Sunday, 23 August 2015

Bulimia to Balance Part 1

I recently had the privilege to speak at the Vancouver Pro Show regarding my on-again, off-again battle with Bulimia. There are so many women out there who suffer silently not willing to come forward but desperate for answers. I believe it is time we start the conversation. My next 3 blogs I will be breaking down my presentation, sharing my story and the tools I use to manage and control my Eating Disorder. 

To look at me one would never assume the personal, private battle I have had with my eating disorder for 26 years. For most, Bulimia does not carry the outward characteristics that many associate with that of an eating disorder. However, the mental battle with food remains the same.

Today over 30 million people in North America deal with some sort of an eating disorder. The 3 recognized Eating Disorders are Anorexia Nervosa , Bulimia Nervosa and the newest one is Binge Eating Disorder. Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness, with a demographic that usually falls upon women. There is also an increase with those involved in sports and even higher for those in competitive athletics.
Personality traits of Perfectionism, OCD, All or Nothing, Constant Need for More, and Depression among other factors can contribute to eating disorders. 
For years the most impacted age group was believed to be the 18-25 age group.  However, recent studies have began to surface evidence of an alarming number of women in their 30's and even 50's still dealing with these food related issues.

The following are some of the contributing factors to eating disorders. Genetics, as within my own family circle my aunt suffered from bulimia, and a cousin from anorexia. Biochemistry, those with eating disorders tend to have higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Psychology, such as the personality traits I listed above (perfectionism, ocd, etc). Environment, I myself was teased as a child and had family pressure regarding my weight. Then lastly there is Social, with the pressure in western culture with continuous media images portraying women as thin.  We cannot walk by a newsstand or watch a tv program without the glaring images of “perfect” bodies staring back at us.

Some forms of treatment for eating disorders are counselling, anti- anxiety and anti-depression medication along with Cognitive Behavior therapy.  It is my personal experience and feedback from others that eating disorders can continue to be an ongoing issue. This requires each person to choose a path of management that works to live a healthy lifestyle.

So the question then lies, how do we manage this, not have reoccurring episodes and more importantly how do we take away the shame and start a conversation regarding these issues...


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Thursday, 16 July 2015

A Space for New Potential

Your Show, Photo shoot, the Wedding, or perhaps your Weight Loss Challenge is over. Whatever fitness goal has been met, the task has been accomplished: Now what?
It is perhaps at this point that the challenge truly begins. How does one transition from a focused goal oriented program to a healthy and manageable daily routine?
How do we start living, enjoying more free time yet not lose everything we worked so hard for?
More importantly how do we deal with the mental games that ensue or the fear of “Slipping back” without being obsessed?
 All the work, dedication, the prepping, training, everyone cheering you on with encouraging compliments, and now the time has come to relax.  
We begin to feel the need to give excuses as to “Why” we are not depleted, in contest shape, or photo shoot ready. As if that look is attainable year round.
Is there a way to avoid this?  
The cliché response would be “How about acceptance”
Which sounds great…however it is our perseverance and goal setting that makes us who we are.
It is our expectations, dreams and hopes that create the want and desire to move forward.  The initial goals of the show, photo shoot, wedding or weight loss challenge that were set and attained, now have become a platform to reach for new possibilities.
My challenge is this: to see my current physical and emotional state not as a set of deficiencies but as space opening up to new potential…

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Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Intermittent Fasting

I started incorporating intermittent fasting 3 years ago and more recently again in December.  I am an avid believer in living a healthy lifestyle and planning your meals to work within your goals.  However, what I find is there tends to be a constant focus on what and when I am eating. One of the things I really enjoy about fasting is it removes the continuous thought of my next meal.
 With intermittent fasting I usually try to abstain from eating for a 14hr period.  I stop eating roughly at 9-10pm then eat again around 11-12 the next day.  This being said I am not strict with the exact hours and try to just go by how I am feeling.
Normally I wake at 6am to do cardio, and then go about my daily routine. During this fasting period I still have liquids, BCAA’s, Vegegreens, water or coffee, with choosing not to have any solid foods.
I have also found fasting enables weight management. Incorporating an intermittent fast even several times a week cuts down on the meals I consume. During holiday season or when I have a series of events to attend I find this very beneficial. I still feel mentally clear, and surprisingly I have even more energy than usual.
Another interesting fact about fasting; when your body feels hungry there is a hormone released called Ghrelin. One function of Ghrelin is GH release. As we age GH production slows down.  However, Growth Hormone is what keeps us young, prevents wrinkles, aids in muscle recovery, and speeds up our body’s ability to heal. We want to keep GH levels high! So that is another little bonus.
There are many articles written on Fasting and the benefits. I strongly urge anyone wanting to try this method to look into it further. Based on the success I have had with fasting,  I now use it on a regular basis.

Over the years I have tried many different ways to create balance, find a program that works for my body, to feel healthy and happy in my skin.  This journey of Fitness and Health is all about finding what works best for you…figuring out your calculation if you will…mind, body and soul…


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Sunday, 31 May 2015

Carb Backloading Part 2

Part 2:

The Science behind Keifer’s Carb Back-Loading theory not only made sense to me but I know physically I function best on fats and protein.  I have more energy, think clearly, my training is better and esthetically I am happier with my look. So in the beginning of December I cut back from Carb night to Carb Back-Loading three times a week. 
I decided on having 30grms of carbs twice a week (Tuesday & Thursday) with a higher carb (100grms) night on Sunday.

My meal plan would consist of protein with fats for 3 of my meals, then 3 meals with just protein and veg. I had 25grms of protein per meal, 15-20grms of fats and I did not weigh the vegetables. However, I stuck to dark leafy choices.
For Example:
Meal 1: 6 Eggwhites, 2 Tblspoon of Udo’s,
Meal 2: Mahi with Greens
Meal 3: Chicken with Greens
Meal 4: Ground Turkey with Greens and 20 almonds
Meal 5: Shake
Meal 6: Eggwhites and 1 tbspoon of Udo’s
The 3 nights I had starchy carb’s I added them to the 6th meal of the day and they consisted of high glycemic carbs, such as white rice or pasta.
Sunday’s higher carb night always followed with a heavy lifting leg day on Monday to use all those sugars in my training.

For over a month I monitored and noticed I was getting leaner and tighter. In May and June I was planning photo shoots so I wanted to diet myself down using this method. I started by dropping one of my 30grm carb back-loads and kept my training and cardio the same. Each time I plateaued I would make minor adjustments to either my carbs, cardio or protein choices (taking out ground beef, replacing with chicken and fish).
This last 10 days before the final shoot I went full Keto with no Sunday backload (Ketogenesis is when your have no starchy carbs and your body uses fats for fuel).
I found using this method has prepared me for my 3 shoots. I was clear, focused, had energy, and great training sessions. I also did not resort to 2 hrs a day of cardio, and the max was 1.5hrs.
I also had to pay very close attention to how I was looking as I choose not to weigh myself for this prep.
The best part in doing this method on my own was learning to really listen to my body and what it needed. Since Carb Back-Loading has already been my way of eating this past year I am continuing on with this plan with slowly incorporating back in my carb nights.
Everyone has to find what works for them, and since the body is always changing I am sure I will make adjustments as I continue.

However so far….this method gets two thumbs up from me….


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Saturday, 9 May 2015

Carb Backloading Recap Part 1

In Sept I wrote a blog about “Carb Back Loading” and how I started using this method after Nationals in Aug. 
To recap there are two different variations of this, one being Carb Night and one being Carb Backloading.
CN you have carbs everyday but only in the evening after training. In CBL there is a larger carb load once or several times a week depending on when you feel the need. The main premise is fats, proteins and some vegetables are what you consume throughout the day. When we wake up your body is in a Fat Metabolizing state so in order to keep your body metabolizing fat for fuel you don’t have carbs. Once you intake carbs your body switches to use carbs for energy not the stored fat.
However, carbs are important and used to benefit your training goals so having them post training or before bed enables your body replenish glycogen storage and create more lean muscle.
Coming off Nationals I was eating very little carbs so I choose to start with a once a week. On Sundays I would have my fats and protein as usual then at the later part of the day I would have my high glycemic carbs of choice (Popcorn, Nibs, M&M’s).  My goal was to start with once a week while lowering cardio, then go to twice and eventually have a small portion of carbs each day.
The next day I would train my legs thus using all the glycogen I had taken in night before. I must say I did feel fantastic and the tightest I had felt in awhile. Then the following week I consumed only fats and protein with no carbs except for my fibrous vegetables and start all over again Sunday.
Now I am not going for “Off Season Gains” I purely want to feel good, train hard and look great year round.
I started incorporating carbs in twice a week and eventually by November I was having 60grms of carbs per day with 30-40grms fat (spread over 4 meals) and 25grm of Protein per meal. I also lowered my cardio to 30 min, (I had been at 2hrs for my show prep in Aug) and did split body parts for training. Now I did experience weight gain that I was not comfortable with so at that point I decided to make some adjustments. 

My goal this year was to figure out what works for my body. 
How can I look good year round? I’m not interested in going up and down continuously, which is usually what happens with competing.  I am willing to put in the work, eat and train properly but I wanted to have the results. In my next blog I will cover what changes I made to get my body to stay with the look and weight I wanted using this method…

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Monday, 27 April 2015

Social Media and Relationships

Successful relationships require a lot of work, communication, dedication and the commitment to constantly “show up” for your partner.  
I feel we are entering a very different era in personal relationships.  With all the Social Media avenues available there seems to be a very grey line as to what is appropriate.
In the Fitness community I find the line is increasingly becoming blurred. It takes a strong secure couple to not let it compromise the relationship.
Many girls have asked me how Scott and I handle it.  Both of us have various Social Media avenues that we are on and we both are subject to suggestive, inappropriate comments.
Many couples seem to have difficulty in communicating to their partners agreed upon personal boundaries. Is there a fear of seeming controlling or overbearing in regard to giving voice in the relationship? This could be true for any aspect of a couples relationship, but can be particular frustrating and hurtful watching a partner like and comment on a variety of pictures and pages. 
Yet the key to any powerful, fulfilling relationships is communication.  With fidelity we have no problem expressing our boundaries and Social Media should be no exception.
What has worked in my relationship has evolved over time. We communicate in a very open and honest manner.  Do we agree all the time? No, but if something bothers one of us no matter how small it is we listen and respect the other person’s point of view. We have no problem unfriending, unfollowing, taking down a post, or comment that makes either of us feel uncomfortable.  At the end of the day I don’t care what 10,000+ strangers think, the person I share my life with gets top priority.
 However, as we know there are those who ask their partner to change their behaviours online, and just like asking the person to change in their real life interactions- they may or may not lie. This post is not addressing that - just my personal experience of respecting and listening to each other.  If couples do not listen then it ends in counselling or divorce.
Social Media is an important tool we use to promote the brands we work with.  However, at the end of the day when life happens it is not the thousands of strangers I turn to but my partner.  Having integrity and respect for my relationship will always come first. I believe if you can operate with openness, honesty, and love, there is freedom for expression as an individual and in a relationship. 

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Sunday, 22 March 2015

Been Awhile's been awhile since I last blogged, February was quite a challenging month.

    I was given news that a project I had been working on and dreaming about for 4 years had been shut down.
My boyfriend was let go from his job that he dedicated 100% of his energy and time too.
We felt like the wind was taken out of our sails. We both had to regroup, refocus and also be there to support each other.
In life,  things are never for sure and being able to trust that everything has a purpose is sometimes really difficult, especially when it is not going the way you wanted. However, when I look back at the times I did not get what I had anticipated, it was in those moments that followed that led to even better situations.
The good news is Scott received 5 job opportunities the days following his release. He is incredible at what he does and other companies were watching and pounced when they had the chance. By the following Monday he hired to a better position with more ability to grow and learn in his field.
I also know that not having my plans follow through mean better ones are in store for me and they have began to happen. 
So just remember when you experience "Set Backs" we need to look at them as "Step Forwards"...

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