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!

Why I'm Afraid To Get Too Personal On My Blog

Hello Lovely,

In an age of oversharing, it's easy to become that person who snaps a photo of every single meal, document every part of your vacation and broadcast relationship troubles. We're encouraged to be open and speak our minds. We've learning keeping secrets can be dangerous and we've reframed many hurtful labels. All of which I'm sure has been to help society become more open-minded, uninhibited and explorative creatures. But is there a price to being so open? What are the real risks? I originally started this blog as something to do while I looked for work, but over time it's become very therapeutic for me; giving me a reason to get up, get out and try new things. And when the feedback started coming in, the positivity encouraged me to do more, share more. But lately, I haven't wanted to share as much. It wasn't until I started reading, Girl Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis that I realised how much I was really holding back and how superficial a lot of my content had become. If you want to check out the book for yourself, it's available on Amazon - I totally recommend it.

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What are my insecurities? This isn't one of those posts where I can simply list the reasons. A lot of my reasons are intertwined. When I really think about what stops me from getting too personal it's one thing: fear of backlash. I wish I could share about my weight struggles without people complaining that I'm delusional because I'm skinny and there are people with real weight problems. But what people don't know is I often receive unnecessary comments on my weight with people asking if I'm pregnant. I wish I could share about my mental health struggles without fear that a future employer would see this and think I'm too unstable for the job. I wish I could share about my relationship issues without my exes feeling vindicated somehow. Or the fact that sometimes, even after undergoing surgery at 19, I still have bladder accidents and wet myself. And as much as I wanted to share that a few weeks ago I went to the police because I feared someone I only went on two dates with might have been stalking me, I just couldn't find the strength.

What makes it worse, is for the past five years, I've worked with really vindictive people. The kind who go out of their way to get you fired by setting you up to fail or outright lying on you. And if they had access to my deepest personal problems, I just knew they would find a way to use it against me. None of this has been easy to deal with. I mean what's the point of owning a personal blog if you can't truly be yourself on it, right?

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So how have I been dealing with it? I recently started sharing more Instagram stories. I realised a good way to get personal is to get more real on social media. One thing I'm secretly insecure about is the sound of my voice. I can't explain it, I just don't like the sound of my own voice. So years ago I assumed others don't either and haven't been much for speaking. (Hence why blogging is so appealing and I never tried vlogging). But by sharing videos of the various stages of recipes I try or videos of myself getting ready or hanging out with friends, I'm getting more comfortable with speaking in front of people. I always thought people would look at me strangely if I'm recording a video in public, like I would look vain or something. To challenge myself, I went to a wine tasting (where I wrote a small portion of this post) and took selfies and a boomerang while at a table with other people. Was I self-concious? Of course I was. But I knew the fear of what others think about me was crippling my growth so I had to do something about it.

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The same with working out. When I was in Houston staying with a friend, we went to the gym in his community and I just couldn't do it. I couldn't work out in front of those people, even though they didn't know me. I went back to the apartment and worked out there, but deep down I knew I was cheating myself. I started sharing more about my workouts on my IG stories as a motivation to myself to continue. But the truth is I'm so inconsistent with working out lately, my diet isn't what it was before I travelled for the summer and I actually put back on some of the weight I lost, so I feel like a failure and I hate sharing failures. (Who doesn't, right?)

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Well, those were some of the biggest and the baddest in no particular order . I genuinely feel a weight being lifted off as I close out this post. I really appreciate all of the love I've been receiving as I open up. I want you to know it really is a reminder to think positively and be grateful for how far I've come, instead of how much further I think I need to go. The truth is, everyone doesn't need to know everything about your life, but you also shouldn't be so ashamed of the truth that you create a completely false life just to please others who are probably struggling with the same shit as you.  To quote Rachel Hollis, "More than anything, I hope you’ll rest in the knowledge that you can become whomever and whatever you want to be, my sweet friend . And on the days that seem the hardest, you’ll remember that— by an inch or a mile— forward momentum is the only requirement."

Full-Body Circuit Workout — No Equipment Needed Part Two

Hello Lovely,

How did yesterday's workout go for you? The second set works the same way as the first set. Do a light cardio warm up, perform one rep, rest 60 seconds, then do a second rep.

You can alternate between circuits 1 and 2 throughout the week or even try these other workouts below.

What's your favourite workout to do? Share with us how your workout journey has been going so far this month in the comment section below!

7 Exercise Hacks to Try While Getting Ready to Go Out

Let’s be real: Working out isn't really that fun (unless you’re doing Zumba). Sure, it’s basically the healthiest thing you can do, but working out can be exhausting, expensive and inconvenient. And if you’re already juggling a really hectic schedule, whether it be the kids or a demanding job, or school work, working out is the least of your priorities. But what if I told you that there are sneaky ways to get fit while getting ready to go out at night, or while you’re getting dressed for work in the morning? And they don’t take any extra time because you can do it with your routine! Sure these moves aren't major calorie burners, but every little bit counts right?

1. Stretch in the shower.
 The warm water while showering will help your muscles to relax, making it a perfect time to stretch!

2. Use your kitchen chair.
Waiting for that coffee to brew or that microwave to go off? Use your kitchen or dining room to do some easy triceps dips (these are what they look like.)

3. Raise up!
Next time you’re brushing teeth, applying makeup, curling your hair, or checking out your outfit in the mirror, try doing some calve raises. Raise up onto your toes and lower down slowly, or raise one leg behind you, then alternate.

4. Squat!
Instead of sitting down to apply make-up or dry your hair, do a squat hold instead for a few seconds every couple of minutes.

5. Add weight while blow drying.
This is genius: Add wrist weights to your arms before you start blow drying your hair, or using other hot tools. Depending on your hair length and thickness, it could take over 20 minutes to completely dry. By adding weight on your arms, you’ll be challenging your muscles as you style with your (probably heavy) dryer and a hairbrush!

6. Run don’t walk.
Like the old people say, “Watch pot never boil”. So instead of standing there waiting for the food to cook, try jogging lightly in place. Or instead of walking to the bathroom, try jogging. This may even give you an extra burst of energy in the morning!

7. Ready to start the day?
Not a fan of running? Do some lunges as you make your way around the house or down the hall way and out the front door on the way to work.

Green "Goddess" Smoothie: Day 1

A wise person once said, "Man cannot live by bread alone. He must have peanut butter."

 

You guys know that I'm a foodie at heart. I love food, I love making food, taking pictures of food, eating food (not necessarily a fan of sharing food though). So what could possibly possess me to start a detox? Considering this is my birth month, I want to look extra special! (That's not vain, right)? Over the Christmas break, I engorged on sweets, like, everyday. It made my skin break out horribly. While I got most of the breakouts under control, there's still some fine bumps just underneath the surface of my skin that you may not be able to see, but you can definitely feel. And that is no bueno! Remember my face mask attempt at clearing my skin? Well I did that again this morning as a way to attack the acne from both inside and out.

My original plan of action was to drink one for breakfast and lunch and then eat dinner. That got switched around when I remembered I can't go the whole day without eating. In fact, as I type this I'm getting heartburn. So I decided something that would be more effect (considering it's my first ever detox) would be: smoothie, lunch, smoothie. That way, I can slowly get my body used to it. I really don't know what to expect to happen, but I always plan for the worse. I didn't want to go whole heartedly into something I did limited research on. And I'll be the first to admit when I'm wrong (depends on the circumstances). But I would never lie to you guys. In fact, the only reason I picked this recipe is because you can still eat real food while drinking it. It works as either a meal replacement or as part of a meal. So that gives me hope that I actually can do this. Because the Hunger is real!

So here's how it really went down.

I was so hurt when someone brought in at least 8 plates of pancakes and sausage links and left it in our office, for OTHER PEOPLE to eat! No one offered us a single bite and the smell danced so enticingly over to my desk. But did I break? No sir! I wanted to. I really did. But I stayed strong. I'm sure you're wondering what kind of super smoothie this could be that I turned away from Pancakes!

Side Note: No one told me before hand that it would be more effective if I chopped the kale first. I definitely should've known to do that. Because I didn't, the smoothie was chunky and I do not like chunks of anything in my mouth. That's why I buy smooth and creamy peanut butter, hello! This would've been amazing had I done that first. I had to go to the cafeteria (perks of working in a school) and ask to use their strainer. I got all of the liquid out and I tried to eat the solid mix left behind but it just didn't work with my taste buds. I will definitely try this again tomorrow (probably with spinach instead of kale).

I got the recipe from CHowDivine.com. I left out the flax/chia seeds because I just don't have any. I also only had iceburg lettuce and not romaine lettuce and I used brown sugar instead of the Stevia, because if this is supposed to be an all natural smoothie, I'm not going to use a substitute or "artificial sweetner". Plus I heard Stevia tastes horribly and I am not wasting an investment. She swears that this detox smoothie does wonders for her skin, so I'll stick to this for a week, with the detox face mask every other day, and I'll give you guys my progress next week.

Green “Goddess” Smoothie Recipe


Can be a meal replacement or added to a meal. Yields 2 12 oz servings.

Ingredients
3-5 romaine lettuce leaves
1 BIG handful of baby kale
5 sprigs of parsley
1/2 large lemon or 1 small lemon
1 small red apple
1 small banana
2 TB ground flax seeds (or combination of flax and chia seeds)
1 cup of water
4-5 ice cubes
1 tsp of brown sugar (optional)
1/2″ ginger (optional)
1/2 – 1″ cucumber cylinder (optional)

Directions

  • Add romaine, kale, parsley, lemon, apple, ginger, cucumber, and water to the vitamix or blender. Close the lid tightly. Slowly turn up the variable up to 10. This should just break down the contents. It will look slightly lumpy. It should only take about 10 seconds using the variable knob for the contents to break down in a vitamix.

  • Add rest of the ingredients to the vitamix or blender. Turn the vitamix or blender on. If using a vitamix, turn the variable knob to 10, then to high. Blend on high for about 45 seconds – 1 minute until completely smooth. If you are using a different blender, it may take longer.

  • Cook’s Note*:

If you plan to drink this on a regular basis. Try to change the ingredients from time to time. For example, use spinach in place of kale, skip the banana, or use a pear in place of an apple. Using a few chunks of frozen pineapples really gives this a tropical flavor. I usually cut up 2 or 3 pineapples and freeze it in freezer bags for smoothies. I find that this smoothie is most effective (for your skin) when the banana is not used, but that will affect the taste and texture. It will be healthy either way. 

I use a Ninja Blender for this smoothie. Kale leaves will be difficult to pulverize if the blender isn’t powerful enough, and the texture of the smoothie will be less than desirable.

Don’t blend for too long. The smoothie will get warm.

If you are a newbie to green smoothies, it may be easier to drink if the consistency is thinner. You can adjust the water to make it thinner (or thicker) depending on your preference.

Are you guys thinking about detoxing? I definitely would suggest getting the facts before starting. For example, what would work best for your problem area, what's good for your budget, best times to start and how long it should last. I thought this smoothie would give me energy but I literally just finished drinking it and I am sleepy! Also, no word yet on how this will treat my stomach. I'll get back to you on that as well.


XoX,

Olivia

5 Different Ways to Plank

Don't call it a resolution.

I'm thinking about...... maybe........... depending on how I feel, the temperature, which way the wind blows, how I happen to look that day, what's on the menu for the day................getting back into exercising. And yes it does depend on all of those key factors!

I am a lazy girl! I am partially ashamed of this fact. The hardest I work in when baking and shopping. That doesn't count, does it?

I've also been considering getting into recording some of my tutorials instead of writing them. That way there would be a visual aid.

So today, I'm talking about my first fitness video called 5 Different Ways to Plank. (And I'm not talking about that crazy fad either).

Planking can actually be fun. It's really intense on the core muscles and super versatile. Short on time? Don't skip the strength-training session — get playful with the plank! By doing multitasking variations of this basic move, you can target your arms, back, core, legs, and booty to chisel out a stronger, more toned you. You can't beat planks for toning your entire body. Here's how to keep them interesting!

What are your fitness goals this year?

Let's see how long I stick to mine.

XoX

Olivia