The 3 Changes I Made in My Life Last Year to Lose Weight — and Keep It Off

Hello Lovely,

Something I don’t talk about publicly is my weight. A lot of people don’t understand that maintaining my size is a constant struggle. If I go a week without working out, and don’t watch what I eat, it shows. Trust me it shows. And then I have to deal with the criticisms: Oh I’ve put on weight! Am I pregnant? My weight has fluctuated a lot in the past, mostly because I've been an emotional eater who used to treat my anxiety with binge eating.  In fact, I had a lot of unhealthy coping tools.

When 2018 hit, I was ready for a serious change. I wanted to work hard, feel better every day, and get physically stronger. My biggest motivation was my dad’s wedding last summer. I was standing in the wedding and I was tired of my waist being larger than 30”. I honestly didn’t enjoy having to buy new clothes to accommodate my weight gain so something had to give. All my weight-loss attempts in the past had fallen flat, so I knew I had to do something different this time around. These are the four changes I made that helped me achieve all my weight-loss and fitness goals.

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Working Out Is Non-Negotiable

I started out with a few strength-training sessions a week, with my trainer. As schedules changed, I didn’t work out as often and would sometimes miss weeks of workouts. That’s when the weight would come back. That’s how I knew that working out is non-negotiable. No matter what the workout is, whether you choose strength-training, Zumba, TRX, Barre, whatever, do something challenging. If you want to transform your body, you have to workout. I keep trying to tell my step-sister that healthy living requires healthy eating and working out. Doing one over the other does not give results. And if the workout doesn’t push you, trust me, you won’t see any changes in your body. As my Barre instructor Rachel likes to say, “Shaking is good. You’re supposed to shake.”

Switching From Keto to Smart Carb

I know I’ve been bragging about the Keto diet last year and I’ve shared numerous Keto recipes here, but if I’m completely honest, Keto is expensive and it was beginning to mess with my digestive system. Keto requires a lot of high fats, most of which can be found in dairy - totally bad for sinus issues, bloating and lactose intolerance). But Keto isn’t totally flawed. Limiting carbs and sugar was the best dietary decision I ever made. But not all carbs are bad carbs. So recognising which carbs I needed, and eliminating what I didn’t, like processed and packaged foods from my daily diet reduced my bloating, increased my fitness performance, and helped me shed the excess pounds. Most importantly, I have much more mental clarity than I ever did before, which makes it easier to be productive and work out efficiently.

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I Ended Some Relationships With Toxic People

Whether it was negative people, absent people, or those who don’t value healthy eating, I had to distance myself from them. Once I cleaned up my relationships and surrounded myself with people who were interested in taking care of themselves, I felt confident that I had a support system that would be there for me no matter what. So I really went for my goals — and I ‘m starting to smash every one of them!

I Tried Celeb Trainer Gunnar Peterson's 5-Move Workout And Here's What I Think

Hello Lovely,

Ever since my trainer’s schedule changed, I’ve had to discipline myself to workout on my own. Trust me, it’s not easy. I’ve enjoyed using several PopSugar YouTube videos. They really push me, but I still have fun with it. So when I came across Gunnar Peterson’s 5-Move Workout, I had to try it. Celebrity trainer Gunnar Peterson — yup, the one who trains the Kardashians, Kate Beckinsale, and the Los Angeles Lakers — offered tips to help you improve your core workout and make it as effective as possible.

"Your core wraps around your entire body and supports you," Gunnar told POPSUGAR. He explained that when it comes to strengthening the core, most people solely focus on the rectus abdominis (commonly referred to as the six-pack) instead of the entire core (internal obliques, external obliques, transverse abdominis, and rectus abdominis).

"When it comes to abs . . . there's a ton of work done in flexion and maybe at the most in extenstion," he said. According to Gunnar, this is "great" but not comprehensive. To completely work your core, Gunnar created this workout exclusivey for POPSUGAR while promoting his partnership with MitoQ. It's five moves, can be done anywhere, and will work your lower back, the top of your glutes and thighs, and obliques; what Gunnar constitutes as a complete core workout.

How to Do the "Around the World" Ab Workout

  • Toe touch: 20 reps

  • Side plank with hip dip (right side): 10 reps

  • Superman: 10 reps

  • Side plank with hip dip (left side): 10 reps

  • Plank (optional): 30, 45, or 60 seconds

So What Do I Think?

Toe Touches were probably the hardest for me as I can’t touch my toes in virtually any position. My advice is to reach as far as you can go, and each time you come up, try to push yourself higher. My side plank with the hip dip was actually stronger on my left side. I wonder if repeating this activity would help me to get rid of my hip dips and have a smoother, rounder booty. I thought I would suck at the Superman, but surprisingly I pushed through it. And lastly with the plank, I always worry that I’m up too high with the plank. I know it’s essentially a tabletop position, like how you start push ups, but I’m still self-conscious about it.

Looking at myself in the video, I do feel proud and it’s the kind of workout I would try to do twice per week. However, I didn’t see how often to do this set, so I can’t even give an educated guess how many times you’re supposed to repeat the reps.

What do you think? Does this look like your kind of workout? Let me know what you think in the comment section below.

P.S. A HUGE thank you to my bestie Sheena for helping me with the photos and video for this post. I was having a pretty rough day and she is just so supportive!

I Spent a Week Indulging in Self Care—Here’s What I Did

Hello lovely,

I love being busy. I usually tell people I thrive on busyness. I do my best work when there’s a little pressure on me to get everything done, and I’ve always been the person who puts a lot on her plate.

But lately, my balance has been off and I probably bit off more than I could chew. I knew something was wrong two weeks ago, when I found myself getting annoyed at every little thing. I even exploded on my boyfriend (more than once).

Don’t get me wrong, I love my job. I love my blog and I love having a full agenda. But… I’m exhausted and could use some much needed time away from the stress. So, I embarked on a week full of stress relief, self-reflection, and serious me-time.

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SUNDAY - FRIENDSGIVING

I began my week with a friendsgiving dinner by my best friend Richard’s house. It’s our second year doing this, and even with the usual delays we had a blast. It was great catching up with friends I hadn’t seen in over a month. Our group of friends love and fight like family, but the best part about this family is that I chose these people, so I’m happiest when I’m around them!

MONDAY - THE SIMS 4 AND QUALITY TIME

I’m really loving the new Sims 4 expansion pack: Get Famous. It’s probably the best expansion pack we’ve had since University Life in Sims 2. So I feel really relaxed and happy, when I can zone out for an hour or two and just enjoy it. I also got to spend some much needed quality time with my boyfriend. I finally got to watch the Patriot Act by Hasan Minhaj and everyone needs to watch that show!

TUESDAY - TIANA AND A NAP

On Tuesday Tiana surprised me at work. It’s always great to see my bestie, and Tuesday was a really slow day for me mentally so it was a much needed break. We walked around the campus, talking to students and teachers as we passed them. It was a much needed distraction. When I went home, I took a nap without setting an alarm. I felt really refreshed after that nap and was still able to get much needed work done.

WEDNESDAY - HALF=EARLY WORKOUT

Working in a school comes with it’s perks, like half days. We had an early dismissal on Wednesday because the high school’s Carol Service was that evening. So with this extra time, I was really excited to squeeze in an early workout. No one was on the park (not even my trainer who got there when I finished my last set of squats). It was so peaceful and exactly what I needed.

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THURSDAY - NAILS AND A PARTY

I normally get my nails done every two weeks, but my last nail design lasted three weeks. This time I was super excited to get a winter design because I’m counting down the days to Christmas! I ended the day at the Elevation Awards Nominee Announcement Party where I was nominated for Blog of The Year for a 2nd consecutive year. I’m really feeling confident this year as a contender!

FRIDAY - A NAP AND GAME NIGHT

Friday was particularly stressful. The day before, the principal of another school on the island died of a heart attack and was found slumped over his desk. This was probably the biggest eyeopener because today everything continued as normal. I’ve always read memes about not killing yourself for a job that will replace you when you die, but this was real. All of the guidance counsellors at my school vowed to never take our job home with us and enjoy time with family this weekend. At work, I’m one of the people responsible for our school’s Christmas play and child actors are probably the worst. If that wasn’t enough, before leaving there was drama that had to be investigated only to find out none of it was true. After work I was pretty exhausted. I wanted to get sushi but that didn’t work out because I totally fell asleep. While I was sad about the sushi, I have to admit, that nap left me feeling really rejuvenated. I ended the night playing the Sims again and all was right with the world.

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SATURDAY - VOLUNTEER WORK, CHRISTMAS SHOPPING AND CHRISTMAS MOVIES

This was probably the best day out of the week, although the way it started, it didn’t look like it would end well. I stopped for gas on my way to a community service event and ended up in a fender bender at the pump. Luckily it wasn’t severe. After the community service event, my mum and I ran some errands. We went looking for ornaments and found six that we really liked, but the options here really aren’t diverse enough. After checking out two lots we settled on THE tree for $125. My beau lifted the tree like it weighed nothing and got it in the stand for us like a pro. We watched a Lifetime Christmas movie together (A Very Nutty Christmas) and then I watched a A Twist of Christmas by myself. It was such a relaxing end to what could’ve been a stressful day and the perfect end to a week of self-care.

My week of self-care is officially over as I write this, and I’ve never felt so at ease and ready for the next week to begin. I feel an overall sense of calm, through mind and body. I also feel more confident in myself. I have a deeper sense of self-awareness, and my beau and I are communicating better than ever now that I’m coping better with stress as it arises.

If there’s anything this week taught me, it’s that self-care is the most critical thing anyone can do for themselves. Each act will look different for everyone but it has to be done intentionally. Now it’s your turn. I challenge you to take a week of self-care. You don’t have to start on Sunday, just indulge in self-care activities for 7 days. Pay attention to what makes you happy and what stress you out. Adjust and make time for yourself.

My Current Health and Fitness Routine

My Current Health and Fitness Routine

Read on for my plan on how to get back in shape. This is a lifestyle change so don’t think of it as a diet. I’m offering diet tips for healthier eating and exercise plans. If you follow this plan strictly for the next few weeks, you will definitely see some positive changes in your physique and overall health. Stay focused and buddy up, if you can. You can do this! Will you join me?

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5 Easy Moves For Strong and Sexy Abs

5 Easy Moves For Strong and Sexy Abs

When we set out to lose weight, many of us focus on getting a toned, flat stomach first. After all, it's motivating when you find yourself slipping into jeans that haven't fit you in years, and the compliments that come flying your way can help you stick to your healthy eating and exercise routines. Sure, a more toned midsection can ease your bathing-suit anxiety. But it can also protect you from injury: Research shows that a strong transversus abdominis—the muscle that wraps around the torso—stabilizes your back, which makes it easier to lift anything, whether it’s kids or grocery bags. To work this tricky-to-target area, try these 5 easy moves that you can do at home.

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I've Completed the #21DaysofMe Challenge

Hello Lovely,

It’s Day 21! I made it to the end of the #21DaysOfMe challenge. How did you do? Did you stick to the plan or did you give up half way? I hope you saw it through like me. Let’s finish strong with a body-weight workout led by Katie Dunlop and end with a guided meditation c/o Cassandra Bodzak. You’ll feel strong, empowered and completely centered.

While I had to skip much of the gym during this challenge because of the flu and a hectic work schedule, I still took time out to show myself some self love and practise self care (which is what this whole challenge was about). I pushed myself when necessary but I also took time to take a few steps back before getting overwhelmed. This challenge really helped me to stay focused. I also grew in my perspective on several relationships during this time. I can be a real hothead and cut people off easily. But when I started taking time to love and work on myself, I found it easier to communicate with people I knew I had difficulty with. I was more understanding and patient. I watched people around me get frustrated but during this process no negativity affected me. I was able to see the positive in almost everything and even when something just sucked, I stayed focused on what I actually had control over. How did it help you?

Today’s Challenge: Post a celebration pose pic wearing your fave Fabletics outfit. Use #21DaysOfMe in your caption.

The Fabletics #21DaysOfMe Challenge: Food For Your #WorkoutWednesday

Hello Lovely,

Today we’re focusing on what to eat for your #WorkoutWednesday. I know that #WorkoutWednesday would've been yesterday, but I was super busy yesterday with the talk show, and spending time with my family. Even though this info would've been perfect to have yesterday, it's better late than never, right? According to Miss Nutritionist, Rosie Millen, glucose is your bodies’ preferred energy source so if you want to fuel your workout to smash those goals then you need to consume it before hand. The optimum time to eat before a workout is 30 – 60 minutes. Make sure it is not too heavy but not too light either. Protein assists in the recovery of your muscles after exercise. Eggs, tuna and chicken are some of the most well-known foods that are rich in protein. Although they are healthy foods that you should incorporate in your everyday diet, they might not be the best foods to eat after your workout. So here are five easy post workout snacks to fuel your workout. 

RED VELVET FUDGE BITES

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Have you ever had (or even heard of) all natural, low sugar, high protein, high fiber, gluten free, dairy free, vegan, and 100% healthy RED. VELVET. FUDGE??  Well, if you haven’t made these Healthy Red Velvet Fudge DIY Protein Bars, then I’m betting you haven’t.

CANDIED BACON AND NUT BRITTLE

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This candied bacon nut brittle is spicy, sweet and outrageously delicious. It also makes the perfect DIY food gift during the holiday season!

HIGH PROTEIN BROWNIE

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Most of us are looking for a quick post workout snack and sometimes it’s tricky to fill the spot. Keira Rumble has kindly shared her awesome healthy brownie recipe that tastes divine and should do the trick. These little gems are gluten free, high in protein, vegan and have no added sugar. They also keep really well in the freezer and made the perfect post workout snack/dessert, for a good two weeks. 

VANILLA CHAI PROTEIN SMOOTHIE

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Vanilla Chai Protein Smoothie. This healthy recipe is simple to make and made with chai tea, unsweetened vanilla almond milk, bananas and protein shake powder. Try making this for breakfast or as a post-workout snack. 

CARROT CAKE BALL PROTEIN BITES

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These Carrot Cake Protein Balls are the easiest carrot cake recipe ever. It is perfect for those night when you are craving a guilt free carrot cake and they're the perfect reward for that hard workout!

Today’s Challenge: What’s your fave pre or post workout snack? Share your faves in the comment section below!

Working on Positive Self Talk

Hello Lovely,

Let’s face it—life can be rough sometimes. We all go through ups and downs. And you know I’ve definitely been through my share of moments, both good and bad. But here’s the thing. We can learn from our past and have it help shape our future. Today is day 10 of the #21DaysofMe Challenge and it's all about transformation and self love. In addition to three ways to show yourself some love, I'm going to share three things that I love about myself.

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Show Yourself Some Love

It really starts with giving yourself the love you deserve. Don’t beat yourself up—because you are enough. Wherever you are in your journey, that’s the best you can and should be. This is why even though I was really upset to have to eat at an expensive restaurant this past weekend, I ate the most expensive food I could find to engage in self-love. I ate oysters, mussels, shrimp and lobster tails (that was my entire dinner). For dessert, I finally had crème brulee and panacotta (I didn't like it). 

Real Talk

Boost yourself up, especially when you might be feeling down. Give yourself some positive words of encouragement! Maybe you leave notes for yourself on your bathroom mirror in lipstick. Maybe you just smile at your reflection. But be sure to share a kind word with yourself every once in awhile. I stood in the front of the mirror and told myself that I was awesome because at only 28, I may not have a serious romantic relationship like my friends, but I have a Master's Degree that I paid for on my own (no loan), I recently upgraded my car and I became the first and only certified Bahamian AutPlay Therapy Provider. I reminded myself that I have a lot going for myself and everything was beginning to line up for a brighter future.

Form Healthy Habits

Whether you work out every day or you’re just getting into your routine, that’s okay. Take it slow and work at your own pace. We’re all running our own marathons! When I first started going to the gym, it was really hard. Now I hate whenever I miss a day, and that I can only go three days a week.

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Check out this video by Demi Lovato, on transforming key areas of your life.

THE FABLETICS #21DAYSOFME CHALLENGE

Hello Lovely,

I FINALLY got my Fabletics leggings about two weeks ago. I say finally because I ordered these in January. Fed Ex claimed it was delivered January 17 but we never got it until mid February. I was so angry I thought someone stole my package or it was never actually delivered. I immediately cancelled my Fabletics account because I honestly felt betrayed and was gearing up to write a negative review about it. But when my package finally magically showed up I was over the moon! I could wait to get them on!

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They feel absolutely amazing! The ones I'm wearing are high waisted and the other pair I got have pockets so I'm super excited! They're made from a really high quality material. The thigh is thick and well insulated so moisture doesn't get out from sweating but the calves have a breathable mesh that prevents you from overheating! In honour of getting my Fabletics leggings, I decided to join the #21DaysofMe challenge and I thought you guys would want to do it with me.

So welcome to the #21DaysOfMe challenge. Get ready to try new workouts, recipes and routines that will get you in the best shape of your life. I'll be sharing updates of this challenge on my Instagram page and I can't wait to share the end results! Here's a message from the founder of Fabletics, Kate Hudson to give you a little more info on how this works!

Today’s Challenge: What are your intentions and goals for this #21DaysOfMe journey? Share them on Instagram or Twitter using #21DaysOfMe and tag a friend!

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My goals for the 21 Days of Me Challenge are to lose 2-3 inches on my waist and to develop a sustainable, budget friendly diet. What's yours? Share your goals in the comment section below!