3 Years of Health and Fitness

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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.

 

3 Reasons to Stop Calling Network Marketing a “Pyramid Scheme”

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“Don’t hate what you don’t understand” – John Lennon

I see posts online with people calling the Network Marketing industry a pyramid scheme all the time, and I hear it in person occasionally as well. I have to say, when this happens it takes a lot of effort to keep myself from educating the people that said it. For this reason, I have set out to hopefully educate some people about Network Marketing a little bit so that we can do away with this line of thinking. To start out, I want to provide you all with the TRUE definition of a pyramid scheme for a basic understanding in case any of you are unsure:

Pyramid Scheme: a form of investment (illegal in the US and elsewhere) in which each paying participant recruits two further participants, with returns being given to early participants using money contributed by later ones.

If you are one of the people that typically refers to Network Marketing companies as a pyramid scheme, I wanted to share these three reasons with you to hopefully help you understand why you should really stop.

UntitledNumber 1: It is untrue. As defined above, a pyramid scheme revolves solely around recruitment. So as an example I wanted to show you what a pyramid scheme ad looks like. I didn’t really browse that hard, I just went to a random advertising group on Facebook and scrolled for about 5 minutes. I found this gem to the left, and this is just the first I came across of what I am sure would be many to be found on the wall of that group. This isn’t an obvious pitch for a pyramid scheme, because obviously, they would get in trouble. However, I have a little insider knowledge with this $25 per referral ad because someone tried to recruit me for this kind of crap in the past. And that is exactly what it is – total bullcrap. THAT, ladies and gentlemen, is a pyramid scheme. Their sole purpose is to go out and recruit people for the “company”. All they have to do to join is pay a small fee of $25+ dollars to join, and then they can start recruiting more people and earning money immediately. It is a constant return of cash from ONLY recruiting.

Do you see the difference between THIS and between legitimate Network Marketing companies? I hope you do, because it is pretty freakin’ huge… THERE ARE PRODUCTS AND/OR SERVICES FOR SALE… If it is a company that has legitimate products for purchase, it does NOT qualify as a pyramid scheme, despite the fact that it does involve team building. In fact, when you think about a typical corporate environment, there are often bonuses for referrals. When you work at the company for so long, you are granted the opportunity to make recommendations for people that you think would be a good addition to the company. If they are hired, make it through the probationary period, and succeed in their role, you receive compensation for the recommendation. So when you think of it that way, the corporate environment has team building too! The problem here is that this industry is a relatively new concept to people, so it is difficult to grasp I guess. Think of it this way: Each person involved in Network Marketing is essentially the CEO of their own company. In order for a company to grow and become successful, they typically must have other employees and grow in size. It is the same with Network Marketing. To become truly successful, you need to build a team, and you need to nurture that team consistently to help them grow teams of their own as well. When you think of it this way, Network Marketing actually is more of an inverse pyramid. Why? Because in order for one person to be successful, they have to aid their team to be successful. You can’t just recruit a bunch of people, then sit back and rake in cash. You need to train your team, help your team to grow, and push your team to achieve new heights in their business. Nobody can simply sit back and get complacent, which appears to be a common assumption.

Number 2: It is offensive. Seriously though! If you ask anyone in the Network Marketing business what they think about people that refer to their JOB as being a pyramid scheme, chances are they will say that it drives them a little bonkers. It is just so frustrating to be so passionate about a company that you love, and to have so many people on so many different fronts constantly trying to dis what you do. We work HARD at what we do (or at least those of us trying to make this a real career) and it can be offensive and rude to have people look us in the face and call the Network Marketing industry a scam or a pyramid scheme. If you care about your friends and family involved in this industry, please do not use those terms when speaking to them about their business. Even when speaking to strangers, it is best if you just keep those words out of your vocabulary when discussing this topic. These days Network Marketing is becoming super popular for being part-time endeavors, so you seriously could be meeting tons of strangers every day that have businesses outside of their “real” jobs without your knowledge. If you want to avoid an awkward and uncomfortable conversation, just keep those little negative thoughts to yourself!

Number 3: It makes YOU look bad. I am aware that this one may offend a few people, because I am sure that there are a lot of you out there that are guilty of doing this on a fairly regular basis. However, I gotta be real… It seriously makes you look kinda silly and ignorant to those of us that actually know the true definition of a pyramid scheme. We live in a time where SO many people around the world are bringing in full-time earnings by working at home with their direct sales business. There are millionaires in many of these companies, and more and more are made all of the time. If you put the time and effort into this industry, and you are willing to learn and to grow as a person, you can be successful in this industry as well. To say that something is a scam, when it is clearly doing so much good for so many family and individuals around the world, is just ridiculous.

If you have been guilty of this, I want to encourage you to please just stop. Start thinking of Network Marketing for what it really is – a successful business opportunity not for the faint of heart.

xoxo

Jess

5 Ways to Avoid Junk Food in the Workplace

5 Ways to Avoid Junk Food

Does your place of employment make it difficult for you to stay on your healthy eating path with regular treats and ways to cheat? Mine does!

So for now I say, “Yay for small victories!” Here’s why.

With my current place of employment, there are breakfast treats from a bakery provided every Friday. I am usually fine with that as long as I don’t go in the lunch room. Yesterday junkfood.workwas a little different though because our manager brought timbits (Canadian bite sized donuts lol… tasty little devils) and coffee. I was OK all morning until I went to refill my water bottle and saw the box. I figured the chocolate ones were gone anyway so I could just take a peek. Chocolate ones were in there. I stopped and stared like a doofus for a good 30 seconds with the devil on my shoulder telling me to take one.

I didn’t cave! I’m only two and a half weeks fully back on track with my fitness and nutrition, so I didn’t want to risk messing with my progress. Now to survive next week at work with a treat trolley, lunches being provided, suppers occasionally if you stay late etc. I think I’m in deep trouble lol.

I realized that if I am finding this to be a struggle, there must be others like me working in similar environments that are struggling with the exact same issue. I wanted to share a bit about how you can help make this process of avoidance a little easier.

Here we go!

Don’t say “I can’t have that”

Seriously! Instead of saying to yourself or to others than you can’t have something because you’re on a diet, start telling yourself and others that you “don’t want that”. If you allow yourself to think that you are restricting yourself from something that you want, it becomes a lot harder to resist. Think about how bad the treat can be for you, and how it can ruin your progress and set you off course, and think “I can have this if I want to, but do I really want to eat it?” If you think positively about the situation and say that you don’t want that because you owe it to yourself to eat clean and create a healthier life for yourself, you WILL feel better about the decision to avoid whatever tasty treat was put in front of you.

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Bring your own snacks and meals

This is a big one. Prepare your healthy meals and snacks before you go to work. If you get hungry, go eat one of the snacks or meals that you brought for yourself. If you don’t have a fridge handy and your meal needs to be kept cool (as most healthy meals would), then you can invest a small amount of money in one of the many cooler bags out there designed for health and fitness individuals. I have one, and I used it every single shift when I was working in an environment that had no fridge. Having snacks and meals readily available makes you far less likely to indulge on whatever treat your office is providing this time. If you don’t have these healthy choices available and you happen to be hungry at the time of the junk food option, you are way more likely to give in.

Avoid the area that holds the treats

For me I know to avoid the lunch room on Fridays because of the breakfast treats. If there are coffee and timbits provided, I know to avoid the table on which they are kept. If cupcakes are brought in to our daily morning meeting (which happens whenever someone in the office has a birthday), I know to leave right after the meeting to avoid seeing all of the other people munching down on the cupcakes. Don’t torture yourself by putting yourself around the foods that you crave, and instead try to avoid those areas if you can.

Celebrate the times you avoid the treats

Be really happy and proud of yourself for avoiding these office temptations! Pat yourself of the back. Join health and fitness groups and networks, and share your small little victory with others. See what I did here, I did exactly what I am telling you to do in this very blog post! When you learn to celebrate these small victories, it becomes easier and easier for you to stay strong each time an opportunity presents itself to cheat.

Get your office involved in your journey

Share what you are doing! Tell other people about your goals and what you are trying to accomplish, and ask them to please be respectful of your goals by not shoving things under your nose that can hamper your progress. Sharing your goals with others will help to keep you accountable, and it could also help you find a person to go through the journey with you. Having a partner go on the journey with you is definitely a huge advantage, because you will both help to keep one another accountable. If you’re REALLY motivated to keep on track, you could even try to get the whole office involved by doing a friendly competition. Have a little “biggest loser” competition, or have a “step counting competition”. Get the office doing something that will keep them active and guide them to a healthier lifestyle, because if you get them on board your life in the workplace will get a whole lot easier!

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Lastly, I just want to say that if you do find yourself in a position where you have “cheated” on your nutrition and your meal plan if you have one, DO NOT get mad at yourself and allow that to get in the way of your progress. So many people give in once, and then they use that as an excuse to binge for the rest of the day. “Well I already messed up once so I may as well make this a cheat day”. Don’t do it. Just don’t, please! That is a verrrrryyy slippery slope to be on you guys, and trust me, this is coming from experience because I’ve done it myself a thousand times before. A cheat meal can turn into a cheat day, and a cheat day very easily turns into a cheat weekend, which then can turn into a cheat week, and then all of a sudden before you know it… a month has gone by and you’ve barely worked out or eaten healthy, and you find yourself right back where you started having gained back some weight. If you make a slip up once, be like “that’s okay, one mistake is not going to hurt me and I can be really good for the rest of the week.” Stop yourself from being down and discouraged one one tiny mistake, and definitely don’t let that cause you to give up on your goals.

xoxo

Jess

My Naked Truth

Yesterday I entered a new chapter in my life. Yesterday was the day that I devoted myself fully to my goals, and turned ideas into action steps to help me achieve those goals. One of these action steps came in the form of The Naked Leader, a coaching program with Janelle Fraser. One of the very first things that I learned, and something that is said to be the foundation for all leaders, is that you have to be 100% unapologetically yourself.

“Being a naked leader is defined as someone who purposefully chooses to lead and share a message wilst showing up fully as their true self.”  – Janelle Fraser

This concept essentially refers to being open, honest, and vulnerable with your followers. Nobody is perfect, but when you’re running a business, you often feel like you have to portray perfection all of the time to be successful. The concept of the Naked Leader totally challenges that habit to hide the messier side of your life. Instead, it encourages you to OWN the things from your past, present, and future that maybe are not as “polished” as you would like them to be. In honor of this challenge, I wanted to reveal the naked truth that is who I am, and how I got here.

This is most likely about to be a long one, so turn back now unless you want to be in it for the long haul!  

Note that any names used will be changed..

We all struggle a bit through adolescence. That goofy, awkward, roller-coaster of emotions time of your life where you are learning and growing as a human being. I had a pretty normal childhood full of ups and downs, and lessons learned. It was at the age of 15 when my life kind of got spun around 360 degrees and flipped upside down.

Age 14 was a tough year for me, because the boyfriend that I was madly in love with “allegedly” cheated on me with another girl. You tend to feel those emotions so powerfully when you are young, so it crushed me. We spent the summer broken up, but things picked back up when we got back to school the following September. That was when I started to change. Prior to that incident, I was pretty much a goody-two-shoes. I didn’t drink, smoke, do drugs, or even swear. When I allowed myself to go back to my ex, I started changing all of those things about myself gradually to make the Love-quotes-Dont-change-to-make-someonerelationship work. (If you are doing this – STOP NOW while you have the chance… No relationship worth having should EVER require you replacing good qualities and habits about yourself with bad ones) I wish someone had shared that advice with me because I started drinking, I smoked marijuana, I skipped class, the whole nine yards. It was not a healthy relationship, and the feelings that I felt for him certainly were not reciprocated in the same manner. Instead of being uplifted, I was constantly torn down and made to feel broken and worthless. He never physically laid a hand on me, but sometimes chronic manipulation, lying, and emotional abuse can be just as rough on a person. Eventually the school year ended, and he walked out of my life. The result was a risk-taking, newly single 15 year old ready to finally let loose and have some fun during the summer.

My dad has been a paramedic since I was a little girl, and I remember growing up he would always tell me stories about his work. Specifically stories about the reserve, no doubt trying to warn me of the dangers he had seen and keep me away from it all. As a father, he tried to warn me about drinking and partying in general. I had always heeded his warnings, until that summer. My best friend at the time had moved into a home on the reserve with her father and his girlfriend, and she had told me about a party her friends were having. We plotted a way for me and my step-sister to be able to go to the party without raising suspicion among our parents. My sister’s mom was told she was staying the night at my house, while my mom was told that we were both staying the night at Ashley’s house. Of course both of our mothers were told that her parents would be around for supervision. It was a pretty classic scenario, so I am sure that you have already guessed by this point that there were no parents present that weekend. Our plan worked perfectly, and we went off to Ashley’s house to get ready for the party. The first several hours were actually really fun, and I started to think that my dad had been wrong. Everyone had been really nice and accepting, for the most part.

My sister ended up drinking a little too much that night, to a point where she actually made me chase her out into a field when it came time to get her to go back to the house and call it a night. Whenever a friend gets too drunk, I think it is almost a natural instinct for us to cut back and take care of them instead of getting inebriated ourselves. That is what I chose to do that night. When I finally rounded her up, I found Ashley and her cousin and prepared to go back to the house. Ashley had a crush on one of the guys from the party, so she brought him and his friend back to the house to continue hanging out. Everything was fine at first, but once people started going to bed, everything changed. My sister had passed out on the bed, I was on the bed beside her, and the friend of Ashley’s date was beside me. When the other three left the room, it was just him and I left awake. He was drunk, so naturally when left alone with a girl, he made his move. At first I didn’t mind, we fooled around around for a bit because it felt nice to be kissed again. It didn’t take long for that to change though, and the requests for more started. It basically began by being told to take off my pants, and I kept insisting that I wouldn’t. I said my sister was right beside us and would wake up as an excuse. He tried to get me to go in another room, but I refused to do that too. Eventually it got more insistent, and he said if I didn’t take my pants off, he would. I continued to refuse, because I had no intentions of sleeping with anyone that night. He followed through with his statement though, and as it started, I laid on the bed motionless, crying, mumbling “no” over and over again, and just waited until it was over. When he was finished, he pretty much just got up from the bed, got dressed, and left the room without saying a word.

I know exactly what you’re probably thinking, because it was a running inner monologue of mine for a long time. Why didn’t you fight him off? Why didn’t you scream for help? Why didn’t you make more of an effort to stop this from happening? My honest to god answer is this – I don’t know. I had so many things running through my head that night. The biggest thought process of all was my father’s stories about the reserve, what he had seen, what the men can be like, the abuse, the murders and assaults, and more.  I’ve grown up now, and I recognize fully that they are not all like that, but at the time I just kept thinking about those stories and how I1 didn’t want to be one of the girls picked up in an ambulance beaten to a bloody pulp. I was afraid of what might happen if I did resist and fight. I didn’t think this guy was abusive, but then again, I was 15 and I had literally just met him that night. I wasn’t exactly in a good position to make that kind of judgment call. I had my sister to think about too, who was lying beside us totally dead to the world from drinking too much, and I didn’t want her to get hurt too. So I made a choice. I made a choice to just stay still and wait. Maybe everything would have been fine had I made more of an effort, or maybe I would have been driven to the hospital in an ambulance and not my mother’s car. That is something that I will never know.

I told my sister about what happened the next day, and we went back to my house. I struggled with the decision as to whether or not I should tell anyone. I really didn’t want to tell anyone else because I felt responsible for what happened to me. I didn’t feel like I could call it rape, because I had been fooling around with him first. I felt like I had brought it on myself, and that it was my fault for getting his hopes up in that way and expecting him not to follow through. By some stroke of what I thought at the time to be sheer luck, my uncle stopped by the house while my mom was out. I thought, “if I just tell him what happened, I can ask him to keep my secret.” It was pretty freakin’ naive, but at the time I was desperate, and he was my only hope to get the morning after pill. I was terrified to death of pregnancy and STD’s. As soon as my mom came home, my uncle left the house and met her on the walkway. The look on her face as she walked through the door with tears running down her cheeks still breaks my heart today.

What came next was a visit to the hospital, where my mom told my dad, and my dad told my grandparents, and I ended up in a hospital room with most of my immediate family. It was awkward, uncomfortable, and humiliating. I hated every second of it. I had a hard time filing the report with the police because I had to admit to my family that I had been fooling around with him first. I blamed myself, so I expected them to do the same. They didn’t. Next I was poked and prodded by the nurses as they performed a rape kit, extracted about 10 vials of blood for testing, and shot a massive needle into my butt that hurt like hell and burned so badly that it made me scream loud enough that my family could hear me in the hallway. The whole experience was just painful in more ways than one for my entire family. Beyond that, I was given a huge bag full of medications that I needed to take to help reduce my risk for contracting HIV. Testing had to be done in another 6 months to be fully sure, so I had to ensure several months of the unknown and worrying as well.

When I went back home, everything seemed different. My parents were on edge and understandably overprotective, so it made it difficult for me to interact with my friends. It really didn’t help matters that my closest friends at the time were male, and my parents viewed all guys in my life as the devil. Ashley was no longer my friend because my mom had told her parents about what had happened, and it had gotten her into trouble. Along 14424672with her and her entire family, a lot of people thought that I had made the whole thing up. They thought that my behavior was not that of a person who had just been raped, because if I had really been through that, I wouldn’t be comfortable hanging out with my guy friends. I knew them and trusted I them, so I was not scared of them. They knew about what happened, and they supported me through it when my girl friends laid blame, labelled me as a lying slut, and abandoned me. Ashley and I made up years later, and she understood after I explained all that I had been subjected to after that night. It is not something that a girl takes lightly. I encourage you to think about that next time you wonder whether or not to believe a rape report.

A week after the party, we heard noise coming from our back yard. A friend of my mothers was here, so we sent him out to check it out. It was a group of natives, and they were vandalizing a vehicle in our back yard. In all of the time that we had lived in this house prior to that summer, and all the time spent in that home after that single incident, we have lived there without anything like that happening again. I will never know for sure, but at the time, I took it as a threat and a warning. It scared me to death. I decided not to pursue charges partly out of fear, but also because I still believed that I was to blame. Regardless, I couldn’t stand the thought of going back to school and having to face him, all of the other natives, and his many friends who would most likely believe him over me. I thought for sure that I would end up getting beaten up at school, and I refused to go back. My mom sent a letter to the other high school in our little town, and luckily they accepted me as a transfer student against their regulations due to the circumstances.

The very first week at my new school, I made friends with the kind of kids that parents don’t approve of… for obvious reasons. The kind that do drugs, skip school, and party. I remember the very first night that I met them, and it was at our local carnival that takes place at the end of every summer vacation. I had been offered drugs that afternoon and had turned it down, but I later saw a group of people associated with the guy who had sexually assaulted me earlier that summer. I panicked, and I started to lose my mind a little bit. I sent my sister to investigate and verify that he wasn’t there, and I ended up agreeing to take my very first ecstasy pill to calm my nerves and try to have a good night. From that point forward I spent about 6 months of grade 11 high on weed or ecstasy, drunk, or a combination of both. It made me feel better, or at least I thought it did for a while. All it really did was make me forget, and give me a false sense of happiness for several hours until the crash. My solution to that was to just do it again the next day to keep it going. At one point down the line, I was offered some acid. I accepted, and ended up taking 4 hits of acid in one night. I am pretty sure my eyes remained open and unblinking for over 10 hours by the pain I felt the following day. I absolutely loved being on acid, even more than I enjoyed ecstasy, so I knew that I could never touch it again or I would become hooked to that too. It wasn’t too long after that night that the nightmares began. I had not had a bad trip while on acid, but apparently that doesn’t matter. Acid can leave its mark on you long after the initial dose. For about a month straight, I had to sleep with the light on because I would wake up petrified from the nightmares of what seemed to be of a bad acid trip. I would be hanging upside down from the ceiling unable to move. I would be seemingly glued to place on the bed as ghost-like forms lunged at my face. Basically all of the crazy stuff that a young person fears during the night when the lights are off is exactly what would appear in my head while I slept. It was extremely vivid.

This is another turning point in my life. I started to really think about where I was and what I was doing to myself. I started wondering, what if this is God sending me a message and telling me that I need to stop doing drugs. Please note that I do not identify myself with any particular religion, so I am not trying to preach to you about God. Regardless of my beliefs or non-beliefs, I thought of these nightmares as being a bad omen. I decided that the drugs needed to come to a stop.

Unfortunately for me, I did not decide to stop drinking, and I continued to hang out with the same crowd of people. One night I was at a party drinking, and I had consumed a large cooler (basically a cooler the size of a wine bottle) and 1 mixed drink with rum. By this point, I had obviously become accustomed to drinking alcohol, and I had built up quite a tolerance for the stuff. Those coolers were basically juice for me, and for someone who typically just did shots and drank hard stuff from the bottle, 1 mixed drink didn’t do much damage either. I remember sitting on the couch having a conversation with my cousins boyfriend, feeling fine and having a great time. I finished up that drink, and he offered to get me another. He came back with my drink and we continued to talk as I drank it. I don’t really know if I ever finished that drink, because everything from that point on is pretty hazy despite it being so early in the evening. I remember him helping me to the bathroom, and holding my hair as I threw up. I vaguely remember him helping me to a bed in a bedroom, and then offering to get me water. Everything beyond him leaving the room is a mystery.

I was woken up really early in the morning by my friend saying that I needed to go home because I was in his bed. I groggily got up, got my things, and went out to the cab. I turned on my laptop when I got home to check Facebook, and I had a large amount of messages from my cousin. She was livid, and was accusing me of having slept with her boyfriend. I had no idea what she was talking about, but she said people from the party had told her. I sent a message to the friends of mine that had hosted the party and I asked him what had happened. He told me that it was true, and that the guy had been bragging about it. My cousin said one of the girls at the party told her I bragged about it too (but the source was a girl that didn’t like me to begin with, so I don’t know for sure if I did get up from the bed at some point through the night to talk to people or not). When I went to get undressed to put my pajamas on and go back to sleep, I found a large amount of dark blood on my underwear. I didn’t think that it was the right time for my period, and when I 11174887_10153782931693508_8908561499487718016_nfelt the soreness the next morning, I had to face facts. At that point, I knew it was true. This time I didn’t tell anyone, I just went to the clinic on my university campus to have tests run. The bleeding continued, and I was told that the guy that night must have been very rough because it had caused damage internally that was made evident from the discoloration of the blood. I blamed myself again, because I was the one that had made the choices that had ultimately led me to that moment. I didn’t realize it at the time, but it is very likely that I was drugged. I knew from the start that something about that night just didn’t make sense, but I hadn’t been able to put my finger on it until I learned in one of my psychology classes about the date rape drugs and their effects. Much like the last time that this kind of thing had happened, I still considered myself to be at fault, so this time I kept the whole thing to myself. I didn’t report it to the police or tell my family. I hadn’t gotten pregnant or contracted any STD’s, so I just dealt with the bleeding on my own and tried my best to act like it hadn’t happened.

It is kind of ironic actually. When I was assaulted the first time, it led me to the darkness. This time, it brought me out into the light, because it gave me the strength that I needed to finally put an end to my destructive behavior. I quit drinking cold-turkey, and I cut ties with most of my “friends”. I use quotation marks because for the most part, once I quit drinking and partying, they really didn’t seem to care about me or want to spend time with me anyway. I started focusing on my school work, and I turned the second half of grade 11 around to a point where I was getting mostly 80’s and 90’s. I was isolated though, and very damaged, so the depression sunk in. I started to supplement my feelings with food, and I would eat junk food constantly in an attempt to make myself feel better. I developed a very unhealthy relationship with food, and the result was rapid weight gain, which ultimately led to more depression, and more junk food consumption, and the cycle continued on and on and on. I pretty much spent that second half of grade 11, and my entire graduation year, isolated and alone.

I did very well in school that last year, and I did it without touching a drop of alcohol. I decided that I wanted to go to law school to become a prosecutor so that I could make a difference by putting away the bad guys. Since I spent my weekends alone, I developed an obsession with Criminal Minds reruns that played pretty much non-stop each weekend along with CSI. I bought the entire collection on Ebay, and binge watched the entire series. I decided that I wanted to become the Canadian version of a profiler, which, much to my surprise, actually does exist within the RCMP under the title “Criminal Investigative Analyst”. I spent grade 12 working towards getting into the school that I had chosen, and I did get in. From that point forward, I was focused entirely on getting what I wanted. I knocked all basic requirements out first year, and the next year was split equally between Criminology and Psychology. Third year was spent fulfilling requirements for the honours program and additional Criminology and Psychology requirements, and fourth year was spent finalizing all requirements needed for my double major and honours in Criminology. In the end, I made it out alive and graduated with honours in distinction. My studies in these subjects taught me a lot about myself, my circumstances, and society. Unfortunately, the world we live in appears to have made victim-blaming so commonplace that most women and girls victhat are victimized automatically begin the line of thinking that they must have done something to deserve it. Maybe they think their outfit was too revealing, or like me their earlier actions suggested consent. What I have learned is that it was NOT my fault. It was NOT okay for someone to continue once the word “no” had been uttered even once, let alone numerous times. It was NOT okay for someone to have rough sex with a person that had thrown up and then needed to be put into bed with a glass of water. It was NOT okay for people to put the blame on me. It was NOT okay for those guys to take what they wanted from me and leave me to pick up the pieces of my broken life. Most importantly, I learned that I would be okay. I always wanted to someday tell this story to the world in an attempt to hopefully help others going through similar circumstances to learn these important facts for themselves, and I just now mustered the courage.

Toward the end of my third year of my degree I made a life-changing decision. I decided that I was going to take my life back, and that I was not going to allow my life to be dictated by my past. I decided that I refused to spend my grad year of university the way that I had spent my grad year of high school. I was miserable, alone, and just totally defeated back then. I set to work immediately after school ended that third year, and I began P90X. This Beachbody program helped me change my habits. I worked out 6 days a week for 6 full months with that program, and I ate clean through the duration of that period as well. When I finished that, I tried Turbo Fire, then Les Mills PUMP, and so on. By the time that I got back into school for my grad year, I was feeling so much better about myself as a person. I was happier, I was getting my confidence back, and I was pushing myself to talk to people and make friends. I did go out to grad events that year, and I had fun and made memories this time. All of this helped me come to the realization that my desire to be a prosecutor or in the RCMP really wasn’t about the job itself. It was about getting revenge on the people that had hurt me by putting away other bad guys in their place. To take those kinds of positions would have been focusing on a life of negativity. I would have been constantly surrounded by terrible acts of abuse, and I would have to live with that burden on top of that which I already bear. When I came to this realization, I decided that I was better off choosing a different path.

I decided to skip grad school. I became a Beachbody Coach to help motivate and encourage others to achieve results like I had. I later joined Younique because I fell in love with their makeup. I’ve since been on a backpacking trip where I explored Barcelona, Paris, and London. I’ve been to Chicago, Vegas, and California, and I have trips planned to Nashville and St. Louis next summer. I have had so much positivity come into my life since making the decision to let go of my past, and I just have to keep reminding myself of this every time that I slide backwards.

Now you may be curious about the whole cold-turkey alcohol situation. I quit halfway through grade 11, and I did not touch alcohol until a few months into my first year of university. The impact that it has had on my behavior is huge though. I am very conscious of what I am drinking and how much I am drinking while I am out. If I am out with people I am not 100% sure I can trust, I make sure to stay sober enough to handle myself should a tough situation come about (it helps now that I have Les Mills COMBAT under my belt lol). I NEVER allow anyone but a bartender or daterapesignificant other to provide me with a drink while out. I tend to just totally ignore all men while at a bar, unless I went there with them or I know them already. I stick to the buddy system and always go out drinking with a friend, or don’t go at all. I am sure there are more weird little quirks, but ladies, regardless of whether or not you’ve been assaulted, you should all be doing these things to protect yourself. We shouldn’t have to – but this is the world that we live in, so we need to take precautions while we work and fight for change.

The impact that this has had on my relationships has been pretty powerful as well. Men tend to not be a fan of my perspective, so I guess in a way it is a good thing, because it weeds out the unworthy. I will not sleep with people until we are in a committed relationship, or have at least been dating for a while. The point is this: I’ve gotten to know them, I have come to trust them, and I can see the potential for a future with them. I once had a guy respond to this rule with “you don’t buy a car without test driving it first”, but in my case, yes you do. Needless to say, this guy is no longer a part of my world. Our happiness is not defined by having a man in our life. I have come to learn that if they can’t handle me needing time and space to get to know them and trust them before getting intimate in that way, then they don’t deserve to be in my life in the first place. I would rather be single, working on my own personal development, growing my businesses, and creating a life of happiness for myself than be in an unhealthy relationship that is going nowhere.

I am human. I am flawed. I am far from perfect. I have made terrible decisions that have had very bad consequences, and I know that I will make more bad choices throughout my lifetime. I can’t say that I regret any of the choices that I have made in my past, because it has led me to who I am in the present. Who I am is a good person that has had a few hurdles thrown in her path. I am also a person that deserves to be happy, and I am ready to do whatever it takes to create that for myself, no matter how many hurdles I have to knock over to get there.  No more hiding. No more keeping secrets. It is time to lay it all out there so that I can finally move past this and get started on my future.

If you are struggling with being a victim of sexual assault, I strongly encourage you to talk to someone. Anyone. You NEED to get this off your chest. If you don’t feel comfortable talking to anyone in your life, please write to me. Use the contact page here on my blog, and reach out to me. I promise that I will talk to you, and do my best to help you through this. If you are struggling with a drug problem, regardless of the type, and regardless of how far along you are, I encourage you to STOP if you can. If you are too far along and you physically can’t do it yourself, I encourage you to do the same. Reach out to someone for help, even if that someone is me. If you are struggling with depression due to body issues or anything else, I encourage you to get help as well. Again, reach out to me if necessary. You can’t do this on your own. I had a lot of help along the way from my loving and supportive family, and I couldn’t have gotten to where I am today without them in my life. You need someone to be in your corner, and if you don’t have anyone else, please let me be in your corner to help you get through this.

One of the reasons why I am SO passionate about Younique is because of what they stand for and what they support. Our mission statement is to Uplift. Empower. Validate. I just love that. Our goal is to be women supporting other women, making them feel amazing and beautiful, and 15 - 1most of all, making them feel like they are worth it. YOU are worth it. Younique has created a foundation to support survivors of sexual abuse, and it is a very powerful and empowering initiative that just fills my heart with that much more love for this company. As I mentioned before, I had the privilege of attending the 2015 Younique Convention in Chicago, IL. Prior to our convention, Younique challenged everyone to submit a video lip syncing to the super-powerful Fight Song by Rachel Platten. A select few of these videos were clipped and made into a video that was shown at convention. On top of everything else, this was beautiful and it certainly brought tears to my eyes. Check it out:

 You are not alone, and you will get through this.

If you’ve made it this far, thank you so much for reading. If my story helps even just one person, it will be worth it. Please know that this is not a cry for attention, nor is it an attempt to point fingers at the two men. All of this is behind me now, and I simply want anyone else struggling with these issues to see that you CAN turn things around.

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xoxo

Jess

Fall Into Fitness Challenge Group!

It has been a great summer with lots of nice weather, and I am sure that we have all enjoyed our fair share of BBQ’s, cold drinks, ice cream, junk food, etc. Now that summer is over, it is time to get yourself back on track with your nutrition and your exercise routine. After all, summer bodies are built in the winter months!

Let’s get ahead of the holiday weight-gain and get some awesome results to show off to your friends and family during Christmas and New Year’s visits. Most people wait until New Year’s to start, and statistically speaking, very few actually are still on track a few months – let alone a year later. Establish those habits prior to the holidays, and not only will you be less likely to gain a bunch of weight during the holiday season, but you’ll also be more likely to stick it out beyond January 1st.

I actually have a few girls starting CIZE in a couple of weeks, so I am currently looking for a few extra people looking to lose 10-15+ pounds. You will be drinking shakeology daily, working out, and interacting daily in a private challenge group with others doing the program as well! Not only will you receive the full fitness program, but you will also receive the nutrition plan and a month supply of Shakeology (which replaces one meal a day – I prefer breakfast). PLUS you also receive a month free of Beachbody On Demand where you can access over $2000 worth of fitness programs by amazing trainers, meal plans, and healthy meal recipes to try out. This is in addition to having a personal coach (me) to help and support you along this journey, and a small team of people doing this with you for support and accountability.

This is a fun way to learn about health and fitness in a secure environment with like-minded people to support and encourage you along the way. Let me know if this sounds like something that you could benefit from! In the meantime, feel free to join my Health and Fitness group.

Comment below with “I’m In!” if you are ready to take this next step toward a healthier life!

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!

clxcg

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!

Band Challenge: Day 6

Move 1: Lunge with a frontal press

This move is very similar to the lunge with overhead press that you did yesterday. You wrap the band around your back foot, lunge forward with the other foot, drop down low, come back up, and then do a press straight up. The difference is that your arms aren’t out to the side this time bent at a 90 degree angle. Instead, your elbows are pointed down in the start position, and your lift straight up. Do your lunge, and then the press when you get back up out of your lunge. Repeat this sequence on one leg for 30 seconds, and then switch to the other leg for the final 30 seconds. As an extra little challenge if you’re up for it, try doing an extra 10 seconds of just the frontal press from an upright position.

Move 2: Squat with a calf raise

This move is similar to the lunge with a calf raise, only instead of a lunge before the raise, you do a squat. You will stand on top of your band with your feet shoulder width apart, and you will hold your band by the handles or below at your hips. You will squat down, rest your hands on your knees for balance if necessary, and come up into a calf raise. You might wobble a bit on this one because you’re doing a squat and a calf raise at the same time, but you’ll get better over time. You will repeat this sequence for 1 full minute. As an extra little challenge if you’re up for it, try doing an extra 10 seconds of just the calf raises from an upright position.

Move 3: Sumo squat with jab punches

By now you should be familiar with the sumo squat, but essentially you will be squatting with your feet wider apart than your typical squat and your toes pointed outward. Instead of standing on your band for this exercise, you will actually have to wrap it around your torso. Take the band and hold the center of it to your belly, wrap one end around your back and to your front, and then repeat on the other side. Once you have a grip on both of the handles, drop down into your sumo squat, and then you will alternate arms and punch an invisible target in front of you. Try to aim at chest height, and try to hit the same spot each time. If this gets too hard, you can drop the band and continue the punches without it, but only if it is absolutely necessary! Otherwise, continue with the sumo squat and punches for 1 full minute. You don’t need to squat up and down on this one, you just stay in that sumo squat position throughout the full minute. It will burn, but that is a good thing! If you need a little break, you can just come up slightly to rest for a few seconds, and then drop right back down.

Move 4: Lawn mowers

With this move you will get into a lunge position and step on your band with your forward foot. You will need to step closer to the end of the band for this move, and you will only use one end of the band. All you have to do is imagine yourself trying to start a basic lawnmower with the pull cord. You stay in the lunge position for 30 seconds with your other hand resting on your knee for balance. Meanwhile, the hand opposite to your forward foot will be pulling on the band and trying to bring it up to the shoulder. You should feel this in the back of your shoulder, and it will feel almost like you’re trying to bring your shoulder blades together. Once the initial 30 seconds are up, switch to a lunge stance on the other side and pull with the other arm for the final 30 seconds.

Band Challenge: Day 5

Move 1: Bowler’s lunge with a row

This move is a little bit complicated, but you just have to imagine yourself about to bowl. Get in a lunge position, but instead of your back leg being straight out behind you, your back leg will cross behind you. Most of your weight should be on that forward leg, and you should be able to lift that back foot off the ground. If you can do that, you’re in the right position. You will need to have the band wrapped around your forward foot, and you lunge down, come back up, and then do a row by raising your arms up toward your chest. Repeat this on the same leg for 30 seconds, and then switch to the other leg for the other 30 seconds. As a little bonus if you’re up for it, try doing an extra 10 seconds with just the rows.

Move 2: Bicep curl with a leg raise

This move is going to require some balance, and everyone is going to start at a different place depending on your fitness level. You are going to stand on your band in the center and hold the handles in front of you for the curl. Start by curling your arms up toward your chest, and slowly lift one leg out to the side while crunching your body toward the leg raise a little bit. You don’t have to lift your leg high in the beginning, and if you have to tap your toe on the ground periodically to get your balance that is totally okay! Try not to let your foot come back down to the ground until you’ve lowered your arms back down from the bicep curl, and then repeat the move on the other leg. Alternate legs with the bicep curl for 1 full minute. As a little bonus if you’re up for it, try doing an extra 10 seconds of just the bicep curls from a standing position.

Move 3: Sumo squat with an overhead press

Get into your sumo squat position with your feet planted firmly on top of your band and your toes facing outward. Grab the handles of your band, and hold them up with your arms bent at 90 degrees. You will do a sumo squat, come back up, and then raise your arms up toward the ceiling for your overhead press. Repeat this for 1 full minute. As an extra little bonus if you’re up for it, try doing an extra 10 seconds with just the overhead press from an upright position.

Move 4: Lunge with a calf raise

For this move you will need to wrap your band around your back foot. You lunge forward with your forward leg, drop down low, come back up, and then do a calf raise with your forward leg. You stay in that split stance and repeat that sequence for 30 seconds, and then you switch to the other leg for the final 30 seconds. You can rest your fists and the handles of the band on your forward knee as you do the calf raise for balance if necessary. As an extra little bonus if you’re up for it, try ditching your band and just doing an extra 10 seconds of fast calf raises from a standing position.