8 Truths About “Cheat Meals”

If you have been trying to lose weight or tone up then you have likely been a part of the discourse surrounding “cheat meals”. Do I allow a cheat meal once a week? Once a month? Do I allow a cheat meal only when I’ve reached my first milestone or goal? Do I not allow any cheat meals at all? Well, I am going to give you a few truths, some of which might be hard to take. You ready?

  1. You are not a dog. You are a human. I don’t know when we got into the habit of
    10252062_1495807727300105_1347712706819967600_nrewarding ourselves with food, but it needs to stop. It is like we’ve been training ourselves like we do our pets and using food as a reward for being good and following through with intended plans. This is not a healthy mindset to have. We should be fueling our body for energy and for nutrition, not to convince ourselves to do things that we want or need to do. We need to work on our mental strength and learn to follow through on our goals without using food as a reward system. Instead, use other incentives that appeal to you as a reward.
  2. Eating your feelings? Big no-no. Sometimes people take comfort in food and use it as an emotional crutch to help them get through tough times. This can become a never ending hamster wheel because you eat your feelings when you’re down, gain weight, get upset because you’ve gained weight, then you go eat your feelings some more to help you deal with the weight gain. This just goes on and on, believe me, I know because I’ve been there. A LOT. What I have found is that it is possible to get past this, you just have to find something else that you can do as a stress reliever and mood enhancer to replace the behaviour. For me, this happened to be exercise. Not at first, because at first it was brutal and I felt like I was dying every time I tried to do cardio, but over time I really came to love it. I started feeling more energized after workouts, I started to be in a happier mood over all because my body was producing endorphins, and it totally changed my outlook on things. Find something that takes the pressure off, and start investing yourself in that as a hobby to help you crush this nasty habit.
  3. When should you have a cheat meal, you ask? Never. For real though. Take the words “cheat meal” out of your vocabulary. Does this mean that you should never 10291702_1496869693860575_6598855432707716944_nallow yourself to enjoy foods that aren’t healthy? Absolutely not. If you want to have a piece of cake for your birthday, go for it. If you want to eat pizza at a family outing, by all means. BUT – this does not mean that it should turn into a free for all. The question is are you eating bad foods that can mess up your progress in excess or too frequently, or are you using a food tracker and incorporating the “bad” foods into your daily food journal? That is the difference. We need to change our mindset around food. We were born to live our lives, and if we love certain foods (ahem* poutine, pizza, and ice cream*) then we should still be able to enjoy them from time to time without guilt. It is all in moderation. If you know you’re going out to eat, you can plan ahead for that and modify the rest of your day to accommodate the extra calories from that meal. The key is sticking to whatever you allotted in your journal, so if you made room for 2 slices of pizza, stick with that and don’t go beyond. The point here is change the language that you use when talking about food. Just like this image above – replacing the way you word things can have a powerful influence!
  4. Stop with the guilt. So many of us get down on ourselves if we cave to temptation. This is how cheat meals turn into cheat days, cheat days turn into cheat weeks, and before you know it you’ve gained back all the weight you had lost and then some. Weight loss is a process, and there are good days and bad. One healthy meal is not going to magically make you drop 20lbs, just like one unhealthy meal is not going to make you gain 20lbs. If you make a mistake and you unexpectedly give in to temptation with food, just get out your food journal and do your best to modify the rest of your meals for the day to realign your macros. Whatever you do, don’t allow yourself to say “well screw this, I already messed up once so I may as well go all out”. We need to move ourselves away from that kind of thinking entirely. This is how we end up with eating disorders, which can be very dangerous if not dealt with quickly.
  5. Want real results? Eat clean. If you really want to lose weight, tone up, gain muscle – whatever the case may be – you really should eat as clean as possible. I found that the only way that I could stay on track was to cut out unhealthy foods entirely. Over time I was able to gradually start reintroducing chips, cake, pizza, and other not so healthy foods that I enjoy back into my life using myfitnesspal to track my macros. It was a lot harder in the beginning, I needed complete separation from those foods. It’s like the chip slogan “you can’t have just one”, because I really couldn’t reign myself in if I started snacking. When you’re just beginning a weight loss journey, you really need to give yourself time to make that mental shift about food. You need to give your taste buds time to adapt and your body time to expel all of the gunk, sugar, and chemicals from the junk you’d been consuming. After a while you will find yourself starting to really enjoy the healthier foods you’re eating, and even to crave them in place of some of your old favourites.
  6. Food is an addiction for some, so treat it as such. If you’re like me and you use food17155845_392974191072545_1614899538685597864_n to self-soothe, you need to realize that until you replace that addictive behaviour with healthy habits, you can’t feed the addiction. You should avoid going back to eating unhealthy foods in moderation until you’ve gotten to a place mentally and
    emotionally when you are able to restrict yourself to that which you’ve allotted. It takes at least 3 weeks to make or break a habit – so you should wait at least that long before trying to incorporate unhealthy things.
  7. It IS okay to say NO to junk food. One thing that I have learned upon making some positive changes to my life is that others tend to take offence to those who make such drastic lifestyle shifts. It is like they know they should make the change themselves, but they don’t want to, so they subconsciously try to sabotage you and bring you back to their level. This happens with quitting drinking, smoking, and more. It is unfair, and it makes things harder for you when you’re trying to do the right thing but your friends, family, or coworkers keep egging you on and trying to tempt you to give in.When that happens you need to establish clear boundaries and let them know that if they value you and whatever relationship you have with them, that they need to support you as you make this transformation. If they are unwilling to support you on this journey to a healthier version of yourself, then they don’t belong in your life. It really is as simple as that.
  8. If you fail – try again. Honestly, I have failed so many times when it comes to proper nutrition that it’s a wonder I haven’t given up. I’ve failed with weight loss because I allow life stresses, heartaches, ailments, hardships, and more to get in the way of my progress. I’ve probably lost upwards of 200 pounds in total with all of the yo-yoing I have done when it comes to weight loss. The thing is, I know what I am capable of when I put my mind to it, and you can do it too. It is just a matter of changing the way you think about food and use past failures as a learning experience. You haven’t failed until you’ve given up, so keep trying. Get help if you have to. Email me if you need to talk or want an accountability buddy, I am happy to help. Just don’t give up on yourself, because you are capable of much more than you know.

Changing your mindset around “cheat” foods is one of the biggest keys to success. However, I’m living proof that this is easier said than done lol. It’s a process. As I wrote this blog post, I wrote the whole first point using “we” throughout, and I debated on changing it. Upon consideration, I realized that I am writing this from the perspective of someone that knows that this is unhealthy and that the mindset needs to change, but I am also still working on making that shift myself…. for the hundredth time.

This is something that you really have to work on consistently and build it into the foundation of your life. It needs to become a lifestyle and not just a weight loss routine or some kind of temporary diet, otherwise, you doom yourself to failure. I am a constant work in progress, and I accept that!

I WILL achieve my goals, and I would love to see you do it alongside me. 

xoxo

Jess

3 Years of Health and Fitness

cats

In the 3 years since I have been working out and going through my transformation, I have never posted pictures of myself without a top on. Why? Because despite how far I had come, I still wasn’t happy with my progress. I’ve since come to the realization that if I am going to coach my friends, family, and others to be happy with small improvements, that I need to start drinking my own koolaid and practice what I preach.

I am far from perfect. I still have big hips and thighs, a big butt, a bit of love-handles, and some belly fat that keeps me from seeing my abs. The biggest, and arguably most important, difference between the girl from the top photos and the girl from the bottom photos is that now I am confident and happy enough with myself to post pictures featuring my face.

Unfortunately I do not have photos from when I was over 200 pounds to show the full transformation. Hindsight is 20/20, and I wish I had been brave enough to take before pictures. When I started this journey, I had already tried just about every diet tip, trick, pill, supplement, wrap, and more on the market. Nothing seemed to work, so I pulled out the old P90X and thought I would give it another go, but I had tried that and failed to stay the course many times as well. My failure to take before photos is both a testament to my lack of belief in myself that I would make it, and also a complete and utter hatred for my body and myself for letting myself go.

You’re probably thinking that in 3 years of health and fitness, I should be a lot more ripped than that. Well, you’re probably right. The problem is that I am an emotional eater, so when life throws curveballs at me, I tend to return to old habits. The past 3 years have been a total roller coaster of ups and downs when it comes to my weight loss. I had lost 60-65 pounds, then I fell off track and gained 30 back. I got myself back on track and lost those 30 pounds, bringing me back to where I was before. Then my grandfather was diagnosed with cancer, and four months later, he was gone. During the year between the diagnosis and following his passing, I totally derailed and wound up gaining 40 pounds back. Since January 2016, I have been working to lose those 40 pounds, and I am just about 5 pounds away from where I was before despite a couple of minor setbacks due to illness and life experiences.

My point in all of this essentially is this: It doesn’t matter how many times you try and you fail. What matters is how many times you try again. Nobody becomes successful at anything without failing along the way, and you can ask any expert in any field, and they will tell you the exact same thing. Failure means you are trying. You just have to know how to get back up and try again. Don’t let failure destroy everything you’ve worked towards. It is okay to take some time, but always brush yourself off and get back at it.

You are NEVER alone. Guaranteed, there are others out there struggling through the same journey that you are currently taking. I am right there with you on this journey myself, and someday I will achieve my goals. If you want help achieving yours and you are lacking the support and guidance that you need to get you there, you are more than welcome to reach out to me. I would be happy to help you out, and share information that I’ve learned along the way. Simply use the contact tab and fill out the form to send me an email directly, and I will respond as soon as I can!

Thanks for reading

xoxo

Jess

Throwback Thursday: My Transformation!

So I am 100% speechless right now… I could actually cry.

THROWBACK

I have been working SO hard for what seems like such a long time, and falling off the wagon then getting back on repeatedly. A year ago yesterday I lost my grandfather, and until January of this year, I had totally derailed and had gone back to emotional eating.

In January I recommitted, and I am now almost back down to my lowest weight since high school. I am so freaking proud of myself and how far I have come. I still have some work to do, but these pictures are proof to me that everything I am doing is beyond worth it!

If I can do it, so can you.

NEVER GIVE UP

It’s not over until you say it is.

 

COMBAT 45 – aka non-surgical butt lift

Today was the second scheduled rest day for ChaLEAN Extreme (the program I am currently doing). However, I prefer to only take one rest day per week, so today I got to pick a cardio workout of my choosing to add into the mix! I went with Combat 45, and I absolutely loved it. I forgot how awesome kickboxing makes you feel. If you have a gym membership I highly recommend looking into their classes to see if they have any kickboxing style workout groups! It is a challenge, but you feel great when you finish… it is also awesome to give you a non-surgical butt lift!

Quote of the day: training with a group of people is pretty easy, but training at home all on your own? That takes bravery, and it takes courage! – Dan from Les Mills Combat.

This is so very true, because it is a lot harder to motivate yourself when you are doing it all by yourself. If you don’t like going to the gym or doing group classes, I totally understand. When I started my journey I didn’t like ANYONE being able to see me as I worked out because I was embarrassed and I felt silly. I still prefer to workout alone even after having lost a significant amount of weight. Luckily there are plenty of solutions to that fear and discomfort, in the form of MANY health and fitness programs that Beachbody offers.

Everything that you need to achieve your goals is available, you just have to be strong and make the decision to go for it. Are you ready to commit to yourself? Are you ready to create a better life for yourself and your loved ones? If so, let me know, and I would be happy to walk you through the best option based on your goals.

xoxo

Jessica

September Goal: Lose 10 pounds

Those who follow my blog will know that I recently pledge to get back on track with my nutrition and my exercise. This week was my first week back on the wagon, and though I had a bit of a rocky start, things are definitely getting better. I am sore all over my body (in the good way), which always happens to me when I start a new program, so it is pretty normal. I am happy to report that the headache and dizziness symptoms seem to be subsiding, which means that my body is getting accustomed to my new diet sans junk food.

I started this week with the goal of losing AT LEAST 10 pounds this month. I stepped on the scale this morning out of curiosity and was pleasantly surprised to find that I’ve already shed 5 pounds! That is pretty exciting stuff, however, you have to remember that a lot of that was likely just bloat from all of the junk that I had been putting into my body last month. For those of you wondering what I am doing, I thought I would fill you in!

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I am currently doing a Beachbody fitness program by Chalene Johnson (my favorite trainer of all time) called ChaLEAN Extreme. I love it because it provides a combination of the high intensity interval training (HIIT) that I love from her Turbo Fire program with the weight lifting aspect that I need to build muscle definition. That combination for me is perfect. Since there are two scheduled rest days with this program, I’ve also been adding in some extra cardio on one of those days and also on some of the shorter workout days. I just cherry pick from my catalog of programs or use Beachbody On Demand to do whatever workout I feel like doing that day!
In addition to the fitness aspect, I am also drinking Shakeology every single day for my breakfast meal. I prefer the chocolate Shakeology, and I mix it with a scoop of chocolate whey protein for an extra boost, almond milk, and frozen strawberries. It tastes like  milkshake, and it is totally delicious. My diet has been consisting of mostly natural foods. I have a fruit snack once a day an hour or two after my shakeology, I have veggies with lunch and supper, chicken, rice, greek yogurt, rice cakes with nutella, eggs, etc. I also just started using these soft chews from GNC called CLA 500mg in strawberry-banana. I have no idea if they work or not, but they are supposed to help with fat loss. The GNC folks must love to see me come through the door lol because they can take me into just about anything if the price is right!
There you have it guys! This is what I am doing, and you are welcome to take the pledge to lose 10 pounds this month with me. I have a free health and fitness group, and you are more than welcome to join if you need some extra motivation and accountability. Summer bodies are made in the winter everyone, so get to work now and get ahead of the holiday weight gain haha.
Thanks for reading, and feel free to message me with any questions you may have!
xoxo
Jessica

Month-long health & fitness hiatus – The good, the bad, and the ugly.

So you may have noticed that I wasn’t really posting a whole lot over the past month… and yes, there is a reason. I totally went off the deep end with my nutrition and my exercise. I am HUMAN. It happens. It began with my Younique convention because I didn’t have much of a choice but to eat pretty horrible 90% of the time because I didn’t have time to go get healthy food elsewhere, so I lived off of whatever I could get at the cafe or the fast food places in the hotel. Lack of time and total exhaustion also led to a lack of exercise, mind you we did get a lot of walking in while we were there! That was a HUGE convention center lol. I got lost more than once!

The Bad

Now you’re probably thinking… “Well, Jessica.. your convention trip only lasted 5 days. What happened to the rest of your month?” And I would love to be able to give you some legitimate reason as to why I couldn’t eat properly or exercise. However, the fact of the matter is, I got lazy, and I felt the brain fog and yuckiness from eating so much junk and lack of exercise. I wanted to sleep all the time. I had zero motivation to do anything. I pretty much just went to work, came home and got in my pajamas, and binge-watched Netflix day in and day out. I felt awful ALL OF THE TIME, but I had no energy or motivation to do anything about it. I kept ignoring all of the warning signs like my shorts not fitting as nicely, my pants being a little tighter, my muscle slowly disappearing under a layer of fat. Before I knew it, I had gained a little over 10 pounds.

Let’s fast forward to this morning, which was my first day back on the horse for fitness and nutrition. I had already planned my meals yesterday so that I would be fully committed and I wouldn’t be able to use some lame excuse that I had to eat something quick and easy because I wasn’t prepared. The only problem was.. I was too tired to get up at 4:45 am to do my workout before work. Instead, I slept in until 10 after 7 and then ran around like a chicken with its head cut off until 8am when I had to leave for work.

The Ugly

What would you do in that situation? Would you do your workout after work, or would you just say “Oh well, I’ll start tomorrow?” Well I developped a major headache and brain fog during the last 2 hours of my shift, and I arrived home at 530pm having had my pre-workout drink feeling awful and dreading my workout. I sucked it up, got my outfit on, and went down to do my workout. I made it through the warmup, barely made it through the first exercise, and I had to stop. I was a total mess. My body was shaking, I had no strength, and I felt like I was going to faint. Why? Because I had been eating so much junk and so many carbs as of late that my body was shocked by the sudden change in my diet, and it was telling me that it needed carbs. I ran upstairs and had a Quest bar, and went back down to finish my workout. It would have been FAR too easy for me to skip my workout because I wasn’t feeling well, but I went back down, and I crushed my workout. I felt much better after my snack, and I had the strength to power through the rest of the workout.

The Good

Now that I’ve completed my workout, I feel so much better. I can sense the brain fog having been lifted a bit, and I know from previous experience that that will only lift further as I progress with my journey. Honestly I don’t ever want to go back. I hate the feeling of being exhausted all the time, mentally drained, no energy, no motivation, less confidence, and tighter clothes. I am ready to get focused, and I am ready to get EXTREME with ChaLEAN Extreme. I can’t wait to watch my body change back into the size I was last summer before I slid backward.

Moral of this story: Even the best fall down sometimes. I am by no means saying that I am the best, because I have a long way to go myself. However, I know a lot of people look up to me for having lost 60 pounds, and I know for certain that a lot of people out there look up to models, and even fitness enthusiasts or trainers. We are ALL human though, and we are all susceptible to falling off course. It is SUPER easy to fall off track, but is is 10x harder to get back on track.

Don’t get down on yourself for making a mistake, or sliding backwards a bit. Instead, focus on the now, and focus on the future. Do what you can each and every day to ensure that you are moving closer to your goal tomorrow. And most importantly…

NEVER GIVE UP

If you are ready to join me on a health and fitness journey of your own, please feel free to contact me at any time with questions. You are also more than welcome to join my free Health and Fitness group on Facebook!

Never feel bad for making yourself a priority!

If you have family and friends that aren’t into health and fitness, but you are, you will probably understand this struggle.

People just don’t seem to grasp this reality, but putting yourself first sometimes and deciding to make your health a top priority is NOT selfish. Nor does it mean that you have your priorities all wrong! It simply means that your priorities differ from theirs, and in their opinion, that is wrong. Everyone is entitled to their opinions and their points of views, and it is never okay for people to try to bully you into their way of thinking.

People shouldn’t expect you to give up something that you love and that makes you happy. Instead, they should respect your choice to lead a healthier life, and work with you to accommodate your new lifestyle. It is totally unfair for people to try and force you to change your routine to fit their life, and you should not have to feel guilty for standing your ground!!

Don’t allow others to wear you down. You DESERVE to be happy and healthy. Exercise makes me a much more happy and positive person, which allows me to be in a better mood throughout the day. It allows me to have more energy to get through my day, and it builds my confidence and self-esteem, because I know that with each workout, I am getting leaner and stronger. It truly sets the mood for your day!

You deserve to have that too.

Never let anyone tell you otherwise.

Stop waiting & just start doing!

People tend to wait for events or after holidays or New years’ to make positive life changes. Stop waiting and JUST DO IT! If you wait, there is a much higher probability that you will either start and quit, or you won’t start at all.

Start as soon as you make the choice, because waiting only makes you lose the excitement and motivation that you had when you decided to do it in the first place. I’ve seen this happen time and time again with people I know, and I’ve also experienced it myself. The struggle is real ladies and gentlemen!

We tell ourselves “oh I’ll start Monday” or “I’ll start after the holidays”, and then that time comes and we don’t change our behaviour. All we end up doing is going on what I like to call “the pre-diet binge”, put on a few extra pounds, and end up giving up before we even begin. Sound familiar?

BREAK THE TREND. If you get motivated and encouraged somehow to switch to a healthier lifestyle, act on it NOW. Don’t wait, just DO. Honestly that is the best way to ensure that you actually follow through! Once you get going, it will be easier to stay going. Getting started can be the toughest part, at least in my opinion. Once you make it through the first three weeks, things get easier as long as you keep yourself on track and don’t stray too far from your nutrition or skimp out on workouts.

If you haven’t started your journey yet, but you’d like to, visit us in my FREE Health and Fitness group to join a group of people learning how to lead a healthier lifestyle and incorporate activity into their lives. We’re voting now for the July Challenge, so you definitely want to get in the group ASAP!

Be proud of small steps forward

Don’t allow yourself to get discouraged and fall off the wagon simply because things aren’t progressing as quickly as you had hoped. Results will come over time and effort. Even if you don’t see the changes as drastically in the beginning, they are happening within you regardless. Over time, you will start to really notice those changes, but you won’t if you allow yourself to give up before you reach that point in your journey.

If you set a goal to reach a certain point in 3 months, and you don’t quite hit that by the end of the three months, should you give up? Absolutely not, because if you stayed on track for three months then you would have made progress to varying degrees. That progress is something to be proud of, regardless of whether or not you hit your intended goal.

If you wait until you hit your long term goal to be proud of yourself, you are less likely to be successful. You should be proud of yourself every time you do something you previously couldn’t do, or up your weight in exercises, or even just for forcing yourself to do a workout on a day when you really didn’t feel like doing it! Being proud of yourself and what you have accomplished helps you stay motivated to keep going. Always remember to be proud of the small steps forward, because even though they are small, they are still steps moving forward.

If you haven’t started your journey yet, but you’d like to, visit us in my FREE Health and Fitness group to join a group of people learning how to lead a healthier lifestyle and incorporate activity into their lives. We’re voting now for the July Challenge, so you definitely want to get in the group ASAP!

July Health & Fitness Challenge!!

In case you are unfamiliar with me and my coaching, I do a challenge every month in my FREE Health and Fitness group. The first three months went really well in terms of participation, and then this past month the challenge had a lot less participants. Instead of coming up with something myself, I thought that I would put it out to all of you!

What kinds of challenges would you find beneficial? It needs to be something that just about anyone could do. For example, the bootcamps I have done in the past had 4 workouts per week to complete MINIMUM and a simple meal plan to follow. The step challenge that we did simply required each participant to wear a fitbit and report back to me with all of their steps each week. Our biggest loser challenge required participants to access the Beachbody On Demand FREE Trial for the month. These are all things that pretty much anyone could do, without requiring a gym membership or expensive equipment.

The idea that I came up with for July is a YouTube Challenge. I am always pulling cool workout videos off of YouTube and sharing them in the group as a weekly challenge anyways, so I thought it might be fun to make it a theme for the month! If you vote on this challenge, I would put together a schedule of Beachbody based workouts found on YouTube to be completed throughout the month. Each week I would post the schedule for the upcoming week.

So far, the only other suggestion is to repeat the step challenge! If you have any other ideas, you need to go and request to join our group. Once approved for membership, you will be able to vote for your favorite idea, or submit a new idea for consideration!

Please let me know ASAP if you are interested in participating in this challenge.