose strength. This is why strength training and LISS together are so effective; you lean out while gaining strength.

Doing LISS after a training session actually aids in regeneration and the conditioning of muscles, and doing LISS after a HIIT session is especially effective, since HIIT accesses the stored and hard to burn fat, and LISS will metabolize it. LISS alone cannot access and break down stored fat.

How do I do it properly?

The key to LISS is your heart rate (and maintaining it for the duration of LISS). You want your heart rate to stay in the aerobic zone, which is 50%-70% of your max heart rate. The metabolization of fat requires oxygen, which is exactly what the aerobic zone is.

Calculating your max heart rate:

220 – your age = Max Heart Rate

So my max heart rate is 220 – 30 = 190

I use my Garmin Vivosmart HR to set my personal HR zones based on the below calculations:

Zone 1: 50% – 70% = LISS

Zone 2: 70% – 80% = Resistance

Zone 3: 80% – 90% = HIIT

My Tip? Invest in a heart rate monitor. I highly recommend getting one that tracks via your wrist and wear it all day/night. This all day tracking then will provide accurate readings during workouts, since it has learned your resting heart rate, and will continue to provide accurate readings. While wrist-based monitors aren’t as accurate as chest ones, the difference is due to the fact that you can (and should) wear it all day. Even if the rate isn’t as accurate as a chest rate monitor, it will be tracking your heart rate all day long, so the zones will be accurate, and that’s what matters.

Blog post about fitness trackers to come in the near future, but there are a TON of options available, in all different price ranges. Find one you can afford that fits your personal preferences.

My LISS Experience

Full disclosure? I didn’t do a lick of LISS during the first THREE rounds of BBG that I did. That’s 36 weeks of basically no cardio and only resistance training. I would walk on the treadmill for maybe 15 minutes for a cool down, but then I bailed. It’s boring guys, I won’t lie to you, but it’s so KEY to success. I think I actually would have had even more dramatic results had I bothered to do this. During my fourth round, I finally bothered to do it. I would usually just walk on the treadmill at a 1.0 incline, at a moderate speed, and started tracking my heart rate to make sure I was in the right zone. I would usually scroll through Instagram, catch up on Snapchat stories, and text my friends while I did this.

As I begin BBG again on Monday for the fifth time, I have made sure to schedule LISS into my week, 3 walking/stair climber/bike, and one swim per week. I’m not really looking forward to walking for 45 minutes, let’s be real, my mind is too busy to do the same thing that long, but I’ve learned a lot since those first rounds, and won’t be skipping it anymore.

I will bring my iPad to the gym which has Netflix on it, load my phone with podcasts, and use the time to unwind my mind. Find something that will keep you occupied enough to not get bored, but doesn’t require a lot of effort since your focus needs to be on your heart rate! Check in with that often!

FAQ’s

Is yoga LISS?

In my experience, no. I have never been able to maintain a zone 1 LISS heart rate for a continuous 30-60 minutes in yoga.

What about fitness classes like barre, spin, boxing, pilates, etc.?

Again, for me, it’s a no. Heart rate and duration are the #1 key to effective LISS. In spin, I tend to reach zone 3 (HIIT) more than zone 1 (LISS). I also can’t maintain zone in any other fitness class that I have tried.

What does count?

Only steady, continuous cardio like walking, rowing, swimming, stair climbing, biking, and using the elliptical*.

The fitness sensation, and one of the nicest people I’ve ever met, Kelsey Wells (@mysweatlife) has also come up with the brutally amazing #mysweatlifelissfromhell which is always an option for an extra challenge! Check out her LISS workout here.

*if you can find something  other than the above that you are able to maintain a zone 1 heart rate for 30-60 minutes, it counts!

Happy walking!

Candida – Part 2

It’s over! 30 days of being dairy, sugar, fruit, additive, caffeine, nut, condiment, vinegar grain, alcohol, and starch free, and I am feeling FANTASTIC. For a full list of things I wasn’t allowed and what candida IS, visit Part 1 where I explain all this.

I certainly wasn’t perfect throughout this cleanse – as you read further and look at my food diary, you can see exactly where I cheated and ate things off the “NO” list, but I also list the affects making that decision had on me. Some things were fine, others definitely were not.

Results?

My stomach is flat and there aren’t any more pain and uh, …regularity, issues. My digestion is doing just fine, finally. My energy is up, my head is clearer, and my headaches have lessened. The cleanse did exactly what it was supposed to do: cleaned the candida out of me and made my whole body and mind less groggy and disgruntled. You can see the change in my body in the picture, which shows me one day before I started the cleanse to today, the morning after the cleanse ended.

I will likely do this again next year, but not over Halloween like this year and last – the temptation is horrendous and it made me very grumpy to watch the BF eat it and I had to just stare at it. Besides, that will get me refreshed for Christmas timing it after Halloween and birthday meals!

Cleanses aren’t something to take lightly – they require a lot of meal planning and preparation, and making sure you are familiar with the ingredients you are NOT allowed so that you can avoid them. I ‘lovingly’ refer to this cleanse as Whole 30 on crack, since it follows a lot of the same restrictions, then adds more to make it harder.

Worth it? My body and mind say YES. I seriously feel refreshed. Plus, since I know people want to know, yes, I lost weight. I lost 8.4lbs in the 30 days. Which just goes to show how eating things that cause your body issues creates all sorts of problems! I’m glad to be rid of that weight, but more glad I feel so good now! Now it’s time to slowly integrate the foods off the “NO” list back into my diet so that I can determine which one(s) were causing me all the issues.

Below, I’ve listed out an entire 30 day food diary below, including any cheats, along with what exercise (if any) I did that day. I also listed my mood for each of the 30 days, and while it does seem like I repeat myself a lot, you can see the transition from feeling horrible to feeling great. It’s long, so be prepared!

Food, Exercise, Mood Diary

Week 1 – October 17, 2016 – October 23, 2016

DAY ONE – Monday

Breakfast:

3 eggs, scrambled

1L of water with lemons and limes – drank throughout morning

Lunch:

Tomato Bisque soup – I realize this has cream in it, but it’s not much, diluted through the soup, and it is day one. Such a little amount of dairy will not be detrimental.

1L of water with lemons and limes – drank throughout afternoon

Dinner:

Cauliflower Alfredo with baked chicken and zoodles

500mL of water – drank thoughout evening

Mood: exhausted – slept really poorly the night before and no caffeine has me dragging. Minor stomach irritation, mild headache.

Exercise: none, rest day

DAY TWO – Tuesday

Breakfast:

Strawberry shakeology packet, ¼ c. plain Greek yogurt, water, ice

  • There are disagreements about whether or not Shakeology should be allowed on a candida cleanse, but for ME, shakeology is full of nutrients, no sugar, and I am not making my shakes with juice or fruit like I normally do, eliminating that sugar from my morning routine. Shakeology DOES contain fructose and starches, but some of the lowest sugar and carb content compared to most other nutritional shakes. It is also full of immune boosters that are known to fight candida, so in my books, I will be sticking to my morning shake. It gives me natural energy, and supports my immune system. I’ve been drinking Shakeology for about 3 months now, and loving how the results have been so far, so I will continue with it throughout this cleanse.

1L of water with lemons – drank throughout morning

Lunch:

Cauliflower Alfredo with baked chicken and zoodles

1L of water with lemons – drank throughout afternoon

Dinner:

Taco salad with homemade guacamole dressing

Mood: Tired. So, so, very tired. The mornings without coffee or tea are really rough. I didn’t think I was this caffeine reliant…apparently I am. Headache in the temples, throbbing more as the afternoon wears on. Headache moving into behind eyes (4pm).

Exercise: My Best Body Trial – Legs, Run

DAY THREE – Wednesday

Breakfast:

None – I stayed home from work due to non-cleanse related issues and slept until 10am

Lunch:

Taco salad with homemade guacamole dressing

1L of water throughout the afternoon

Dinner:

Chicken drumsticks with half a tomato, plain salad with bacon bits and a Caesar dressing – this was cheating, but it was 8:30pm and I needed to eat…now, and I don’t eat plain lettuce!

½ L of water – drank throughout evening

Mood: I was distracted by my internal stomach pain, so that basically took up my mood the entire day. Hard to say if anything at all was cleanse related today. Didn’t drink enough water today.

Exercise: My Best Body Chest & Triceps

DAY FOUR – Thursday

Breakfast:

Strawberry shakeology packet, ¼ c. plain Greek yogurt, water, ice

1L of water – drank throughout morning

Lunch:

Chicken drumsticks with salad with tomato, cucumber, and a lemon/olive oil dressing

1L of water – drank throughout afternoon

Dinner:

Beef and broccoli stir-fry w/ quinoa

500mL of water – drank throughout evening

Mood: Minor headache in the temples this morning, I think I am finally coming off the caffeine addiction at this point. No stomach irritation.

Exercise: None, had a deep tissue massage

DAY FIVE – Friday

Breakfast:

Strawberry shakeology packet, ¼ c. plain Greek yogurt, water, ice

1L of water – drank throughout morning

Snack:

2 eggs, scrambled

500mL of water

Lunch:

Beef and broccoli stir-fry with quinoa

1L of water – drank throughout afternoon

Dinner:

I had a business launch party this night and the food served was mostly things I couldn’t eat. So I basically only ate carrots and celery and drank water this night. This is NOT recommended! I got home at 10:30 and wasn’t about to make a full meal then, but it definitely wasn’t enough food to support my active body!

Mood: Feeling good! The massage definitely helped get rid of my migraine and caffeine headache. There’s just a tiny twinge of a headache trying to peek through right now. Not as tired as I have been all week either.

Exercise: none, rest

DAY SIX – Saturday

Brunch:

3 eggs, scrambled, half a tomato

1L of water – drank throughout morning/afternoon

Dinner:

Veggie salad, lettuce, tomato, avocado, cucumber, celery

1L of water – drank throughout evening

Mood: Felt great most of the day, crashed around 3pm and ended up having a 4.5 hour nap!

Exercise: My Best Body Back & Biceps

DAY SEVEN – Sunday

Brunch:

3 eggs, scrambled

1L of water – drank throughout morning/afternoon

Dinner:

Bolognese meat sauce, veggie salad

  • This was supposed to go with spaghetti squash but mine rotted so just meat for me) I DID eat a couple of noodles of spaghetti; this was NOT a good idea. My stomach was very unhappy with that decision, but luckily that only lasted an hour

1L of water – drank throughout evening

Mood: Feeling really good today! Had lots of energy, and only missed the habit of a Sunday morning coffee more than the actual coffee itself. Headaches are gone entirely, and the bloat is practically non-existent.

Weight: -4lbs

Exercise: My Best Body Shoulders & Abs

Week 2 – October 24 – October 30, 2016

DAY EIGHT – Monday

Breakfast:

Strawberry shakeology packet, ¼ c. plain Greek yogurt, water, ice

1L of water– drank throughout morning

Snack: 1 cup Angie’s Boom Chicka Pop, Sea Salt Popcorn.

  • Some people will say that since corn is on the “NO” list, you should not have popcorn either. However, Angie’s is air popped, gluten-free, has no trans-fats, is sugar-free, and uses sunflower oil. It’s probably the healthiest popcorn out there, and I need more than just veggies and meat. This is also just my opinion on it!

Lunch:

Bolognese meat sauce

1L of water – drank through the afternoon

1 cup peppermint tea

Dinner:

BBQ chicken with a veggie salad: cucumber, celery, tomato, avocado and Renee’s Greek yogurt cucumber dill dressing

1L of water – drank through workout and evening

Mood: Feeling really good today! Didn’t feel tired all day at work, had the energy to do a full (hard) workout, and no headaches! My stomach is lying flat and no discomfort.

Exercise: My Best Body Legs

DAY NINE – Tuesday

Breakfast:

Chocolate shakeology packet, ¼ c. plain Greek yogurt, water, ice

1L of water– drank throughout morning

Snack: 1 cup Boom Chicka Pop

Lunch:

BBQ chicken with a veggie salad, cucumber, celery, tomato, avocado and Renee’s Greek yogurt cucumber dill dressing

1L of water – drank throughout afternoon

Dinner:

Taco salad with homemade guacamole dressing (I loved this so much last week I am making it again!)

Mood: Feeling GREAT. The exhaustion is gone, I’m tired, but normally I work out in the evening and get up at 5am for work tired. Not feeling like I need coffee to function through the day. I even was complimented on looking toned today!

Exercise: Run, 4km

DAY TEN- Wednesday

Breakfast:

Chocolate shakeology, ¼ c. plain Greek yogurt, water, ice

1L of water– drank throughout morning

Lunch:

Taco salad, literally just taco meat and lettuce today. My avocado I brought wasn’t ripe at all, so it was a pretty pathetic lunch!

1L of water – drank throughout afternoon

Dinner:

Baked seasoned chicken with a veggie salad: cucumber, celery, tomato, avocado and Renee’s Greek yogurt cucumber dill dressing

Mood: Other than suffering from massive leg DOMs from MBB leg day and the run last night, I feel amazing. My stomach hasn’t been upset all week, no headaches, my thinking is clear and I am a lot more focused and productive!

Exercise:  None, rest

DAY ELEVEN- Thursday

Breakfast:

Chocolate shakeology, ¼ c. plain Greek yogurt, water, ice

1 cup peppermint tea

1L of water – drank throughout morning

Snack: 1 c. Boom Chicka Pop

Lunch:

Baked seasoned chicken with a veggie salad: cucumber, celery, tomato, avocado and Renee’s Greek yogurt cucumber dill dressing

1L water – drank throughout afternoon

Dinner:

Mood: a little groggy – I didn’t sleep that well last night so I’m feeling tired today. Other than that, headache free, bloat free, and feeling good!

Exercise: My Best Body Back & Biceps

DAY TWELVE – Friday

Breakfast:

Chocolate shakeology, ¼ c. plain Greek yogurt, water, ice

Lunch: Bolognese meat sauce, veggie salad

Dinner:

Italian Meatballs, diced tomato sauce with veggie salad: cucumber, celery, tomato, avocado and Renee’s Greek yogurt cucumber dill dressing

Mood: No work today! Feeling good, lots of energy, feeling overall refreshed. Getting a little bored with the limited food choices, but I know that I just need to be more creative and will put more energy into my meal planning for this upcoming week. The more bored you are with food, the more likely you are to fall off the wagon.

Exercise: My Best Body Shoulders & Abs + My Best Body Chest & Triceps

DAY THIRTEEN – Saturday

Breakfast: none, I slept in this day

Lunch: 3 eggs, scrambled

Dinner: steak, mashed potatoes, veggie salad: cucumber, celery, avocado and Renee’s Greek yogurt cucumber dill dressing

  • I completely cheated here, I’ll admit it. I didn’t have MUCH potato and I didn’t find it affected me too negatively. It was my night off from cooking and I wasn’t going to say no! Don’t make cheating a habit though, you will feel the effects if you do

Mood: Still doing great! I find I have the strength and stamina to complete full workouts without getting (overly) exhausted, and still able to do plenty of errands and housework. Usually I get too tired to do it all in a day, but I’m getting things done! I am also headache free!

Exercise: My Best Body Shoulders & Abs

DAY FOURTEEN – Sunday

Breakfast: none, slept in again

Lunch:

2 eggs, scrambled

Dinner:

Italian meatballs, homemade marinara sauce, spaghetti squash, and a veggie salad: cucumber, celery, and Renee’s Greek yogurt cucumber dill dressing

Mood: Good! Yoga always makes me feel calm and refreshed. Not suffering from any headaches or digestion issues. Just about half way through and loving it! Pleased with the changes in the way my pants and shirts are fitting, and the scale going down isn’t making me sad either!

Weight: -2lbs, bringing me to -6lb total

Exercise: Run (3.75km), Hot Yoga

Week 3 – October 31 – November 6, 2016

DAY FIFTEEN- Monday

Breakfast:

Chocolate shakeology packet, ¼ c. plain Greek yogurt, water, ice

Lunch:

Italian meatballs, homemade marinara sauce, spaghetti squash, and a veggie salad: cucumber, celery, and Renee’s Greek yogurt cucumber dill dressing

Dinner:

Baked chicken with a veggie salad: cucumber, celery and Renee’s Greek yogurt cucumber dill dressing

1L of water – drank through workout and evening

Mood: Irritated, for the pure fact that I can’t eat ANY of the chocolate sitting on my kitchen table. We had no kids come to trick or treat, so now it’s just staring at me. I have done fine with cravings and lack of sugar for the last week and a half, and this day (and until the candy is gone) may just KILL me. In reality though, I am just really tired from a poor sleep the night before. I was bad about drinking water today so I am sure that isn’t helping.

Exercise: None, rest day

DAY SIXTEEN – Tuesday

Breakfast:

Chocolate shakeology packet, water, ice

500mL of water– drank throughout morning

Lunch:

BBQ chicken with a veggie salad, cucumber, celery, tomato, and oil and lemon juice dressing

Dinner:

Baked basa filet, ¼ c. cooked quinoa, and a veggie salad with lettuce, cucumber, and Renee’s Greek yogurt cucumber dill dressing

Mood: Still tired today! Not sure where the exhaustion is coming from, but it had been a pretty emotional few days. If you follow my Instagram account, read the post from October 30th and you’ll see why. Still annoyed I can’t have any of the candy that was brought into the office, but I know I’m better off without it!

Exercise: None, rest day

DAY SEVENTEEN- Wednesday

Breakfast:

Chocolate shakeology, water, ice

1L of water– drank throughout morning

Snack:

1 c. Boom Chicka Pop

Lunch:

Chicken with veggie salad: cucumber, tomato, celery and lemon dressing

1L of water – drank throughout afternoon

Dinner:

Taco salad with homemade guacamole dressing

500mL of water

Mood: Just feeling normal! I feel like I’m saying I feel good a lot, which isn’t a bad thing, but awfully repetitive! I think the negative feelings of starting this cleanse are all past me now!

Exercise: My Best Body Push & Abs

DAY EIGHTEEN- Thursday

Breakfast:

Chocolate shakeology, water, ice

1L of water – drank throughout morning

Lunch: Taco salad with homemade guacamole dressing

500mL water – drank throughout afternoon

1 cup Peppermint tea

Dinner:

Taco meat with spaghetti squash and side salad with lettuce, bacon bits, and Renee’s Greek yogurt cucumber dill dressing

Mood: I donated blood today, so I’m tired. However, that’s not cleanse related! Cleanse-wise, it is SO nice to not feel bloated and have a stomach that growls and rumbles all day!

Exercise: none – you can’t exercise after blood donations, it will wipe you out way too much

DAY NINETEEN – Friday

Breakfast:

2 eggs, scrambled

1L of water, drank though out morning

Lunch:

Chicken breast, with arugula salad and lemon dressing

500ml of water, drank though out afternoon

Dinner:

None, see below.

500ml of water, drank in and after yoga

Mood: Tired. I know this is from donating blood and not from the cleanse, but I am just EXHAUSTED. I went home after work, and slept straight through until I needed to get up for yoga, did that, then went directly back to bed. So no dinner for me! This isn’t the healthiest choice, but I got home at 10pm and went to bed.

Exercise: Hot Yoga

DAY TWENTY – Saturday

Breakfast:

Slept in, none

Lunch:

Taco meat with mixed greens and avocado

Dinner:

Ate out for birthday dinners, I ordered a potato leek soup to start, then steak & frites as the main course. I didn’t eat the frites, I instead traded the fries for Nathan’s mashed potatoes, AND had a glass and a half of wine.

While it was delicious, it was a bad idea…see Sunday’s mood.

Mood: It was a good day! I got 2 workouts in, even though they were a bit more challenging than usual. Happy, flat stomach, no headaches!

Exercise: My Best Body Step-Up Challenge, Barre

DAY TWENTY ONE – Sunday

Brunch:

3 eggs, scrambled

Dinner:

1c. rotisserie chicken (no skin), one spoonful of mashed potatoes, mixed greens salad with Renee’s Greek yogurt cucumber dill dressing

Mood: Terrible. My decisions to break the rules on Saturday night and eat potatoes and have alcohol were detrimental. The steak also had a creamy peppercorn sauce, so I am sure dairy of some sort was in there. I’m not sure what the culprit was (if it’s wine I will cry) but I spent most of the day in the fetal position or sleeping. My stomach was FURIOUS.

Weight:  – 2.4lbs, bringing me to -8.4lbs total

Exercise: none, rest

Week 4 – November 7 – November 13, 2016

DAY TWENTY TWO- Monday

Breakfast:

Chocolate shakeology, ¼ c. plain kefir, water, ice

Medium orange spice (herbal) tea

1L of water, drank throughout morning

Snack:

1 c. Boom Chicka Pop

Lunch:

1 c. rotisserie chicken (no skin), 1 spoonful of mashed potatoes

Dinner:

Rotisserie chicken with a veggie salad: cucumber, tomato, celery, avocado, with Renee’s Greek yogurt garlic dressing

1L of water – drank through workout and evening

Mood: feeling good, especially after Sunday’s debacle. A little bit of bloating, this is to be expected. Definitely helped me realize that cream probably isn’t a good idea for me.

Exercise: None

DAY TWENTY THREE – Tuesday

Breakfast:

Chocolate shakeology, ¼ c. plain kefir, water, ice

500mL of water– drank throughout morning

Snack:

1 c. Boom Chicka Pop

Lunch:

Beef Shawarma meat with a lettuce and tomato salad

500 mL of water

Dinner:

Steak, one spoonful of creamed corn (I know I know I’m terrible), and a side salad with bacon bits and Renee’s Greek yogurt garlic dressing. I also had the thinnest sliver of Dairy Queen ice cream cake, since it was the BF’s birthday and that was the extend of our celebrations. Crazy enough, it was almost TOO sweet!

500 mL of water

Mood: Woke up with a headache today, which is annoying. The weather also shifted up about 10 degrees this morning so I imagine that’s a part of it. It’s gone away as the day has progressed, and my belly and energy are doing good today.

Exercise: None

DAY TWENTY FOUR- Wednesday

Breakfast:

Chocolate shakeology, ¼ c. plain kefir, water, ice

1L of water– drank throughout morning

Snack:

1 c. Boom Chicka Pop

Lunch:

Chicken Caesar salad from Sunterra – I removed all the croutons and as much cheese as possible. I had the lemon Caesar vinaigrette dressing instead of the creamy one.

1L of water – drank throughout afternoon

Dinner:

Goulash and a side salad with bacon bits and Renee’s Greek yogurt cucumber dressing

Mood: I’m kind of blah this week. It’s not that I’m feeling bad, I just am blah! I think a lot has to do with the weird weather we are having and the time shift on the weekend. It being dark so early after work is really making me lose motivation to leave the house. I don’t have any headaches, or stomach aches, and my skin has really cleared up though. So the cleanse itself is doing its job well. Now I just need to get my mind back in the game.

Exercise: None

DAY TWENTY FIVE- Thursday

Breakfast:

Chocolate shakeology, ¼ c. plain kefir, water, ice

1L of water – drank throughout morning

1 cup Peach Tranquility Tea from Starbucks

Snack:

1 c. Boom Chicka Pop

Lunch:

Goulash

1L water – drank throughout afternoon

Dinner:

Taco salad with homemade guacamole dressing

Mood: Feeling better today! I think my energy is coming back, plus eating more red meat than usual this week is helping my iron stores. I am not exercising as much, but I am focused on eating well and giving my body the rest it clearly needs. Mood wise I am doing great!

Exercise: None

DAY TWENTY SIX – Friday

Breakfast:

Chocolate shakeology, ¼ c. plain kefir, water, ice

Lunch:

Taco salad with homemade guacamole dressing

Dinner:

Baked chicken with a side salad with bacon bits and Renee’s Greek yogurt cucumber dressing

Mood: Feeling awesome! I headed out early this morning for a full 5k run and even though I was tired, I felt like I had the energy to actually complete it. No bloat, no stomach pain, feeling refreshed and energetic!

Exercise: Run, 5km

DAY TWENTY SEVEN – Saturday

Brunch:

Chocolate shakeology, ¼ c. plain kefir, water, ice

Dinner:

Baked chicken with a side salad with bacon bits and Renee’s Greek yogurt cucumber dressing and a spoonful of mashed potatoes (I’ve basically figured out that potatoes don’t bother me at this point in the cleanse, so I am keeping them to a minimum until the cleanse is over, but I don’t cook on the weekends and wasn’t going to complain)

Mood: Doing awesome today! I just needed that extra rest this week and now I’m back to feeling awesome. Spin class got my heart pumping and I was still able to accomplish a ton today! It’s so nice not being lethargic and wanting to spend the entire weekend on the couch.

Exercise: Spin

DAY TWENTY EIGHT – Sunday

Brunch:

3 eggs, scrambled

1 cup Peach Tranquility Tea

1L of water – drank throughout day

Snack:

1 c. Boom Chicka Pop

1 cup orange spice herbal tea

Dinner:

Dry rubbed ribs, a side salad with bacon bits and Renee’s Greek yogurt cucumber dressing, and a spoonful of potatoes

1.5L of water – drank throughout evening

Mood:

Feeling great – it’s really weird waking up on the weekends at 7:30am naturally, and not being exhausted. It’s a good weird, don’t get me wrong, but I was the queen of sleeping in! I don’t feel reliant at all on caffeine, my body is full of natural energy!

Weight: -0.4lbs (it’s slowing down, which is to be expected) bringing me to -8.8lbs total

Exercise: Run, Abs with Nad Week 1, Day 1

Week 5 – November 14 – November 15, 2016

DAY TWENTY NINE- Monday

Breakfast:

Chocolate shakeology, ¼ c. plain kefir, water, ice

1L of water – drank throughout morning

Snack:

1 c. Boom Chicka Pop

1 cup orange spice herbal tea

Lunch:

Dry rubbed ribs and one spoonful of potatoes

Dinner:

Salmon with a side salad with bacon bits and Renee’s Greek yogurt cucumber dressing

1L of water – drank through workout and evening

Mood: Feeling great! I’m looking forward to the cleanse ending, but SO happy with how my body has responded. Natural energy, no bloat, all great things!

Exercise: None

DAY THIRTY – Tuesday

Breakfast:

Chocolate shakeology, ¼ c. plain kefir, water, ice

1L of water– drank throughout morning

Snack:

1 c. Boom Chicka Pop

1 cup Peach Tranquility Tea

Lunch:

Goulash

500mL of water

Dinner:

Roast Beef with a side salad with bacon bits and Renee’s Greek yogurt cucumber dressing

Mood: I have the faintest start of a headache, but I know it’s due to the weather shift that’s happening right now. Other than that I’m feeling like a million bucks. Clear mind, clear body, and overall happy! This was so worth the food restrictions and first week of hell.

  • Weight: +0.2lbs, bringing me to -8.4lbs total

Exercise: Abs with Nad, Week 1 Day 2

 

Neither financial compensation and/or product were received for this post. All thoughts and opinions expressed here are my own and not influenced by the developing company and/or its affiliates in any way.

Candida – Part 1

As some of you may have seen, I began a 30 day candida cleanse on Monday, October 17. I thought that I should take some time to explain what candida is, what the dietary restrictions on the cleanse are, and why I am doing this.

At the end of the 30 days, I will post my daily food, mood, exercise journal so that you can see how the change in food and cleanse process affected my every day life.

WHAT is candida?

Candida is a fungus, which is a form of yeast, and a very small amount of it lives in your mouth and intestines. Its a natural part of gut flora, helping with digestion and nutrient absorption.

But when overproduced and the population gets out of control, candida can break down the wall of the intestine and penetrate the bloodstream. This releases toxic by-products throughout your body and can cause a leaky gut. The toxic by-products cause damage to body tissues and organs, and are detrimental to yoru immune system.

This then can lead to many different health problems, from digestive issues to depression.

How can someone get a candida overgrowth?

  • Eating a diet high in refined carbohydrates and sugar
  • High intake of alcohol
  • Taking oral contraceptives
  • High intake of fermented foods
  • High-stress lifestyle
  • Overuse of antibiotics that killed too many of those friendly bacteria
  • High intake of chlorine and fluoride
  • Diabetes
  • Weakened immune system

What are symptoms of a candida overgrowth?

  • Feeling tired, exhausted and worn down
  • Frequent stomach pains and digestive issues such as bloating, constipation, or diarrhea
  • Difficulty concentrating, poor memory, lack of focus, brain fog
  • Skin issues like eczema, psoriasis, hives, acne, and rashes
  • Itchy skin
  • Severe seasonal allergies or itchy ears
  • Irritability, mood swings, anxiety, or depression
  • Anger outbursts
  • Mood swings
  • Headaches
  • Intense cravings for sugars, sweets, and breads
  • Skin and nail fungal infections, such as athlete’s foot or toenail fungus

 

What CAN’T I eat?*

This is a looooong list – get ready to scroll…

  • Sugar
    • Honey
    • Syrup
    • Chocolate
    • Molasses
    • Rice Syrup
    • Artificial Sweeteners
  • Alcohol
    • Wine
    • Beer
    • Spirits
    • Liquors
    • Cider
  • Grains
    • Anything made with wheat, rye, oats or barley, e.g. white bread, rye bread, pasta.
    • Spelt products
    • Corn and corn byproducts
    • Rice
  • Fruit
    • Fresh Fruit.
    • Dried Fruit
    • Canned Fruit
    • Fruit Juice
  • Certain Vegetables
    • Potatoes
    • Carrots
    • Sweet Potatoes
    • Yams
    • Beets
    • Peas
    • Parsnips
  • Specific Meats
    • All pork products
    • Cured meats
    • Processed meats
    • Smoked or vacuum-packed meats
  • Specific Fish
    • All fish except for wild salmon and sardines
    • All shellfish
  • Dairy Products
    • Cheese
    • Milk
    • Cream
    • Whey products
  • Additives & Preservatives
    • Citric Acid
    • Anything you don’t know or can’t pronounce
  • Caffeine
    • Coffee
    • Black & green tea
    • Diet & regular soda
    • Energy drinks
  • Nuts
    • Cashews
    • Peanuts
    • Pistachios
  • Beans
    • Beans and other legumes
    • Chickpeas
    • Tofu
    • Soy cheese
    • Soy milk
    • All soy products
  • Mushrooms/Moldy Foods
    • Mushrooms
    • Truffles
  • Condiments
    • Ketchup
    • Mayonnaise
    • Regular Mustard
    • Relish
    • Horseradish
    • Soy sauce
  • Vinegars
    • All vinegars, except for Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Fats & Oils
    • Peanut oil
    • Corn oil
    • Canola oil
    • Soy oil

That seems like a lot…can you eat ANYTHING?!

Yes, and the fact is the more creative you get with recipes, the easier it is. I made a homemade guacamole to top my seasoned ground beef on a bed of lettuce. Yup, taco salad. It was filling, delicious, and met all the requirements of the candida diet.

It is a mostly meat, vegetables, and water, but I figure as long as I’m eating the things I like, it’s really not so bad. But, for you wondering what’s allowed, here’s the list:

  • Vegetables
    • Artichokes
    • Asparagus
    • Avocado
    • Broccoli
    • Brussels sprouts
    • Cabbage
    • Celery
    • Cucumber
    • Eggplant
    • Garlic (raw)
    • Kale
    • Olives
    • Onions
    • Rutabaga
    • Spinach
    • Tomatoes
    • Zucchini
  • Live Yogurt Cultures
    • Probiotic yogurt
    • Kefir
  • Meat & Eggs
    • Beef
    • Chicken
    • Lamb
    • Turkey
    • Eggs
  • Fish
    • Anchovies
    • Herring
    • Sardines
    • Wild salmon
  • Nuts & Seeds
    • Almonds
    • Coconut meat
    • Flax Seed
    • Hazelnuts
    • Pecans
    • Sunflower Seeds
    • Walnuts
  • Non Glutinous Grains
    • Buckwheat
    • Millet
    • Oat Bran
    • Quinoa
  • Herbs & Spices
  • Oils
    • Virgin Coconut Oil
    • Olive Oil
    • Sesame Oil
    • Flax Oil
    • Coconut Oil
    • Red Palm Oil
  • Seasoning
    • Black Pepper
    • Sea Salt
    • Lemon Juice
    • Coconut Aminos
    • Apple Cider Vinegar (Organic, Raw, Unfiltered)
  • Beverages
    • Chicory root coffee
    • Cinnamon Tea
    • Peppermint Tea
    • Ginger Tea
    • Licorice Tea
    • Water
  • Sweeteners
    • Stevia
    • Xylitol

WHY would you do this?!

I did this cleanse about this time last year under the guidance of my naturopath. It did wonders for me – mood, energy levels, concentration, and my stomach felt a million times better after completing this.

I have digestive issues, and am usually bloated and uncomfortable, no matter what I eat. knowing that this cleanse made such a change for me last year I decided to do it again.

Along with the dietary restrictions, I take 3 natural supplements a day, along with a probiotic. The cleanse I use is: Genestra Candaclear Four. The supplements are as follows:

  • Delayed Release Allicin
  • Allicin with cinnamon
  • Allicin with caprylates
  • Probiotic with nutrients

I take one of each of these pills once a day, witha  meal, for the next 30 days. Allicin is garlic, and a lot of it, which is a natural antifungal, which also supports the immune system, reduces cholesterol, and controls blood sugar levels.

So overall, this cleanse will allow me to FEEL better overall. I will likely lose weight – I did last year, but it’s important to note that this isn’t the reason why I am doing this. Pleasant side outcome? Yes, but overall I want a calm and happy belly more than anything.

In 30 days, I will provide an elaborate update! If anyone has any questions, give me a shout!

*this comprehensive food guide comes from The Candida Diet, which has been a valuable resource to me

 

Neither financial compensation and/or product were received for this post. All thoughts and opinions expressed here are my own and not influenced by the developing company and/or its affiliates in any way. I am not liable for any errors or omissions in this information. I am not liable for losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information.

thirty.

There’s something absolutely terrifying about entering a new decade of life. Turning twenty was full of excitement and possibilities. Turning thirty has me wondering why life didn’t fall into place as I thought it should.

Today is my birthday. I’ve had mixed emotions about it for the past 6 months. One is excitement, since I am currently getting on a plane to San Francisco for the weekend, meeting up with friends I met through the BBG exercise program while I’m there, and traveling a city that has been on my bucket list for years with the BF. The other emotions? Negative ones.

I’m a planner, to the point of it almost being OCD. I could tell you right now exactly what I am doing on any said day within the next three months. It gives me control, and I like to know how my life will go. That said, it should be no surprise that I had it all lined up in my head since I was about 16 how my life would go: graduate high school, go to university, meet the love of my life, graduate university with a 4 year bachelor degree, get married, buy a house, begin a career, have a baby or two, and have my career begin taking off. All by the time I turned thirty. Well. I’ve done some of those things.

I finished high school, that was probably the only thing that went completely to plan.

It took me six years to finish university. I did poorly the first year, and switched to the college to complete a 2+2 degree (2 year diploma, which then directly allows you to begin your third year of your bachelor degree). The grades from the first year affected that and I couldn’t move directly into third year. I switched majors twice. I had to retake a couple of classes. I moved to Calgary to work full-time and couldn’t take a full 5 course semester for a year. I ultimately finished and crossed the stage.

I took a break for three years before I decided to pursue my accounting designation, which was another two years plus 8 months because I had to take classes I didn’t take in university. So what could have taken 6 years total took almost 9. I just finished the designation last year.

I met a few men who I was certain were the “loves of my life” which couldn’t have been further from the truth. We can just say I’ve had my share of poor relationship experiences, from cheaters, to drug abusers, to manipulative, emotional/mental abusers.

I’ve moved nine times in the past 10 years and lived in four different cities. I do not own a house. I am not married. I do not have children. My career is at the very beginning stages of where I want it to be.

I’ve been really struggling with all this. It’s too early to be having a midlife crisis, but when plans don’t go the way I think they should, I have a hard time with it.

I made mistakes, and I made poor choices. I’m human, it happens.

All of those missteps have formed me into who I am today. I had to really stop myself from focusing on all of these negatives. It’s so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle that is being an adult that when all you see is tasks, and to do lists, and cleaning, you forget about what’s important. About what has been achieved.

I am an accountant at a stable oil  & gas company, who has not laid a single person off since the downturn in oil. I really have met the love of my life, and we’ve been together for almost five years. We rent because we love the area we live in, and to buy in this economy is not feasible. We have a healthy, loving, and supportive relationship.

I get to travel, spend time with family and friends, exercise, go out, and my career is slowly starting. I am healthy, I have amazing friends, and I get to experience new things constantly.

I am turning thirty the strongest, healthiest, and fittest I have ever been. I am confident in who I am as a woman. So even though I haven’t checked all those boxes, I am happy, and it took me too long to realize that.

This next decade is about being just that. Happy.

This is achievable in so many ways. I will grow myself and my relationships. I am going to start a new exercise program next week with weights, and continue running. I want to challenge my body, and push it to new limits. I want to run a half marathon. I want to continue to be active in the BBG community, where I’ve met so many amazing women and made so many new friends, even though I will be taking a break from the exercise program for a bit. I will continue to work on my career so I can continue to advance. I’ll get that house one of these days, but it isn’t something I need to dwell on. I will travel more, and worry less about money.

It’s time to experience life to all its potential, and I can’t wait.

Running..that dreaded thing

I’m not a runner. I never have been either. I swam, so when you put me on land to do that kind of steady, continuous movement I become a fish out of water; flopping around and senselessly moving forward. I assure you, it’s not pretty. My boyfriend has always said my running is terrible and I need serious help.

So I don’t run. I can do cardio in the pool or on a bike, in a spin class or cramming it into 15 minute HIIT workouts that don’t require me to hold proper form for more than 30 seconds at a time.

A month ago I seemingly lost my mind. After watching several friends post about their SeaWheeze half marathon accomplishments, I made a decision. I want to do that.

So I am going to. Part of the draw is of course the fact that it is lululemon hosting it. I freaking love lululemon, who doesn’t? Registration comes with a pair of shorts, evening yoga, special event shopping, an after-party, all hosted by lululemon!

There is also a MEDAL. I haven’t had a medal since I was 14 when I quit swimming. I want one, so I’m going to get one. I want to be able to say YUP, look at this baby, I just ran for 21.1km and I have a sweet piece of metal around my neck to prove it.

The last and most important factor? It’s something that challenges me, and forces me out of my comfort zone. It’s something that will enhance all my exercise abilities, increases my cardio, and overall going to make be stronger at the end of it.

So since my running abilities are essentially non-existent, I signed up for a Learn to Run clinic at the Running Room…and I quit it. Full disclosure, I found at the one I signed up for there was no focus on the actual how to run. What I expected to get was education on stride, foot strike, breathing, body position, posture, etc. The biomechanics of running. I very well could have misunderstood the course, but to go learn about products and clothing, then just go out and run really wasn’t what I was looking for. As a swim instructor in the past, it’s so important to me to understand the fundamental movements, and how to do them correctly, before you can expect someone to successfully swim, and in this case, run.

So instead, I stopped going to the clinic, but I did not stop running. I’ve gotten tips from my physiotherapist, massage therapist, my boyfriend (who was a runner in high school), and input from other friends who are runners. I utilize the internet, without getting too deep in there since that is just overload and I try my best. I have learned over the last year of continuous working out that I can usually tell if I am doing something wrong because of the way my body feels. I listen to it, and figure out the problem as quickly as possible.

I go out to run every Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday. I still follow the structure the running room set out, increasing the number of minutes I run each week by one, but typically sticking to 20-25 minute each time while I build up my ability. The pyramid I am working on is as follows:

Week 1: run 1 minute; walk 2 minutes, repeat 7 times

Week 2: run 1 minute; walk 1 minute, repeat 10 times

Week 3: run 2 minutes; walk 1 minute, repeat 7 times

Week 4: run 3 minute; walk 1 minute, repeat 6 times

Week 5: run 4 minutes; walk 1 minute, repeat 5 times

Week 6: run 5 minute; walk 1 minute, repeat 4 times

Week 7: run 6 minutes; walk 1 minute, repeat 3 times

Week 8: run 8 minutes; walk 1 minute, repeat 2 times

Week 9: run 10 minutes; walk 1 minute, repeat 2 times

Week 10: run 10 minutes; walk 1 minute, repeat 2 times

I still don’t love it. I just finished the third run of week 3’s set up and have to head out to run 3 minutes at a time tonight and I am not excited. This runner’s high I keep hearing about it, I haven’t found it yet. This is what goes through MY head when I run, not some crazy feeling of euphoria:

  • ok, left, right, left, right, not too quick
  • right, I am supposed to engage my glutes, squeeze that butt
  • left, right, left, right, not too quick
  • crap! I am leaning forward again, chest up, butt down
  • left, right, left, right
  • ok, shoulders, they’re supposed to be relaxed and well they are up by my ears, ok shake them out and drop them
  • left, right, left, right, not too quick
  • oh FACK a hill, how did I find this street again when I always try to avoid it?!
  • breathe, breathe, stop holding your breath you crazy woman
  • left, right, left, right
  • ok timer, really? I swear you should have gone off by now
  • oh THANK GOD A WALKING BREAK
  • what the hell!? That was not a minute. That was 10 seconds!!
  • FINE left, right, left, right
  • Why am I clenching my teeth and fists, am I about to get in a fight!? Does my body know something I don’t? STOP IT.
  • Annnnnd repeat. For the entire time

Doesn’t that make running sound SO FUN?! But. Running is SO good for you. There are a lot of reasons, but these are the first 10 I have discovered in my first 3 weeks:

  1. it lowers blood pressure and cholesterol
  2. strengthens bones better than aerobic activities
  3. increases concentration
  4. it tones your legs
  5. it. burns. calories. A LOT of them.
  6. more calories burnt means I get to eat more food. I love food.
  7. it makes your whole body work – I thought it would just be legs but it is far from
  8. it’s mental. It forces me to examine your entire body at all times, and for me it’s a lot of “just do it” being repeated every 3 seconds.
  9. it’s challenging. I can do squats until the cows come home, I can’t run 2 minute without being pushed to my limits. This is GOOD for me. Once things become easy, they stop being rewarding and exciting.
  10. it gets me outside (at least until the snow shows up) and gives me some natural vitamin D and fresh air in my lungs

So, as much as I hate it, I will lace up my shoes and continue on. Nothing bad can come from it, and each week is one step closer to my half marathon goal.

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Financial compensation was not received for this post. All thoughts and opinions expressed here are my own and not influenced by the developing company and/or its affiliates in any way.

 

Tough Mudder Alberta 2016

I don’t know what possessed me in January of this year, when I turned to the BF and said “let’s do Tough Mudder this year, it will be fun” – he had done one previously in Toronto several years ago and at the time said never again, once is enough.

We must have let the couple cocktails get to our heads that night, because an hour later, we were both registered to race on August 6, 2016 in Drumheller. I then recruited my friend Meghan to come join us.

With good intentions of training hard and working a lot on upper body strength beginning in January, the months quickly passed by and before I knew it, it was August 5 and the race was the next day. It’s not like I spent the prior 8 months sitting on the couch, I did my BBG workouts and a variety of fitness classes, but never get to the whole “work on a pull up” plan I had in mind.

Already feeling a bit nervous, I foolishly opened my email that contained the course preview:

TM course

18 obstacles. 16 km (10 miles). Most of these obstacles had not been listed on the website and I had no idea what I was going into. Insert fear here.

Saturday morning came, we picked up Meghan and headed the 1.5 hours to Drumheller. Once we got to the event and into the start area, the adrenaline kicked in. We were ready! We were clean!

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Right out the gate was a 2km run to the first obstacle. The intent we went in with was to jog some, but do a lot of walking. Instead, they decided nah, let’s run the whole way to obstacle 1! Can’t say I loved that part – my cardio skills are lacking and I am a terrible runner. But with some pushing, I lightly jogged 90% of it, grumbling the whole time.

Obstacle 1 was a 6 ft jump into a muddy pit of water and who knows what else. We made the BF go first…and that didn’t end well. He landed wrong, and his ankle immediately swelled up and he had instant searing pain – we later found out he had  second degree sprain and had pulled the ligaments on both sides of his left ankle. At this point, he told Meghan and I to finish the race and the medics carted him off to the tent where he would have to wait for us to finish.

With 17 obstacles to go, we trucked on. We jogged, we walked, we climbed both 9′ and 16′ walls, used a rope to scale down a cliff, carried each other, slid into a dumpster filled with 10 tons of ice, climbed up muddy walls, pushed and pulled people up and over obstacles, jumped into puddles of mud, slipped, fell, climbed over one another to get up a pyramid, ran up a 15′ tall half pipe, went across monkey bars (well, Meghan did, I fell into the pit of water), carried logs, pushed and pulled and climbed over blocks in muddy water and ended by running through a field of dangling wires carrying 10,000 volts. It’s called the toughest event on the planet for a reason…it’s HARD.

The reason I wanted to do Tough Mudder, over the many other obstacle races, is because this one is about TEAMWORK. It is not about the fastest time, beating others, and it is NOT a competition. The goal of Tough Mudder is to COMPLETE it. Period.

At the beginning, you are hyped up and told that the people in your race wave are now your family – you start together, you end together. While we fell behind due to the injury, we did find another wave and joined with them and made 2 new friends who helped us through the last half of the race.

Could I climb those walls alone? Could I get to the top of a 15′ half pipe and pull myself up? Could I climb under a weighted net without someone holding it up to release tension? No. I couldn’t do any of these things, but I didn’t HAVE to. No matter where you turn, there was someone there to help you – to give you a boost, to pull you up, to encourage you, and remind you YES YOU CAN.

After we crossed that finish line 3 hours and 47 minutes later, we successfully completed every obstacle (my goal going in was to not skip a single one), ran/walked 22,000 steps/16km, climbed the equivalent of 71 flights of stairs, burnt 2,200 calories, and I got that finisher headband placed on my head. Oh – and we were dirty…very dirty.

The sense of accomplishment I had after this race is hard to describe; I did things I didn’t know my body could do, let alone get myself in the mind space to believe that I could. I wanted to challenge myself this year, and I did. I wish I had a little more upper body strength and could have stood to run a little more than we walked, but I had an absolute blast and still can’t believe I was able to do some of those obstacles. I could hardly walk for a few days, and the bruises I got were mildly frightening, but I did it…and I would do it all over again. 2017, I’m coming for you.

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My Kaylaversary // One Year of BBG

August 6, 2016 marked exactly one year since I decided to start (and stick to) Kayla Itsines’ Bikini Body Guide.

One year of circuit training, LISS, and HIIT, trying new fitness classes around Calgary, bruises, injuries, and sometimes tears.

Over the course of the past year I found myself again; my confidence, my inner beauty, and my strength. I learned that it isn’t all about the scale and its never-changing numbers. I lost 12 pounds this year, and while that seems discouraging, I take progress pictures and measurements, and I know my body has changed.

I created a “fitstagram,”, began following other women worldwide who followed the BBG program, and would often look to them for inspiration and motivation. I found women in Calgary and surrounding area. I decided to put myself out there and see if anyone would be interested in having our very own YYCBBG Meet Up. The answer? A resounding yes.

Since December, the size of the group has grown from 15 to 115. I run the meet ups monthly – gathering sponsorships, door prizes, arranging the location, advertising it, creating and leading the workouts. I’ve met some incredible women, all on their own personal journeys who demonstrate amazing strength and perseverance, and I am lucky to call some of them my closest friends.

If you had asked me a year ago if this is something I would ever do, I would have laughed in your face. Talk in front of people, let alone run a workout? I can hardly do my own exercises, how would anyone expect me to tell them what to do?

Now – I have confidence. I know what I’m doing. Is it perfect? Not always, but I do know how to properly perform movements, activate the right muscles, and most of all I know how to keep going even when my mind wants to quit.

I had some injuries and illnesses throughout the year – a popped rib, lung infection, flu, various colds, runners knee, etc. – I’m a bit accident prone. All of these things never stopped me though, they just slowed me down. I listen to my body – when I can tell my soreness is more than just normal DOMS, I take an extra rest day. It isn’t going to break me to have an extra break. In fact, I learned just how important rest IS.

Balance is key – I work out 5-6 days a week, and eat clean and healthy 95% of the time. It took a lot of trial and error to reach this point though. I would have weeks in the beginning that I just could NOT get through those circuits. I would half-ass the workout, and leave the gym to go sit on the couch. Sometimes I still do that, but for the most part I go give it my all for those 30 minutes, three times a week. The program works, Kayla has created something that has changed the lives of women worldwide, and it’s for good reason.

You can BBG at home, the gym, in a park, in a garage, alone, with friends. You can modify every single movement she gives you, you can increase/decrease weights when you need to. The point is, it’s manageable and customizable. She isn’t asking for much, just 3 resistance workouts, 2 LISS, 1 HIIT, and 1 rest/rehabilitation day per week. You can add more if you want to.

I like to mix things up – keep my body guessing, by adding in various fitness classes now. I try barre, yoga, spin, pilates, basically anything I will give a chance once. I find the ones I love, and keep going back. It mixes it up so I don’t get bored of doing 4 circuits, 3 times a week. I still do those, but it gives me a chance to get out and make other muscle groups work.

The best part of this year? I’m happy again. I’m not quite where I want to be body-wise, but I will get there. It doesn’t upset me anymore, since I’ve come leaps and bounds from where I used to be physically, mentally, and emotionally. I respect the journey, and I don’t plan on stopping.

 

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Financial compensation was not received for this post. All thoughts and opinions expressed here are my own and not influenced by the developing company and/or its affiliates in any way.

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