RE-STARTING BBG

If you’ve been following along with me, you know that I made it to week 9 of the BBG before my vacation… and you may have noticed that I am now back at week 1. Why, you ask? I’ll explain.

Before, the only reason I would re-start the BBG would be if I went off track for too long. This often happened as I was struggling to get back into a fitness routine – I’d make it 2 or 3 weeks and then fall off the wagon HARD and want to re-start. This time, though, my do-over was actually planned!

As you may have noticed, I had a short, long-weekend vacation planned. Conveniently, this fell right at the end of week 8 of the BBG for me, and I had actually hoped to re-start the BBG after making it through week 8. Why? Well, after having completed the guide before, I know that there is an INSANE jump in difficulty from week 8 to week 9. I remember getting SO discouraged because I couldn’t complete half of the exercises (a lot of them are very arm-heavy and let’s just say these noodles are the weakest spot on my body… lol) and so I ended up modifying and just generally not giving it my all those last 4 weeks. This time, though, I decided to be proactive and complete the first 8 weeks of the program and then re-start in order to give my body a little extra time to build up that much-needed strength before taking on the monstrosity that are weeks 9 through 12. Sure, it’s a little bit in service of my ego, but let’s face it – the mental aspect of exercise is huuuuge, and I want to feel strong and capable as a take on (and conquer!) the full 12 week challenge.

giphy (1)

(Visual representation of my arms)

The sense of satisfaction of completing all 12 weeks of the guide is awesome, but it takes away from it a little bit when you feel like you can’t/haven’t given your all for the last few weeks. So, we’re gonna try to whip these noodles into shape a little bit more before going all the way! I’ve also been working on my cardio (because I was reallllllly lacking there at the beginning) so hopefully that will help me tackle it as well.

It’s Monday of week 1, and I’m feeling good! I hope you are too.

xo,

J

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“DIET BREAK”

For the last week, I have not been logging food or counting calories. I’ve been eating what feels/tastes good, eating at maintenance level, all while maintaining a solid amount of exercise.

I wasn’t aware of it until recently, but apparently this is called a ‘diet break’. The logic is this: a lot of people who are on a long-term weight-loss trajectory eventually get frustrated and discouraged by the prospect of diligently counting calories, eating spinach, and avoiding everything delicious for a year (or more) straight. The diet break serves as a mental break – something to look forward to – to actually make it possible to stay on track long-term. The diet break is not an excuse to completely pig out and binge, however, but it lets you eat more intuitively, and maybe exceed your normal sugar intake by just a little bit. ūüėČ The diet break actually serves a dual purpose, in addition to providing a much-needed mental boost. It can actually boost metabolism and regulate hormone levels as well! The reality is, no matter how diligent and careful we are, dieting takes a toll on our bodies. Unfortunately¬†our bodies do not like running on a calorie deficit, and will thus try to adjust things over time in order to make up for the deficit. (So basically, if you endlessly diet, your metabolism is going to go dooooooown to almost a standstill.) In my opinion, this is one of the most frustrating aspects of weight loss – even though you are trying to be healthier for your body, it is actively working against you to regain weight, because that’s what it’s programmed to do. Diet breaks can give your body a bit of a ‘re-set’, so to speak. Returning to eating at maintenance levels gives the body a break and allows it to resume normal functioning, upping your metabolism and sorting out your hormones, which gives you an advantage when you start dieting again.

For me, it worked out really well – I just so happened to have a vacation scheduled, and was¬†definitely¬†not going to be sticking to a diet while away. (I mean honestly, who does?! Eating delicious food is half the fun of a vacation, in my opinion. Also, I went to Disneyland, and I’m pretty sure it’s a crime to visit and not eat churros, Dole whips, and ice cream.)

I was walking about 11 miles a day (25,000+ steps), so I¬†definitely¬†didn’t feel bad about indulging a little bit. I was consistently burning over 4500 calories a day, which is HUGE for me. I still ate my veggies and got my protein in, but I also ate a burger and fries, and indulged in some sweet treats. And now that my break is over, I feel great about getting back on track and committing to another 5 weeks of eating clean¬†before my birthday.

While the scale has not been moving the way I want it to, I have definitely seen progress in the shape of my body – my legs have really leaned out, and I have muscles (albeit teeny tiny ones) again! Hurrah! I’m going to keep pushing forward, and hopefully by the time my next vacation rolls around (I’ve got my sights set on Hawaii), I’ll feel confident rocking a bikini again.

 

xo,

J

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU AREN’T SEEING PROGRESS?

So it’s safe to say (judging by my Instagram feed) that I have been back ‘on the wagon’ for the last 5 weeks or so. I’ve been hitting the gym at least 4 times a week, and while my eating habits haven’t been totally¬†clean¬†per-se, I’ve been pretty good.

And yet… No progress.

The number on the scale hasn’t budged. In fact, it has gone up once or twice. And before anyone starts up with the whole “BUT YOU’RE BUILDING MUSCLE!!11!!!!!!111” routine, please spare me. I am aware that I am building muscle. But I also know that I have approximately 50 pounds to lose… so the fat loss should cancel out the muscle gain. Believe me. I have indeed done this before.

So here I sit – I’m pissed off, quite frankly, and frustrated, and feeling like a failure. I’m picking apart every piece of food that I eat, getting angry with myself for not trying hard enough or not doing enough. And then, on the other end, I’m worried, because I feel like something has to be wrong with me. It’s not normal to go from very little exercise to working out 4 days a week, with little change in eating habits (if anything they have improved) and not lose a pound. My weight is very concentrated in my midsection, too, whereas it used to distribute more over my whole body.

My mind is racing – what if I’m sick? What if there’s something wrong? And then I come full circle again – no, you’re just not working hard enough, you’re just not eating well enough, you’re not really trying – and I second guess everything for all eternity.

Quite frankly, not seeing progress is depressing. It’s disheartening. It makes me feel insanely helpless and angry and it throws the self-loathing into overdrive. Whenever I look in the mirror, my brain is a constant refrain of ‘why can’t you be better?’ and it’s a little bit soul-crushing, especially seeing all the amazing progress pictures that are posted by my beautiful Insta-friends week after week.

Even still, I know I have to keep going. I know that giving up will get me nowhere, and will be even worse for my health. So I will keep going. I’ll wake up every morning hoping to be a little better than I was the day before. I’ll push a little harder. I’ll cry when I need to, feel angry and frustrated when I need to, but never stop pushing forward.

So to end off this very raw and honest post… anyone have any advice? I’m already tracking food and exercise in both MyFitnessPal and a journal, and while I recognize that my eating habits haven’t been stellar, they also aren’t terrible. I’m mixing resistance workouts with cardio, both fasted HIIT in the morning and LISS at various other times. I’m drinking tons of water and getting plenty of sleep. What gives? Where am I going wrong? How do I keep myself motivated knowing that 5 weeks of effort have amounted to basically zero? Any advice is honestly 10000% welcome!

 

Ok, I’m done now, I promise. I hope you all are having better weeks than I currently am!

 

xo,

J

JANUARY UPDATE

Yikes, it’s been a while!

This month so far has been a bit of a shit show, for lack of a better term. I restarted the BBG at the beginning of the month and was doing great, completely on track for about 2 weeks, and then things started to unravel.

My boyfriend and I got rear-ended on our way to our anniversary dinner, which resulted in me having a back/neck injury. Given that I could barely move, exercise was definitely off the table. For now the closest I can get to the gym is physiotherapy, which really sucks. Then, just as my pain went from excruciating to more of a dull ache, I got hit with a killer virus and have been coughing up a lung for the better part of a week. My job situation also deteriorated slightly – I told my boss that I was leaving and she didn’t take it very well, and things have been strained. This is even worse given that my boss is also my dad’s fiancee.. it’s all very complicated. All the more reason that my next bit of news is¬†so exciting!!¬†

There have been positive distractions too – I got a whirlwind interview and then job offer all in the matter of a couple of weeks, and I start my new job on February 2nd! I’m so excited as it’s 100% the change of pace that I needed, and it’s a job I can really get excited and passionate about. I’m really looking forward to getting some of my pep back and feeling like I have a zest for life again! Only 3.5 more work days to go in my current position.

I’m starting to feel my cold receding today, so hopefully I’ll have my lungs back by the weekend. The recovery from my car accident may be a bit of a longer road, but I’m hoping I’ll be back on my feet and BBG-ing again soon. In the meantime I have tried hard to keep up with my healthy eating, and while I haven’t always been successful, I actually managed to lose another pound and a bit, bringing me back down to 191lbs, which is almost a 9lb loss since Christmas. Definitely not where I wanted to be by now, but not too shabby either!

Healthy living is all about the ups and downs, as I know very well, and the downs seem to come in waves. So let’s hope it’s all up from here! I have a 5k to train for!

I hope all of your weeks are going well, and that you’ve had a successful January so far!

 

xx,

J

Week 1 Update

Hi beauties!

I decided I should do a weekly update as I work through the Bikini Body Guide this time, both to keep myself accountable and to share some of what I notice with all of you!

Both my sweet boyfriend and I started our ‘health cleanse’ so to speak on Monday, January 2nd, and so far we have done really well! No cheats as of yet, and this time I haven’t had too many massive sugar-withdrawal headaches, so I’ll call that a win. He is already down 9 POUNDS (I know, what?! Keep in mind that he’s like 6’6″…) and I’m sitting at 6 pounds down. In case you’re not good at math, like me, that’s almost a pound a day. Now, to be fair, a significant portion of this is probably water weight. But it just goes to show how fast your body will respond when you go from treating it poorly to treating it right.

I feel¬†so much better¬†– after the holidays I was sluggish and tired and bloated, and as is typical for me, my digestive tract was waaaaaay out of whack. But after a week of clean eating and exercise I’m feeling like myself again!

After starting strong we’re looking to keep the momentum going this week… I’m aiming high for another 3lb loss! Either way though, I know the number on the scale doesn’t matter too much – how I feel is far more important. And my body is a happy camper right now!

 

Have an amazing week all!

x0,

J

2017 Goals

Well, that’s it! 2016 is over! (And can I just say, bye Felicia?) So that means it’s time for renewed commitments, goal setting, and a check-in.

Because let’s be real – who didn’t eat a few too many cookies over the holidays? I sure as hell did. I’m on day 2 of a little detox – no added sugar – and my body is all like “whyyyyy?!?!” That sugar, I’ll tell ya, it’s a hell of a drug.

So with all that in mind, I’d like to share some goals/commitments in order to keep myself accountable. Here they are:

  1. Be present.¬†I spent a lot of time last year waiting for interesting things to happen and neglecting to appreciate the moment I was in. I don’t want 2017 to pass in a boring blur like 2016 did.
  2. Be gentle with myself.¬†I’m a perfectionist, so when things don’t go exactly as planned, I take it out on myself. In the past, I have constantly felt ‘not good enough’, from my weight to my fitness level to my relationships to my career. This year, I am enough, no matter what.
  3. Be positive.¬†I am a Negative Nancy most of the time, also known as a serial pessimist. But it’s not fun for me or for those around me when I’m obsessing about the negatives of every situation. It’s ok and it’s brave to hope for the positive and to be joyful about it all.
  4. Stay focused and dedicated. I get complacent. I think we all do. In work, in fitness, even in our relationships. This year I want to work hard every day to be better.

And since those were all lovely but were a bit on the general side, here are a few specific fitness-related goals that I have for this year:

  1. Run a 5k
  2. Complete the Bikini Body Guide (twice!)
  3. Return to (and surpass!) my lowest weight of 155lbs
  4. Do 12 proper push ups without stopping
  5. Spend 3 hours outside walking or running every week
  6. Eat 5 or more servings of veggies every day
  7. Stick to 1 and only 1 cheat meal per week
  8. Drink 3.5 litres of water every day

If I had to pick a word for this year, I think it would have to be embrace. I want to embrace life with open arms rather that worrying and obsessing all the time. To live without the onus of perfection on my shoulders. I want to greet everything that 2017 throws at me and meet it head on.

Happy new year all! ūüôā

#MondayMantras – Carpe Diem!

Welcome to another #MondayMantras post!

This week I’m focusing on seizing the day. Carpe diem! For me this has a special meaning, and is something that I have always struggled with.

Anyone who has even had body image issues knows the struggle – it’s easy to get wrapped up in the whole “I’ll do it when I’m fit” or “I’ll do it when I lose 20 pounds” or “I’ll do it when I fit into those jeans again!” and forget to live your life. I have let whole summers pass me by, spending time indoors, wasting the glorious weather, all because I wasn’t comfortable with the way my body looked. I didn’t want to go out and have adventures because I wasn’t comfortable in my own skin, and what if *gasp* someone took a photo?! I’ve put off vacations because I was worried about how I’d look in the vacation photos, I’ve avoided social gatherings… and for what?

Honestly, the only person worrying about what my body looked like was¬†me.¬†My friends love me for my goofy jokes, my loud laugh, my company, my listening skills… they enjoy spending time with me because they like me for me, not for my dress size. My friends don’t even notice if I’ve gained ten pounds. The only person obsessing about it is me! I know it’s hard, especially with social media playing such a huge role in our lives these days – we want to portray a curated image of perfection. But that’s not real! And if social media is preventing you from enjoying your life… hit that ‘delete account’ button. People who truly care about you as a person aren’t judging you on the way you look, so doing a little ‘friend pruning’ can also help you feel surrounded by support. ūüėČ

So, even though I’m not yet at my ‘goal weight’ or ‘goal size’, I am making a conscious effort to get out there and enjoy my life. Seize that day! Carpe that diem!

The added bonus of all this is also that getting out there makes you feel better… which in turn is hella motivating.

Have an amazing week, lovelies!

xx

J

#MondayMantras

I’m starting a thing! I’m working on being a lot more positive and thankful in my life, and being really mindful of who I am, where I’m headed, and what I can do to better myself.

So, with that in mind, I’m going to be posting a #MondayMantra every week to get things started off on the right foot!

This week’s #MondayMantra is:

Prioritize your own happiness. 

I don’t know about you guys, but I constantly find myself worrying about the happiness/success of others, and am willing to put their needs in this respect above my own. Now, putting the happiness of others above your own can be a very selfless and healing act… as long as you’re not doing it constantly. I have fallen into a pattern where my default is to please someone else before I please myself, and I’d like to break that habit.

For a significant portion of my life, I felt like I existed to please other people — and if they had done me a favour or treated me well, I was forever in their debt. So, I’d find it hard to move on or make choices based on my own wants and needs. I’ve been grappling with this as it pertains to my job. My current boss is an almost-family-member, and is honestly the sweetest person you’ll ever meet. She has believed in me, given me ample opportunity, and been a big cheerleader for me. However, I’ve come to realize that despite how much I love¬†her¬†as a person, this job is just not where my passion lies. I was feeling stuck, feeling bored and unchallenged, and generally feeling out of sorts. All of this was complicated by the fact that I felt that I couldn’t leave my job because I would be letting her down, and I would seem ungrateful for all that she had done for me.

The thing is, I’ve come to realize, if another person is really invested in and really cares about¬†you,¬†they won’t be upset if you make a choice to improve your life. In fact, they’ll likely be happy for you! So for me, as long as I go about changing my career path in a respectful, appreciative way, it’s very likely that my boss will be happy for me. She’ll know that I respect and appreciate her, but that this job just isn’t for me. It’s not personal. And it’s okay. This realization really was a process for me, and I’m still grappling with it. I desperately don’t want to be the girl who is deemed ungrateful or selfish… but I also need to take care of myself, and right now, that looks like switching some things up in my life, including my job.

We all¬†deserve to be happy in our lives, no matter what our past looks like, no matter the mistakes we’ve made. If you are not happy with your life, the way it is now, you are allowed to change it, even if that isn’t going to please other people. Do what’s best for you, boo!

So this Monday, and all week, for that matter —¬†prioritize your own happiness.¬†

You deserve it!

 

xo,

J

#LifeUpdate

Hi!

So, now that I’ve got my blog all set up and (mostly) functioning, I thought it might be a good idea to take some time to properly introduce myself and give an update on where I’m at.

Buckle your seatbelts, folks, ’cause this might be a long one.

In case my veeeery informative blog has not yet let you know, I’m Jess. I’m 23, I love food, I don’t really love cardio, and I’m working on being the best version of myself.

I’ve had a bit of an on and off romance with fitness, to be completely honest. In the fall of 2014, I reached a point where I was fed up with my body, with my clothes not fitting, and with my unhealthy habits, so I decided to make a change. Unfortunately, I had no idea what the f*ck I was doing. I went to the gym a lot, but spent a lot of time on mindless cardio and some haphazard exercises I’d learned on Pinterest, but I didn’t have a lot of direction. I¬†especially¬†didn’t know what I was doing when it came to nutrition. I was heavily influenced by ‘trendy’ foods and hadn’t actually done the work of informing myself about what my body needed to function properly. So, I basically just researched ‘clean eating’ recipes and existed off of those for about 4 months. I lost about ten pounds and was feeling… okay. (Okay meaning I was seeing results and losing weight like I wanted to but I got sick a lot and always felt super exhausted.) Christmas happened, I gave my body a break, and then I started Kayla Itsines’ Bikini Body Guide in January of 2015.

The program, along with a lot of support from the Instagram community, worked well for me. (The #BBG community on Instagram is AMAZING. Chock-full of supportive, inspirational girls. LOVE IT.) The fact that it’s a 12 week program kept me on track and looking forwards. I was also using her nutrition guide, of which I am slightly less of a fan, but I’ll leave that for another post. The more I saw results, the harder I went, to a point where I was in the gym twice a day and was only eating about 1,300 calories a day. (Not quite enough for a 5’8″ lady who is burning over 600 calories a day in exercise alone.) Again, I hadn’t done my research, I didn’t know my Basal Metabolic Rate, I didn’t know how much I should be eating, and I was going¬†way too hard.¬†So, once I reached my goal, which was a trip to Hawaii at the end of April 2015, I kinda fell off the wagon. It was a hard lifestyle to maintain, and since I was at a place where I was happier with my body, I let myself slack off.

Long story short, I was lazy all summer and then moved to Paris for 4 months, during which I barely exercised and ate my body weight in carbs/cheese/wine… and the weight all came back.

As it turns out, by not eating enough during my intense fitness phase, I also happened to mess up my metabolism a little bit. Up until now, I’ve been pretty good with my nutrition (I have done my homework, I know what my body needs, and I do my best to provide that for it… plus a lil bit of pizza.) but I’ve been lacking on the workout front. I just can’t seem to get back into it! So, I’ve been at the gym, but my dedication has been sporadic at best. To add insult to injury, after years of working in retail to fund my university education, I am now working a 9-5 desk job. Turns out, sitting all day is not that good for you!

So. Where does that leave me?

Well, I’ve started this blog to document my ups and downs, because a) I hope to hell it’ll keep me accountable, and b) I think we often view fitness and weight loss as a straight-shot, end-goal type of scenario when in reality, it’s pretty all over the place. I want other people to know that you can fall down and pick yourself right back up again – we all f*ck up sometimes, and it’s ok! It makes us human! As long as we’re doing our best to take care of our lil bodies, we’re doing something right.

I now have a standing desk at work (woooo!) and am experimenting with walking in place as I work so that I can get some steps in. I’m making sure that I’m drinking my full 3.5L of water at work every day, and as of Monday, I’m starting the BBG all over again!

Which is why….

I’ve attached these terrifying progress pictures. #yikes

Gotta start somewhere, I guess! Wish me luck!

xx

J

why i’m pro-‘gym selfie’

Ah, the gym selfie. Subject of endless criticism both in person and online, the ‘gym selfie’ (a picture taken of oneself, usually in the mirror, while at the gym) has gained some notoriety. But I have a confession to make:

I am unapologetically pro-gym selfie. (See? ūüėČ )

FullSizeRender

A lot of the criticism of these pictures revolves around time-wasting and narcissism. Critics of the gym selfie, many of whom probably take themselves a little too seriously, state that people taking pictures in the gym is a waste of time — that they should be there to work on themselves, not to show off via Snapchat or Instagram. Gym selfie-ers are labelled as shallow and self-absorbed, and are shamed for using ‘workout time’ to snap some pictures of themselves and indulge in ‘attention-seeking behaviour’. People argue that ‘real’ athletes don’t care what others think and aren’t at the gym for approval from others (via social media) and are solely focused on bettering themselves.

Now, people take pictures of themselves at the gym for a multitude of reasons. I myself have been known to take quite a few, and I keep these photos on record to look at my progress over time. It’s super encouraging to look at a photo from six months ago and compare it with a more recent one in which my shoulders look more defined or my booty is looking rounder and more lifted. It’s hard to see little, incremental progress points when you’re looking at yourself in the mirror every day, so photos are a huge help in keeping motivated. I always felt self-conscious while taking progress pictures in the gym, like everyone was judging me and labelling me as someone who wasn’t ‘serious about fitness’ just because I was taking pictures of myself. Why are we looking down on each other for tracking our progress? We should be celebrating each other’s victories.

Girl, you worked for that butt and now you want to show it off? Good for you! I’m genuinely pleased for you. Snapchat it to everyone you know. Post it on Instagram. I’ll like the shit out of it! Working on our health and fitness is an achievement like any other, and deserves praise — so stop trying to make people ashamed for celebrating their achievements!

“But what,” you ask, “about those girls who are just in the gym taking endless pictures of themselves, not for progress but for fun? What about the girls who seem to spend more time taking selfies than working out?”

Well, I don’t have a problem with them, either. So they’re feelin’ themselves? So what?

While some of these Negative Nancy-type people do kinda¬†have a point (it can be annoying if someone is taking up space in the gym for selfies while people are trying to use equipment in that area – don’t do that), I think that the majority of the problems that people have with gym selfies are related to the fact that we, as a society, are made uncomfortable by people who love themselves.

Unless they are sprawled across a squat rack, a bench, and are using 50 free weights in pursuit of the perfect selfie, is it¬†really¬†bothering you or impacting your workout in any way? The answer is no. What does seem to bother most people though, is seeing someone who is confident and happy with themselves. Isn’t that sad? So many of us are so insecure, have been brought down so far by the crazy expectations that society has of us, that we get jealous and mean when we see someone who is 100% ok with themselves.

There’s a saying that goes something like “a candle loses nothing by lighting another candle” — and it applies to this situation. Be happy for people who love themselves! Clap for them! Cheer for them! You lose literally nothing by being supportive of people. Don’t be jealous or upset with a confident person because you aren’t there yet. Use them as inspiration to fuel your own self-confidence and self-love.

I am so excited for girls, especially, who think they look pretty. You take that selfie, girl! Brag about your progress and indulge in feeling great about yourself. Because in a world where women, especially (but also men!) are told that we are not good enough and are taught to hate our bodies and our physical appearances from day one, loving yourself is an act of defiance, and is an act that I 100% support.

The world would be such a lovely place if we could all be a little less judgmental. It’s an ingrained little voice in our heads that tells us to criticize others, but it can be silenced. Next time you see someone indulging in some gym-selfie action, tell the judgmental jerk of a voice in your head to shush and let them do their thing. Hell, maybe even follow them on Instagram. Let’s congratulate each other on self-confidence rather than trying to tear each other down. I’ve seen the results that support can deliver for health, fitness, and self-love, especially through online communities and social networks, and it’s crazy inspirational.

If you’ve never gym selfie’d before, I recommend you give it a try. Post it on Instagram! You’ll be surprised who you inspire and who you get inspiration from.

xo,

J