Cheat Meals are Bullshit

Donut Curve

Cheat meals are a weird concept “I’m going to eat clean all week and then reward myself for eating clean by eating a large amount of food”. I get not wanting to deprive yourself of food you enjoy, but what if instead of planning out a binge fest you actually ate food when you truly wanted it and not used it as a reward?

Instead of rewarding yourself with food, try out the 80/20 rule, 80% of the time you eat whole foods and 20% of the time you maybe get a little off track and eat a fucking donut or some other food that truly brings you joy. It’s important to find balance in your eating and not reward yourself with food. I find the 80/20 rule to be less stressful and a hell of a lot more enjoyable. Learn how to make healthy decisions as you go throughout life. Learn how to say no to certain foods when you really just don’t want them or they just aren’t worth it. Making healthy decisions will help you to create positive habits and help you maintain a healthy lifestyle long term. Also, a bit of a side note but I try not to refer to foods as good and bad because when you eat a food that you’ve labelled as bad it makes you feel negative after eating it. Eating should not make you feel horrible about yourself, remember that.

I used to plan my life around my weekly cheat meal, I would stress all week trying to decide what I should eat because I literally wanted to eat everything. I would always go way over board on this “cheat” and wind up feeling ill and horrible about myself. Looking back I think there were very few times that I actually enjoyed the cheat meal itself. I’m not judging anyone who chooses to participate in cheat meals, I just truly believe that we shouldn’t be using food as a reward.

My Favourite Forms of Cardio

If you spend hours on the elliptical then I’m sorry but you’re doing it wrong, unless you have bad knees or you’re training to be a gazelle. When I first started at the gym I always went on the elliptical because well, it was easy. Now I pretty much despise any cardio that involves a machine (although I use treadmills in the winter because I live in Canada and well snow).

Here are a few of my favourite forms of cardio (this doesn’t mean I love cardio, I still hate it):

  1. Skipping – this shit will get your heart rate up in a hurry. Try skipping in intervals and then when you get really good at it try double unders.
  2. Burpees – pretty much the worst exercise known to man but burpees are effective. Use burpees as a finisher to fully destroy you after a workout.
  3. Jump Squats – these will help perk up your butt and that’s pretty much all the reason I need to do them. Add jump squats into your warm up and your body will be warm in no time.
  4. Running – get outside and run like hell (unless there’s snow on the ground).
  5. Rowing – yes it’s a machine but it’s f*cking hard. Add rowing into your normal gym routine, you’ll hate it so much you’ll love it

Add one (or more) of these moves to your regular routine and you’ll feel your heart rate increase and the sweat pour out of your body.

 

Let’s Talk About Carbs

Whenever I hear someone say “carbs are bad for you” I want to punch them. I’m not a violent person but when it comes to people speaking ill of carbohydrates I go full Terminator. Some people act like carbs are the devil and I honestly can’t handle it. Carbs are not bad, carbs will not murder your family so take a seat. If you eat pasta at every meal, then yeah you’re probably not going to lose weight. If you eat the right kind of carbs you can still lose weight and be happy because carbs = happiness. I’ll give you an example, a few months ago I did a whole30 reset and I ate potatoes (sweet and regular) pretty much everyday and I still lost 14 lbs. I was able to lose weight because I was eating only whole foods and exercising regularly, the potatoes I ate gave me the energy I needed to get through a day of work and to get through a workout.

When choosing what carbs to eat look for whole grain or whole food alternative, if it comes from nature, chances are it’s good for you, unless it’s poisonous berries, don’t eat those. Try and eat carbs in as close to their natural state as possible, simply put potato chips are not a healthy choice.

Good Carbs: starchy vegetables, non-starchy vegetables, fruits,  greens.

Bad Carbs: soda, sugary cereals, white pasta, highly processed carbs etc.

There are some popular “diets” that promote low carb plans, but they’re just a quick fix, neglecting carbs in the long term is honestly not sustainable #sorrynotsorry. Some long term affects of low carb diets include weight gain, kidney problems, bowel problems, high cholesterol and the list goes on.

Reasons you should put some carbs in your mouth:

  1. Carbs fill you up – the body digests carbs at a slower rate then protein or fat, which leaves you feeling fuller longer.
  2. Increase Athletic Performance – Wanna be better? faster? stronger? eat some f*cking carbs. The body breaks down sugars in carbohydrates to fuel the body, it’s that simple.
  3. More Food Freedom – you can eat a wider variety of foods and don’t have to feel limited.
  4. Brain Health – people who eat carbs tend to have better memories than those who don’t.
  5. Heart Health – people who eat carbs tend to have lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and higher HDL (good) cholesterol.

Don’t eat a certain way because it’s trendy, eat in moderation, watch your portion sizes and stop hating on carbs.

giphy (11)
Source: Giphy

Working Out is My Therapy

therapy

 

I saw the above quote a few days and it hit me so hard in the feels that I actually became emotional. Working out has provided me with the most effective stress relief. Working out consistently gives me a ‘happy’ boost, when I go through a tough time and I don’t workout, I feel very down in the dumps (down in the dumps is an understatement). It only took me like 5 years into my fitness journey to figure out the cycle, but hey at least I have it figured out now.

When you workout it starts a cascade of positive events in your body, such as a reduction in certain health risks (heart disease, diabetes etc). But more importantly your body will have improved brain function. People who suffer from depression have a smaller Hippocampus (this is the area of the brain that helps regulate mood), studies show that exercising encourages cell growth in the Hippocampus. EXERCISING IS SO NEAT.

In the words of Elle Woods:

tumblr_mq7jzkDD4m1szx1oxo1_

 

There is also a direct correlation between the way your body feels and how your brain feels. If you’re body feels good, your brain will most likely feel the same way. Endorphins actually act as natural pain killers and they help you sleep which helps you stress less. You don’t need some expensive gym membership to get your body some endorphins, simply go for a run, skip, play outside with your friends or kids.

Here’s to stressing less and smiling more!

Tips to crush your goals this week

New week, new you right? Here are some tips for keeping on track this week:

  1. Be Prepared – Meal prep is the best and easiest way to stay on track for the week. With healthy already made meals in the fridge it becomes a million times easier to stick to your goals.
  2. Schedule Out Your Week – Grab your planner or print off a calendar, make sure to schedule in workouts, social time and whatever else you need to do or want to do for the week.
  3. Take it One Day at a Time – Don’t stress about the days or the numbers just try and get through one day at a time, one decision at a time.
  4. Prepare for Detours – Think of all the things that could get you off track this week and come up with a plan or plans to avoid getting off track. Maybe this includes bringing snacks wherever you go or drinking more water.
  5. Don’t Reward Yourself With Food – Stop rewarding yourself with food, food is fuel, it is not a reward. Come up with a special reward for yourself, maybe it’s getting your nails done or buying new workout clothes.
  6. Don’t be to Hard on Yourself – If your week doesn’t go as planned don’t put yourself down. Negativity is not the answer, pick out the positives from the day or week and be happy with what you did or achieved, it doesn’t matter if it’s small or large.

Good luck this week guys, I’m rooting for you!

giphy (10)
Source: Giphy

 

How to spot a gym douche

douche 2

Disclaimer: I’m blonde and blunt, this post may offend you if you identify as a douche.

According to urban dictionary the word douche is “a word to describe an individual who has shown themself to be very brainless in one way or another, thus comparing them to the cleansing product for vaginas.” I personally use the word douche to describe certain people (male or female) at the gym who exhibit any of the following behaviours:

  1. No regards for the people around them. This person usually takes up a lot of machines all at once or refuses to clean up after themselves, they probably also probably don’t wash their hands after they use the bathroom.
  2. Mocks other gym goers. PSA everyone at the gym is working on themselves, I don’t care what size they are, do not make fun of anyone at the gym, at least they’re trying. In my opinion this kind of behaviour makes you the biggest douche of all.
  3. Moans excessively. Not every rep deserves a loud grunt or moan, most of the people that grunt consistently aren’t actually lifting intensely. We’re not in the wild, you’re mating call is not needed.
  4. Hits on everything that moves. There’s always that one guy at the gym who feels the need to hit on every girl. I get that the gym is a great place to find a significant other but stop hitting on everyone, girls talk and we know you’ve hit on all of us. Also don’t interrupt a workout to hit on someone, wait until they’re on a rest or just wait until they’re done working out, patience is key young grasshopper.
  5. You can smell them from a mile away. Usually they don’t smell like body odour, they just smell like they bathed in their cologne/perfume for a week straight. Deodorant is appreciated, excessive body spray is not.
  6. Refuses to work legs, probably trains chest every day that ends in ‘y’. This point is pretty self explanatory.
  7. Thinks that they’re better than everyone else. These people often brag about how great of shape they’re in, if you have to brag about it, you’re probably over compensating for something.

In closing, just don’t be a douche folks.

 

How to Visualize Success

What is visualization? In short visualization is the formation of a mental image of something. Some naysayers may call it day dreaming and I guarantee you that those people aren’t where they want to be in life. I am a firm believer in visualization and using vision boards to bring those mental images to life. Visualization takes time sometimes days, maybe months and possibly years but keep believing in your mental images, keep focusing on what you want to achieve or where you want to be in life. Yes sometimes visualization actually requires you to do some work to achieve your goals, the things worth having in life often don’t come easy. Visualization helps drive us to grind day in and day out for the life we want for ourselves. I want you to take a minute or longer and visualize where you want to be in 5 years. Maybe you want kids, maybe you want to own your own house or be a millionaire, whatever your goal is, I want you to hang a picture or write a note and hang it somewhere where you’ll see it everyday. I’m a very visual person so I enjoy making vision boards using images that symbolize or represent what I want in life. I update my vision board almost yearly and I look at it daily, when I’m not feeling motivated to wake up and grind I look to my vision board for motivation.

 

Board Your Vision

When it comes to weight loss or fitness related goals, I believe visualization (especially a vision board) is a key component in success. If you’re not visualizing, you’re probably not achieving. Making a vision board isn’t hard, simply go through magazines or look online for images that speak to you and your goals. Now put those images in a collage or on a bulletin board a voila, you have yourself a vision board and an amazing source of motivation. Sometimes making a vision board on Pinterest is really helpful and easy especially for those who aren’t crafty.

I’m also a firm believer in telling others about your goals. I mean maybe don’t tell everyone you meet but definitely find people that support you and let them know what you’re up to. Do not be ashamed of your goals, I use to always shy away from telling people about my goals because I was embarrassed and feared not being able to achieve them, but with the right mind set and support system, you can achieve anything.

What’s on your vision board? Share with me in the comments below!

How to start: Working Out

Stella YouTube Thumb

If your new to living a healthy lifestyle, working out can seem really intimidating. I remember the first time I set foot in the gym, I had no idea what anything was or what I should be doing. Everyone else seemed to be so experienced and intimidating, I didn’t make eye contact with anyone at the gym for the first year that I worked out. I was always worried that I was doing an exercise wrong and people were laughing at me from afar, we’ve all been there and we’ve all felt like this, it’s normal. I always tell first time gym goers that most people are too focused on themselves to notice others unless you are a loud grunter or screamer then you will be noticed. It’s not hard to start working out it’s just intimidating for most people. I have created a list of tips for first time gym goers to help you get into the gym or off of the couch.

  1. Write Down Your Goals – Identifying your goals is the most important part of living a healthier lifestyle, this will help you find your why and your motivation to get shit done. When writing down your goals make sure to rate the importance of these goals to you on a scale of 1 – 10, 10 being extremely important. Rating your goals creates a bigger emotional attachment and gives you a lot of motivation. If you’ve ever had a consultation with a trainer you have most likely been through this type of goal setting.
  2. Just Start – You’ve already made the conscious decision to change or try something new so just do it. Walk into your local gym, contact a trainer, break out those home workout videos, get it done and crush those goals.
  3. Seek Professional Help – Like I said before, working out can be intimidating for the first time, no one wants to feel like they’re doing something wrong and no one wants to get hurt. I recommend seeking out some professional help. Most gyms will offer a complimentary session with a trainer when you sign up, use this as a time to ask questions and get your form critiqued.
  4. Pace Yourself – We all get excited when we start something new or want to crush some goals, it is super important not to go crazy within your first week or month. I’ve seen a lot of new gym members wear themselves out within the first month, pace yourself, ease into it and don’t try and find your 1 rep max within the first week of working out. Also don’t buy a shit ton of supplements as soon as you join the gym like no just no.

giphy (9)

5. Schedule Out Your Workout Time – In my experience if you don’t schedule out your workouts then they probably won’t happen #truthbomb. Mark it on your calendar, tell Siri to remind you do what you gotta do to get it done. Don’t like schedules? Too bad, schedule it.

6. Don’t Reward a Workout With Food – Most people who start working out make the common mistake of thinking that because they workout they can have all the food. I used to think that because I worked out I could eat cake.. every night. Don’t deprive yourself but also don’t eat cake every night if you want to lose weight.

I hate running so I’m going to learn to run

I don’t think there is anything in this world that I hate more than running. When I was a kid I hated track and field day because you show up to school one day and you’re expected to run for like 800 metres. No thank you. The night before track and field day I would try and come up with ways to get out of it, like breaking my own leg. I don’t think that’s too dramatic or anything. I’m also asthmatic so running is a bitch for me, a bitch that I’ve avoided like the plague.

giphy (8)
Source: Giphy

A couple of weeks ago I walked into my regular Crossfit class and written under WOD on the board was a 400 metre run. No, just no. I felt like I was in elementary school again, only this time I didn’t have my inhaler. The run was awful, I hated every minute of it. I was embarrassed by my horrible running skills, I literally have the lung capacity of a mouse. I hate being bad at things so I am determined to improve this skill ASAP. I know I won’t be able to run long distances over night but I’ve come up with a plan. Repeat the weekly workout 3-5 times a week.

 

Stella Business Card Back

Feel free to join me for 8 weeks of literal hell, I’m starting Monday. Hopefully in 8 weeks I will be significantly better at running.

Why Non-Scale Victories Matter More than the Number on the Scale

For many of us the scale is a complete nightmare. Stepping on a scale can be a very demeaning experience for many of us. Picture this: you’re feeling amazing, confident, lean you decide to step on the scale (sounds innocent enough). The scale says you’re up 5 lbs since the last time you weighed in, in a matter of seconds you can go from feeling on cloud 9 to feeling like complete shit, all because of that tricky bitch of a scale. Many people allow their self worth to be measured by that number on the scale. YOU ARE MORE THAN JUST A NUMBER (that was me yelling encouragingly). I still use the scale with my clients but I always follow it up with measurements because the scale could say they’re up 5lbs but the measurements could show drastically different results. No matter the results, always follow it up with something positive like “remember last week when you hit a new PR on your deadlift, you’ve gotten so much stronger in the past 6 months”. I’ve also started to make a habit of asking about some non-scale victories with my clients “are your clothes getting loser?”, “how’s your energy?”. A non-scale victory can be as simple as making better choices when you go out to eat or maybe now instead of a double double, you drink your coffee black. These non-scale victories are extremely important, fitness is a journey not a sprint.

The other day, I had a huge non-scale victory, it was so huge that I almost cried. The other day my friend and I went shopping, and we popped into Value Village, because Value Village is AMAZING. We were walking around and from across the room, I spotted something gold and slightly glittery, time stopped as I raced over to check it out. The item I spotted was the most amazing jumpsuit from H&M (another amazing store). I was pumped. This glittery jumpsuit was only 8 dollars, 8 freaking dollars!! I checked out the size, praying it would be my size. Turns out it was a size 6, not my size. I contemplated life for 5 minutes and then decided to buy it, because maybe just maybe I could squeeze my ass into it (I was too lazy at the time to try it on). I brought the jumpsuit home, excited and nervous to try it on. I tried on that jumpsuit and, drum roll please….. it FIT. I fit into a size 6. Now this may not be a big deal to some but I used to be a size 16 so for me this was a huge moment. It was in this moment that I realized that I don’t own a full length mirror so I couldn’t document this monumental moment. But that’s ok because I’m going to wear that jumpsuit everyday for the rest of my life, because gold, glittery jumpsuits give me life and it makes my booty look good.


I haven’t weighed myself in a few months because I’ve been feeling good, my clothes are fitting better and I’m becoming stronger. I don’t need the scale to bring me down (although it could say I’m down in weight) but I don’t feel the need to look. Maybe in the next few months I’ll pop on the scale just to see what it says, because curiosity will probably get the best of me, but for right now I am completely content with where I’m at.