As you guys know, I was an ambassador for the Fit Fatale Fitmas challenge, which was an initiative started by The Fit Fatale (a freaking boss babe who is genuine, real, spreading positivity & a role model for what today’s influencers SHOULD BE ALL ABOUT!), comprised of 12 days of health, wellness & fitness challenges aimed not only at physical health but also mental health. As you guys know, I’m a huge advocate physical health, but more importantly, for mental health, so you can imagine that this challenge spoke wonders to me.
The 12 DAYS OF FITMAS started on Friday, December 1st! Each of the 12 days featured a wellness challenge encouraging us to stay healthy & thriving throughout the busy holiday season!
I feel so fortunate to have been given the opportunity to be an ambassador for this challenge & to continue building, spreading love, motivating & growing this beautiful community we’ve formed together!
The hustle & bustle of this time of year makes it easy to neglect our health, wellness & fitness routines because there is just so much to do & it feels like there aren’t enough hours in the day to get it all done! BUT, living a healthy lifestyle & ensuring that you get in a dose of self-care in the form of healthy eating, fitness or overall acts of self-love should never be conditional upon anything! You have time, as long as you make it!
For so many, this wellness challenge was a source of motivation to push through the holiday season, enjoy friends & family, shop like crazy, enjoy life & eat your heart out, all while staying committed to fitness goals! BASICALLY, MOTIVATION TO SLAY!
Below you will find a recap of my daily participation in the challenge in hopes that it will inspire you to partake, even on your own, in some of the initiatives, on your journey towards a healthier lifestyle. It’s not because the challenge is over that these daily goals or challenges are no longer relevant: DO YOUR OWN CHALLENGE! BE YOUR OWN INSPIRATION & CONTINUE ON YOUR JOURNEY, CONSTANTLY STRIVING TO BETTER YOURSELF & YOUR LIFE!
It’s winter. It’s the holidays. Maybe you find yourself in a bit of a rut regarding your nutrition, fitness & overall health & well-being. It’s normal. It happens to the best of us. But there’s a way out. Always. Why not use the daily challenges provided below to help you get back on track? They’ll help you physically, emotionally, mentally & really allow you to reflect on your life, where you are, where you aim to be & what your ultimate goals & motivations are for 2018!
DAY 1: Make your own healthy & hearty warm breakfast!
HAPPY FIRST DAY OF FITMAS! DAY 1 CHALLENGE?! Make your own healthy & hearty warm breakfast! Warm foods help the body digest! In the winter, our bodies’ natural rhythm is to slow down. Picking warmer foods, breakys, veggies & smoothies packed with foods or spices warm in nature, such as Ceylon cinnamon, nutmeg, turmeric, cayenne or ginger help ease the body as it slows down & adapts to colder temperatures! What better way to help soothe the body than with a warm bowl of gluten-free oatmeal (or inspire us with your fave energy-boosting fuelling breaky on a cold winter day!)
Let’s come together to be a testament to the fact that living a healthy lifestyle doesn’t mean you have to feel deprived on the holidays! It’s all about finding ways to healthily incorporate holiday traditions into your life & to indulge with balance & moderation while being surrounded by those you love! Let’s keep each other motivated, fit, healthy & HAPPY!
In honour of day 1, I made my very own bowl of warm, comforting & delicious gluten-free berry collagen oats topped with tigernuts, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, ceylon cinnamon & sliced strawberries. Salivating yet? You can find the recipe here: Gluten-Free Berry Collagen Warm Oats Topped With Tigernuts, Pumpkin & Chia Seeds, Ceylon Cinnamon & Strawberries a.k.a. Kicking Off December With The Prettiest In Pink Healthy Comfort Food? Yes Please!
DAY 2: Start the next 10 days with a plank challenge!
Start the next 10 days with a plank challenge. Your ultimate goal is to hold a plank for 2 minutes. Start slow! Start with 15 secs, keep that booty down, back flat, core tight, abs engaged & arms / hands aligned with your shoulders. Each day, add 15 seconds to your plank hold & watch yourself get stronger as the days go by!
This challenge isn’t only about gaining physical strength but more about realizing that you have the mental strength to achieve anything you set your mind to so long as you take baby steps everyday. No matter what that thing is, how challenging & how impossible it seems in the now, don’t give up. Keep working towards it & ALWAYS believe in yourself. Everything your heart desires is within your reach. Only you have the power to define your limits.
Months ago, I couldn’t hold a plank for 30 seconds, let alone 2 minutes. My arms were frail & weak, I had hardly any strength in my core & my legs barely had the physical strength to sustain my body as I went up the stairs. Safe to say, the idea of planking in & of itself seemed far beyond reach. But the keyword is: “seemed”. Don’t let what seems hold you back from what CAN BE.
You can be & do anything you want to be. It doesn’t have to be fitness-related; it simply has to be something you want so bad that you fight with all the fight in you to get it. I wanted my health & my life back & I reclaimed both. I have flashbacks to myself struggling to walk up the stairs with a pile of laundry, having to stop halfway to catch my breath & pray that heart palpitations go away. Those flashbacks make me sad, but also remind me that they’re not a representation of who I am today, but a part of what shaped me into this stronger version of myself. I pushed myself & fought with every bone in my body to get to where I am today. You can too. This picture of me holding a plank isn’t about how strong I became physically, but about how regaining control over my mind was the key to getting there.
Need some inspiration for an at-home ab/plank workout? Here you go babes: At-Home Ab Workout: Plank Challenge!
DAY 3: Take ten minutes for YOURSELF!
Today’s challenge is all about YOU. Take 10 minutes for yourself. No one else. Disconnect. Turn off your phone. Do your favourite face mask. Take a bath. Get your hair done. Read a book. Go for a walk. Exercise. Sit & reflect. Watch your fave TV show. Think about your goals. Jot them down. Call a friend. Make yourself a latte & read the news. Do a yoga class. Lie in bed & do nothing!
Self-care is one of the most necessary components of living a healthy life, developing a healthy relationship with yourself, your mind & body, connecting with your inner being & finding ways to cope with all the stres the hustle & bustle of everyday life entails.
10 minutes seems like nothing, right? But this is something I struggle with SO MUCH, which is why today’s challenge really resonates with me on a personal level. It’s something I promised myself to work harder on this December & as I step into the new year. Taking some time to focus on YOU every single day can really change your entire perspective & approach to how you choose to tackle your day & allow you to refocus.
Trust me when I say that self-care isn’t selfish. It’s the key to you becoming the happiest & best version of yourself & in turn, being that happy & best version of you when you’re around others. Practice self-care & you will radiate positivity. I come from a place where I lived & breathed self-neglect. Where I subconsciously always found reasons to put everything & anything before myself. When I changed that, my life changed. For the better. Today on my self-care menu is: a healthy, hearty breakfast made with Vital Proteins matcha collagen, a warm & frothy latte, 2 killer morning workouts, a day spent blogging & chilling by my fireplace & later tonight, exfoliating, a face mask & an epsom salt bath! What does your self-care look like today?
To read more about why I value self-care so much, click here:
- Yes. You Deserve The You-Time!
- Stop. Drop. SELF-CARE.
- Self-Care Isn’t Selfish
- Sunday Night Self-Care & Epsom Salt Baths a.k.a. Tons of Health Benefits & An At-Home Spa? I’ll Take It!
DAY 4: Set your intentions.
Today isn’t about physical fitness. It’s about your MENTAL “FITNESS”, your inner peace & calmness & your overall state of mental health. Today, we challenge & encourage you to set your intention, whether it be for the next week, month or year ahead. Sit down & reflect on the past, what you love about it, what you want to keep, what you love less about it, what you want to change & what challenges, ambitions or goals you have & want to take on in order to better your present & future.
Intentions can be somewhat personal, so we don’t ask that you share them with anyone but yourself (unless you want to, of course!). Simply give us a little peek into how you’re getting them down! The goal with this challenge is really to encourage you to connect with yourself, your mind & your soul.
My main goals for 2017 were to regain my health, rediscover my love for life, embrace my independence, change my lifestyle & recover from my eating disorder. Mission(s) accomplished! (IMO, anyway!).
Now, 2018 looks bright, beautiful, uncertain, healthy & happy. The brightness, beauty, uncertainty, health & happiness make me so excited for what the future has in store for me, some of which is beyond the realm of my control & that’s okay! It also makes me eager to follow & live by my intentions so that next year, I can look back on 2018 & say “missions accomplished!
To read more about my December intentions, click here: Hello December: My December Intentions.
DAY 5 & 6: Give a gift that motivates / Give a gift with meaning & memories!
Today’s challenge is to give a gift that motivates! Gift someone you care about with something that you learned to love on your journey towards a healthy lifestyle. Something that was part of what changed your life or made it take a turn for the better. It doesn’t have to be anything big, expensive or crazy. It simply needs to come from the heart & be a way for you to share something that made you feel better with someone that you love!
What better opportunity today than to announce my second giveaway TO YOU GUYS, my community, that I love, care about & interact with on a daily basis? In the spirit of the holiday season & to thank you guys for giving me the fuel & drive to continue following my dreams & passion to help myself & ALL OF YOU live your best possible lives & feel your absolute best, I did a giveaway for my followers in which I gifted a few healthy things that I have come to know & love on my journey towards a healthier lifestyle in hopes that they would motivate them to kickstart your way into 2018 with a boost of health!
DAY 7: Make an easy & healthy holiday cookie recipe!
This one was obvi so up my alley!!! It turns out that the night before this challenge, I had made VEGAN SUGAR COOKIES. Here’s the recipe in case you’re tempted (& you should be): 5-Ingredient Vegan Crumbly Sugar Cookies a.k.a. Your-Healthy-Holiday-Cookie-(Closest To Pillsbury)-Miracle-Come-True!5-Ingredient Vegan Crumbly Sugar Cookies a.k.a. Your-Healthy-Holiday-Cookie-(Closest To Pillsbury)-Miracle-Come-True!
The reason we added this challenge to the mix is because with the holidays, the hustle & bustle of the season & the cold weather, it can be hard to opt for healthy desserts over indulgent packaged or even homemade treats. Most of the time, the packaged stuff is easier & requires less time & effort, BUT the packaged stuff is also often high in refined sugar, white flours & often contains chemical ingredients we can’t even pronounce!
Baking healthy (& easy) treats doesn’t have to be hard, laborious or boring. In fact, the simplicity with which I whipped up those crumbly sugar cookies is a heck of a good testament to that! Try them, you’ll see. To make things even simpler, you can literally just buy your fave protein bars & holiday cookie cutter & cut out stars, stockings or gingerbreads & BAM: healthy holiday cookies!
DAY 8: Get some vitamin D baby!!!
When that natural vitamin D hits you just right! Today, we challenge you to get outside, get some air & get a good dose of the world’s most natural source of vitamin D: SUNLIGHT!!
I know, it’s winter & cold but don’t let it stop you! Take a walk, go for a hike, see friends, clear your mind, do your body some good! In the winter, we all have a tendency to hibernate, to retreat to days by the fireplace watching Netflix & staying warm. But the result is that we end up deficient in vitamin D cause we aren’t getting that minimal amount of daily exposure to the sun!
P.S. The best way to get vitamin D in winter is to supplement & through nutrition: from October-April, when the rays enter the Earth’s atmosphere at too much of an angle, the atmosphere blocks the UVB & in turn, the skin has a hard time producing vitamin D!.
Vitamin D is crucial because:
- It helps the body absorb calcium & is crucial for maintaining strong bones, improving muscle strength & power.
- It helps fight depression, anxiety & other symptoms of mental illness by regulating the synthesis of the “happy hormone” serotonin.
- It naturally boosts immunity, fights infection & certain types of cancer. -It promotes healthy eyesight.
- It enhances the body’s absorption of vitamin C + A!
- It improves cognitive function, is anti-inflammatory & is crucial for cellular growth & function.
Today, I went for a walk to disconnect & clear my mind of all the things on my to-do list for the upcoming weekend. Take DAY 8 as your opportunity to show your body & mind some LOVE! Bundle up in your fave winter gear, head ut & don’t let the cold stop you! Happy walking & happy shopping, babes!!!
DAY 9: Show your hair some TLC!
Today is all about hair care! My hair & I have had our fair share of ups & downs.
When I was a teen, less wise & more vain, my hair was always perfectly pin-straight & glued to my head! That meant tons of products, blow drying & straightening. Looking back, I had beautiful naturally thick & curly hair that I would KILL FOR today, but you always want what you can’t have.
Safe to say, years later, my hair suffered the consequences of the chemicals & heat. It was damaged, brittle, dull, dry, weak, thin & uneven.
THEN, law school rolled around. My stress levels were through the roof, I neglected myself a lot & my hair suffered again: bald spots. Believe it or not, extensions are what saved my hair. During bar school, I got Great Length hair extensions, did treatments & took supplements to fix the bald spots, bring life back to my hair & help it grow. Having the extensions made styling my hair a lot easier. It always looked good; I did it myself once or 2x/week & I didn’t apply any heat to it otherwise! I just kinda always figured it out: I got over the pin straight look & had fun with braids/ponytails/buns & even letting it dry naturally!
Every time I took out the extensions to let my hair breathe, I noticed it was thicker, silkier, longer, shinier & more ALIVE!
THEN, ANOREXIA hit me. Because I was so malnourished, my hair became weak, lifeless & brittle YET AGAIN.
THEN: RECOVERY. I still wear extensions but now I use Bellami Hair & I get them done by the fab Nolan (Check out his instagram: @hairbynolan). I’m better nourished than ever, I take Vital Proteins collagen, krill oil, zinc & a B complex vitamin daily, I do my hair once a week & very rarely apply heat to it & I use JUST 4 go-to products with very clean & natural ingredients. Verb Products & Moroccan Oil are my go-to’s!
Today, I TAKE CARE OF MYSELF & MY HAIR. My hair NO LONGER SUFFERS. It’s healthier than it’s been in years & it’s only looking up from here! SHOW YOUR HAIR SOME LOVE TODAY & ALWAYS! Today, I’m letting mine breathe & just refreshing it with sea spray!
To read more about my post hair-wash haircare routine, click here: My Go-To Post Hair-Wash Haircare Routine!
DAY 10: Send love to the women in your life!
Today, I challenge you to send love to the women in your life who support you unconditionally, inspire you & ALWAYS lift you up. The ones who are there for you when life is rainbows & unicorns but also, when you reach your lowest lows; those who have seen you suffer, face your toughest battles & seen you grow. Your relationships with them are the greatest gift of life. They’re not easy to come by. Cherish them.
My shout-out goes to 3 women who helped me come out of my rock bottom & fight like a warrior.
- MOM, although you aren’t physically here, I feel your presence EVERYWHERE I go. I carry you with me & feed off you for strength & willpower. You’re my biggest inspiration & I couldn’t be more thankful to you for raising me & ingraining such important values in me. You taught me to be selfless, love unconditionally, be open-minded, generous & always be kind. I live & breathe those things because of you. It’s always the best compliment when people tell me I look like you or remind them of you & I can only hope to be half the wife & mom you were. I love & miss you like hell. But you’re with me. I know it.
- ANNIE: MY SISTER, MY ROCK. I don’t know how I could’ve gotten through the past year without you. You welcomed me back home with open arms, supported, cared for me, taught me to build a thicker skin, to fight for what I believe & to live life with more of a free spirit. You taught me that sometimes I just need to LET IT BE. You’re my best friend, twin, biggest confidante & the ONLY person I trust with my life. I ADORE YOU!
- MINDIE SALONIN: My favourite trainer not only because of the motivation & inspiration she provides at the gym, but also because of the way she CARES & INVESTS herself in me & my health. She has seen me get stronger from July to today & she’s one of the main reasons I was able to push myself even when I felt like giving up. She taught me that anything is possible so long as you believe in yourself, have faith & she always reminds me to listen to my body. I owe so much of my physical & mental strength to her.
Who are you shouting out today?
DAY 11: Out with the old & in with the new!
Today is about GIVING! For most, the holidays are a time of year for family & friends to come together, celebrate & be happy! But truth is, for some, the holidays are hard as they’re a reminder of financial difficulty, emotional stress & a time where some are reminded of what they don’t have. Every one of us can play a role in changing that.
We get so caught up in what we have & what we WANT MORE OF that we fail to think of what others DON’T HAVE & what they NEED. Take a second today to stop & think about how you can help brighten someone’s holiday season! Be grateful for what you’ve been blessed with today & everyday.
TODAY, I’m thankful for my beautiful family, the roof over my head, life’s luxuries (gym memberships, healthy food), my health, passion & LIFE. I’m also thankful that I’m fortunate enough to be able to help others! A small gesture can go a very long way & there’s nothing more rewarding than having an impact on someone else’s life.
For day 11, we challenge you to donate activewear (or anything else!) to those less fortunate. Even just one gesture will put a smile on someone’s face, warm a family’s heart or help put some delicious food on a holiday table. How amazing is that? Seek out a charity, a clothing drive, or even friends & family!
I’m putting together a big box of non-perishable food items for the West Island Mission. I’ll be dropping it off just in time for the holidays! DM me if you want to participate & we can arrange to combine all our goodies! Share with us how you’re giving back this holiday season!
DAY 12: Do a good deed!
Today’s challenge is to DO A GOOD DEED, anytime, anywhere & for anyone – a stranger, your best friend or family! There’s no better way to end this challenge than with the gift of THOUGHTFULNESS.
And there’s no better time than now! We’re deep into the holiday season (& if you live in Montreal, it’s definitely starting to look a lot like winter out there), so let’s make this last day count! Take some time out of your day to lend a helping hand, give the gift of love, donate something to charity, buy coffee for someone in need, inspire someone to do better, give your best friend a shoulder to cry on, tell someone you love them OR bake cookies for your gym crew (like I’m doing) to motivate them to continue on their journey towards a healthier lifestyle! Health is something we bond over everyday, so what better way?!
It doesn’t have to be anything big, crazy, expensive or time-consuming: just a moment in your busy day where you take a second to think of somebody else & how you might be able to have an impact on their day by doing something thoughtful for them! What’s your good deed today?
And last but not least, thank you to all you boss babes who participated in the challenge & who made its first year such a success! You girls are all so amazing & I’m so glad that we’ve all been able to be there for each other & inspire one another this holiday season! Keep fighting. Keep thriving. Keep killing your journey. Whatever it is! Love you all!