Lil Miss Fitness Freak

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Happy Gut, Happy Training

Happy Fitness Friday Friends!

I thought I would keep trekkin along on the gut topic as more recently gut health has really been getting some hot attention. It would have been nice if the importance of gut health and taking proper care of your flora and and such was noticed earlier but that’s science and they are only really starting to crack the surface on this whole intricate system (which did you know actually has something very similar to an entire CNS for itself??!).

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So why am I talking about this for Fitness Friday you ask?

Well, as you’re probably aware, your gut is important for a number of things. Some of those things are extremely vital to your training…

~Digestion and absorption of the nutrients you get from your food

~Making short chain fatty acids that can also be used as a form of fuel

In taking a deeper look at the first one, obviously an efficient and EFFECTIVE digestion system not only helps you get the nutrients you need but that ultimately affects your mood to train and how intense you think you can go, your energy levels, your strength levels, recovery ability and overall just makes you feel good enough to have a beneficial and enjoyable lift. After all, who enjoys anything when their stomach is is just not right?

So with keeping this post low key and not too wordy, I thought I would share some tips for optimizing your digestive health and also some things that can help when your stomach decides to attack you.

These are going to be coming from my experiences and my coaches suggestions mostly. Some other things I may include are those that I have heard about but may not have much experience with SO they may or may not be effective. I still want to share them, however, because gut health and what makes people feel their best is so variable that some random things may work for some readers.  

So lets start with somethings that help optimize gut health and prevent issues.

Probiotics

Adding healthy, live cultures to your gut is a good thing. Many things inner environment today kill our flora. With less bacteria, you have less lil guys to break down your food and can cause poor digestion. Invite some new people into your lil biome to help yourself out. Ensure they are refrigerated! Ones on the shelf are no good. 

Glutamine.

I talked about this one in a previous post, so check it out here. I also talked about making your own gelatin gummies there too which are loads with glutamine naturally and are very cheap to make.

Bone Broth.

Going along with glutamine and probiotics, making your own broth is great for your gut and very satisfying during the winter months here in the great white north. Ensure to use free range and organic chicken or beef with the bones to get the live bacteria and the most omegas and glutamine.

Apple Cider Vinegar.

Another thing I already talked about here, but I will say that this is helpful for adding more acid to the gut to help with breakdown. It is especially helpful for those who have low stomach acid and often complain of indigestion. Lemon juice also has similar effects.

Fermented Food.

Kombucha, Sauerkraut, raw yogurts with the active cultures, etc are all great sources of probiotics and thus have the same benefits as taking a supplement, just in a much smaller amount. Take caution though, these may be a problem for some. For example, I love love love kombucha, but the carbonation that naturally occurs with the fermentation doesn’t go over well with my tummy unfortunately. Trial and error with these guys friends.

Watch your water consumption with meals.

Sounds weird, but makes sense when you put it all together. If you drink water during a meal, the liquid will dilute you enzymes and simply slow digestion. Consider holding off on the drinks until a lil bit after you have digested a bit. Some say 30 minutes, but I always say to go with your gut…I’m so punny…

Avoid gum or things that add excess gas in the stomach.

Gum. Beer. Carbonated drinks. Straws. ETC. All of these are going to put lots of gas and excess air into the gut and if you’re very sensitive, well you’re gunna get an upset tummy plus bloating. Also, chew slowly and don’t gulp in tons of air.

Say no to artificial sweeteners.

These tend to be HUGE gut irritants. Whether they give you diarrhea if consumed in large amounts or just straight up gas and distention, they do not make for a happy gut.

Sleep!

Sleep is super important for many things, but one clear cut trigger for my stomach is go hay-wire is if I don’t sleep enough. Poor sleeping, whether it’s chronic or even just a couple days, can really cause your digestion to slow right down and cause you discomfort so make sure you are getting your beauty rest.

…and a last and seemingly obvious one…

Avoid things that your tummy doesn’t agree with.

As mentioned, this seems obvious. If you get an upset stomach after eating something, don’t eat it. Surprisingly, I have heard of so many cases where people say they choose to suffer the consequences and just eat it. To each their own I guess but if you have a serious sensitivity like celiac, where further consumption continues to damage your intestinal track, you need to give you head a smack and just quit cold turkey.

What about when your tummy gets mad…

Low FODMAPs.

I would have said BRAT diet foods BUT I’m much more confident in this approach for a few reasons. One, apple sauce is out for me because I have experienced issues with apples, which are high FODMAP. Also, the bread is another issue. What if your issue is wheat? Overall, yes the FODMAP diet is more restricted but most often chronic digestive issues are from sensitivities that you are going to have to figure out and those often require elimination and then trial and error. By going full low FODMAP you are giving your system a break from all inflammatory and problematic foods and then can re-try them when it’s a bit happier.

Slippery Elm.

I personally have taken this, but not sure whether it made a difference at the time because I was trying so many things at that point, but I have heard good things from others about this one. You can get it in a supplement form, but they also have it as a tea.

Digestive Enzymes.

If you know you have issues with digestion OR for those who are thinking about starting a bulk, digestive enzymes can help support the breakdown of your food simply by adding more enzymes to the playing field. You can chose ones that contain one or more types of enzymes depending on your needs. Have an issue with dairy? Try lactase. Don’t know what your issue is? Try a multi-enzyme.

Pineapple.

Speaking of enzymes, pineapple actually naturally contains an enzyme of it’s own, Bromelain, which can also help digestion. Plus pineapple is awesome. Just be careful not to over do it or you will find yourself peeling the top layer of your mouth off…

Mint Tea.

I always do well with peppermint. Whether you have nausea or you need something warm and comforting when your stomach is being annoying, mint (specifically peppermint…yes there is a difference!) is always my go-to.

Take it easy on harder to digest foods.

Red meats, fats, raw vegetables, high fiber foods, etc are all much more difficult for your system to take care of. When it’s already upset, go for things that are absorbed more quickly and easily. Think low fiber carbohydrates (cream of rice, oats sit well for some, pumpkin, squash, white rice and potatoes), some fruits like bananas, lean meats and fish and easier digesting fats (but still keep these a bit lower) like coconut oil, which bypasses the liver and goes right into use as energy.

And finally be patient. When your stomach is upset, the best you can do is be nice to it and let it settle. Try not to stress about it and let it run its course. Ensure that if it’s a new problem that you take a look at your recent eats and activities and try to figure out the trigger so you can try to avoid it in the future. If it is due to chronic illness, I can relate and I’m sorry you have to put up with that crap but I can only hope that these can serve as a means of coping with it when it looses its mind.

Hope your tummy’s are happy tonight and enjoy the rest of your Friday friends!

-Chelsea

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Zzzzzz….Fitness Friday 25

My friends, today, well actually not just today but for holiday’s sake, we need to stop and take the time to appreciate the fact that we are here and living the lives we do because of the contributions of many men and women years ago.

#TheyLostTheirLivesSoYouCouldLiveYours

Always remember. Always appreciate. Never take for granted how you live and the rights you have. Things could have been very different.poppy

Keeping that in mind, with the news of the election in the States, I have gone through many phases if I’m being honest. At first I joked and laughed at the fact that a business tycoon with the famous comb over was able to make his way to the top and actually become the leader of the most powerful country in the world. I have since swayed to being annoyed with it all. The results are in, voting is a public thing, the people spoke. As much as everyone can complain about it, the people spoke to have him there.

That is all. It is done. He is on his thrown and I suppose we will have to see what life has to bring us in the near future.

Moving on to a less snooze worthy topic…or are we..?

Lets move onto Fitness Friday

Something that I haven’t touched on yet but is pretty much just as critical as food and exercise is….

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The Slumbers. The zzzzzzzsss. Snoozies.

Sleep my friends, sleep. 

I had a guest lecture yesterday in my Exercise, Metabolism and Nutrition class that I wanted to share the highlight reel with you all.

So lets start with the basics, than I will share a few fun tidbits/studies.

Sleep in a nutshell…

~Sleep goes in 90 minute cycles. You move through stages that include REM and non REM sleep. REM is where most of your dreams happen and your brain is fairly active (almost as active as when you are awake), while the deeper stages (non REM, stages 3-4) is where your brain activity is quite low.

~Your sleeping patterns are highly influenced by your hormones and their response to light and dark. Light hits your eyes and than the suprachiasmatic nucleus in your brain. That than inhibits the pineal gland’s release of melatonin (signals your ‘nighttime’), which keeps the body awake. The absence of light allows for melatonin to be released and so your body believes it’s night time and prepares for sleep.

~There are many theories on why we sleep, but we are still unsure. Is it to repair? Is it to save energy? Is it to enhance memory and learning?

So there are the bare bone basics. Now that we know those, lets move onto some fun stuff.

How much zzzz do you need?

Depends on age and also on the person. One study that was presented to us was one by the National Sleep Foundation.

sleep-requirements

For young adults, it was stated that most need 7-9 hours. They than added the may be appropriate ranges (the turquoise boxes) to account for inter-individual differences. So the recommendation for us is around 7-9 BUT some people say they can function perfectly fine on 6, while some others say they need 10-11 in order to adult.

Now lets dive into some relationships shall we…

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…this one seems to peak the interest of most, for good reason I suppose, is:

Does lack of sleep lead to greater risk of obesity?

…Well this is kind of like the whole chicken and the egg thing.

On the one hand, obese individuals see greater incidents of sleep apnea, which than leads to poorer quality sleep. Obesity also sees many cases of depression, which also tends to lead to poor sleeping habits.

On the other side of the spectrum you have all of the correlational data showing positive correlations between reduced sleep and:

~Wanting higher calorie foods

~Greater appetite and differences in appetite related hormones. Specifically leptin (satiety factor) appears to be reduced and ghrelin (appetite stimulant) appears to be heightened.

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~Significantly higher incidents of insomnia in obese when compared to normal and even overweight individuals. So the trend appears to show that the higher the BMI, the more potential for poor sleeping.

And one really interesting finding was a study done on sleep deprived individuals that found that after 4 nights of less than stellar sleeping (i.e. allowed to sleep for 4.5 hours for all days), subjects were found to have their insulin receptors on their adipose tissues being 30% LESS sensitive. Fun fact was that this was in healthy and LEAN individuals. What would the results shown if this was done in obese subjects where they already have some degree of insulin resistance?

PLEASE NOTE insulin is not the only player obesity. Insulin is not a bad hormone, its actions are just unable to respond in normal and healthy ways in those with insulin resistance

So overall, we are not sure 100% which way this relationship goes but there is quite the large amount of evidence showing that lack of sleep may contribute to weight gain from a multitude of different pathways.

Other random tidbits I enjoyed:

1. The idea of social jet lag.

Most of us young peoples like tend to stay up into the wee hours of the morning, similar to an owl per say. Society on the other hand pushes us to be early birds with the way everything from work to life works. What does this end up causing? We are exhausted all week, then sleep in on the weekends and get back to feeling good just to start all over again come Monday. So basically we are creating our own form of jet lag

2. Nocturnal Sleep-Related Eating Disorder (NSRED). 

Yes this is actually a thing. A diagnosable disorder. Some people sleep eat without any way of controlling it or preventing it from happening. Now this may seem funny to some but it actually appears to be very dangerous as many of these things ‘chosen’ to consume are actually inedible. Think paint, cigarettes, etc.

Yeah, not so funny when you could potentially poison yourself while you’re asleep! Not to mention cutting yourself while ‘preparing’ your meal, falling down stairs, etc.

I was wondering if perhaps there’s a deficiency of some kind present here for the body to be drawn to inedible. Similar to conditions like pica, where they eat things like chalk or flour, maybe they are deficient in some mineral. 

Finally, I will end off on something near and dear to my heart..

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3. Naps

Yes, I take a nap for 20 minutes every day before dinner and will continue to do so until I need to grow up and adult during those 20 minutes. 😉

Now there is a science to taking naps. I’m sure you have all heard that if you go past 20 minutes you are screwing yourself, but most people refuse to only go for 20 because they want MOOOOORRREE.

Well unfortunately the rumours are true and if you go past roughly 20 minutes, you are than entering later sleep stages and will end up waking up groggy. Instead, sticking to 20 minutes, you will wake up feeling ready to go because you only made it into REM sleep where the brain is still mostly active. The only way around this is perhaps to go the full sleep cycle which is 90 minutes, but lets be real friends, we don’t have time to nap for 1.5 hours.

Stick to the long sleeps during the night and the power/cat naps during the day.

Its this…

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vs. this..

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On that note, it’s almost time for my slumber soon since I’m actually one of the weirdos who functions as an early bird. I hope you enjoyed the info and have a good sleep. 😀

Information from this post was taken from a lecture presented by Dr. Justine Tishnisky on November 10, 2016 at the University of Guelph. 

-Chelsea


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Shots, Shots, Shots…Fitness Friday 23

But not of alcohol…

We touched that last week

This type of shot is great for your body but may burn a bit going down if you’re not like me and actually can stand drinking this stuff straight.

So what am I recommending you take shots of you ask?

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Before you turn your noses up at the thought of taking a shot of straight acid vinegar, hear me out. Take a look at all the great benefits:

amazing-benefits-of-apple-cider-vinegar

While we are at it, here’s some studies to check out to back up some of these claims:

Weight loss. Take this one with caution, it is inconclusive as of yet. There is suggestion that it delays gastric emptying, which than may play a contributing role to eating less because of increased duration of satiety.

Blood lipids and Cholesterol. This study found that after 8 weeks of taking ACV, there were significant reductions in LDL cholesterol, triglycerides and total cholesterol. Furthermore, there was a trend towards increased levels of HDL

Glycemic Control. Some studies have found antiglycemic responses (controlling glucose levels in the blood) when taking even small doses of ACV with a meal.

This review also provides insight into studies looking into cancer, cholesterol, inflammation and antioxidant effects.

Ones that I can personally attest to..

Allergies and Sinuses. I told my Mom to start taking it in the morning and it immediately cleared her sinuses. This has helped to a degree for her migraines, which can be triggered by the pressure associated with mucus build up in the sinuses.

Digestion. My coach has me taking a shot of this before all my main meals (that or lemon juice) and boy does it help! You body uses hydrochloric acid to break down food that you ingest, so by incorporating other natural acids along with meal, you can help aid in digestion. This has really helped me with digestion of higher fats as they are more difficult for the body to break down and used to upset my stomach a lot more. Bloating and heartburn be gone!

Less Yeast. Sorry, TMI for some, but us females tend to be prone to yeast and potential candida infections, so by taking ACV or other natural acids, you can help your body rid itself of these lil nasties. This is because ACV acts as a prebiotic which then leads to growth of healthy flora in the gut to combat invaders. Also, as shown in this study, ACV also acts as an anti fungal. 

So I know the last question you will have is how the hell do you get that stuff down?

Well, if you’re like me, you can just shoot it back straight. If not, you can dilute it with a bit of water OR add a bit of honey if that helps.

It’s only a few tsp (don’t go nuts mmmkay?) so plug your nose and just get’er back, I mean why not? Do it for 2 weeks and see what you notice.

Oh and one final note

You need to buy the raw, unpasteurized one WITH THE MOTHER…

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The mother is where all the good stuff is! It contains the living enzymes and nutrients! Cheaper, processed ones are stripped of this vital part so you have to fork out a bit more for these benefits. Heres a lil something quoted from the Bragg’s webpage:

The presence of the mother shows that the best part of the apple has not been destroyed. Vinegars containing the mother contain enzymes and minerals that other vinegars may not contain due to overprocessing, filtration and overheating. [Source]

So if anyone is brave enough to try it out for all these benefits, comment back to me and tell me what you thought or your experiences!

Happy Friday! 

-Chelsea


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Boozing My Gains Away…? Fitness Friday 22

Does alcohol really make you fat?

This video inspired this post, yes another one from Jeff Nippard because I’m obsessed with all his research focused training and nutrition talks.

Jeff does a great job of summing up to the answer to the above question so I didn’t really need to add much. I recommend you watch the clip but if you really don’t want to, heres the highlights:

~Physically, the alcohol itself doesn’t not lead to weight gain. Just like other macronutrients (which, no, alcohol is not a nutrient), alcohol does contain calories that need to be accounted for. It has ~7kcal to be exact. So, if we are talking calories, if you take in enough alcohol on top of your food intake to go over your nutrient needs, then yes you can gain weight. But it’s not specifically the alcohol itself, its the fact that you went over your intake.

Remember how much additional calories come from the drink mixes themselves!

~If fat loss is your goal and you want to learn how to ‘factor in’ alcohol to not go over your caloric needs, then Jeff states that it is best to reduce your fat intake (rather than carbs, which some do) to compensate for the alcohol. This swap is easier if your are tracking, as you can simply swap the calories, but if you are like most who don’t track, than just keep in mind to eat a lil bit less fat throughout the day. This doesn’t mean starve yourself! Just go for more filling and voluminous foods that are lower calorie.

~Why fats rather than carbs? Jeff said this nicely, but basically alcohol is treated in the body like a poison and, because of that, it is given top priority for metabolic processing. With that being said, lipid (or fat) oxidation than decreases substantially while the liver is busy with the alcohol, which than makes the fat that you consume more likely to be stored. NOTE it’s the calories from fat being stored, not the calories from alcohol. Carbohydrates are not as easily stored as fat (more so used when they are consumed, unless is excess), and therefore it’s best to focus on fat for caloric compensation.

This is of course not necessarily a big issue if you are in a deficit as then storage is not an issue. 

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~While alcohol doesn’t seem to affect testosterone significantly, it does in fact negatively affect protein synthesis. If you are considering recovery from training, Jeff gave a percentage of about 37% from a study looking at the effect of alcohol on post training muscle protein synthesis. That same study did find that if you supplemented with protein shortly after training that this effect is somewhat stunted (down to 24%), but it is something to keep in mind for effective recovery.

Disclaimer: Jeff provided all of the studies in his video for the things and papers he discussed, so if you want references, see his video

So what does all this say?

Alcohol doesn’t technically make you gain weight any easier than another macronutrient, provided you don’t go into a caloric surplus due to your consumption. It can affect your recovery the next day if you were to train via affecting muscle protein synthesis to a degree. He also commented on the other factors of recovery that may be negatively affected such as cognitive function which would impact your performance.

What I take from that is the fact that you will probably go into your workout and have a crappy lift because you lack concentration, are probably dehydrated and most definitely just aren’t feeling on par. If you cannot push as hard or reach the same intensity, your overall session will not be optimal. That’s just the way it is.

That being said, once and a while you really don’t have to worry. It’s not going to affect you in the long run. However, you may want to think about it more if you happen to go drinking all weekend long starting Thursday night and are wanting to ‘make gains.’

Another paper to take a peek at is this one by Suter and Tremblay (2005) as they discussed the associations between the degree of consumption and weight gain. They talked about the alcohol vs. alcohol calories point in addition to the fact that it appears that alcohol creates a potential for positive fat gain due to reduced fat oxidation and thus causing excess fat calories to than be more likely to be stored. This stored was also notably more in the abdominal area.

Hope you enjoyed this post and I have a very happy Friday friends!

-Chelsea


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No Whey?!? Fitness Friday 21

My lecture yesterday in my Nutrition, Exercise and Metabolism class really gained my attention because we started talking about one of the things every gymrat loves talking about…

How much protein do I need to get swole…

When do I take my protein to get swole…

What is the best protein to get me swole…

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Being me, I had some interesting challenges to make to the content that was being shared due to coming into the class with some previous knowledge of current research BUT some of the things she shared peaked my interest and I thought I would share these findings about protein as it’s related to muscle synthesis (ie. getting SWOLE).  Perhaps it can help to clear up some misconceptions about the whole controversy around type and timing of protein.

1. You need whey protein/Supplemental protein

No you actually don’t. Whey protein, for example, is simply a choice of protein, it’s not a necessity. Guess what boys, you don’t need to down a plain-ass protein shake every 20 minutes to prevent loosing your gains.

#MindBlown.

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Study showing that eating beef vs. a supplement containing essential amino acids only (EEA). Notice the bars…no significant difference between the protein synthesis response to the whole food (mixed or balanced EAA and non EAA) and the EAA supplement.

Take home: It appears that the EAA have a special role in protein synthesis, so as long as you the minimum amount of those lil guys (it has been shown that all you need is minimum of 6g of pure EAA!) then you are fine.

So if you like to drink your protein or you don’t have the moment to stop and eat, than go for whey because it’s convenient. If you like eating your protein and have the time to cook and eat, a whole food alternative is just as good.

On that topic…

Sorry vegetarians and vegans, you cannot argue that your non-aminal based proteins are just as good or even better than animal proteins.

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….however, that doesn’t mean that vegetarian sources don’t work at all…

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Soy did significantly better than the casein protein for protein turnover BUT whey was even better than soy.

As you can see, soy (which is already controversial for other reasons..) does stimulate protein turnover BUT whey is superior.

…and doesn’t taste like grass…cough. 

2. What about timing?

So you see people shooting back the shakes within that 30 minute window because if they don’t, gains will be lost, no?

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Again, not true. My prof mentioned that it was optimal for protein synthesis if you stick within 30 minutes to an hour..

But I will reference back to the article I mentioned last week (by Eric Helms), as it’s very much a variable thing based on a number of factors.

…Fed vs. unfed state, type of training, length and intensity of training..

Main point: if you don’t get pure protein in your body within 15 seconds of being done your workout your gains will still be there. SO CHILL!

Finally on that note of timing and amount, you also don’t need 2, 3, or more scoops of protein at a time either..

timing.pngIn this study, they were looking at timing an amounts and there effect on protein synthesis over a 12 hour period post training. Whether you ate an overall total of 80g over 2 large meals (bolus condition), 3 meals (intermediate condition) or if you ate that over 8 meals (pulse), protein synthesis was still increased HOWEVER it appeared the intermediate or 4 meals a day was optimal in this study.

Also, just so you know protein utilization has a saturation point, meaning that there is only so much protein that will be used in the immediate muscle protein synthesis response. The rest will be broken down as usual and used for something else. NO that doesn’t mean you pee it out or you will turn it all to fat, it will be sent to where it needs to be. 

One final interesting finding…

Apparently the more trained you are, the less time you have for the intake of your EAAs post training to reach optimal protein synthesis when compared to untrained individuals.

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RE= resistance exercise, so what they are saying is that you may have less of a time to get in the adequate nutrition to fully take advantage of the muscle protein synthesis response (MPS)

I’m not sure what I think of this finding yet, but it’s was something cool I thought I would share.

Final point (I promise!) I will share I will simply leave below. It’s a highly debated set of numbers right here.

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Tell me what your opinion is. For me, I say suck it to the Food Guide’s tiny 15% protein intake and applaud the higher intake for athletes because not only are your trying to build new tissue, but you do use some amino acids for energy if you are training intensely…

But that’s just my thoughts.

And no I don’t mean you need like 2g/lb, but saying 0.8g/kg is ridiculous and I still believe that is too low for most. Say you have someone my size, thats like 1.5 chicken breasts for my whole day. Uh naaahh. 

Hope you enjoyed this meathead favourite topic and wishing all my Canadian readers a happy Thanksgiving weekend

Referenced from my Nutrition, Exercise and Metabolism course at University of Guelph, taught by Dr. Lindsay Robinson on October 6, 2016.

-Chelsea


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Set It Free

Hey Friends!

This post was inspired by a video posted by FreshFitNHealthy on Facebook recently. She spoke about what she learned throughout her school years and I thought it was an interesting idea for a blog post and, well, it transformed a bit into how I have changed over the years in addition to some important lessons. I think that I grew quite a lot, as many do, in my first undergraduate at McMaster. I decided to get all personal with you all and hopefully some of the things I learned and found out about myself can relate to your life too.

School is not life.

This one was a big thing for me. My first year in McMaster, there are so many regrets I have for not spending as much time as I could have with my roommates and friends because I was in my room doing work and studying. I thought this was what I needed to do to get the grades I pressured myself to get. Your high school councillor puts this idea in your head that you will drop 15% and I was panicked so I became, what I like to call, a hermit most of the time.

I can’t say that those things that I missed out on were all due to this, as my poor confidence and shyness probably came into that issue as well to a degree, but it definitely played a big role.

Being a student is only one part of your life. You are YOU first and when you look back at your years in school, do you want to only remember being at your desk 24/7?

One bad grade is not the end of your life.

This is a tough pill to swallow. I still struggle with this one. I have set standards for myself and I can honestly say that they never stop getting higher. I’m a perfectionist. I want the best. It used to be that when I saw a 70 and I was disappointed. Now I see an 80 to an 85 and get that same feeling of…

“What did I do wrong?”

Soon, if I’m not careful, I will get that feeling when 90’s are not attained 100% of the time. This is not realistic. This is added stress that I don’t need. I’m working on it.

I have been there were I have broken down over a grade. It was my first chemistry midterm of my University career and I got a 45 or something like that. Yeah, chem and me are not close…I have never failed anything in my school life and you know what?

I broke down and I broke down hard. I called my Mom and just balled my eyes out saying how I was going to fail chemistry then I would never be able to get into graduate school and so forth. You know what I ended up with at the end of the year?

…a 7 (which at McMaster is between a 75-79%).

I was still unhappy with it because it’s not an honours grade, but I didn’t fail. I didn’t fail the course. I didn’t fail at life. This is a lesson that is rationally understood but still hard to actually believe sometimes. The fact of the matter is that one bad grade will not ruin your life.

Relax.

Another work in progress. I’m a naturally anxious person when things go differently then I expect. I also get really antsy around test situations and big events. I’m proud to say that over the years of school I have learned to accept that when writin a test, I will be as ready as I will ever be walking into that room so being nervous about it won’t help me. With that, instead of anxiously studying up until I literally get my book taken from me in the exam room, I now stop at least an hour before I write a test to wind down so I can walk into the exam in a calm state.

If you’re overly stressed, your brain won’t work. Been there done that.

BTW does anyone else really hate it when everyone is going over things with their friends outside the examination room? I purposely blast my music half of the time because I don’t want to hear them as I just feel like it will mess with me.

Having a social life is necessary.

During my year off school when I was working my two jobs, my friends started to take a back seat to work and me just being busy. At the time, my boyfriend and I had been living in our own apartment for a year by then and it was that year that I begin to get that ugly feeling of being incredibly lonely. Yes, I had him but I found out very quickly that I cannot go day-to-day doing the same thing over and over again. With work I was super social. Customer service was a huge part of my job. Then, when I came home, my boyfriend was often there but I still felt an incredible sense of emptiness. I then began to get mad at myself for not trying harder to find time to see my friends more because I was really pushing myself into a dark hole. It wasn’t really until last summer where I pushed myself to go out more that I really began to get my groove back. My happiness. Now that I’m back in school, I’m determined never to let that happen again.

It’s okay to think about yourself first.

I love seeing others happy. When I was younger, I cared more about putting others first then I did about myself and my needs. You may think this is a good thing, when in fact, if you forget about yourself, you will simply lose yourself. You will get walked all over and be forever unable to search for your own passions, make goals and reach them because you are too busy trying to give to everyone else.

It’s not selfish to want the best for yourself. To put yourself in your own lil bubble from time to time while you work towards your goals. Everyone does it. Everyone needs to do it because it’s how you pave your own way and be truly happy in your life.

Change happens.

Your lifelong plans can change. Some things cannot be planned out, written in stone and stuck to 100%. Try telling this to any Type A personality and see what happens. When I finally made the decision to stop my application process to clinical psych and take the year off, I was stressed to the max. Do you know how many times I asked my parents if I was doing the right thing? The guilt of my not sticking to my ‘plan’ was actually was eating me up no joke.

It’s hard to deal with uncertainty, but its something we all have to face because life happens. You change. Your wants, thoughts and beliefs then change and so plans will never be perfectly planned.

I learned that I can be loved.

For the first time I knew what it felt like to be loved (other than my family). I had some of the most amazing moments in this relationship and I met someone I could call my person.

With that I also learned that no matter how much love you have for someone…

Sometimes you have to let them go.

Love is definitely blind. My 5 year relationship was definitely a growth period for me. We had amazing times but as we moved into our final year, my perception of our future began to change. The truth is, opposites don’t last over the long-term. My love for him truly blurred any rational understanding for that statement. I knew we were very different and although there were some big things that may have set lil alarm bells off in my mind at the time, I just simply overlooked them.

It was one of the most drawn out and hardest things I had to accept. My best friend, the person who gave me so much, could not be “my person” for life.

The love is still there. The friendship is still there. For that I’m thankful, but I think we have both come to terms that a relationship is not the place for us. We are better as friends.

Well that was one reflective post. Got me feelin all kinds of fuzzies. Warm thoughts? Not sure, but a good release.

Thank you for listening to me and I hope you enjoyed reading it. Let me know if you can relate to anything I mentioned here.

Also..

What would be one thing you learned about yourself during your post high school years?

-Chelsea


50 Comments

You Made Me Realize…

…That I did have a full year.

What great goals! And what a packed year you’ve had! -Rachel

You have had such a big year Chelsea with moving away and all your paid work and this lil blog. I hope you are proud of yourself!– Tammy

You really have accomplished a lot and I look up to you. You had a very productive yr, it’s amazing! – Traci

Congrats on all you’ve accomplished this year!! I’m continually amazed at how much you manage to fit into your life -Tina

Thank you so much for all of your love and constant support. You all mean the world to me honestly!

Things have changed. I have changed. I have grown.

It was a great year and I really send many thanks to all of you for reminding me that I too need to take the time to reflect on the year that has left us and realize how much I did.

Personal Life

  • I moved to a new city. I moved away from my jobs. My home. My friends. To do what? Start again with that whole school life. Was it scary? HELL YES. I don’t like change. It scares be to death. BUT I had to come to the same terms that I did when I moved from high school to university, that I was doing this to strive for my passion. I miss my Hamilton life still but I’m making great memories here in Guelph too and moving towards what I want in life.

  • My boyfriend and I went our separate ways after 5 years. I never disclosed this when it happened because that is a very personal aspect of my life, but I felt like it would come out eventually. I consider him to be one of my best friends and have come to accept that I grew a lot mentally from when I was 18 and that has caused me to realize that we mesh better as friends. He is an amazing person and I hope to always have him in my life. There will always be a special kind of love there.
  • I remembered what it was like to have friends. Sometimes when you are in a relationship and busy with other aspects of life, you forget you have friends. One thing I have really embraced since school started was that I have a lot of truly special people in my life and I have enjoyed catching up with them more then ever.

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  • I balanced more of a social life with school. This was something I always struggled with because I would isolate myself with my school work because I felt that I should always be studying or doing something related to school. I have learned that balancing socializing in with school is key to reducing my stress and it should be maintained as a priority.

Blogging Life

  • I started vlogging! I have really enjoyed this newer component to the blog as I find it to add another level of realness to it. I hope you guys are enjoying them despite them being done simply on my Mac with no fancy-shmancy equipment.

  • I have seen my lil group grow! I love the fact that I can recognize all of you when you make your comments. It’s like creating another supportive family! Much better than having a bazillion subscribers but no talking that’s for sure!

School Life

  • New school. New degree. New focus. I’m so excited to really get more into the real nitty gritty nutrition aspect as that is my love.
  • I survived my first semester and managed to pull out an 86 GPA. That surprisingly included the completion of biochemistry. A high GPA is something I always strive for and while I am used to a bit higher, I accepted the fact that this was a transition period and I need to not be such a perfectionist 24/7. I did my best while not making myself a hermit. School is not life.

I bet you are all just ROTFL’in at all that chemistry humor eh? ….

Gym Life

  • New gym. This was quite an adjustment because I had to leave my gym family. I still miss them and my pink towel will always remain there in spirit, but I’m starting to make a name for myself here too. I suppose it doesn’t take long for people to start to notice the tiny lil girl who lifts all zee weights. 😉
  • I added more new things to my workouts and things have continue to intensify. I am more aware now of what I want to work on and am actively working towards bringing up those weaker areas, like my hamstrings. Thank you to all of the amazing YouTube accounts for showing me new fun things to try.
  • My muscle definition is getting more noticeable! People have been telling me that I am starting to grow and from a girl who has the toughest time keeping weight on, that is the best thing I can hear.

I have so many things I want to do this year. I have the drive for them so I hope I can make them happen. Again, much love for always bringing me back to realizing the important things in my life, where I have come and pushing me forward.

Love you all.

-Chelsea