What is this balance everyone keeps talking about?

In the fitness industry, you will hear a lot of “it’s all about balance”. You might wonder “what exactly is balance?” Some will say that it’s the 80/20 rule. You eat well 80% of the time and the other 20% you eat whatever you want. Some will say it’s doing IIFYM because you get to eat “whatever you want” as long as it fits your macros. Others say it’s just listening to their body and eating whatever their body wants/needs. As for exercising, they say if you can’t fit in a workout during your day, don’t workout, but don’t do it every day!

 

Personally, I don’t have a problem with any of these approaches. We’re all different and we all have different ways to be balanced. Personally, every week is different for me. Some weeks I find it super easy to find a balance that works for me and other weeks I struggle. I think we are on this journey to be healthy physically and mentally, have more energy and have more positive thoughts. That means that eating healthy and exercising should not stress us out, cause anxiety or make us dread it. If that’s the case, you’re not following the right approach or workout plan and diet plan for you.

 

I believe that if we take things one day at a time and simply analyze our day and how we’re feeling, we will be able to tell what our body needs. I don’t think it’s very healthy when I have an extremely busy day and stress out about trying to find time to go to the gym. I’d rather skip the gym that one time and just go the next day. The relief I get once I allow myself to postpone my workout until the next day is incredible. It allows me to de-stress a bit and focus on the tasks that I need to complete. Mental health is also important, and giving yourself that little break definitely helps you stay sane!

 

Another example is, if you worked a bit later that night and you didn’t have a meal prepared in advance, you might want to go out to eat and that’s ok! Balance is letting yourself do that once in a while. You won’t ruin everything you did with one single meal, and you’re allowing yourself to stop stressing out. I think listening to your body is very important in that instance. Does your body crave a double cheese burger and a large fry or does it crave a grilled burger and a salad, or maybe a mix of both? It’s also important to listen to your body. I don’t know about you, but every time I go out to eat I always get a full meal (burger, side and drink) when in reality I get full just by eating a burger. I didn’t need that poutine or those fries.

 

Sometimes, if I know I’m going to a restaurant or having a night out that day, I will eat lighter foods during the day because I know it will stop me from feeling like crap after my evening meal. If I eat processed foods all day and at night, I know for sure I won’t feel good, but if I eat fairly well during the day and then eat whatever my heart desires that evening, I won’t feel sick.

 

For me, being balanced is listening to your body and analyzing your day. What foods does your body want? Does your body want to exercise today? Can you make that fit in your day?

 

Most of the time, I can and want to because I have goals I set for myself. Some days, my body speaks louder than my goal and I listen to it, because I only have one body and it knows what’s best for me! Goals can be changed all the time, or they can be accomplished in a longer period of time. Sure, it’s very important to have goals because it allows you to grow as a person. However, your goals should never compromise your physical or mental health! 

Advertisements

My Fitness Journey

I’ve been on social media as Mani Fitness for a while now, and I realized that I haven’t really talked about my fitness journey, although my whole purpose is sharing my journey and helping you during yours. I mentioned some things here and there, but I never really told the “story”. I’m hoping that sharing my journey will help you in some way, or at the very least help you realize that you are not alone. Eventually, I am planning on starting a podcast and making an episode sharing my journey in more detail, but I will tell you the main parts of the story in this blog post.

It all started when I was about 13. I was on vacation with my parents and my brother. We went to Québec to see my grandparents. There was a family supper, and most of my immediate family was present. During that evening, a family member looked at my mom and mentioned that I had gained some weight as I was standing right next to them. At first it didn’t really affect me. Well, actually, I think I kind of just brushed it off. However, as the hours and the days went by, the obsession grew bigger and bigger. I kept looking at myself in the mirror lifting my shirt, checking at every angle to see if I still looked “big”.

My parents went back home, and my brother and I stayed the whole summer with our grandparents. My ultimate goal during that time was to lose weight. I would ask my grandfather to go on walks with me all the time and instead of just walking next to him, I would run for 2 minutes, then run back to where he was walking and then doing that over and over again. I would also go to the park near their house with my brother. I would use the swing set, not because I wanted to have fun, but because I knew it would help me burn some calories.

I used to drink milk more than water or any other liquid. That same summer, another family member told me milk had a lot of calories. That was the last time I drank milk that summer.

At school, I learned about the Canadian food guide and received a little tracker that helped me track the portions of each food group. I would use it to track my portions and I would obsess over it. I wanted to consume the exact same number of what was recommended. Not less, not more. They recommend 6 grain portions for age 14-18 and I would make sure I had 6.

A year later, I started counting calories using the app Lose it!. I would obsess over the numbers. If I ate past my calories, I would feel incredibly guilty. I would restrict myself. Not restrict myself as in not eating enough. I would eat enough calories, but I wouldn’t allow myself ANY bad foods. Then, a couple times a week I would binge because of it which made me feel extremely guilty.

I started doing home workout using Fitness Blender YouTube videos. I absolutely loved their workouts and I would create HIIT, legs, core and arms workout splits. I LOVED HIIT workouts and leg workouts. I can honestly say that I ended up being the fittest I’ve ever been during that time. My relationship with exercise was a little better. I would make sure to work out almost every day and use rest days once or twice a week. I think Fitness Blender helped me think differently, without me realizing it, because of the content they posted.  I would go on really long walks. From after supper, until sunset, which is a big time frame during the summer. It wasn’t really unhealthy because I really enjoyed those walks. I would use them to think about my crush at work and all the possible scenarios that could happen in between us. (He’s been my boyfriend for 3 years now. If you’re reading this, I love you James. ♥) I also really enjoyed running and biking. I would do those pretty often. But again, it wouldn’t be unhealthy because I genuinely loved it, and I wouldn’t do it for hours on end or add another workout that day. If I biked or ran, that was my only workout with the only exception of an added ab workout from time to time. In spite of that, I would still count my calories and enter my exercise on the app to make sure I knew how many calories I burned.

That lasted for a while until one day, I went to Burger King with James and I ordered a regular meal. If I remember correctly, I ordered an Original chicken sandwich, a poutine and a chocolate milk (my usual LOL). Halfway through my meal I was in so much pain, I was bent over in my seat. I was so used to eating incredibly healthy, my body could not tolerate my meal. That’s when James told me that what I was doing wasn’t healthy and eating fast food should not make me feel so much pain that I feel like ripping my stomach out to get rid of it.

It kind of hit me then. I didn’t realize what I was doing. I was in my own world. It’s like I couldn’t see that I was obsessive. Slowly after that, I stopped tracking my calories, little by little.

After that, I was spending less time working out and more time eating out. It was the beginning of James and I’s relationship which meant that I wanted to spend as much time as possible with him, which meant less workouts and more eating out on our dates. However, I still incorporated some healthy meals and I exercised a little bit. I would always go back to eating healthy because I felt guilty for all the bad food I ate. That lasted for the whole year. The year after that, I started University and I still exercised a little bit and ate fairly healthy, but juggling school, work, a relationship, a place to live and visiting my parents was pretty difficult and I had a hard time finding time to go to the gym and cook. I still did those things, but not as much as I’d liked.  I would have weeks where I’d cook all my meals, and weeks where I ate out too much.

Honestly, it’s still kind of like this. It’s like my relationship with food is still not 100% and I still eat as much food as I can when I eat unhealthy because my brain still thinks I won’t be allowed to eat that ever again which means I just eat as much as I can right away. I am working on that, but it’s very hard to overcome.

Recently, I also lost motivation and I stopped going to the gym. I was just in a slump because I wasn’t happy mentally. I wasn’t going forward with the business I’m trying to build, I didn’t really like my job anymore, I kept making excuses and eating like crap to fill that void.

Now, I am back on track. I got a new job. It’s still not what I want to be doing, but until I can get enough of an income with my business, I will keep that job. I snapped out of it and stopped making excuses about my career and made a game plan to achieve certain goals. That helped me feel empowered which made me want to go back to the gym. I still have to work on the “eating as much as I can while I can” with bad foods, but I know things will get better.

I wanted to share this part of my journey, because I think, especially in today’s society, that it’s easy to feel lonely because you see everyone’s good moments, and not so much the bad. I do that as well. I share all my workouts, and the “healthy” food I eat. I do share some of the bad food, but you don’t see all of the battles I have with food weekly. I share when I don’t workout, sometimes. I usually don’t post it because I’m embarrassed about still having trouble with my relationship with both exercise and food. However, I think it’s important to share this (big) part of my journey. The battle is not over!

I know I’m not a big fitness guru or a big influencer, but I hope reading about my journey helps you realize that even the people who are in the fitness industry struggle. Most people on social media want to show the perfect things about their journey and won’t share the struggles. I want to be completely transparent with you. I want to share as much as possible, because nothing is worse than feeling like you’re the only one experiencing something. In the last few years my relationship with both exercise and food have dramatically improved, and I worked really hard to get to where I am now.

You can get through this!

 

I hope you liked this blog post. If you did please share it to help other’s realize that they are not alone in this ♥

 

 

 

Do you need to count calories to lose weight?

I got this question the other day and I thought I would give you my opinion on it. I am not certified in nutrition or a personal trainer (yet), so this is just my experience/opinion on the subject.

Do you need to count calories to lose weight?

The answer is NO you don’t need to; however, it makes the job a hell of a lot easier.

However, it’s not ideal for everyone (can become obsessive) and there is plenty of different ways to be mindful of what you eat without counting calories.

Here’s my opinion:

 

Intuitive eating

I personally think that if you eat intuitively, you don’t really need to count calories because your body tells you when it’s hungry and when it’s not. That means you have to pay attention to your body, eat more slowly to give your brain time to tell you you’re satisfied, put smaller portions on your plate and get seconds if your body tells you that you need more food. Eat when you’re hungry, don’t eat when you’re not hungry, etc. If you’re used to eating a lot of food or eating when you’re not hungry, switching to intuitive eating will help you lose weight because eating that way makes you eat less food and therefore, fewer calories.

 

Eating whole foods

If your diet is mainly whole foods, you’re most likely ingesting less calories than if you eat a lot of processed foods because you eat grains, fruits, veggies, legumes, etc. and generally those things don’t have a lot of calories. That means that if you switch your diet from processed foods to whole foods, you have a big chance of losing weight because you’re eating less calories.

 

It’s a Journey

All our journeys are different because there’s more than one way to be healthy. Someone might enjoy counting calories because they like having this sort of guideline, but someone else might not enjoy it at all and that’s okay!

We’re doing this for the long run! Working out and eating healthy is a lifestyle which means you’re pretty much doing it for the rest of your life! So what’s the rush? If you eat intuitively or without counting calories, you might lose weight at a slower pace but you’re doing this for a long time anyways, right?

Guesstimating

Sometimes, since I already have experience counting calories, I can sort of estimate how many calories I’ve eaten per meal or per day. If you don’t like the hassle of entering all the food you ate in an app this is a good option. However, you might want to use the app for a couple weeks to get used to it and get an idea of how many calories are in certain foods, and to learn what a “regular” portion looks like.

Speaking of portions, you can also use portion control instead of counting calories if you still want to follow a certain guideline, but you don’t want to count calories.

We’re creatures of habits, which means we basically eat the same things every day so once you know the calories of the main things you eat, it won’t be too hard to guesstimate how many calories you ate that day!

 

I hope this helps you decide if you want to count calories or not and if it’s the right option for you!

Personally, when I first started my fitness journey I used to count calories because it gave me a guideline to follow since I didn’t have a lot of experience and then I stopped because the calories were controlling my life instead of using them as a guide. Now, when I need to get back on track I count my calories for a day or two and sometimes a week, but after I always go back to trying to listen to my body and eat according to what it needs.

Have an awesome and fantastic day, my friends!!

Setting up & remembering your goals

Hello my lovely friends!

Can you believe it’s already September? It seems like summer just started yesterday and now we’re about to fall into my favorite season (note the pun).

The beginning of a new month signifies new goals to me. It signifies a new beginning, a fresh start.

That’s why I started writing my yearly, monthly, weekly and daily goals on the fridge and on my desk.

21278017_1159416510858045_1553343870_o

Here’s a picture of my very… busy fridge.

Since I love food (surprising right?), I tend to go in the kitchen or open the fridge quite a lot. That’s why, for me, the fridge is the perfect place to put my goals and things I want to accomplish because I see it every day, and several times a day.

Basically, I have goals that I want to accomplish during the year aka new year<s resolutions and goals I want to crush during the week.

21268865_1159416540858042_631736864_n

Then, I have a little area to write things I have to do / remember during the week. I don’t have an agenda at the moment, so I just use that tool to keep track of what I have to do. If I have something I have to remember later that month I just write it in my Google calendar.

21245634_1159416500858046_386377451_n

Normally, this wouldn’t be there, but I am taking a personal training course and I want to make sure I stay on track and study everything before the exam. I created a list of what chapters I have to study during what week to be able to finish reading the textbook on time.

21291655_1159416507524712_1523047195_n

Finally, I wrote down some goals I have for the month of September on the calendar on my desk. However, I don’t use my desk that often as I use the kitchen table and I also don’t use the calendar at the moment, aside from writing my goals. Honestly, I could write my monthly goals on the fridge with the rest, but I thought I already had enough stuff on there and I personally feel that by writing them down they stay in the back of my head. In addition, my weekly goals are there to help me reach my monthly goals which means I don’t necessarily need to see the monthly goals except when I write down my weekly goals.

21291008_1159416484191381_360692277_n

Really, I could write all of those things in an agenda which would, frankly, be a bit easier as everything is regrouped, but I also like having my goals “in my face” all the time to make sure they’re always in the back of my mind. If they’re in an agenda that I don’t open all the time, then I won’t get the same effect. BUT if you use your agenda all the time and it’s a tool you prefer you can do that as well!

I hope this inspired you to write down your goals and to leave them in areas you know you will see them. If this post interested you, I also wrote down a list of reasons HOW writting down your goals and objectives will help you reach them on my facebook group.

Have a wonderful day!

Love,

Maryann

 

 

Omelet Stuffed Pepper

I have seen this recipe on Pinterest and on YouTube several times and while I quickly read or watched the videos I have never stopped to actually look at the recipe. However, I have kind of made it from memory and it is delicious. It is such an easy and healthy meal.

To put it in a short and sweet way, you make an omelet but instead of cooking it like you normally would, you make it scrambled. You put the peppers in the oven for 15 minutes, fill them up with the omelet, sprinkle some cheese on top and put back in the oven for 2-3 minutes.

Here is the complete recipe:

Ingredients16343739_1013706438762387_221024578_n

  • 3 eggs
  • ¼ cup of finely diced onions
  • 3 finely cut mushrooms
  • 2 slices of lunch meat (ham) or any meat you want
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Butter for frying pan
  • 2 stemmed peppers

 

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F
  2. Cut and de-stem your pepper (place pepper on the side and cut the top part horizontally. Cut around the middle and pull out the core and the seeds.
  3. Add peppers in the heated oven for about 15 minutes (depending on your oven).
  4. Mix your eggs, onions, mushrooms, ham, salt and pepper in a bowl.
  5. Add butter to a frying pan and let it melt.
  6. Add omelet mix to frying pan, cook for a couple minutes and stir as if you were making scrambled eggs.
  7. Add scrambled eggs inside the pepper until it’s full, add cheese on top and put it back in the oven for 2 more minutes to melt the cheese.

 

Voilà! Let me know what you think!

Just a reminder that you can make your omelet however you make it normally. This is just what I made today with the ingredients that were in my fridge. 🙂

 

 

How to start your fitness journey NOW – in 5 easy steps

Thinking and wanting to be healthy is easy. What’s not easy is getting started. Here are 5 tips to help you get started on this beautiful journey.

 

  1. Get rid of junk food

It’s hard to stay away from unhealthy, processed food when they’re in your house. Remove chips, pastries, frozen dinners, etc. If they are nonperishable items, place in a donation box in your nearest grocery store, that way you don’t consume any of the products, they are out of your way and someone in need will appreciate having some food on their table.

 

  1. Plan meals for the week

    15416121_971594799640218_1332299373_n
    Homemade quinoa, chicken and carrots

Once you have gotten rid of all the junk food in your house, it’s time to plan meals for the week. Plan a few lunches, a few breakfast and suppers for every day of the week so that you can see what ingredients you need.

It also allows you to prepare your meals in advance so that they are easy to grab instead of stopping to the nearest McDonalds on your way back from work.

 

  1. Go grocery shopping

Now that you have planned your meals for the week, you know what ingredients you need! Go grocery shopping and fill up your fridge and cupboard with whole foods!! You can also look at the flyers and base your meals and grocery shopping depending on what’s on sale.

 

  1. Plan your workouts for the week

You got the food part settled. Now it’s time to think about MOVING YOUR BODY. Use an agenda, a post it or your cell phone to plan what workouts you’re going to do during the week. Make sure you include 1 to 2 rest days!!

Example

  • Monday: Run
  • Tuesday: Arms + Abs
  • Wednesday: Kickboxing class
  • Thursday:  Walk in the park
  • Friday: Leg day!!!
  • Saturday: Swimming
  • Sunday: OFF

 

  1. SHOW UP

You have the essentials ready, but this might be the hardest part. Of course, the rest is hard but now you actually have to follow your plan. You have to stick with it. Find an accountability partner, plan when you’re going to work out. You know that tomorrow you’re going to wake up early to get in your 30-45 minute of physical activity and you have to stop yourself from pressing the snooze button!

 

Voilà! Now you have no excuse, you know exactly how to start! You can do it!!

 

Best of luck my friends,

 

Maryann xx

Breakfast Bowl

Helloo my dear friends !

You, like me, probably are in a rush in the morning. That means there’s not a lot of time to eat breakfast, the most important meal of the day. Don’t fret, I got your back!

I put together this amazing, healthy breakfast bowl that takes less than 2 minu15049867_953697358096629_1531227740_ntes to put together.

Ingredients

  • Vanilla Yogurt
  • 1 banana
  • Coconut flakes to taste
  • Dark chocolate chips to taste

Put the yogurt in a bowl and top with the rest of the ingredients.

Voilà ! A breakfast bowl you won’t be able to resist eating before heading out the door!

If you make this recipe make sure to use the hashtag #Manifood on social media so I can see it 🙂