Monday, June 30, 2014

Today's Superfood Is...

It feels like every day I read about a new superfood or food source we should include in our eating habits or lifestyle. If we do we can live a healthy, happy and energetic life hopefully free of major diseases.
Here's the issue, if we don't take time to research this new food source or even common food source and how it should be eaten we could be causing ourselves more harm than good.
How many of us take the time or even have the time to do the research?
We might catch a portion of a conversation on television or the radio. Reading an article while waiting somewhere but didn't get to the end of the article where it covers the precautions. Perhaps a friend shared information they heard from another source, they didn't catch all the details but what they did catch is it is the next cure for__________; you fill in the blank.
We've all been told kale is very healthy for us to eat. I agree completely, kale is very good for us to eat along with all the other veggies in the cruciferous or brassica family. Kale, broccoli, cabbage, rutabaga, turnips, kohlrabi, cabbage, collard greens, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts are all part of the family.
Did you know if you have issues with your thyroid you should not eat these veggies raw? They should be lightly steamed or sautéed even if you are including them in a smoothie.
Another superfood which should also be avoided if you have thyroid issues is Maca. It originated in Peru and comes from the same family. 
This article is not meant to detail foods that should or should not be consumed if you have a thyroid issue.
My concern is, we are more connected than ever before and are constantly bombarded with information.
If you are thinking of making some food changes in your life I recommend you spend time doing some research. 
If you have certain health conditions a simple Google search with your condition and the new food you want to incorporate is a good start. For example, raw kale and thyroid; will return pages of sites to read.
The same goes for medications; research a supplement or herb to see if there is a contraindication or check with your pharmacist.
Before I provide any advice or even something as simple as a recipe I need to make sure it won’t further complicate an existing condition.
As a nutritional consultant my due diligence and obligation is to understand my client’s current state of health through a detailed questionnaire.

Food is to be enjoyed, I recommend everything in moderation.
In this age of information make sure you have yours.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Mirror, Mirror On The Wall

If you have been following me for a while you know last May I competed in the Masters Figure Class of the Western Canadian Bodybuilding Show and won Third Place. It was an incredible day filled with pride, happiness, laughter and a moment I shared with close friends and my mom.
Since that day, I watched my extreme fit body transform to a "normal" body. I put normal in quotations because what is normal, who decides what is normal. Is there one all knowing person on this earth or a governing panel of what normal is?
Today I saw a quote on Pinterest which said "You are so used to seeing your features, you don't know how beautiful you look to a stranger".
The quote made me stop and think for a moment, I thought "how true!"
For eight months I watched my body transform; first into the bulking body which is a process of gaining muscle and fat. Then leaning down to a body with around 10% fat, which for a woman is not healthy to maintain for any period of time.
I have also shared how exhausted I was; body, mind and soul and needed time to rebuild my overall health.
What I haven't shared is the body issues I have had over the last year.
As I saw my competition body disappear each day I became more disappointed in myself for letting all my hard work go and I became very self-conscious of my body in general. I didn't like looking at my naked body in the mirror. Most mornings I get up, I look at my abs with regret.
Prior to deciding to prepare for the competition I was happy with my body. It took many years to become comfortable with the naked body I saw in the mirror.
When I was younger I was small in size and as I started to mature, let's just say I did not have the curves other girls did. I always compared myself to them and rated myself second best amongst my friends when it came to physical appearance.
It took until my mid forties to embrace and love my body.
I think part of it comes from what I see in magazines or on the various social media feeds of the fit women. I say to myself, "I was there; why didn't I do the right things to keep the body I worked so hard for?"
Perhaps for me that isn't the body I should have, I'm naturally lean. I need to figure out the right balance in my life and my workouts to have a body I can sustain for the balance of my life.
Maybe deep down my body knows what it needs and it has been trying to tell me but I haven't been listening. All I've been doing is looking at it in disappointment and regret.
The first thing I need to do is to start loving what I see in the mirror everyday. I need to stop taking what I see for granted. I need to also remember who I am as a person, as a woman. I need to stop comparing myself to other women's bodies.
What I achieved in eight short months at the age of 51 was truly amazing and something I will always be proud of. Winning third place at the Western Canadian Bodybuilding Show was a moment of time in my life and my life journey carries on.
The sooner I love every state of my body the sooner I will be happy with the woman I see in the mirror everyday.
Whether you are a man or a woman; Love Yourself, That's Beautiful!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Face Your Fear or Get Your Ass Kicked!

Those of you that followed my journey to compete in my first figure competition last year at the age of 51, know how often I was in the gym. I was with my trainer at least three times a week and added in another two days on my own. The last twelve weeks of preparation I was in the gym almost 3 hours a day, six days a week, it was almost my second home. I kept that schedule for 8 months. Prior to preparing for my competition I would be in the gym maybe three days a week for an hour. 
People at Club 16 knew me, they saw the transformation, all the staff greeted me when I walked in the door! Those of you that are old enough, it felt like walking into Cheers, except no alcohol.
After my competition, my body was tired, I went to the gym a couple of times but my body was not able to handle the workouts. I started to see my physique change but I knew I needed to heal my body.
As time went on and I started to put on some weight, suddenly I had a fear inside of me; how could I return to the gym with the extra pounds! As each day went on the fear grew and so did my waistline, I was losing my muscle tone and my confidence.
I worked on healing my body from the hard workouts and acclimating my gut back to a more regular diet.
As the months went on I knew my body was healing and my diet was normal, it was time to start working out again. What I saw in the mirror was holding me back, there was no way I would be sporting my spray tan body, toned abs and cute booty shorts.
I remember the first time I went to the gym; about 7 years ago a friend showed me how to use the weight machines and helped me with exercises using the free weights. My fear made me feel like I was starting all over and walking into the gym for the first time.
The silly things is this time I know how to do the exercises, I had a workout routine, I was on track with the right nutrition but just couldn't get myself to put on my gym clothes and go.
I stopped by to visit a good friend at her office, we both competed in figure on the same day and she was the best flatmate ever. 
As we talked she eventually pried out of me what was going on, I told her I was afraid to go workout, I was afraid to walk in the door. 
Shared with her I had gained 17 pounds since the competition, showed her the sad state of my abs and we both giggled a little and she said "so what, who cares!"
Then she asked me what I was doing for the rest of the day; I replied "nothing, just going home".
She said okay then you can go home, find your workout gear in the back of your closet. Her next question was do you have a program; I said yes.
Her next statement was "you have until 7:00pm to send me a selfie of you in the gym. If you don't send me a selfie I am going to kick your ass!"
I knew she wouldn't really kick my ass but I knew she wanted me to face my fear and get back to what made me feel good. She was also holding me accountable to her and myself.
I left her office, went home, put my gear together, wrote my exercises in my training diary and headed to Club 16. I didn't want to break my promise to her; she knew by making me promise I would go and she knew I would face my fear and feel better overall.
It had been almost 11 months since my last workout. I sent her the before workout selfie and the after workout selfie. She asked me how I felt; I said I was proud of myself and I felt great! She told me she was proud of me as well. I'm so grateful for her, I'm blessed to have such wonderful caring friends.
I'm sharing all of this to let you know that regardless of what I have achieved in the past doesn't mean a fear or insecurity won't pop up again in the future.
The other silly thing is there wasn't a person in the gym I knew, they could have cared less about what my abs looked like or any other part of my body for that matter. But to be clear, my abs were hidden and the cute booty shorts are still in the closet.
If making a change means being accountable to someone else to get you started then do have nothing to lose and so much to gain.
In my case I regained my confidence as to what I can do and how I feel after a good workout. I will be sore tomorrow but this will be a good muscle soreness.
Next workout on Monday!
I think this story pertains to life in general, it is okay to have fears but we don't have to go it alone, its okay to ask for support.