Celebrating your Non-Scale Victories!

You know the feeling when you set your mind on getting healthy and over the course of several weeks, you’ve been giving your all by working out, skimping on treats and opting for clean eats and, as a results, you feel great, walk in a room with more confidence! Then, one day, you cheerfully step on the scale to quantify your success… and boom! WHAT THE F**K?!? The number is not what you expected to see, it may have even gone up! (I used to change the battery every time this happened! Couldn’t be me, naaaaah!)

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Now you feel like sh*t! You are hopeless, feel like all the work you invested didn’t amount to anything and are ready to throw in the towel. This is what would happen to me over and over again. This is what happens to most people who follow a program and start to commit to a healthy lifestyle. We want results fast! Why haven’t I Iost 2/5/10 pounds, I’ve been eating healthy for 5 days now!?!? Why don’t my abs show, I have been doing my sit-ups for a whole week?!? We all have these thoughts when we are starting out. They are normal thoughts and we shouldn’t beat ourselves up for having them. You have worked hard. It takes superpowers sometimes to say NO to that delicious ooey-gooey chocolatey brownie your co-worker has just offered you.

So what gives? Where are the results?

In the first several weeks of starting a program, our bodies are adapting. We may have started weight training, which pumps the muscles with blood as they are getting stronger. We may be upping our water intake, so we may be having more water weight for a while, our hormones are also adapting to the chemical changes occurring when eating healthy clean foods. During this time, your muscles are getting stronger. Your heart is pumping more blood and getting active, your blood pressure is adjusting and circulation is improving.

After a couple of weeks…

  • You start feeling more energized.
  • You are in a better mood.
  • Clothes are fitting differently, better.
  • You are starting to see some definition in your legs/arms/stomach.
  • You sleep better.
  • You are more motivated to do more at work and in your workouts.
  • You can run, jump, squat with more endurance.
  • You workout out regularly and are enjoying it.
  • You have more control over your cravings.
  • You start having a more positive mindset.
  • You up your water intake.
  • You make better food choices at home and in restaurants.
  • You meal plan for the week.
  • You eat within your calorie range.
  • You have more energy to keep up with the kids.
  • Your immune system is stronger.
  • You are more in-tune with your body.
  • You are more focused at work.
  • You feel less stressed.

These are all examples of NON-SCALE VICTORIES (NSV)! We need to celebrate these NSVs and be proud of our accomplishments (regardless of the number on the scale).

I had one challenger that committed to a program and during the 4-week challenge lost only 2 pounds on the scale but lost 11 inches in total when she took her measurements again! In my case, I have remained the same weight since the holidays but my arms and stomach are more defined now. Keep in mind: Muscle does not weigh more than fat. One pound of fat is the same as one pound of muscle but it’s denser! It takes up less space, your body is leaner even if you weigh a couple of pounds more!

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Let’s make a pact and stop fretting about that number on the scale. Instead, let’s show the scale who’s boss and measure success by how we feel, our energy level, our happiness level, our confidence level that we can do anything we put our minds to.

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Share you’re non-scale victory and let’s celebrate together!

Part I: Rockin’ the Sweaty Selfie (or any Selfie for that Matter!)

I know that we are supposed to accept and love ourselves the way we are yet we live in an age of photo/selfie obsessed weirdos who constantly post obviously filtered/retouched pics of themselves (what? Me?  no way! ;P). Blame it on the Kardashians, but let’s face it, who doesn’t like seeing a good picture of themselves? Who, here, has ever been guilty of posting a group/family picture based on how good THEY looked, nevermind that your nephew was picking his nose, your better half’s eyes are half closed and he/she looks plastered or that your daughter’s head was chopped off the photo, the point was that YOU looked freakin’ amazing on that picture.

Why should only celebrities have all the good photoshopped pictures? Wanna know how to turn every picture to your advantage? Ok, I’ll let you in on my little secret…

When I post my early morning workout photos, people often ask me whether I apply my make up beforehand… The answer is a big ol’ NO. I might be vain but I’m not crazy (or just crazy enough to function). Not that it didn’t cross my mind, but I figured that with all the sweating (euh, I mean glowing) going on, I would have to reapply afterwards and that’s just a waste of time. Actually, it is much easier than that, I just use an app or rather appssssssss! There are actually 3 apps that I particularly like and here they are in order of importance:

Makeup PLusStep 1: MakeupPlus

This was the first app I found that instantly gives you a flawless complexion, rosy cheeks, and the greatest eyelashes. For a basic, lightly retouched selfie, I suggest to smooth out your complexion with the foundation feature (put the cursor less than half the way to the end for a more natural finish) and don’t forget that within the foundation feature there is a “beautify” option that will also smooth out your skin, add a little blush and extend your lashes (my favourite is the Climax style) and, ta-daaaaa, you are Kardashian-ready!

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Just subtle changes can make a big difference. I used the foundation, mascara and eyebrows tools.

This feature also lets you change lipstick color (and choose a satin, matte or gloss finish and choose color intensity) same goes for the blush and eye shadow. You can also opt for the contouring option which makes you “glow”, you can retouch your eyebrows, apply eyeliner, have fun with disguises and even change your eye color! Who needs makeup, right?! Here are some examples from my own experimentation:

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You can totally waste so much time having fun with this app! My many disguises.

MakeupStep 2: BeautyPlus

I use the BeautyPlus app as a companion to the MakeupPlus app. The BeautyPlus app is great for hiding blemishes, unwanted dark spots and dark circles for those mornings after pulling all-nighters (mommies, are you listening?)! It also allows you to whiten teeth, make your eyes bigger, narrow your nose, slim you out (face or other body parts) and make your eyes sparkly. Who doesn’t want that? Plus this app also has filters if you want to create a mood with your selfie and have some fun with it. Check out the examples below.

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Used the teeth whitener, eye brightener, eye contacts, skin smoother and eyelash enhancer tools.

FT2Step 3: Facetune 2

The Facetune2 app is amazing for tuning up your features. Want bigger eyes, a slimmer nose, a smaller jaw? This app is the way to go. I use this app to finetune if I have some free time to spare. It also has many of the features from the other two apps but I find them less effective and don’t work as well. Facetune2 has an extended array of photo features such as changing the background, adding text to your pictures, using a filter (the selection is enormous), etc. See for yourself…

Steps
You can be subtle or go crazy with the apps. Top left: original pic; Top rignt: subtle retouch & filter, Bottom left: Background added; Bottom right: Added makeup!

Also, a few final tips, for a successful selfie make sure to limit shadows (those are hard to get rid of) and enough lighting or else the app features can look strange.

Now go ahead and post your fabulous selfie here!

(CAUTION FROM THE MALE SPECIES: Ultra retouched pictures should never be used on online dating profiles, as to not freak out potential suitor when you actually meet in person! :D)

My Favourite Excuses Not to Work out!

Hey there! You may not know this about me but before getting all gung-ho about fitness I was a professional excuse maker especially when it came to exercise and working out. I was so good at it that excuses became my daily mantra. Plus there are soooooo many to choose from, it’s so easy NOT to work out! Here is a list of my Top 10 best excuses NOT to work out:

  1. I don’t have time!

This one was my all time favourite! It’s easy to use and seems pretty credible. We are so busy! We work, we have kids (or not), plans with friends, trips, we have appointments, meetings, we have to eat, sleep, poop, breathe… So many things to do in one day! But have you ever noticed that no matter how busy you are, if you really want to do something you find the time to do it! One of my University design professor once told me if I dedicated as much time into my school assignment as I did shoe shopping, I would be an A+ student! (yes, it was a sexist remark, yet it was true in my case! The next year I switched fields (psychology), was passionate about the topic, spent my Saturday nights studying and ended up being a straight A student). Back to shoe shopping, I love shoe shopping and if someone called me right now to go shoe shopping I would probably drop everything and go. Bottom line, we all have the same 24 hours in our day. We have access to a plethora of workout apps, programs, and tools. There are 7 minute workouts, 10 minute workouts, 30 minute workouts,… It’s up to you to find something that you can stick into your schedule and that you enjoy doing.

  1. I hate changing into workout clothes

This excuse works very well if you have a lunchtime class or a class after work and you don’t have much time to change. Unfortunately, now that fitness fashion is making its way into our day to day closets, this excuse is becoming extinct (who cares about the whales, this one needs saving!). So the hell with the excuse and do what I do, wear your workout clothes as outfits (if your office policy allows it of course). Whenever I have yoga lunch class, my typical outfit consists of black Lululemon leggings (quality has got to be there if you are in an office setting), a long black classy tank and an oversized wrap or long open front sweater. When I first started working out in the morning, I used to do it in my pjs (or undies, shhhhhhh!) because I was too lazy to change. And if you are really desperate, why not sleep in your workout clothes! I knew a fitness instructor who used to do this and she said it would give her no excuse not to workout!

  1. There’s no point, it’s not as if it’s going to make a difference

I usually reserved this excuse for PMS days and was mostly said to myself. I didn’t believe in exercise, well more precisely I expected that if you exercised one day then you would see results by the next day or at least by the day after that. It took 40 years to learn that the benefits of exercise are 1) not typically visible physically the next day 2) positive changes are actually taking place the minute you start exercising, you just don’t see them but you can start feeling them: better sleep, better mood, better circulation, etc. And don’t get me started on the long term benefits!

  1. Let’s go have supper/a drink/insert anything more fun instead of working out

Ahhhh, my friends can attest to this one! I was the worst workout partner. You know when they say to buddy up in order to motivate eachother to work out. Well, whoever would buddy up with me used to end up worst off than when they started. I was the bad influence, the one who knew that even though you said you wanted to try that new yoga studio down the street you would really just rather go out somewhere and indulge in some amazing food and chat the night away; ‘cause that’s what I really wanted to do… mainly because I didn’t feel like changing into my workout clothes! If you have a friend like that, no matter how many times she tells you she wants to go to that class with you, DON’T BELIEVE HER! Unless she totally turns her mindset around fitness around, then you can totally text her ;p

  1. I need something or someone to motivate me

Working out alone is boring and you may do it for a while but sometimes we need to be held accountable and supported in our actions. With all the motivation/challenge groups out there you can get motivation at the drop of a hat! I regularly run challenge groups on Facebook and it’s amazing the motivation you get when you are surrounded by people going through the same struggles and going after the same goals as you.

  1. I hate getting all yucky and sweaty

This is a pathetic excuse given that we live in the 21st century and showers are actually an indoor thing and easily accessible at gyms, homes and even in some offices! Or just carry wipes or just workout from home! And for long hair issues, do what I do and get your hair braided once a week so it is out of the way during your workouts and no styling (or washing) needed for at least 3 days!

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  1. I might injure myself

For someone like me, this was a real cause for concern. I used to avoid doing anything too strenuous, especially before a big presentation or business trip for fear that I may injure myself. This stems from the fact that I actually did injure myself either at the gym or when I would start running. Now that I am older and wiser (most of the time), 1) I avoid high impact sports 2) I pay more attention to technique 3) I modify certain moves and gradually challenge myself a little more each time. Trust me there is always a modified version that will get you the results you are looking for, no need to pretzel yourself silly! So far so good!

  1. I’m sorta healthy so I don’t really need to exercise

Sometimes people start exercising once they receive a warning from their doctors to do so. But for most of us, we don’t seem to have health issues or we haven’t gone to see a doctor in ages so we figure nothing is wrong with us. Hey, if I’m still breathing and walking, then I must be ok. You do NEED to exercise so that you can PREVENT those health issues. Think of exercise as an investment you make in your health. The more you exercise and move the more your body and mind benefits from it in the long run.

  1. I’m too tired

Before having kids, I was always tired. I was tired to the point that I was scared of having kids because of the energy it would require for me to skip nap times or crashing on the couch as soon as I got back home from work. Then I had kids and I was even more tired but realized that I could still do things despite the fact of being tired such as cooking a meal to feed my child, changing a smelly poopy diaper. I couldn’t even bear the thought of adding a workout to the list of things that made me so tired. But you know what the weird part is, the more you move, the more energy you get. That’s why you need to work out, duh! It’s amazing the energy you gain from just 15 minutes of rigorous exercise. Just try 10 minutes and build up slowly within a couple of weeks you will start seeing a difference.

  1. I don’t need to workout, running after my kids IS my workout!

I used this one with my coach, thinking it would get me off the hook from my 30 minute workout. Unfortunately it didn’t. Her response: That’s great Alex, that you ran around the park with your kids now go work out and text me later to let me know how it went! So I did, and you know what: it felt good! It was something I was doing for ME, without having to think about anyone else and it felt good. Yeah I know I said it twice but it’s worth repeating.

What’s the best excuse you’ve used not to work out? (I may need it one day 😉