How to Find Your Motivation

Anyone can get unmotivated at times, but it’s how we recover from the slump that matters!

Here are some quick tips to catapult you back into feeling MOTIVATED:

Write down your goals.  Don’t just think them in your head, physically write them down and post them up where you’ll see them daily.  This will be a constant reminder of what you’re striving for, keeping you laser focussed.

Celebrate the small wins.  Things can seem overwhelming, so instead of only aiming for a big end goal, keep in mind some smaller ones so you can celebrate and enjoy the journey along the way.  This will also help create momentum.

Choose your influences.  Surround yourself with things that lift your spirits and people who inspire you.  Read books/blogs, watch motivational videos, and listen to influential speakers…these are all at our fingertips on the World Wide Web.

Obtain an Accountability Buddy.  Reach out to someone who is willing to check in with you every once in awhile, and call you out when they notice you sliding…and vice versa.  Bonus if they have similar type of goals as you, but not necessary.

Check yo self.  Is your mindset in the right place?  If you catch yourself thinking negative thoughts and psyching yourself out, snap out of it and tell that inner voice to STFU.  You deserve to be awesome, and you deserve to do awesome things.

Know your ‘Why’.  Be crystal clear on it.  If you deeply know why you’re doing something, you will feel driven, excited, and like nothing can stand in your way.  Once you know your ‘why’, write it down.

Do what Nike says…and just do it!  Sometimes you just need to stop overthinking and just go for it.  Stop worrying/stressing/dreading/analyzing, and start doing.  Take that leap and go after the things that set your soul on fire.

Practice these tips consistently and soon you’ll notice the momentum you’ve built.  Things that used to be a struggle will become part of your natural routine.  This applies to all things – health, fitness, work, life, etc…

With all my clients, I encourage them to take control of their goals, which will increase their program adherence and enjoyment.  They set both process goals and product goals that excite them, which makes the journey that much more fun.

Feel free to contact me to bounce goal ideas off of.  I’m happy to support you!

And remember, if you happen to fall, that’s totally okay…you’re human!  Get back up, set your focus, and go after your goals once again.

xo,
Sheena

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How to Stop Binge Eating

One binge eating session won’t do you much harm, but when it becomes a DAILY habit, then we have a problem.  This was me for about four straight months.  I was never hungry throughout the day because I was constantly eating…especially at night, when I would eat like there was no tomorrow.

To paint a picture, this is how my day would look:

  1. Breakfast – oatmeal & eggs
  2. Snack – Mary’s crackers & hummus
  3. Snack – Larabar
  4. Lunch – chicken, yams, veg
  5. Snack – Mini Crisps
  6. Post-workout – protein shake
  7. Snack while cooking – baked potato chips
  8. Dinner – protein, veg & noodles of some sort
  9. Dessert – an entire dark chocolate bar
  10. Snack – perogies
  11. Midnight snack – Coconut Bliss ice cream

Some days I’d eat healthier foods, some days I’d eat unhealthier foods…but I am not even exaggerating about the number of times I’d eat a day.  Literally all day long I would be obsessing over food and giving into my cravings.  Soon, the poor diet caught up with me and it affected my mood, my energy, my focus, my skin, my weight, my fitness progress, my wardrobe…not exactly the best feeling in the world.

Finally, I found the strength to break the cycle and started trying different things…

I tried a cleanse – it didn’t really work.
I tried the keto diet – it wasn’t for me.
I tried acupuncture – I’m not sure if it did anything.
I tried chewing gum – but chewing gum makes me hungry, so then I’d find myself searching for food again.
I tried intermittent fasting – I didn’t notice weight-loss, but I did like how it saved me time in the mornings where I’d usually prepare/eat breakfast, AND this is what made me comfortable with feeling that hunger pang again.

By experimenting and taking action, I broke my habit of eating until hating myself and finally gained control over my diet and mind again.  Hallelujah!

Here are tips to stop binge eating once and for all:

  1. Find a diet plan that’s maintainable and suitable for you.  For me, it’s flexible dieting…for others, it may be keto, intermittent fasting, paleo, low carb, etc.
  2. Don’t buy or store any junk food in your home, even if you think you’ll just have one piece…’cause you won’t, you’ll have the whole freakin’ bar.
  3. Plan, plan, plan.  When you plan out and prep your meals, it’s easier to stick to a healthy diet.  From my list of meals above, I only planned my breakfasts, lunches and a couple snacks, and then the rest of my meals were whatever I was craving, leaving too much room to slide.
  4. Find an Accountability Buddy and have them check in with you periodically.  You can even put something on the line (something that gives you a little anxiety over losing) to help prevent falling off track.
  5. Remember your WHY and your GOALS, as those are what will keep you laser focussed and help outweigh any internal debate about having another plate of noodles.
  6. Practice self-love.  Don’t eat until you hate yourself, feel bloated, weighed down, and moody…eat certain foods because you love yourself and so you feel good inside and out!

Whether you’re a binge eater or not, I hope this has shed some light on how you can have a healthy relationship with food.  Nourish and take care of your body, and your body will thank you.

xo,
Sheena

A Little Update on Me

It’s been awhile since I talked about my health and fitness journey on here, and that’s probably due to a combination of avoidance and life getting hectic.  For the past several months, I’ve been struggling emotionally, mentally, and physically…and only now, am I starting to feel like I’m getting my sh*t together.  It’s still a loooong road ahead, but I am definitely feeling more sane, relaxed, and grounded now.

Back in October 2016, I started to feel a bit off.  My stress levels started to increase and my health started to decrease.  Up until December 2016, I was still training to compete in a bikini fitness competition…but I finally cracked and decided it’s not the right time.  For my sanity, I needed to take the pressure off and just focus on feeling better.

In January 2017, I developed a pain in my shoulder and severe tension in my upper back and traps, which hindered my training and caused lack of sleep and moodiness from the constant discomfort.  I was going for Active Release Therapy (ART), RMT, acupuncture, chiro, and physio appointments every single week, while working two jobs and taking my Personal Training course.  I was tired, overwhelmed, and unhappy… It was about this time that I started to binge eat…like there was no tomorrow.  I succumbed to every little craving, and would eat even when I was super full.

I progressively gained weight, lost energy, lost motivation, became depressed and just went into this deep dark hole where I also convinced myself that it was a good idea to take some time away from the gym.  So for three months, I let myself relax (though I did not feel relaxed at all) and focussed on work and my studies (though I also had a lot of trouble focussing).  My health didn’t get any better and neither did my stress levels…in fact, it got worse.  Soooo, I highly recommend that you DO NOT approach stressful times this way 🙂

In April, I decided it was time to get my a$$ back to the gym…so I did, and it felt amazing.   It was a struggle, and it was not fun trying to wear my gym outfits and realizing they don’t fit the same way anymore…but I still went.  I wouldn’t let that bring me back down.  It was this part in my journey where I realize that patience is key.  When I can accept where I am and be gentle with my approach, the whole process just feels that much more enjoyable.

In May, I had an intense few weeks as I prepped for my Personal Training exam, but I made sure to fit in workouts because I realized the importance of them, not just physically but very much mentally. They made me feel good, they energized me, they reduced stress.

And NOW, here we are…wrapping up the month of June!  Everything is gradually coming together again.  I have not lost any of the excess weight that I recently gained, yet I am feeling SIGNIFICANTLY happier, calmer, more energized, and confident compared to just a few months ago.  Why?  Because I made ME a priority and got myself back into that fitness lifestyle, doing what I love.  There are so so sooooo many benefits to staying active, even if it’s just a brisk walk or a few bodyweight exercises a day… keep moving and your body and mind will thank you for it.

There’s still a long road ahead for me, and I am super excited to work towards my best body, inside and out.  I’m excited for the learning that will come with it, and I’m excited to share and inspire along the way.

Tomorrow, I will be kicking off my 3-month program alongside my friend, owner of High Level Think.  He sees the value in health and fitness like I do, and we are going to be “accountability buddies” to achieve our PEAK FITNESS!  Can’t wait.  This will be amazing to experiment with our own individual programs so that the learning can transmit into the work we do with our clients.  (Btw, he’s not a personal trainer…visit his website to see what he does!)

Follow my journey on Instagram @xosheenalouie, and feel free to contact me if you have any questions or would like start working towards a happier, healthier, more confident version of YOU!

xo,
Sheena

Essential Oils

It seems essential oils are becoming more popular lately…unless it’s just my obsession that’s growing!  Yup, that’s quite possible haha There are sooooo many uses for them and so many benefits!

Here are just a few:

Lavender – to relax, improve sleep, decrease stress and anxiety, promote concentration

Tea Tree – antibacterial, fights harmful organisms

Eucalyptus – antimicrobial, alleviates congestion, reduces headaches, relaxes muscles

Jojoba – heals wounds, improve skin appearance, reduces acne

Rosehip – corrects dark spots, hydrates dry skin, reduces scars and fine lines

Frankincense – anti-inflammatory, disinfectant, digestive, diuretic

Peppermint – alleviate headaches, nausea, indigestion

Grapefruit – supports metabolism and cellulite reduction

Sandalwood – natural aphrodisiac, improves energy

And then there are also really amazing blends out there that provide multiple benefits AND smell amazing, without irritating your nose like many perfumes and artificial smells do!

Keep in mind that some of the above benefits come from applying them topically, and some from having the smell dispersed into the air.  I absolutely love my Saje diffuser and the tranquil/happy/energetic (basically whatever mood I need) atmosphere it creates in my home.

What are your favourite aromatherapy scents and essential oils?

xo,
Sheena

MoMondays

My talk from MoMondays – February 20th, 2017:

A little bit of backstory – for several years, I’ve struggled with self-esteem issues.  I’ve done a LOT of work on myself, making a conscious effort to become more confident, more mentally strong, and to get out of my shell.

A year ago, I decided I wanted to do a fitness competition…the one where I’d need to get super skinny and ripped, and then pose on stage in a blingy bikini.  I had been wanting to for a couple years, ever since I became more exposed to the fitness industry, and a year ago is when I finally felt mentally ready.

Going into it, I knew it would be intense and would take a lot of hard work and discipline…but I did not expect to be faced with the challenges that came up for me.

So this is how it went down:

I committed last February (2016), for the competition coming up this March (2017).  For the first several months, I was hitting the gym regularly and cleaning up my diet.  Then life happened, I let myself get distracted from my goals, and very gradually I started losing progress.  In October, I started to binge eat everyday, far past the point of feeling full, and I was in complete denial of it.  How I saw it was that I was still meal prepping regularly so my main meals were healthy… but I ignored the fact that I was munching on cookies and chips and noodles and perogies late at night.  Over the next few months, I continued to gain weight and by December, I realized that I was too far off track to compete in March without it being an incredibly stressful and unenjoyable experience.  On December 31st, I made the official decision to not compete anymore.  I realized it was going against all the things I promote on my blog…like well-being, happiness, and self-care… The competition was no longer important to me.  My health and happiness were.

Unfortunately, my rough patch didn’t end there.  The restrictive diet and intense training got the best of me and I started to have minor health issues and major emotional struggles.  It wasn’t just the fact that I gained weight nor the fact that I couldn’t fit a lot of my clothes anymore (though that part was frustrating too), but I started to feel different.  

  • My energy was low and I started to depend on coffee.  I never used to drink coffee.
  • My gut health and digestion went downhill.  After every meal, no matter what I ate, my stomach would balloon out and feel very uncomfortable.
  • I became insecure again.  All that self-esteem that I had worked so hard to build up over the past several years was gone.  It wasn’t all just about the physical aspect, but I felt insecure about my credibility…as a Health & Fitness Blogger, a Wellness Coordinator at my work, and a Personal Trainer in the making.
  • I just didn’t feel truly happy, and it affected how I went about my days, my weeks, my months.  I would have moments of depression.  I found myself crying out of nowhere, just because I was so tired and frustrated for feeling the way I felt.
  • My entire body became super tense from the anxiety, limiting my flexibility and certain movements, and then I started to have issues with my back and shoulder, preventing me from training.

To try and remedy all of this I was seeing my counsellor, naturopath, dietitian, chiro, RMT, physio…I was going in for acupuncture, cupping, and IV therapy…I tried taking time off the gym to let my body rest… all of this helped a LITTLE bit, but it was mostly a very tiring process having several appointments a week with no sure answer of what was wrong or what I could do to get me feeling back to normal.

It’s only in the last couple of weeks that I have started to feel progress, perhaps because I really wanted to have something inspiring and insightful to share tonight.  

  • I started counting calories for the first time ever, using MyFitnessPal app, and it’s made me aware of how much overeating I was doing.  
  • My chiro also started doing Active Release Therapy on me, to help with the scar tissue that built up from weight training.
  • I’ve been doing everything I can to alleviate any stress or anxiety – like meditating, writing in my daily gratitude journal, going to yoga, practicing deep breathing, running my diffuser with essential oils, and other “herbal” remedies.
  • I’ve been making a conscious effort to be gentle with myself, to be patient and kind and avoid any negative self-talk that I have been SO good at in the past.
  • I’ve been seeing my counsellor and at my last appointment, she said something that really resonated with me, actually, it kind of blew my mind.  She said to continue to workout regularly and focus on making myself feel good and enjoy the workout…rather than exercise to try and lose weight.  Instantly, I was excited to hit the gym.  A couple days later while I was studying my Personal Training textbook, I read to model positive reasons for exercising (feeling good, improving health and fitness level) rather than for negative reasons (looking good, losing weight) because that tells clients that they aren’t good enough…and that’s exactly what I was doing to myself.  When I was trying to get my weight back down to where I was before, I was only focussing on that, rather than enjoying my workouts like I used to, and that is why my progress suffered and my stress increased.

So that is basically what my health and fitness journey has been about for the past year, and honestly, I was hoping I’d have my shit together prior to this evening, but it’s still a work in progress…and that’s okay!  Through this experience, I learned how important self-compassion is.  It makes all the difference in the world when I’m nice to myself, rather than filling my head with negative self-talk all day long.

As tiring as this process has been, and as much as I just wanted to give up, I knew that it was happening to me for a reason…because really, EVERYTHING happens for a reason.  I have learned something every single day, whether it be about myself, the way my body works, the health and fitness industry… and what kept me going was my WHY. I so strongly believe that health and fitness changes lives for the better, in more than just a physical way, and I believe that my soul purpose is to inspire others to lead a fulfilling, happy life through health and fitness.  When I start to feel frustrated for falling off track with my goals, I remind myself that everything I learned from my experience over the past year will benefit those around me and my future clients.  I’ve now experienced some mental and physical challenges, and can help them prevent or conquer similar challenges that come their way.

I am super excited to feel healthy and strong again, inside and out. I am super excited to get past my anxiety. And I am super excited to inspire others and be a role model for them.

And I just want to say a HUGE THANK YOU to all my friends and family who have been there to support me tonight and throughout my journey. I am ridiculously blessed to have you all in my life, so thank you, thank you, thank you.

If you are interested in sharing your story at a MoMondays event in Vancouver, let me know and I’ll get you touch with the organizer 🙂 These are real stories by real people – the more vulnerable you let yourself be, the more you can inspire others.

xo,
Sheena

“I love you” – self

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“Because I always have a choice, I choose love” – Deepak Chopra

I have mixed feelings about Valentine’s Day, especially being single for it this year.  And though I never think you should wait for February 14th to show your significant other some gratitude, I’m still happy for those who are in love and expressing it to the world.  Do I feel bitter with the over-the-top marketing all around me?  A little.  And that’s when I remind myself to just breathe, cause it’s all good 🙂  I don’t hate Valentine’s Day, and I don’t pretend to not care about it.  It’s there, and it likes to divide those who are in relationships and who aren’t, but we can combat any of the negative feelings associated with it by focussing on ourselves and our loved ones…and a few drinks with some close friends watching live music (’cause that’s what I’ll be doing tonight!).  I have a ridiculous amount of things to be grateful for and am blessed to love so many people and have so many love me too.

In hindsight,  this phase of my life is giving me the opportunity to really connect with myself.  This is my time to figure my shit out so I can use less energy on all the negative self-talk and lack of self-confidence, and more energy on being productive and making a difference in this world…the things I really want to do!

My health & fitness journey hit a bit of a rough patch over the last few months, and I am only just starting to inch out of it now…slowly but surely.  It was a big reminder to be gentle with myself, to be compassionate with myself, and to love myself.  So as I continue on my journey towards a healthy, happy, fulfilling life, I thought I’d share some of my learnings on how to increase SELF-LOVE.

  • Tell yourself “I love you” – like really tell yourself that!  Have you ever looked yourself in the mirror and told yourself “I love you”?  Go try it.  You may feel a bit silly, or a lot silly, but once you get past that self-judgement, you’ll feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
  • Mention yourself in your gratitude journal – Show yourself gratitude by acknowledging all the amazing characteristics and unique traits that make you YOU!  Be thankful for the person you’ve become…mentally, spiritually, physically.  Feels good, doesn’t it?
  • Meditate – Try a self-compassion meditation.  When your mind naturally wanders to whatever is troubling you, acknowledge it without judgement or self-criticism.  Remind yourself you’re not alone, and offer yourself kind words like you would to a good friend.
  • Positive affirmations – create positive emotions by repeating affirmations that create joy within yourself.  Examples would be “I am enough”, “I lead a purposeful life”, and “I am capable”.  Write them out and put them where you’ll read them daily, it’ll increase the chances of your subconscious mind picking up on it.
  • Date yourself – Put as much effort into your relationship with yourself that you would in a relationship with a loved one.  If you’ve been wanting to go out dancing, go out dancing!  If you’ve been wanting to pamper yourself, pamper yourself! It’s all part of self-care and the more of it you do, the better you’ll feel about yourself, and the happier you’ll be.

The more we love and accept ourselves, the more we can love and accept others.  So this Valentines Day, love your loved ones, but don’t forget to love yourSELF first…because you deserve it.

Happy Valentines Day!

xo,
Sheena

My Fitness Journey – plot twist!

If you’ve been following me here on my blog or over on my Instagram, or if you know me personally, then you probably know that I’ve been training to compete in a bodybuilding competition happening in March 2017.  Over the past few years, I’ve grown a love (and almost an addiction) for fitness, and it’s basically become my life!  I love health and fitness, and it’s benefitted my life in so many ways that I want to share it with the world…so I do that through social media and soon, personal training.

Well, my fitness journey during my competition prep has been a bit of a bumpy ride.  I made my decision to compete this past Spring.  I was hitting the gym consistently, feeling pretty good, and ready to take on a new challenge.  In the Summer, I lost my focus a bit but was still training consistently and eating well for the most part.  I started seeing my abs come through and felt quite lean all over.  Then October hit and I turned 30, and according to everyone I’ve talked to recently, that’s when it all catches up to you and your metabolism changes.  I don’t know how much of that I believe but the timing was impeccable!  In a few short months, I gained 20 lbs pretty much out of nowhere.  No joke.  Some of it I’m sure was muscle, as I’m stronger than I’ve ever been, but a lot of it was also fat.  My clothes didn’t fit properly, I’d have to unbutton my pants to sit, my skin constantly felt tight all over my body, I felt bloated 24/7… and I’m not sure why I’m saying this in past tense, because this is how I feel right now.  For the past month, I’ve been very consciously trying to lose the excess fat in preparation of my competition by doing fasted cardio almost every morning, drinking lots of water, sticking to my meal plan, and lifting weights 6x a week…but instead, I just gained a couple more pounds.  As you can imagine, this became very frustrating and stressful, and the pressure to be ready to step on stage in March increased each and every day.

So here’s the kicker – I’ve decided to drop out of the competition!

That’s right, I will no longer be participating in the fitness competition.  Before you judge me or feel sorry for me or do any of that negative shit, know that I don’t see this as a failure at all, but rather as a win!  It’s been an incredible learning experience, and I truly believe this a positive step and the right move towards my own personal health and well-being.  This whole prep was going against all the health and happiness tidbits that I promote, and it had me feeling very stressed and overwhelmed.  I was trying to juggle two jobs, study for my personal training course, work on self-development and my overall health, maintain a social life, take care of my dog, and complete other small projects.

Regarding the weight gain, I felt like it was partially due to stress and my body resisting all of it, because how is it that I’m working my ass off at the gym and eating well, yet still constantly gaining weight?!  My body has never reacted this way, and it felt very unnatural.

I’m not completely shutting the door on competing in the future (I’ve already paid for the 2017 membership and ordered my shoes lol), but the fact is, you don’t see all the struggles that some competitors go through pre- and post-competition, you don’t see them break down or gain eating disorders, you only see the glitz and glam and them looking in amazing shape on stage.  Training for a fitness competition is INTENSE, and props to all of those who reach the finish line…I have SO much respect for all of you.

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So, the new year brings a fresh start!  I will take this opportunity to set new targets, get my health back on track, focus on my priorities, and learn to be gentle with myself.  My fitness journey is certainly not over, it has only taken a slight turn and the process will only become more enjoyable from here on out.  I’ve learned a LOT along the way – where my limits are, who my support system is, what my priorities are… and now that I’ve gained clarity, I can focus on what I love and what’s important to me.  Since making this decision, a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders and I feel incredibly excited to move forward.

A HUGE thank you to all of my friends, family, and colleagues who were so supportive of me and cheered me on.  I am incredibly blessed to have such amazing people in my life.

January will be the month of getting my shit together.  I will be clearing mental space in order to take care of myself and repair my overall health, and in turn, that will give me more energy to help others and spread wellness!

Thank you for reading this and being on this journey with me.  I hope it has inspired you and opened your eyes to see that you always have a choice.  Just because you’ve committed to something, it does not necessarily mean you are locked in and confined to that specific decision.  You can change your approach and still achieve the same goal in the end.  My ultimate goal was to get in the best shape of my life and inspire others to live a healthy, happy, fit life.  I chose the drastic route that ended up being too much, so now I’ve simply chosen the route that is healthier for me, mentally and physically, and that’s a win in my eyes.

xo,
Sheena