Why I haven’t been blogging for the past year

Yes, my blog has been inactive for the past year, and it has been somewhat intentional.

I got pregnant (unplanned) last November. It rocked my world, at the time it didn’t seem like a positive rocking. I was still in the process of losing the baby weight from baby #1, and I had everything worked out, I was going back to work the next April. I work in the fitness industry and to know that I wouldn’t be my slim self again really hurt my ego. Basically, this unplanned pregnancy took all my planning and threw it out the window.  It also challenged me in so many ways, ways I am so grateful for now, it taught me to be grateful, grateful for what you have in life: fertility, health. It also brought out good traits of my personality I didn’t know exist in me, strength I didn’t know that I had, will power that I didn’t know I could harness, etc etc. This is my post sharing with you all what my journey has been like.

(I should mention that this period of time also brought out really negative aspects of my personality that I had to deal with and really try to not let take over me. It was hard!)

When I got pregnant, I was on the Ketogenic diet, which was really hard, but it was producing the results I wanted. I was also starving all.the.freaking.time. it was so annoying, and it wasn’t a pregnancy thing because I was experiencing that before I got pregnant. I continued on the ketogenic diet for a few months until about January when I felt that it probably wasn’t so healthy for the baby, after which I felt lost nutrition wise. Because I hadn’t lost all the baby weight from baby#1 (I was about 20 pounds away) I knew that I could not gain much weight with this baby. That meant more exercise than the previous pregnancy and a very different diet. Then I found paleo, I had been reading up on paleo before I got pregnant, I had been exposed to it but I didn’t know if I wanted to completely eliminate grains. Well, it ended up fitting my cravings and hunger extremely well. Not only did my energy INCREASE more while pregnant, I was overall much more satisfied and my weight and my gain ended up totaling roughly 22-24 pounds by the time I gave birth.

39 weeks.

January rolled around, and our finances were so tight, we went through a 2 week period with little to no food, I was starving, and I understood how homeless people felt. I would look at people in restaurants and be envious that they had food, and that they had money to pay for food, I would go by the grocery store just drooling for anything in there to eat. It was bad, luckily enough it only lasted about 2 weeks and things got better. In that period of time I was praying that my baby was okay, and that I was strong enough to keep the baby healthy despite lack of food. In addition to going through a starvation period, we decided to make some drastic life changes. My husband was going to return to the US (where he’s from) to work and I would stay in Canada, work till I gave birth, and my son would stay with my parents(two hours away from me) as we couldn’t afford daycare. I would visit on the weekends.

We moved February 1st, in the winter, it was freezing and we were exhausted and I was still in my first trimester.  I moved into a shoebox apartment without a kitchen, just some small appliances to get me by. My husband left a week later.  I ended up working shortly after that because we needed the money (So instead of 12 months of mat leave, I only took 10).  Those first few months of being separated from my husband and my son were the hardest things I have ever experienced in my life. Needless to say, I hit rock bottom. I have never hit rock bottom before in my life. It could have been a mixture of pregnancy hormones and loneliness but I remember bawling my eyes out in my apartment wondering wtf was happening in my life and not knowing what was going to come of it. Finances were SOO tight, I counted every single penny (until it got phased out in Canada, lol), every dollar and pinched everywhere I could. It led me to start reading finance books and in the span of 8 months I have really smartened up my finances and have a plan to pay off all debt by the end of 2014 or soon after.

Things got somewhat better, I developed some new hobbies, and focused more on educating myself. It was the only thing I could do spending my lonely evenings by myself and the weekends I couldn’t make it to visit my son (as gas is pretty expensive.) I went to the library a lot, did a lot of reading, tried to prepare myself as much as possible for childbirth in a more educational way. Finally around end of June my nesting hit and I realized I would have a baby soon. In this time period I was working out 5 days a week, weight lifting 3 of those sessions and walking the other two. I continued my ab workouts until my 3rd trimester. My weights remained heavy right up until the end of my pregnancy. The last workout I had before I gave birth was a leg workout that involved squats and lunges. I monitored my intensity via my HR monitor.

I gave birth on August 19th to my son, it lasted 4 hours and baby came out on the 2nd push. Overall it was 50% less painful than my first baby. I couldn’t believe it, A week after I gave birth I moved from my shoebox apartment to my parents house. I was exhausted and in this time I was also trying to increase my milk supply by doing everything under the sun to increase it and also not be stressed out while having to move and not lift too heavy items.

Yes at this point my husband is still away. We are finally all going to be together next week.

In the past months a lot has been going through my mind and the itch to blog again has arisen, I wanted to write this post and get it off my chest.

Basically, we are stronger human beings than we think we are. I know now, that I am strong, and that I can do what I need to do for my family in crazy circumstances should they arise. This has been the hardest thing I have done in my life, the past 8 months. I do not wish it on anyone, but man did it shape me. I am stronger, more educated (about myself and other things), more patient and realize that we, as humans have SO much to be grateful for. I have a new outlook on life, it could be worse. Everyone’s situation could be worse. It’s all a matter of perspective. I consider that to be the greatest gift (other than my baby) during this rough period.

I’ll be posting quite a bit more, in reference to things I have learned physically and fitness wise during my pregnancy that I hope will help all those who follow my blog for fitness/nutrition help!🙂

I should also mention that towards the end of our separation we have received SO many blessings and signs pointing that this whole decision we made for our family has been worth it!

My son born August 19th.

My son born August 19th.

More to come in the next few weeks.

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Paleo Cake Batter/Cookie Dough Balls

These balls are Paleo, Gluten Free, Grain Free and Dairy free. AMAZING!!

My son loves nut balls, he’s obsessed with them. He has one every day before bed, it’s how he gets his fat in cause he doesn’t care for any form of milk. Well, I thought I would make some more for him, but momma bear didn’t feel like whipping up a thousand different nut/seed/dried fruit combos this time round and I also felt like more of a dessert so I thought to myself. “Wouldn’t it be fantastic if I could make some cookie dough balls…?” I made a recipe a while back that used Sunwarrior protein powder, they were pretty awesome, however, lately I haven’t been able to afford protein powder so I do without.

In my head I wanted to look up a recipe, cause I always look up recipes, then I thought “oh whatever, just throw stuff together and see what happens!” I was fairly confident in my cooking abilities, so off I went.

These are the ingredients I used:

photo 2 (1)4 TBSP Coconut Flour

1 TBSP Honey

2 TSP of Sunbutter (almond or cashew work too)

Small scoop of carob chips

1 tsp of PB2(Omit this if you want it completely Paleo)

1 tsp of cocao (optional)

1-2 TBSP of almond butter, may have to vary here to get the texture you want.

 

Mix altogether and roll with your hands into small balls. Place in fridge, and devour later! Makes approx 6-8 balls depending on how large/small theyare. What I would like to do down the road is make them into cookies, but that will have to be tweaked and altered.

photo 3 (1)

 

The dark ones are the chocolate ones.🙂

If you would like to make this more of a “Dessert”, melt chocolate and cover them in chocolate – place in fridge. They would be amazing!

I gave them to my parents tonight, and they loved them! My coworker thought I was eating cookie dough! I think it’s a win recipe.🙂 Let me know your feedback if you make them!🙂

Happy Eating.

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Why women shouldn’t run

I came across this article yesterday on facebook that was shared by a Former Figure competitor regarding cardio/running. It was interesting that it was coming from her because it’s well known across the fitness industry that those in the body building competition put in over 10 hours of cardio a week to achieve their lean figure. However, this article (you must read!) provides a completely different outlook on it.

http://www.dangerouslyhardcore.com/5343/why-women-should-not-run/

It’s true, please let me ask you. If you are a woman, and you want to lose weight, what’s the first workout that comes to your mind when you think about going to the gym and exercising? Going for a walk, go for a jog, maybe achieve a 5K? Now let me ask you again, if someone told you, you SHOULD NOT run and they told you to lift weights, would you snort at them worried you would get huge like all the guys?

Now I present you this article:

http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/girls-get-your-guns-why-women-should-lift-weights.html

Why women WON’T get huge lifting weights. Great article, lots of great stuff on bodybuilding.com. I suggest you hang out around there and check out other stuff (aka, articles) that they have.

Now, if you have never stepped foot inside a gym, have anxiety when approaching one. Don’t kill yourself over it, start at home. Invest in a TRX (I have a blog post about it here: https://priorityfitfemale.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=158&action=edit), get a swiss ball and browse my blog for some exercises you can do at home. Take a walk and do sets of walking lunges in your walk, maybe stop at a park and work on some pushups, etc. Park’s are fantastic for working out!

However, if you do want to learn and get into a gym to start working out with weights and you have never worked out before in your life. Ask the front desk for someone to give you a tour so you know where the equipment is and someone can show you how to work each machine. Every gym has this option available to newcomers, use it!

Personally, if you have never used weights before in your life, go with machines. Machines provide more support for your body, which is good when new because your body isn’t used to these movements to begin with, the more support will help you learn which muscles to use and which muscles the machines will use. Starting with 3 sets, 10-15 repetitions 3-4 x a week will do wonders for you!

If you have a previous history of weight training, and you want more from your workout. I would suggest free weights. Free weights are a bit more of a tricky business because they do require more stabilization, but that’s good because more stabilization + more muscles used = stronger. Free weight exercises would include (as a suggestion because there are a thousand!)

  •  Barbell squats (squat rack)
  • Shoulder Press
  • Bicep Curls
  • Tricep Dips
  • Walking Lunges
  • Front arm raises
  • Incline Flies

I would make this post MUCH more detailed, but as it stands, I can’t, I’m short of time right now. If you have any questions and want more info, please leave a comment!🙂

 

 

 

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The excuse “I can’t cook or bake healthy for myself/family” why I don’t tolerate it!

So let’s get this straight. I have heard sooo often from people that not only do they NOT have time to cook and bake healthy for their family, but they just don’t know how, or don’t want to take the EFFORT to cook and bake.

Now for my question: Have many of you have a kitchen? I’m assuming everyone is going to raise a hand. Okay, well that is freaking awesome, because….. I DON’T! That’s right, I don’t have a kitchen at the moment. My husband had to move away to find work cause Canada hates him, so we are separated, which means I moved into a smaller place, well, it’s a 1 bedroom but doesn’t have a kitchen. At first I thought “wtf? How am I gonna live” Then Paul said “well, with your kitchen appliances you should be able to make it work” Thank God for my husband, what would I do without him! I then decided that with a little imagination I could make it work.

What I have in my “kitchen”

– Toaster Oven

– Microwave (I discourage the use of Microwave but it came with the place and I don’t have anything else to reheat my food like a steamer)

– Beer size fridge or mini fridge.

– Vita mix (mine, obviously!)

– Slow Cooker

– Juicer

– Electric frying pan

– Electric Kettle.

– 5 ft table.

– Some shelving

– Deep freezer.

Okay, so let’s talk about what I eat on a regular basis:

Hamburgers, meatballs, pan fried fish, salads (every kind), pasta, spaghetti, home made spaghetti sauce, cookies, muffins, biscuits, stir fries, bread, eggs in all forms and shapes cooked, quiche, casseroles, stews, smoothies, veggies cooked in all sorts of different ways, nut balls, energy balls, home made fudge, hamburger buns etc etc, the list goes on really.

Now, there are many things I can’t do like bbq which I do at my parents, or cook in massive quantities which I try to cook in LARGE quantities at my parents cause my mum has the biggest kitchen ever. Otherwise all I mentioned above I create in my own little “kitchen.”

Please note: Recipes are your friend.

Now, if you currently do have a kitchen, and you currently are NOT eating as healthy as you’d like to. Get that butt in gear! This is just a motivational tool for all you lovely people to really see that cooking healthy just takes a little time and effort, but doesn’t everything? Relationships, friendships, dressing ourselves, etc.

Now, I am going to end sharing some recipes with you that I made this weekend, of the few things that I make in my “kitchen”

Almond Flour Biscuits – Grain Free/ Gluten Free 

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http://thenourishinghome.com/2012/03/almond-flour-biscuits/

A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!!!!!!!! Is all I have to say, really. They are moist, juicy, yummy, full of butter. What more could you ask for? I don’t use almond flour that often, simply because it is pretty expensive. But then the need calls for (rather, my cravings) I do use it and I like the variety it offers.

Next on the list is pancakes. I’ve been on a pancake binge, they are my bread, basically. I make sandwiches with them. Glorious I tell you, especially with some cashew butter and my mums homemade jam = a taste of heaven. I bring 2 to work with me and eat them as part of my breakfast. They are great to make lots ahead of time and have ready in the fridge. Especially if you’re like me, and you don’t have much time to prepare breakfast in the morning.

lemonblueberrypancakes

 

http://www.thefoodieandthefamily.com/2012/10/22/lemon-blueberry-pancakes/

Another fantastic recipe!! Probably one of my favourites. Reminded me of blueberry pancakes as a child, seriously amazing. AND IT MAKES TONS!! Which is huge for me as I prep for the week (and have a family) so, I actually had to put some in the freezer. I’d say this easily made 20+ pancakes! I know it’s a lot of eggs, but substitute with some egg whites would make it go a bit farther and cheaper.

Until next time, happy eating!

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Bad blogger

I’m a terrible blogger. Honestly. Since I had my little boy, I can’t seem to find a good enough excuse to come on and update regularly. But really that’s just an excuse like “I don’t have time to workout!” or “I don’t have time to eat well!” Of which isn’t really an excuse so really I’m just gonna smack myself on the hand for not being true to my blogger followers. I don’t have many but I do know that those of you that follow me do enjoy reading my blog.

So, I’ve finally kicked into gear and I am going to try and be more consistent, once a week even, is my goal!

Step 1: I have now addmitted I’m an awful blogger.

Step 2: Actually talk about something worth reading

I have learned an insane amount about nutrition since I gave birth last year. I know I posted a while ago that I was going to be studying Holistic Nutrition, that is still the plan, but I have to wait until my finances get figured out a bit more but I am itching to start it! I am learning more and more every day about nutrition and it’s so fantastic! Not just general nutrition, but Holistic Nutrition. In my opinion, there is only one type of nutrition: Holistic, not general carbs, protein, fat etc etc nutrition. This is going into REAL food, and learning what real food does for you and your body and how you can curb sooo many health problems with nutrition. Food really is a drug, it’s the pill we take everyday to make our lives better, or worse, depending on how you eat.

Lately I have been dipping my hands into a lot of different ways of eating. In November of 2012 I tested out the Ketogenic diet, I did that because my weight loss had plateaued and I needed something to kick start my metabolism again. Well it defintely worked but it’s a very strict diet and I wouldn’t want to stay on it permanently. I stayed on it for about 2 months and it did the job, but I was ready to be off of it. Until this point I had heard a lot about the Paleo diet but had never really seriously looked into it. I liked the sound of it, but wasn’t quite ready to give up all forms of processed food (condiments) and such. I don’t eat hardly any processed food anyway, but it’s a jump to make the commitment to buy grass fed and local(organic) products. I also didn’t feel that going completely grain free was what I wanted or needed for my body. It’s alll a game really.

For the last 3-4 years I have been entirely gluten and dairy free. A dietary change that has made my life much more enjoyable! I suffered from constant bloating when I was in college, my stomach felt like a pump, it went up, then went down, and back up and back down. It was frustrating. I also had terrible energy and suffered from lack of focus in my schooling.

Since last year, I have been much more focused on looking at food with the approach that it FUELS ME, not that I eat it because I want to, or because I feel like it, or because it tastes good. If I want to feel great, I have to eat the proper foods. Food is my drug and my pharmacy, it affects how I feel, my ability to think and how I perform. With this approach I can honestly say that my energy levels have sky rocketed! In addition to that, I have been loosely following the “paleo” way of eating, I don’t call it a diet, but you can I suppose if you don’t plan on sticking with it. So far I have found it to produce great results for ME, (it’s individual for everyone). Eliminating grains hasn’t been overly difficult either, though occasionaly I will have some, especially if I am craving it but it’s infrequent.

I would encourage an approach of WHOLE Holistic Local/organic, range fed/grass fed food for those that want to begin a journey to a healthier lifestyle. Not a simple diet or plan but just a very simple way of eating = naturally without any additives, GMO’s, processing etc.

I’ll expand on recipes later, that’s all I do these days is look up recipes, it’s so much fun! I have much more fun cooking now then I ever used to, I can cook what I ENJOY eating and I never have to worry about not being able to make a delicious meal that I absolutely enjoy that can suffice a craving without the guilt.

 

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Beware of people you surround yourself with

Today, was a hard day for me. It started off great only to be tearing my heart strings by the end of the evening.

I went to visit a “friend” to help them learn how to cook, well instead it turned out to be an hour of
– Insulting the way I eat (staying away from refined sugars, eating very naturally, clean, non processed foods.) Making fun of me, basically cause the way I choose to eat isn’t “enjoyable.”
– Saying that what I have been posting on facebook is not right and also not friendly to others on facebook. I shouldn’t be posting anything of a religious political matter and I shouldn’t be allowing myself to come across as “angry”. As if I give a f*** about what other people think about me on facebook, thank you very much. (sorry for the crude words, but blogging is sometimes my therapy and I’m not holding back!)
– Judging how I spend my money, because if I save up for something that’s expensive and buy it for myself (which affects my eating, it helps be healthier, etc) I’m putting my family in jeporady. [According to the laws of nature, as a mother, I shalt not EVER spend money on myself, even if it’s a treat. (Note the sarcasm)]
– Oh, and to top it all, this person did/said all of this in a condescending manner and tone of voice- like my parents and with a look that screams “you’re a child and you don’t know what the hell you’re doing.” AND do it in front of someone else that has nothing to do it any of it.

Now tell me, how would that make you feel? Think long and hard.

Every time I see or visit this person, I feel awful and angry after the visit is over. I feel worthless, like I’ve been some piece of paper that’s been stomped on, ripped apart and put through the shredder. Friends shouldn’t make you feel like that, (sure if you’re being an idiot, you deserve an honest opinion, but not every single bloody time you hang out with them so much that you dread even conversing with them)

My words of advice this evening are: if you are around people that are making you doubt your abilities as a human being, and are putting you down instead of raising you up, they are turning you into an angry person for no good reasons, then maybe it’s time to start looking for some new friends. Start a new leaf and rid yourself of these people in your lives.

Cause that’s what I’m doing. I’m not going to let someone make me so angry that my son or my children have to feel the affects of it. They don’t deserve that and I sure as HELL don’t.

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One day at a time, one meal at a time, one step at a time

Lately with this new going to the gym etc, it’s hard to be patient. It’s hard to wait for results, but honestly, is it really worth sweating and getting unhappy about it?
I’m pretty flipping lucky. God has blessed me with an amazing husband, an amazing son, and overall an amazing life. This weight loss journey I’m at now is completely different than what it was when I was overweight in highschool, back then I just wanted guys to like me. Now I’m doing this for me. Well, not entirely true, I’m doing it for myself AND my family, because as the cook of the house, my family basically relies on me to keep their tummies happy and also make sure that their tummies are getting GOOD nutrients, not crap food.

When I step into the gym now, I couldn’t give a rats ass what somone thinks of me, or my body, or my hair, or the fact I don’t have any makeup on, because IT DOESN’T MATTER. I’m here for one thing, and that is to make myself more fit, and more healthy. Sure I’m the only girl in the weight room, ALWAYS. I’m surrounded by meatheads, yah I’m a little plump and I don’t push as much weight as I used to, but I. don’t. care. When I’m at the gym, I think

I’m ONE STEP CLOSER.

One step closer to my goal. When I get home, it transfers over to what I eat. After I’m doing eating, I think

I’m TWO steps closer!

Don’t make the mistake of being one those people that after the gym are like: “yah I’m going to go to starbucks and have 500 calories in a drink with 30 grams of sugar! yayyyy treat!!!” because you are just screwing yourself over. Talk about cheating on yourself!

Do the research, eat the right things, be HEALTHY. Make it a lifestyle choice and don’t cheat on yourself. Push yourself to your limits, even if you’re tired after 5 hours of sleep, maybe go and just do some light cardio at the gym. Remember, you won’t be a step closer if you take a step in the wrong direction. Sure there will be days when you can’t make it to the gym and the only thing you can do is go for a walk outside, but eat healthy and don’t let yourself fall behind.

Having a cheat meal once a week is okay – but leave it at that. Look forward to it, then keep yourself focused on your goal. Focus on being focused.🙂

Wait! Don’t leave yet! Check out my new knitted bow headband on your way out.😉 Maybe pin it to pinterest if you’re interested? Thanks!

(c) Style EnVie Studios. Check out the headband here: Fleece Lined Women’s Knit Bow Headband on Etsy

Have a great Saturday and MAKE IT COUNT!🙂 I know I’ll be heading to the gym tonight!🙂

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