Do you benefit from your benefits?

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massage

I always say – If I could turn back time I would have gotten in shape (or never let myself get out of shape) much earlier in life. I also would have taken advantage of all the benefits my previous employers gave me. Tonight I want to toot the horn of Massage Therapy which is only one of the amazing treatments I use in the ongoing battle of staying healthy and mobile.

First off if you don’t use at least your massage therapy benefits through the current company that you are employed with I have to say YOU ARE MISSING OUT! People think that going to massage therapy is only for people with achy backs, sore muscles and sports injuries – this is not true! Even if you are an avid yogi (is that the correct term?) or do nothing physical in your regular life your body can benefit from massage even if for nothing but a bit of stress relief.

Years ago I took a bad fall at the beach one day, I’m 5 foot 10 and went legs up in the air and came straight down on my right shoulder snapping my head back as I landed – I know it sounds awful but if I told you the story in person I would have you in hysterics, it was what I like to call “an ego check” (basically when your ego is getting a little big and the world needs to bring you back down to the ground). Anyways within a month or so I started to have a weird pain in my right shoulder, almost like a muscle pull/twinge. I then noticed a small lump in the muscle/tendon at the base of my skull. I got the lump checked out by the doctor and she said to keep an eye on it and if it got bigger come back. Time went by and it didn’t grow but about 6 months later I started having these odd migraines. Out of nowhere I would start to see this tiny pixilated half moon on the right side of my vision, it would be accompanied by an uneasy feeling in my stomach. I would watch the little half moon grow bigger until it disappeared from my sight, then the migraine would start. It was debilitating and I had no clue what was causing it. I went back to the doctor who recommended I go to the eye doctor to check for anything going on behind my eyes – possibly even a tumor – you could understand my concern. Luckily my eye doctor didn’t see anything and I went on my inconclusive way. I went back to my regular doctor and somehow I was whining about my shoulder being sore (funny just recalling it now I remember I could barely sleep on my right side cause of the pain in my shoulder joint) and finally we put two and two together. She realized my whole right shoulder “girdle” was balled up and the muscles were all brutally tight.

I sought out massage therapy from our family’s massage therapist Murray at Glover Road Massage/Chiropratic in Langley. This man is magic! My Mom, sister, friends and even tiny Grandmother will attest to my claims! Within two visits to Murray my headaches were gone, the pain I felt in my shoulder when I slept on it was gone and I could even throw a baseball pain free again! Unreal! Granted some of the treatment was a bit painful I couldn’t thank him enough!

To this day I still see Murray on a monthly basis usually to loosen up my shoulder as there’s a bit of nerve damage from the fall and it acts up once in a while and also to help with my leftΒ knee/hip that I injured years ago. If your company covers you for massage DO IT! Even if it’s just a chance to escape from the world for an hour and relax I guarantee you won’t regret it!

Note: You may need to pay up front then be reimbursed, if that’s the case check to see if your benefits plan has an app for your phone, some companies it’s as easy as taking a picture of your receipt! My company Great West Life has an app, I simply enter the amount of the visit, who the visit was with, amount of time of the visit and the date and within 3-4 days I’m reimbursed through direct deposit into my bank account – AWESOME!

So if you have aches and pains or are an active person you should ask yourself – Are your benefits benefiting you???????

Xoxo

Mel

IT’S BAAAAACK! Give Up/Take Up Challenge for December

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Well I’ll be the first to admit I fell off the Give Up/Take Up Wagon – however I’m happy to report I’m no longer biting my nails (except if they break and I can’t be walking around all day with a jagged nail, that’s a weapon you know!)

Sigh, it’s December, the month every women fears, the one month of the year where the cold starts to get to us, the lenient sweatshirts and sweatpants come out and the social calendar gets loaded to the max.

I don’t know about you guys but the holidays have always been a challenge for me – so much goodies kicking around and so much crappy weather to keep you wanting to stay inside, curled up with a blanket watching whatever the heck is on tv to distract you from the thought that you should be a the gym!

So this month for the challenge I’m going to set some very simple and hopefully easy to follow goals so that, like every year, the holidays get a bit more tolerable and a have a bit less negative affect on my health.

For the month of December I will GIVE UP GLUTEN! Yes I already do live a 99% gluten free lifestyle but this holiday season I want it to be 100% so no sneaking a roll at dinner or a piece of pie (believe me my justification skills for having even a little bit of gluten when I want it are very persuasive)

I am going to TAKE UP 4 WORKOUTS A WEEK! To me this seems easy because I’m used to about 5-6 a week but I’ve been noticing my body would rather me work hard 4 days a week and recover in between then kill myself 5-6 days a week – in fact my weight is more stable on 4 days a week then more – who knew?

Mo and I have some tips for you this holiday season to avoid parking your ass in front of the first cheese and cracker platter that crosses your path then spending the rest of the holiday season being upset that you can’t fit into your jeans “so screw it I might as well eat everything else cause I’m a cow and I’ll just start again after New Years” (that may or may not be a direct quote of mine from about 4 years ago)

1- SET A SIMPLE GIVE UP/TAKE UP for the holiday season! More veggies, less wine (ya, right), more yoga – which can be very helpful with coping with the stresses of running around from event to event like a chicken with your head cut off – and remember stress makes you fat!

2- PICK UP A BABY!!!!!!!!! Haha no no no don’t go adopt or steal a baby but if you are at a family event and there’s little ones around grab one! I’ve seen my sister employee this tactic while I sat in front of the cheese and cracker platter and it worked quite well. She got an arm work out in bouncing the little guy around and barely touched the snacks (See Mo I was watching)!

3- BRING A HEALTH APPIE THEN EAT IT ALL! Or the more socially acceptable option may be GET COMFORTABLY FULL ON GOOD STUFF! Fill a little snack plate with fruit, veggies, devilled eggs, cheese, or nuts. Try to avoid snacking on grain based items like crackers, pastries or cookies as these will fill you up quickly and you will go into dinner already full – not an ideal situation

4- WATCH YOUR BOOZE CONSUMPTION – Did you know that when you are drinking your body runs primarily off the alcohol and will not burn off the food you eat until it’s burned off all the alcohol? I know I just blew your mind and suddenly visuals of eating pizza at 2am after a night of heavy drinking have come to light and you’re thinking “Oh my gosh, it all makes sense now” – ya learning this was heavy for me too! If you want to drink a lot try and keep your food choices to lower fat items (yes turkey, veggies etc) avoid gravies, cheeses, butter as these items won’t be burned off before the alcohol and have a higher chance of turning to fat on your body.

5- DON’T OVERBOOK YOURSELF! If you like to eat and drink like me I find not attending every single event a lot easier than going to every event and struggling to not drink a bottle of wine and eat every ounce of cheese and bacon jam your friends put out (yes I said bacon jam!) Sometimes you get a better visit with a friend if you go for a cup of coffee anyways and it may be more feasible for your goals. This tip may also cut some unwanted stress from your schedule and remember stress makes you fat!

6- GO FOR A WALK AFTER A BIG MEAL – If it’s not raining get outside! Walking is great for digestion, de-stressing (because stress makes you ___, yes there will be a quiz later) and who knows you might get a little snow and it’s beautiful πŸ™‚

Hope some of these tips help you this holiday season and we would love to hear your Give Ups and Take Ups so we can all hold each other accountable

We look forward to hearing from you and Happy Holidays

xoxo

Mel and Mo

GIVE UP/TAKE UP for July!!!!

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Wowza our apologies we dropped the ball the last couple months on our Give Up Take Up Challenge! I’ve never been good at juggling anyways πŸ˜‰

I can happily say the previous month challenges have helped me create some good habits that have stuck (95% of the time). I have stopped biting my nails and am proud of how long they are (which is still short but long for me), I don’t eat (95% of the time) after 8pm, I’ve done a bit of yoga and continued with my stretches before bed. I’ve also (almost) eliminated dairy from my diet but I have to say I still struggle with this since having quite a, what I like to call, “inflexible” diet I would rather indulge in some cheese then hurt my insides with a plate of pasta and let’s face it, dairy alternatives are kind of gross.

As for July my Give Up is gonna be a toughy and one I’ve struggled with for years – I’m giving up negative self talk. No more calling myself names or looking at myself in anything less than a beautiful way.
To correspond with my Give Up I will be taking up one positive personal
praise
every morning. I have a feeling this will start with me flexing my right arm in the mirror and saying “That’s one nice baby bicep you got there” but hey that’s a start. Do you compliment other people but don’t compliment yourself? You should put as much effort into praising yourself as you do others, maybe even more! Self love reflects into everything you do, remember that.

Anyways we would love to know if any of your give up/take up attempts have created long term habits??? Please share with us what your Give Up/Take Ups will be for the month of July and make sure to be realistic! Notice I didn’t say I will be giving up wine in July cause you and I both know I would fail miserably, nobody should set themselves up for failure like that!

Lots of love and look forward to hearing from everyone,

Xoxo
Mel

Interview with a Raw Goddess – Our friend Amber

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upsidedown amber

Since I’m a self-certified meatatarian (It’s a personal choice) we wanted to feature someone who is my polar opposite (food-wise) so our followers can be made aware of the benefits of all sorts of different eating lifestyles. Finding a lifestyle that works for you is the key. Today we wanted to feature my long time friend Amber who I am proud to say I have watched transform over the past few years, putting herself and her health above anything else.

Mel: So how would you describe your diet?

Amber: I wouldn’t describe it as a ‘diet’ it’s more of a lifestyle change. I’m raw-vegan which is all about eating food in its natural state or very close to. Being raw-vegan is actually very easy and very simple once you learn a few tricks of the trade. I never have to cook anymore, I just prepare foods. Making pies only takes me twenty minutes and I can eat it for breakfast because it’s only fruit and nuts.

Mel: That sounds nice and simple. So what turned you onto this diet?

Amber: What got me into this lifestyle was definitely meeting some new people who were already on the program. Just reading the 80/10/10 diet book and watching some YouTube videos had me sold. When you really think about it most of the foods people eat today are so over processed you really don’t know what you are eating. With a raw-vegan lifestyle you know exactly what you are eating and I really like that. I didn’t eat meat or dairy often so that was easy to give up. The bread and grains and pastas and cookies and candy – now that was the hard part!!

Mel: Ahhh yes the sugar laden foods are always the hardest to give up. What health benefits have you noticed since going raw-vegan?

Amber: The health benefits that I’ve noticed are huge over the last two years. Right away I noticed more energy and a clearer mind. As I continued to eat this way obviously I noticed weight loss – almost 30 pounds over the two years without working out, simply accredited to a lifestyle change. My body handles stress better and I don’t find myself in as much pain as I used to. My skin has done a 180 and I barely ever wear makeup – Mel you’d know that’s a big one for me. Now that I also incorporate calisthenics into my daily routine my mind body and spirit feel more aligned, I’ve learned to love myself more and accept the things that I can not change. Obviously some of this just comes with age and time but being raw-vegan definitely helped clear my mind. It’s hard to explain but once you go raw you can just tell. My other raw friends and I had a discussion the other day about how to explain this part of the lifestyle and we came to the conclusion you just can’t explain it it’s something that needs to be felt.

Mel: We also heard you have access to a yoga swing! (Seen in photos) What is that and what physical benefits have you gotten from it?

Amber: I don’t actually have the yoga swing yet but I did make my own by using an old sheet and making the main swing part but my man has an actual yoga swing that I use quite often. It is amazing and I have noticed more flexibility in my body, more peace within myself, and an overall leaner physique. A yoga swing is a great way to get your daily stretches in and make it fun. It’s also great for inversion which is amazing for your inner body parts – helps to realign your intestines which start to droop over time making it harder to digest properly. It also has saved me trips to the chiropractor time and time again.

Mel: So, as we all know, nobody is perfect so when you have a hankering what is your go-to indulgence?

Amber: Haha – Sometimes I really crave something like a pizza but I will eat a vegan gluten free pizza, always pick the best option and I always read the ingredients list. If there are more than two ingredients that I don’t know I won’t eat it.

Mel: What would be one simple way people could incorporate more raw food into their diet?

Amber: The simplest way to incorporate more raw foods into your diet is to juice. You can juice for yourself at home which is a bit time consuming but worth it for me. I enjoy doing juicing and when I use pineapple (which is almost daily) I use the pulp to make raw pies. You can also go to places like Natures Fare, Choices or Whole Foods for green juices and they are amazingly tasty and relatively affordable. I was drinking one 16 ounce bottle per day which cost me approximately 9 dollars so they don’t overcharge at all. Another easy way to incorporate raw is smoothies. Replace one meal a day with a green smoothie it’s simple, affordable and yummy. My favorite is a green-a-Coloda smoothie. I use every green I have in the house so usually kale, spinach, cilantro and cucumber. I add coconut water, pineapple, coconut milk, vegan protein powder, mangoes and raspberries. I add flax seed oil as well as maca, spirulina and lucima for a superfood boost. Those last three ingredients have big flavours so if you aren’t used to them add very small amounts at first to help introduce yourself to the flavour. Also with maca be careful, I had a strong reaction to it for a long while and had to build my tolerance. It can make you feel very nauseas and make your heart race if you aren’t used to it. It took me a full year to incorporate it into my diet at a full dose so sometimes these things take time. (Note maca can be used to treat thyroid issues but please consult your local supplements store for dosage information)

Mel: What would a day in the life of Amber look like?

Amber: I start my day with a 32oz green juice or smoothie depending on my mood. Green juice consits of kale, spinach, celery, cucumber, pear, pineapple and honeydew – it tastes like Hawaii haha. Lunch is usually two peppers, yellow and orange, with hummus – I’m addicted to this right now. Dinner is most often a huge kale salad with shredded beets, carrots, tomato, onion, hemp hearts. I always toss in a bit of turmeric for its anti-inflammatory and other amazing health benefits. Then whatever organic salad dressing I have in the fridge or decide to make. If I’m not feeling a salad I will make raw sushi – shredded coconut flakes mixed with a bit of water and tamari to get that sushi flavor with shredded beets, carrots, avocado, green onion rolled up in seasnax seaweed wrap – so yummy! For snacks throughout the day I eat fruit, oranges, apples, kiwis, grapes and sometimes a hand full of raw nuts.

Mel: Wow, I’m hungry talking about this. How do we make these pies you were telling us about?

Amber: My raw pies consist of a crust made from pitted dates and nuts (my fave is walnuts cause they are cheap and taste the best in this recipe) – mixed with a scoop of almond butter, blended, then pressed into a pie plate. For filling I take fruit and blend with soaked (for 5 hours) macadamia nuts or avocado or both. Pour into the crust and freeze for atleast an hour. For apple pie I just shred apples in my processor, add vanilla and cinnamon and sometimes some goji berries and add that to the crust – this one you can refrigerate instead of freeze.

Mel: Amber thank you so much for sharing your amazing, healthy lifestyle with us and our online family. Before we let you get back to your pies and yoga swing we want to ask you one more thing πŸ™‚ What do you enjoy the most about Sister Act Fitness?

Amber: Haha of course! What I like most about Sister Act Fitness is the support I read from everyone. Life isn’t a health competition it’s about support and love which I find very important in sticking to a healthy lifestyle. Plus I love reading your gals posts – you two are both hilarious!

Sister Act Fitness thanks Amber so much for doing this interview – we look forward to having more of our friends, family and followers share their lifestyle stories in the near future.

swing life away