Feel Better in Your Body
Did you know that up to 90% of woman dislike the size and shape of their body?1 That stat may surprise you, but to be honest it doesn’t surprise me. Everywhere from locker room at the gym to the lineup at my local coffee shop, I hear woman (and men) talking about how dislike this body part or that, or how they should eat less and exercise more. I say we change these conversations and start talking about how awesome we are.
Better is different for everyone and we could all use a boost of self-confidence. Feeling self-confident and having a positive body image may not come naturally to you and that’s totally fine! Body image as a mental picture you have of your body. It can be based on your surroundings, the people in your life and even the media but it isn’t necessarily based on how you really look. The good news is that since it’s a mental picture it can absolutely be improved. Confidence, especially surrounding body image, grows from action and even one small step towards self-love can change everything.
A genuine smile will instantly brighten your mood and you make you feel confident. Take that smile one step further—make eye contact with someone and smile at them. You’ll be surprised how much of a confidence boost you’ll get from sharing a smile with a stranger.
Channel your inner superhero
Even if it’s just for two minutes. Research done by Amy Cuddy at Harvard University showed that standing for two minutes in a “power pose” (think Wonder Woman or Superman—stand tall, open and relaxed with a strong foundation and your hands on your hips) can help boost your confidence. For more information watch her Ted Talk here.
Love what you do. Movement isn’t about punishment, it’s about enjoyment. As an avid activity explorer I’ve tried everything from circus school to color fun runs to indoor cycling. I love to get moving because it makes me feel strong and vibrant. Once you find a type of movement that brings you joy you will instantly boost your self-confidence because you are doing what you love. Maybe you’ve been running but what you really want to do is take up yoga. I say go for it. Embrace what you love and self-confidence will follow.
Nourish your body
Eat foods that are pleasurable. Throw out the food rules! Who says you can’t have breakfast for dinner?
Whatever you choose to eat, choose to be present with every bite (also known as mindful eating). This allows you to take in the experience without judgment. The more you eat without judgment, the more you will be able to decrease judgment with other experiences in your day. Living each moment instead of judging it can boost your self-confidence.
Choose your words wisely
Would you tell a small child or your best friend that they are fat and ugly? No way. You would tell them they are kind, smart and absolutely adorable, right? Let’s stop the fat talk and body bashing and start treating ourselves like we would someone we love.
Focus on your breathing. Take a few deep breaths and remember you are awesome. Believe it. Own it.
why Comparing Yourself Is a Mistake
But Look at Her…
Ok, I’m looking. Now what? “She’s so fit and has so many friends and she just got that promotion.” Awesome, she rocks! What does that have to do with you? This is where the conversation usually takes a negative turn, on you, right? “I’m so out of shape”, “I have no friends”, “my job sucks”, and so on. Why is it that we can say so many loving things about someone else (often someone we don’t even know) and so quickly turn Evil Queen on ourselves? Just like you can’t compare an apple to an orange we can’t compare one person to another.
What we can do is be inspired by someone. Next time you find yourself saying “but look at her…” take a step back and ask yourself why you’re coveting what you think she has. Take the fit, healthy, well-dressed woman next to you at the gym, working it like a boss. Instead of comparing yourself to her ask why you’re looking in the first place. Was it her cute pants that caught your eye? Maybe that means it’s time for you to step up your workout gear. Use that as inspiration to be your best self and get yourself a cute new pair of pants. Next time you hit the gym you’ll be too busy owning moves like these top 10 leg and arm workout moves (in your new pants, of course), like the boss you are, to compare yourself to anyone else.
You Can’t Sit With Us
You may have loved watching Mean Girls but that doesn’t mean you have to be one. Using comparison to knock someone else down is not only counter-productive but it’s not a good look on anyone. As a reformed “mean girl” I speak from experience knowing how damaging that can be for everyone involved.
Pitting your accomplishments against someone else’s isn’t the way to get motivated. Instead, celebrate your accomplishments then use that as your gauge to improve, to take things to the next level. While I don’t know who said it, a quote that comes to mind when I’m a setting goal is “the only person you should try to be better than is the person you were yesterday”. I’ve found that’s where I really grow, when I’m constantly trying to improve on the person I was yesterday.
It’s time to get real about body comparisons. You with me? This is the big one. When we compare our bodies to our neighbor, our co-worker, celebrities or to anyone else we’re limiting everyone to their parts, rather than celebrating each of us as a whole. Rather than looking at someone else and wishing you looked like them, talking negatively to yourself about why you don’t or picking them apart, be inspired by them. Gisele Bundchen is my inspiration. I’m telling you right now, I will never look like her. For starters, she’s 5’9 and I’m 5’5. See? It’s totally un-realistic for me to compare my body to hers; they’re completely different (and equally as awesome).
Instead think about what it is about that person that you want. Do they have glowing skin? Strong arms? Can run really, really fast? Whatever it is, be inspired by it. Use it to set realistic goals for yourself. Gisele is taller and leaner than me and that doesn’t mean that she’s healthier than me. While I’ll never be 5’9 I can be inspired sit a little taller, rock a high heel from time to time and I can make choices that help me achieve my own personal health goals, so I can look and feel my best (and tallest).
Skin Envy: Matcha and Your Skin
Believe the hype, you look good. And if you’ve been sipping Third Base since we launched last November you may have been fielding more questions about your beauty routine.
Gone are bags, a puffy face, discolouration and fine lines. Youthful, healthy, glowing skin is what you have and everyone wants in. They have to know what you’ve been doing.
Get to know what’s really going on behind the scenes of your most coveted beauty secret, matcha.
But first, a backstory on skin aging.
Oxidative stress can accelerate aging, including aging of your skin. Oxidative stress comes from free radicals, which form with normal body processes like breathing, and come from external sources, like environmental stress such as sun exposure, pollution, and the blue light from your laptop. They cause damage to cells, accelerating aging of your skin. Antioxidants are what you want to combat that.
Antioxidants bind to free radicals, basically neutralizing them and preventing them from causing a cascade of damaging oxidative stress.
The antioxidants found in copious amounts in green tea, are effective in protecting against symptoms of aging skin, such as wrinkles and fine lines. Because matcha is straight up, ground tea leaves vs. steeped tea leaves, matcha provides you even more antioxidants than brewed green tea. It's been said that one serving of matcha is like drinking 10 cups of green tea in its antioxidant value. This means that sipping on ceremonial grade matcha is an effective approach to prevent symptoms of aging of the skin caused by factors such as environmental stress.1
Green tea contains antioxidants called polyohenols, specifically, catechins. Catechins are powerful antioxidants that are effective in helping reduce skin inflammation. They have anti-inflammatory properties that can protect skin from oxidative stress and damage.2
Translate please. That means matcha can protect against aging effects caused by inflammation, helping to cut back on past damage and help to prevent new damage from occurring.
We’re not saying one cup of green tea is going to absolve you from your sun worshiping sins but the more foods with anti-inflammatory properties you consume, the more you’ll be able to decrease the symptoms of inflammation showing up on your skin (we’re talking bags, puffy face, discolouration).
That’s beauty in real life. No filter, just matcha.
- Masaki, H. (2010, May). Role of antioxidants in the skin: Anti-aging effects. Retrieved April 08, 2018, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20399614
- Katiyar, S. K., Ahmad, N., & Mukhtar, H. (2000, August). Green tea and skin. Retrieved April 08, 2018, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10926734
High Vibe Life: Bringing Life Into Balance
Being a modern-day hustler, trying to balance, career, social life and health (or lack there of) can be hectic. Innovating, creating, always on the move. It's a crazy life and you wouldn't change it for anything. But like having a skinny margarita in one hand and an ancient grain bowl in the other, life is all about balance.
In come adaptogens. Basically these are healing foods and herbs (think medicinal mushrooms, ginseng) that support your adrenals and help your body adapt to stress. Bringing you and your cortisol levels back into balance.
Why does that matter? Stress raises cortisol. Which is what it's supposed to do. But after the stress is over (after you nail that meeting or book that client) our cortisol should drop back down. If you're not in balance, it won't. Elevated levels of cortisol is a hormone imbalance that can negatively affect your mood1, suppress immunity, and slow metabolism.
Thankfully, you have matcha. While matcha may not be widely considered an adoptogen (like you, it won't be defined by names or labels) and because it contains the amino acid L-theanine, it's known to produce a state of calm alertness and enhance mood. Essentially bringing you back to balance, allowing your body to adapt to the stresses of your high vibe life.
And you also have cacao, grab Chocolate Third Base for the added benefit of cacao, rich in flavanols. Cacao has been shown to increase brain blood flow2, bringing much needed nutrients to your brain and pituitary gland, which is responsible for regulating your adrenals and stress hormones.
Innovative. Creative. Balanced.
- 11 Natural Ways to Lower Your Cortisol Levels. (n.d.). Retrieved April 10, 2018, from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/ways-to-lower-cortisol#section13
- Your brain on chocolate (Shmerling, R.). Retrieved April 10, 2018, from https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/your-brain-on-chocolate-2017081612179
Matcha, Your Brain BFF
You're a hustler, and we know it ain't where you've been, but where you're about to go. 2018 is going to be a big year for you and if you've been hustling hard and looking for the best way to do even more to bring all those big plans to life, nootropics may have hit your radar.
Nootropics aren't the latest party drug, they're supplements or foods that enhance your cognitive or mental performance (aka brain boosters) but there's no need to load up your cupboard with a bunch of supplements. Instead, reach into your fridge (or the fridge at your local Body Energy Club if you're in Vancouver and haven't stocked up yet) and grab Third Base.
The premium matcha you find in every bottle contains nootropic, amino acid, L-theanine. Pair that with 100mg of caffeine and you’ll be feeling which relaxed with a calm mind, while improving your mental cognition.1
*takes a sip*
Current mood: relaxed, focus, creative. Ready to go.
- Mancini, E. (2017, Oct). Green tea effects on cognition, mood and human brain function: A systematic review. Retrieved April 09, 2018, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28899506
I had the pleasure of spending time in The Nest with UBC's Alpha Phi this week for their development workshop, Operation YOU. 20 ladies with packed school, work and social schedules sat down and asked me their burning nutrition questions. I've been asked about these hot topics before so using their questions as inspiration let's answer these bad boys once and for all.
1. How does one break the habit of relying on tons of sugar to get them through the day?
This year will be all about making time for what’s important. To make time for what's important we have to decide what we'll say yes to and what we'll say no to. Sticking to healthy eating is as simple as knowing what are you prepared to trade off to reach your goal. It's a choice.
If your goal is to eat less added sugar
Yes to healthy alternatives like fruit
No to dessert
But will you always say no to dessert? If you’re not willing to give up cookies cold turkey, own that. Knowing you have the choice to have a cookie will help you stick your goal.
2. How many times during the week do you grocery shop/how many days in advance do you meal prep for?
I meal prep (and shop) once per week and here's what I've learned.
Buy foods you like, want to eat and want to prepare. If you make a heaping batch of quinoa but you HATE quinoa you're not going to eat it, right? Pick a day and stick with it (for me, it's Sunday) and prep like you mean it. Wash, chop and prep all your ingredients. Divide and store complete meals individually so their ready to grab and go.
3. What are good alternatives to coffee?
Drink green tea or matcha instead of coffee and you'll be buzzed with energy, without the major crash an hour later.
4. What can you order that is healthy while you're out for dinner?
Customize, customize, customize. Unless you're in a boujee fine dining restaurant you can pretty much customize any meal or create your own. If the ingredients are in a dish, they have them in the kitchen. Ask for the ingredients you want.
Bottom line is health goals aren’t all or nothing, they don’t have to be restrictive, huge changes. That’s a misconception. They’re a way to get focused on what’s important.
Reduce Stress + Improve Mood
Whether you’re a fitness newbie or endurance competitor, moving can be an effective way to reduce stress. Discover the connection between movement and stress-release and how you can reap the most stress-releasing benefits.
The easiest way reap the stress-releasing benefits is to make movement a part of your healthy lifestyle every day. Any type of exercise, from a brisk walk around the neighborhood to yoga to marathons, can help with stress-release. That’s because being active can boost the production of your brain’s feel-good chemicals, also known as endorphins. You may have heard the term “runner’s high,” but this feeling isn’t just for runners. Most any type of movement can contribute to the same positive and energizing feeling.
It’s recommended to get moving for at least two and a half hours each week at a moderate to vigorous level. For even more benefits aim for five hours each week and combine both strength and cardio training. The good news is that you don’t have to do it all at once! You can break it up into 10 minute intervals throughout the day.
Getting moving any time of day can give you more energy, but I recommend starting your day with a morning full of movement. This will give you an opportunity to do something for yourself and help you will feel like you have the energy to tackle whatever the day has in store.
No time to get to the gym in the morning? Try an at-home workout that doesn’t require weights. Hold a plank longer than you ever have before. Or zen out with a quick yoga practice. If you get tired sitting at your desk job all day, take a break with office yoga.
Movement can help improve your sleep, which is often disrupted if you are feeling stressed. To get a the most sleep-promoting benefits, try to moving outdoors where you can enjoy fresh air, natural light and take in the calm of nature around you. Being exposed to natural light during the day can improve sleep by reinforcing your body’s sleep-wake cycle as well.
What is my favorite stress-releasing movement you ask? Cooking! I like to try new recipe variations, like this pizza and move around the kitchen. Everything from grocery shopping to washing the dishes adds movement to my day. Bonus: I get to relax and enjoy the beautiful meal I created afterwards. Talk about stress-releasing!
You Can Build Lean Muscle
It’s been said that energy flows where your attention goes. If you want to gain lean muscle, putting your attention on fitness and your post-workout nutrition is key.
To build lean muscle, focus your attention on a combination of nutrition, strength training, cardio and rest. It’s the whole, ‘health from the inside out’, lifestyle change thing you’ve heard about. As an Ambassador for withinus TruMarine you can find this originally published on their blog.
Whatever your fitness pursuit is, build the foundation of your diet on healthy fats, clean carbs, vitamins, minerals and protein. Just keeping it real, protein is non-negotiable when it comes to building lean muscle.
Protein plays a role in building and repairing muscle. withinUs TruMarine™ Collagen is a good source of the amino acid, glycine, which plays a role in protein synthesis and creatine production. Why is that important? Creatine aids in muscle growth, which, in conjunction with fitness and adequate rest, can support the lean muscle gain you’re after.
Post workout- go for a high protein (5+ grams per serving) meal or snack, such as a shake, smoothie bowl, yogurt, or power bowl. The lowdown on withinUs TruMarine™ Collagen, is that it’s tasteless, odorless and dissolves quickly, so you can easily add it seamlessly to your favourite post-workout meal or snack.
Focus on a combination of full-body strength training, and cardio. Stay consistent and vary your workouts for a well-rounded approach. That way you’ll never get bored and keep those muscles guessing. Listen to your body and consider increasing weight, intensity or duration as you get stronger, as long as it feels safe.
If you’re in Vancouver, BC, I recommend checking out Tight Sweat at Tight Club for a full-body, HITT workout with a community vibe. Strengthen and lengthen, low impact style with Pilates at Lagree and get your cardio dance party on with me, on the bike, at Spin Society!
To fuel up your post sweat session, this is the best recipe.
POST-SWEAT BERRY YOGURT
Layer yogurt, berries, yogurt, berries
Stir withinUs TruMarine™ Collagen and sea greens (optional)
Top with a few more berries and lime zest.
For me, the hardest part of any new habit is starting. To ensure I keep a habit going I continue my routine, even on vacation. That means bringing my fave supplements with me and making time to try new workouts, wherever I am. withinUs TruMarine™ Collagen stick packs are the best for on the go. I keep them at the office, in my gym bag and my travel bag.
While on vacay, I love to stir a stick pack into water and drink it while I relax post-workout.
This brings me to the final piece of the puzzle- rest. Allowing your body time to rest and recover is essential to give your body the space it needs to regenerate, rebuild and repair.
Let the energy flow, with focused attention on these key aspects of lean muscle gain, feel confident and at ease knowing you got this.
Show Yourself Some Love
Have you lost that lovin’ feeling? That feeling you get when your healthy habits are a part of your life, when YOU are a priority? That lovin’ feeling may need to be rekindled when you’re taking care of the people you love, putting everyone else’s needs first, and your needs start to slide to a far second.
Self-care is the everyday practice of making you a priority. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be something you’d do only if you had the time. By all means, treat yourself, but for most of us, spa days and all-out pampering aren’t practical in day-to-day life. Self-care can fit into any day.
It’s All About You
Self-care is what you do, for you, that makes you feel happy and healthy. Self-care can include a wide variety of practices and activities. It could be:
A walk after dinner
Making a smoothie instead of going without breakfast
Going to the grocery store without little ones in tow
Getting to bed early because lunches were made at the same time as dinner
Having 2 minutes just to yourself to breath—whether it’s an emergency stash of chocolate or behind a locked bathroom door
Whatever it is, show yourself some love. Love yourself, be proud of who you are and own it.
Start a Self-Care Wildfire
My Momma was my self-care role model because she didn’t just talk about it, she lived it. She made it her priority to do the things she loved. She spent time outdoors with friends and family, laughing, joking; soaking up the sun or mucking around in the rain with our dogs (we had at least 6 at all times). And trust me, her best life living, self-care good vibes were infectious.
Your healthy habits make a difference to not only to you but to those around you. What you do on the daily will (and does) inspire others. Have you ever done something so completely ridiculous, called up a friend, shared what happened and laughed like it was going out of style? Have you done something so amazing that you couldn’t wait to get home to tell your family? Those are the best moments, right? Leading by example is all about living your best life, taking care of yourself and sharing it with those around you. There’s no easier way to spread the self-care message than loving yourself and enjoying your life.
Social media can be such a powerful tool, one that brings us together as a larger community. But what you see on social media isn’t always real life. Instead of getting wrapped up in comparisons and unrealistic expectations, spread the self-care message by joining conversations about real life.
At Vega, we celebrate self-care with Best Life Project. It’s all about sharing how you live your best life, encouraging your fellow life-explorers and getting motivation from this community of inspiring people, who are so sweet it’ll give you a toothache.
Spread Love, Volunteer
You’re showing yourself some love, and feeling recharged, you may want to help other people take better care of themselves. There are many body positive campaigns that are always looking for volunteers. Check out your local community center or reach out to organizations like HAES, which offers resources to help you find organizations in your area.