Stress makes you fat period – so hit the tub!

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So I recently got a bit of a reality cheque with my workout regime – apparently my adrenals aren’t quite healed enough for me to throw down 5 – hour long high intensity/weights workouts. (Read about my initial diagnosis of this crappy hormone imbalance here: https://sisteractfitness.wordpress.com/category/nutrition/page/3/) I’m sad because I felt awesome doing these shortcut to shred workouts!!! Pouring sweat and seeing results quickly but after 3 weeks I was having a hard time sleeping, I was becoming irritable (yes this is a normal Mel characteristic but it was worse), getting dizzy a lot and my quads were aching from about an hour after my workout until the next morning. I also noticed I wasn’t losing weight and some days I was gaining it. So what do I do? Same thing I’ve done for the past ten years when I hit a road block – throw in the towel and eat everything!!! This weekend alone i drank copious amounts of wine and scorfed candy, had some disappointing Chinese food and to make up for that I had a big bowl of gluten free Mac n cheese (the kraft powder with GF penne) it was delicious! I’ll admit after resting up a bit this week and dropping my workouts down to some 20 minutes hiit and some short but sweet heavy weight lifting I feel MUCH better, my happy energy has returned and I laid out a good (and achievable) workout plan for the week :) I did a big food prep last night and was happy to have some different food in the house. I’ve also had a couple of Epsom salt baths each week to wind down and give my muscles some much needed magnesium :)
I guess the point of this post is you can follow whatever workout plan you want but listen to your body – sometimes the messages will come in the form of a headache, bad sleep or a grouchy mood and you should listen and be thankful cause you can correct those symptoms a lot easier than a sprained ankle, ruptured achilles (yes I’m still nursing my sore one) or even worse injuries that I’m not going to name cause I’m not putting that thought out there.

Interested in seeing my workout plan for the week (and yes I did my sprints this morning and back/chest and abs after work today) check us out on Instagram @sisteractfitness

Good news! I’ve begun a course for certification in sports nutrition if anyone is interested in being my guinea pig (while it’s free) email us at sisteractfitness@gmail.com

Xoxoxo Mel

Staying Fit in Fall

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Fall is an incredibly beautiful time of year. The leaves are falling, the air is crisp and it is time to break out the cozy clothes. Fall in the Lower Mainland also means that the sunshine has disappeared and the rain is coming down. It can be really hard to keep motivated this time of year when those cozy sweaters conceal a few extra pounds and anything covered in cheese is all I am craving. Luckily for me, I am headed to Brazil in January with one of my best friends to celebrate our 30th birthdays so I have the motivation of tiny bikinis and walking on the beach with some of the most beautiful women in the world…  my friend and I want to look as best as we can to ring in our 30th birthdays so here are some of my tips to keep fit this fall/winter.

1. Get your family and friends involved: My sister loves to take on challenges. I texted her last night with a workout challenge to complete at some point over the weekend. My sister is a great motivator because we like to compete in a loving way… as you can see in our “real” family picture.

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2. Get outside: Even though we have a ton of rain it is still important to get outside and enjoy some of the beauty that we are blessed with, the leaves and beautiful trees. Go hiking, walk the sea wall, go for a bike ride or a stroll on the beach when the tide is out. Remember a little rain never hurt anyone but dress accordingly. Remember you aren’t the Wicked Witch from the Wizard of Oz and you won’t melt in the rain.

3. Take a new class: My plan is to try out an interval class that my gym has. Have you wanted to try something new that you have been putting off? Fall is a great time to start! Call up a friend and have fun!

4. Dust off that clean-eating recipe book: Fall is the perfect time to try something new, bust out that slow cooker! Test out some new recipes and bring them to work to share with your co workers (If you work with me, this is directed towards you) Try to make your favourite comfort foods healthy. The internet is a great resource for recipes. One of our favourites is  http://paleomg.com/

5. Taking vitamin D: I tend to struggle with my motivation during the fall and winter months due to a lack of sunshine so I will be taking a vitamin D supplement. What do you use to replace the sunshine?

What do you do to stay fit and healthy in the fall? What keeps you motivated? We want to hear from you!

Mo xx

The DO’s and DON’Ts of the GYM

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Soooooooooo now that I’m back at the gym 6 days a week (we are going to Mexico in less than a month by the way) I’ve noticed some awesome and some annoying things about going to the gym. I’m going to start with the good things to do at the gym because otherwise I will scare off some people from ever stepping foot in the sweat box and that’s just not what Sister Act Fitness is about!

DO DO DO AT THE GYM:

1 – GO!!!!!!!!! Step foot in the door, actually as you open the door smile! It will trick your mind and body into thinking it’s gonna love what you do to it – plus if you smile as you walk through the door (any door in life for that matter) you look welcoming and happy instead of a “bitch on a mission who has 3.5 seconds before her preworkout powder kicks in so get the hell out of the way” look (If you have been to the gym you have seen the latter, she’s scary)

2 – WORK! It doesn’t matter if you sit on a bike and sweat and swear for 45 minutes if you are working you are benefitting every aspect of your life. Your mood, your relationships, your physical appearance, your organs – everything!

3 – DRINK WATER – it doesn’t need to be gatorade or vitamin water, regular water will do and will taste mighty refreshing once you start doing #2 (#2 on the list not the other #2 get your minds out of the gutter)

4 – SMILE (yes again) at the other people working out around you as you walk by, especially in the women’s only section. People (especially women) tend to walk around the gym like their shit don’t stink. We are all there for a common goal, to better ourselves and you would be amazed how not-snobby people actually are once you smile at them. I witnessed women talking and working together tonight at the gym, sharing equiptment and machines and it was nice :)

5 – TRY SOMETHING NEW – it took me years to feel comfortable in a gym but I still like to get out of my comfort zone sometimes – go try a new class, zumba is as awesome as you expect it to be believe me! Grab some girlfriends (or boyfriends or random friends) and go!

6 – WIPE DOWN YOUR CRAP AND PUT IT BACK WHERE YOU FOUND IT! (Ok maybe this should be in the don’t section because it seems grumpy but technically its a do so shhhh) If you put 100 pound plates on a bar please take them off after cause if I come behind you and have to take them off I’m gonna bitch and nobody likes hearing me bitch

Hmmmmm – I think that’s it for DOs – show up, sweat, wipe and leave ;)

Now the fun ones

DON’T DON’T DON’T at the gym:

1 – DON’T WEAR 5 POUNDS OF PERFUME!!!!!!!!!! There’s this really pretty girl at my gym who has ginormous fake boobs and a tiny little waist and over the last month we’ve smiled at each other and shared equiptment but she literally gives me a migraine if I go within 5 feet of her. Today when I got to the gym I knew she was there before I even saw her – seriously if you look and smell like that you should probably be working out in the co-ed section cause that’s the vibe you are putting out

2 – DON’T TALK ON YOUR PHONE AND SIT ON A MACHINE!!!!!!! Today (apparently there was a plethora of idiots at the gym today, hey something has to inspire me to write) I watched a woman wait to use the abductor (that amusing inner thigh machine) while some oblivious idiot sat on it talking on her phone. That woman had much more patience then I would have it that had been me – props.

3 – DON’T BE A SPACE HOG (that’s a band isn’t it? Squirrel) Don’t put your barbell, dumbells, bench, water bottle etc all over the bloody place. Any workout can be done in a 4 foot by 8 foot space especially when the gym is busy – thank you

4 – DON’T BE A CARDIO JUNKIE – this isn’t me venting this is the truth. There’s a time and place for cardio but your body will be happier and you will see better results if you move some weights around. Muscle burns more fat, lifting weights will fuel your metabolism long after you leave the gym. Cardio burns calories and yes fat but as soon as you step off that treadmill your burn is done. If you love biking or the treadmill try sprints – work as hard as you can for 30 seconds then rest until you catch your breathe then work again for 30 seconds. Do this until you are exhausted but no more than 30 minutes – I guarantee you will see better physical results, you will spend less time in the gym and you will feel your revved up metabolism for hours after.

Have any DOs and DON’Ts to add? We would love to hear them!!!

xoxo

Mel

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5 – DON’T GO IT ALONE – yes I’m aware there are people out there that are so determined and goal oriented that they succeed at whatever they put their mind to – I’m not that person, Mo is but she still texts me what she has for dinner almost every night so there is definitely a two-way support system in place with us. Find a friend (yes I’m available) to go to the gym with – our friend Melissa and I went to a class the other night and it was awesome, I laughed my ass off, falling all over the place but it was good, it was hard but it was good. 95% of the people you know would love to be healthier, even the most skinny gals I know want to be more active. There’s no harm in asking so call up a friend and go ride the bike together, go for a walk, spot each other in a 100 pound bench press – whatever! Actually call me if you can do a 100 pound bench press cause I would love to watch!

Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Poppers – YES PLEASE!

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Mel here! So if you follow us on Instagram (or follow me) you will see I’ve had a recent flux in my jalapeno popper consumption. I’ll admit right now – I LOVE these things – the jalapenos roast so nicely making them tasty and not so spicy. When I’ve found I’ve eaten a lot of protein in the last few days and need to eat something with higher fat these are my go-tos! (And the bf loves them too duh)

I wanted to share the original recipe that I used and how I modified it a bit.

The original recipe can be found here:

http://www.ibreatheimhungry.com/2012/02/bacon-wrapped-stuffed-jalapenos-2.html

When I made them I found one thing fairly obvious right away – DO NOT PRECOOK THE BACON! It becomes smaller and loses its elasticity and therefore does not wrap around the jalapeno causing me to have to lay the bacon on top (see photo below). Cut the uncooked bacon pieces in half and wrap a half a piece around each popper. Keep an eye on them in the oven you will have to cook them a bit longer than this recipe states – make sure to use the broiler at the end to crispy up the bacon and get the extra roasted taste of the jalaps.

If you don’t have salsa verde don’t stress, I used regular salsa (you know that rarely used jar that everyone has in the fridge – make sure it doesn’t have a layer of blue mold on it before you start cooking!)

I used herb and garlic cream cheese because, well let’s face it, herb and garlic cream cheese trumps regular cream cheese!

You can also skip the salsa and added cheese and just put your cream cheese of choice in the jalapeno then wrap them up – heck you could even skip the bacon if you are vegetarian! If you are vegan you could try using Daiya’s cream cheese products in this recipe (I would love to hear how those turn out!)

I suggest eating these in front of an episode of the Good Wife in your pajamas with a glass of wine because life should be awesome like that!

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FYI The picture at the top on the baking tray was a batch I made to take to a party. Those buggers sat on my lap for 45 minutes on the drive to the party, I literally had to keep my oven mitts on in the car to keep from eating them all!

Yes you are seeing that correctly – in an act of sheer craziness I put poppers on top of a lettuce burger – it was mind bogglingly (holy crap that’s actually a word?) delicious !!!!!

Please let me know if you try out this recipe and if you love them as much as me!!!!!! I may be partial but I think these trump the deep fried/breaded poppers you get at restaurants ;)

XOXO

Mel

Disclaimer: “But Mel, all those saturated fats! Aren’t you going to die?” (dramatic I know)  Relax, we only have these once every week or two, I lift weights 5 times a week, am losing inches and losing weight and feel pretty damn good. Saturated fat is not going to kill me but I’m happy to discuss why your multigrain cheerios might be killing you in person sometime :)

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My Carb Nite Solution Update!

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Wow this update is amazingly overdue! I’ll admit I was busy watching The Good Wife and enjoying the rest of my summer. We were on Galiano Island this past weekend for a beautiful wedding. It was so nice to visit with long time friends of mine and spend some time with their little minions :)

So I am 7 weeks into the Carb Nite Solution diet. If you didn’t read my original post on what this diet entails here’s the link:

http://sisteractfitness.wordpress.com/2014/07/17/another-narly-solution-to-my-battle-with-fat/

So in 7 weeks I am down 1.5 inches in my waist (yes Im sadistic and measure my lower belly), down 1.5 inches (carrying on with the sadistic theme I measure the chubby part of my hips) and down an inch in my butt. These aren’t massive results and most of them were made during the first 10 day “reorientation” but I’ve had a couple set backs.

As for weight (which I must specify this is not a weight loss diet but a FAT loss diet so they stress to not judge your progress by the scale but come on who doesn’t like to see that stupid number go down) I am down 6 pounds. So I guess on average that’s almost a pound a week. 

As for body fat percentage I have no clue, my scale (a ghetto walmart purchase) says I’m down a half percent but who ever trusted a ghetto scale?

Now considering I’ve previously done the HCG diet where I lost 20 pounds in 3 weeks the idea of 6 pounds in 6 weeks feels slow, however, compared to the HCG diet (500 calories a day, no carbs, no fat) I must say – I friggin love this diet! I’m advised to eat steak whenever I want – who wouldn’t love that! I eat meat and butter and veggies (around 1700-1900 calories/day) and once a week I get to have a nice night out where I have consumed such things as gummy bears, sweet potatoes, fruit, gluten free pizza, gluten free pasta, sushi, chips, poutine, cheesecake and my personal favourite from The Vault restaurant in Cloverdale (http://vaultrestaurant.com/) peanut butter pie! The BF also loves me on this diet as we have our yummy date nights back :)

When I started the diet I was spacing my carb nites out once per week, unfortunately the last 3 weeks when I weigh myself the morning of my carb nite (only weigh once a week) I have not lost anything from the week prior – again the scale is a game, a mental one at that, just cause the number is the same doesn’t mean my body isn’t changing, however, I’m going to shoot for atleast 10 days between carb nites from here on in.

A couple of downfalls to the diet, atleast for me and yes I am perfectly capable of correcting them – the first month I went ape sh*t on cheese. As most of our avid followers know Mel + Cheese = Sinus Cold Death and sure enough two weeks ago (the day before I started my new job to be exact) I came down with a brutal headcold, I must say one of the worst colds I have had in years – my head felt like it was going to explode, my nose wouldn’t stop running and I was coughing up inhumane junk. Needless to say it was a great first impression for my coworkers. Soooooooo I cut back hard on the dairy as soon as I got sick and luckily I was only dying for a week. I’ll admit I’ve dabbled a bit in the cheese world since I’ve recovered but that will end Saturday morning (we are taking jalapeno poppers to a party tomorrow night – don’t judge). The problem with eating high fat, low carb is its hard to get in all your daily calories with just protein alone, without dairy my fats are limited to coconut and olive oil, however, I don’t seem to have an issue with butter and yes I may have melted butter on my steak the other night – nananana boo boo. My other complaint would be the lack of options when it comes to vegetables due to trying to keep your carb count under 30g per day (it is 30g after fibre has been subtracted though so you don’t have to go without) but I do miss the quantity of vegetables I used to eat. This week I’ve been trying to incorporate more veggies :)

So I slipped a bit – now before you roll your eyes know that I went a whopping 6 weeks without falling off the wagon on this diet, ask my sister this is no small feat considering I rarely make it past the 3 week point on any commitment of this magnitude – I kept my carbs to one night per week even though the days after carb nite I’m effing starving!!!!!!!! BUT I’m human and I’m hungry and this past weekend at the aforementioned wedding I ate like a fat kid who broke out of diet camp, and I loved every minute of it! I drank two bottles of wine (later deemed grape juice since I didn’t feel drunk but once you see the food I consumed you will understand the wine didn’t stand a chance), ate a big bag of popcorn, ate a ton of salads, pork, and salmon. I went to town on the candy buffet table set up at the wedding and polished the night off with two cupcakes (mini ones, carrot cake and cookies n cream, they were amazing) and incase that didn’t seem like enough I slightly recall eating two smokies at around midnight. I went to bed with a belly resembling a 6 month pregnant women and I was beyond content. The next day I was back on the low carb train immediately, however, despite my best efforts and keeping that whole day low carb/high fat I begged the BF to take me for a dairy queen blizzard before I hopped back on the diet train.

So where I am now, this morning (2 and a half days after my hard fall off the wagon) i’m only up a pound from my pre-wedding weight – psssshhhhh, one measly pound, I got this! The final traces of bloat are gone and my work outs are back on track – needless to say I’m recovering nicely and look forward to the next couple months of this intriguing solution to my battle with fat :)

Xoxo

Mel

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Trying to Find Balance

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Does anyone else find life is a constant struggle to maintain balance? The need to be alone and the urge to be with friends? The need to be active and the desire to relax and watch a movie? Life is a balancing act and it is not an easy one. Balancing a career, fitness, blog, friends, family, home, fundraising, etc is a struggle. This summer I have found it to be particularly difficult. I have been on some awesome summer road trips and I find that I have been trying to jam so much into every day that I am getting less sleep and not feeling as energized to exercise in the morning. I want so badly to be able to fit everything and everyone in but it simply isn’t possible. So what does it take to find balance in it all?

1. Take an honest assessment of where you are at: At times it may be difficult to admit that we are very far from finding balance. I have had many times in my life that I was very far away from my definition of balanced and I had to be brutally honest with myself. I was sick, stressed and incredibly unhealthy. There is a tool I use at work with my client’s called the Life Balance Assessment http://www.bebalancedforlife.com/upload/Assessing%20Your%20Life%20Balance.pdf Print it off and try it out. I do this regularly to highlight areas where I need a bit of a tune up. I hear time and time again from friends and family that they just can’t lose the weight that they want to lose but they aren’t really being honest with themselves. Losing weight in a healthy way is hard work and you can’t say “Nothing works!” when you aren’t really committing and sticking with a plan. If you are cheating regularly and not eating clean then your body may not be where you want it to be. However, if you are looking to be healthy and part of your balance is working in those cheats then you may have to be honest and accept that extra 10 pounds as part of your concept of having a balanced life.

2. Set SMART goals for yourself: After you have done an honest assessment of yourself, it is time to set some goals. Goals needs to be specific! Try answering who, where, what, how, and when? How will you measure your ability to reach your goals? Is this goal attainable? Is it relevant to you? The goal needs to be personally important to you or it won’t happen! What is the time frame for your goal? It is easy to say someday I will… but if we don’t set time frames around those goals then it is very likely that it won’t happen. September starts on Monday and it is a great month to seriously assess those goals that you want to work towards.

3. Seek Support: Friends, family, counselors, doctors

It is ok to admit that you don’t have it all together and you may need some help from a professional. I try very hard to be a friend that people will call when they are in need and I know the people in my life will do the same for me.  It may be difficult to ask for help but really that’s what friends are for.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NNHBT7wjqVI

4. Learn to say No: This one can be particularly difficult for a lot of people. In my professional life I can be really good at accomplishing this but it is more and more difficult in my personal life. It is common for a lot of us to want to be the best friend, child, mother, father, etc. but not at our own determent. I find that I need to prioritize and make sure to fit in all of my own self-care strategies (exercise, proper nutrition, sleeping well, relaxing, etc) or I simply do not have the energy to do my job well or be a good friend to others. If you have difficulty saying no an excellent book that I recommend is called “How Full is Your Bucket.” It is definitely worth the read.

5. Have Fun: Life is short! Do the things you love doing and do them often! Just make sure you do the healthy things you need to do in order to have the energy to do all the fun things you want to do! Try something you haven’t done before and start crossing off that bucket list.

I hope everyone has a wonderful long weekend and remember that finding balance is an active process that requires mindfulness and honest self-assessment. What do you do to stay balanced? We want to hear from you! Here is some of the fun I have had this summer! Thanks for reading!

Mo xx

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How this Mommy lost her baby weight – the patient way :)

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Below is an email sent to me from our friend Thea. I asked if she would mind if we shared it on the blog and thankfully she said yes :)

Hey Mel,

First off, LOVE your blog post about your weight loss journey! http://sisteractfitness.wordpress.com/2014/04/23/my-personal-health-transformation-what-a-doozy/ and http://sisteractfitness.wordpress.com/2014/05/10/maureens-personal-health-transformation/ I struggled with my weight after high school (same situation- started working at McDonalds, stopped playing sports & had no idea about fitness & healthy eating ) then made a decision to change and started running and doing research on healthy eating & lost 50 lbs, I decided I wasn’t going to be the type of person to yo yo and I have maintained a healthy lifestyle since (going on 9 plus years) then I got pregnant and became an anxious nervous pregnant person and decided that the only exercise I would do was walk, and light yoga…needless to say I gained 50 lbs during my pregnancy (7 lbs 2 oz Teala was my favorite weight that I gained!) I forgot how hard it is to lose weight healthily but I thought since it took me 10 months to gain it I will give myself a year to get back on track! Teala is 10 months old now and I am only a couple pounds away from my pre preggo weight!.

For the last 4 months I have been following bikinibodymommy.com. at home free workouts and it’s been an adjustment since I was use to running 25 km a week plus the gym so being at home and doing stairs/ skipping and such is funny and totally different, but it’s working!!

I started the BBM (bikini body mommy) 90 day challenge 1.0 on January 6 (http://bikinibodymommy.com/category/90-day-challenge/) I successfully completed that & did a 4 week mini series before starting the next 90 day BBM challenge 2.0. I just finished that this past weekend and I am proud to say that I never missed a single day of workouts & I have never felt as strong as I do now and I am back to my pre preggo weight (although my body is slightly different then before). The workouts were 6 days a week (m-s) and then rest on Sundays. I even went on several weekend getaways and a trip to Mexico during the challenges. In order for me to be successful I didn’t allow for any excuses to get in my way of me meeting my goals. And I know from before that you can only depend on yourself. It’s good to have support but in the end it’s just you and your choices.

Just because the challenges are over now doesn’t mean I’m stopping my workouts. For me exercise is apart of my daily life, and has been for the last decade. I think I will follow the challenge again and incorporate more running & yoga into the workouts.

A typical day of meals for me is as follows:

As soon as I wake up I drink a giant bottle of water. I love water & drink several bottles throughout the day.
(Mel from S.A.F. also drinks a glass of water on an empty stomach first thing in the morning, even warm water with half a lemon squeezed into it is very beneficial to cleanse toxins and kick start your metabolism)

Next up- coffee!!! I drink approx 2 cups of black coffee per day. If my baby is up a lot in the night sometimes I will have a cup in the afternoon.

For breakfast I eat yogurt (either activia or liberte) with my favourite granola from Trader Joe’s. It is gluten free & has cranberries and almonds in it.

I try to have a few snacks between meals. Either an apple or banana or a piece of cheese.

For lunch my go to is rice cakes with almond butter, and carrot sticks & red pepper with hummus.

I love wraps you can make so many yummy meals in them. One of my favourite meals for supper is cooking chicken or beef wraps with rice, tomatoes and carrots. They are quick, and easy and delicious.

I also want to point out that it is okay to have treats! You have to allow yourself treats otherwise if you are having a bad day you binge on snacks. I am not perfect and have moments where I eat candy and the important thing to remember is not to beat yourself up about it. Forget about it and move on, try to make better choices tomorrow.

My husband Marc is my biggest cheerleader. Getting positive feedback from him and my friends has been the best motivator for me. We have been together for 16 years and his support has been awesome. He and I decided roughly 9 years ago that we were done with fast food. No more McDonalds/Burger King etc with the exception on Timmy’s, subway, Quiznos & Starbucks. We talk about breaking the streak one day, but neither of us has really wanted to yet.

Side note- I try not to drink juice my thinking is that I would rather eat my calories then drink them ;)

- Thea

We found this awesome photo of Thea after finishing the ChelanMan Triathlon in 2012 – Way to go Thea!
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And we also have this beautiful photo of her and her daughter Teala just recently – Thanks again Thea

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Sister Act Fitness thanks Thea for her input on what helped her shed her baby weight and look forward to hearing about more of Thea’s accomplishments in the future.

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Xoxo,
Mel and Mo