Healthy living motivation and inspiration | I’ll take mine without the judgement please

A couple of weeks ago I ran into a friend and fellow fitness professional at the grocery store. We stopped and chatted for a few minutes about teaching schedules and the gym and our children. Just as I was about to end the conversation and continue with my shop it happened.

Her eyes briefly left mine to skim over the contents of my grocery cart. When her gaze returned upward I knew immediately that I’d been JUDGED; judged and found lacking by the food that I’d chosen to feed my family.

motivation and inspiration

My gut reaction was to defend myself.

We’re having company over for brunch. I don’t usually buy bakery cinnamon buns. That whipping cream was for a special dessert. Those are turkey hot dogs, made without nitrites and preservatives. Why don’t I have more produce in my cart? I never buy produce at this store; it’s fresher and less expensive at the green grocer’s down the street. This isn’t what a ‘normal’ shop looks like.

But I held back, not wanting to acknowledge and validate my friend’s judgemental behaviour or create a scene by telling her what I really think of fitness professionals who look down their nose at people whose choices aren’t one hundred percent perfect, one hundred percent of the time.

Do they really think that judgment serves to motivate and inspire?

As a healthy living blogger and personal trainer I frequently dispense information about fitness, nutrition and making better choices when it comes to eating and exercise.

But what my readers and clients DO with that information is entirely up to them. I’m here to help, not judge.

Remember that the next time you see me in the grocery store and have the urge to run the other way lest I see the Doritos/ice cream/Oreo cookies/Twinkies in your cart. Your body. Your choice. Your health. End of conversation.

While we could all use a little healthy living motivation and inspiration, I’ll take mine without the judgement please!

Have you ever felt that your food choices were being judged by friends or relatives? What did you do?

Fitness professionals, have you ever run into clients at the grocery store and had them ‘rationalize’ the contents of their cart to you?

Need motivation to exercise? Look within!

Every Monday my Facebook and Twitter streams are full of motivational quotes and images.

motivation to exercise

Seems like everybody needs a little extra motivation to exercise and eat well at the beginning of the week ;)  .

I used to post a Monday Motivation series myself and wrote about the things that motivate me personally to get to the gym and make healthy choices in the kitchen (familyhealthaging well, and aesthetics, to name a few).

But the thing is, I don’t really believe that extrinsic motivators work for that long or for that many people.

If simply looking at a photograph of a ripped chick doing bicep curls was really enough motivation to start, AND STICK WITH, an exercise program and healthy diet, obesity wouldn’t be the nationwide epidemic that it currently is. And nobody would be searching for (and finding my blog) via the terms ‘motivation to exercise’!

Need motivation to exercise? Start by looking within.

If I were to ask you why you go to work every day, I bet most of you would come up with reasons other than just ‘paying the bills’.

You enjoy your job (at least I hope you enjoy your job) because it challenges youfulfills you, and makes you feel good about yourself. (Hmm, sounds like the reasons I blog as well; certainly NOT because of the abundance of cash it’s earning me ;) )

Of course, the pay cheque is appreciated, but most of us would agree that if the money were the only thing driving us to get up and go to work in the morning, we’d probably start looking for another line of employment.

I think of motivation to exercise in the same way.

Sure, the idea of being leaner, healthier, more muscular and more attractive might initially get us off the couch and into the gym, but in order to make exercise and healthy living a habit, we need to identify and focus on the internal motivators.

My motivation to exercise? The way it makes me feel about myself. Strong, capable, coordinated, beautiful and at peace with my inner critic.

How does exercise make YOU feel?

What’s YOUR intrinsic motivation to exercise?

Create a visual fitness and food journal: Instagram for motivation and accountability

Love it or hate it, keeping a fitness and food journal is one of the keys to successful weight loss and weight loss maintenance.

Knowing that you have to write down everything you eat is strong motivation not to eat that package of Oreos. And being able to look back at your workouts to see how far you’ve come may be just the push you need to keep going.

Despite knowing the value of keeping a fitness and food journal, I never manage to stick with it for more than a few weeks. Why? Low fun factor, I reckon. (But also, I’ve never found a journal format that really works for me. Do you have a favourite? Share, please!)

Why not make it more fun?

Recently, I’ve discovered Instagram. Love, love, love this app!

Snap a pic with your smart phone, choose a visual effect, select a frame, write a description of your photo and upload. Almost immediately, you’ve shared your meal or workout with the world (or at least the people who follow you on social media…I’m fitknitchick_1 and I ALWAYS follow back!).

Add a hashtag or two (for example, #paleo or #cleaneating) and your photo will be included when other Instagrammer’s search for those terms.

journal your fitness and food with Instagram

Your friends and followers can ‘like’ your photo (I regularly check to see which of my Instagrams has the most likes!) and comment on it as well (comments make me swoon!).

Instagram makes it easy to share with your other social media peeps as well. Just click on the platforms you’d like the photo to be sent to (Twitter, Facebook, Tumbler, Flicker and Foursquare, for now). And voila!

Once you’ve mastered Instagram, you’ll want to move up to InstaFrame so that you can include more than one image in each photo. I’m totally addicted to creating InstaFrame collages! The most recent version has at least 30 different possible configurations, depending on how many photos you’d like to include.

journal your fitness and food with Instagram

And best of all? You’re not limited to 140 characters! Try sending someone a recipe on Twitter; bet you can’t do it (even with very creative spelling and shortening of words!).

journal your fitness and food with Instagram

Why not use it to keep track of your workouts and daily eats?

journal your fitness and food with Instagram

journal your fitness and food with Instagram

Use Instagram to create a visual fitness and food journal. You’ll feel accountable to your followers and may even find motivation through their Instagram posts!

Plus, you never know when you’ll stumble across a new #cleaneating #paleo #vegan #glutenfree recipe!

Do you use Instagram or Instaframe?

What are your favourite things to take pictures of?

Are you currently using a fitness and food journal? What type?

September is the ‘new January': The Fresh Start Fitness Challenge

Forget about January, for many of us, September is the month to get back on track with our health and fitness goals. The kids are back in school, summer barbecues and parties are a thing of the past, and New Year’s Eve parties (and little black dresses!) are only a few months away!

It’s the perfect time to commit to getting to the gym more regularly and making healthier choices in the kitchen.

Welcome to the Fresh Start Fitness Challenge!

fitknitchick fitness challenge

Each Sunday during the month of September, I’ll be posting a series of fitness and health challenges to be completed over the following week. Join in, comment on your successes (and near successes!) and be entered to win an 8-Week Fitness Coaching Package ($150 value), courtesy of me, fitknitchick.

Every comment you leave gives you one entry in the draw (I’ll give you specific directions about WHERE to comment as we get closer to the start date). The winning comment will be chosen randomly at the end of the month and the winner contacted via e-mail to arrange initiation of our coaching relationship.

What does the Fitness Coaching Package consist of?

  • An initial interview to discuss your personal fitness and nutritional goals (preferably via Skype, but possibly telephone or in person if the winner is local)
  • Two workout plans; one to start and a second, follow up plan, 30 days later
  • Menu tips and suggestions (I’m not a registered dietician, so meal planning is outside of my scope of practice)
  • Weekly check-ins via email
  • Menu and workout tracking tools to help with adherence and consistency

Make sure you subscribe to my blog (up near the top, on the right…) and ‘like’ my Facebook page to keep up with the challenges, comments and chatter.

What are YOUR biggest health and fitness challenges right now?

Tell me why YOU need to join the Fresh Start Fitness Challenge?


Women’s Health Week: share your help-a-friend ideas

It’s National Women’s Health Week!

Now I know that all of my readers try and make healthy lifestyle choices, right?

We exercise regularly, eat healthily, get enough sleep and manage the stress in our day-to-day lives by meditating, practicing yoga or knitting.

But what about our friends and family? We all know at least one woman who could benefit from a bit of ‘healthifying’, don’t we?

This week, I challenge you to help another woman improve one aspect of her health; nutrition, fitness, sleep or stress.

Need some ideas?

  • invite her to take a walk with you; moderate exercise, vitamin D and positive social interactions all have health benefits
  • bake her a ‘clean eating’ treat (recipe ideas here)
  • babysit her children for an evening; best stress reduction gift I know of!
  • give her a copy of ‘Clean Eating’ magazine
  • invite her to come to yoga with you (that’s how I got started)
  • sign her up for my Monthly Newsletter (top left corner of this page; shameless plug, I know)
  • give her a hug (it needs to be at least 7 seconds long to promote the release of oxytocin, a feel good hormone)
  • make her laugh

I’m sure you have lots more ideas about helping a friend improve their health.

Please share! And have a happy National Women’s Health Week yourself!

The 30 Day Self Care Blueprint winner

Last night I determined the winner of last week’s 30 Day Self Care Blueprint giveaway. I can’t tell you how glad I was to be using a random number generator rather than using your comments to decide who most deserved to win. You all do!

I was incredibly moved by the life challenges you described and your reasons for wanting to participate in this course (if you haven’t already, please read the comments on the original post). If I could afford to purchase registrations for all of you I would (unfortunately, I have yet to earn a cent from blogging…). Even if you’re not the winner of the giveaway, I encourage you to register yourself (and a friend; it’s only $1 more if you register before May 13th) and join me in an incredible month of self-discovery and growth.

Without further ado,the winner of the 30 Day Self Care Blueprint on-line life coaching course, as determined by random number generator

is commenter #20, Becca, who said

Becca, I need you to contact me via e-mail ( within the next couple of days. There’s some information I need to pass on to Kirri and Deb to make sure you’re registered for the course!

Thanks so much for sharing your comments with me. I’ll be posting updates on my experience with the course throughout the month of June. If you take part, I’d love to hear your thoughts about the 30 Day Self Care Blueprint!

Fitness and nutrition challenges: you tell me yours and I’ll tell you mine

No matter how devoted you are to maintaining a healthy lifestyle, you probably still have fitness and nutrition challenges.

Foods that trip you up. Social settings that act as triggers to unhealthy food choices. People that are less than supportive of your workout schedule. Voices in your head that tell you to skip the gym and stay at home watching True Blood instead (don’t judge).

If you could just get a handle on that one little problem, everything would be great.

Want to know what my biggest fitness and nutrition challenges are?

I’ll tell if you will.

Fitness: Although I know that exercise can be done anytime, anywhere (goodness knows I’ve posted my share of short-at-home-in-your-hotel-room workouts), I somehow still feel that unless I go to the gym and spend 45-60 minutes lifting weights, I haven’t gotten a workout in. As a consequence of this mindset, I’ve passed up shorter (and probably more effective ;) ) workouts just because I only had 20 minutes to spare.

With my recently increased workload (more clients and registered programs and writing opportunities, hooray!), I’ve got to start using those 20 minute windows if I’m going to keep making progress in the gym. In theory, it’s easy to do; my preferred mode of training is supersets and I can easily get in 3-4 sets of two exercises in the 15-20 minute window I often have between clients. In practice, it’s pretty difficult to change your mindset and just do it (especially when your mind has been set for a long time!).

Nutrition: In the past, my biggest nutritional challenge was sugar. I was completely addicted. With some very concentrated effort, I’ve been able to give up most forms of added sugar. I don’t buy (many) processed foods. I’ve switched to the darkest chocolate my palate can handle. And when I bake, I strive to make my muffins and cookies and bars as healthy as possible. Flax seed and chia and wheat germ are added to everything. (This is one of my many ploys for increasing the nutrient density of my children’s school lunches)

The problem? When I sit down for my mid-afternoon coffee, I crave something baked to go along with it. Even my healthy versions of baked treats have butter and wheat flour and brown sugar; all of which I try to avoid because they perpetuate the crave-consume-crash cycle.

Now it’s your turn. Tell me about your biggest fitness and nutrition challenges. What have you yet to master?

As always, I love to hear your thoughts; today, let’s try to help each other overcome our challenges by commenting and supporting and offering ideas for effecting change!





Working out is hard: show me your #PROOF

If you follow my Twitter stream (you do, don’t you? If not, just click on the little blue ‘t’ button over on the right), you’ve probably noticed me Tweeting about my workouts and including the hashtag #PROOF.

It’s all part of a FitFluential ‘motivation and accountability’ campaign. The premise being, that because our friends and colleagues are anticipating our daily #PROOF, we’ll be less likely to skip a workout and more likely to ‘crush it’.

It’s great to see what everybody else is up to (although some people are clearly over-achievers, setting the bar stratospherically high for the rest of us…) and it feels wonderful to have somebody see your #PROOF post and Tweet back words of encouragement and support. Because, frankly, working out is hard and a little bit of positive reinforcement goes a very long way.

What constitutes #PROOF?

People have been extremely creative, posting pictures of themselves during and after workouts (exhibiting the compulsory sweat), snapshots of the scrap of paper they wrote their workout plan down on, link ups to their Daily Mile runs, photos of heart rate monitors showing calories burned, minutes in their ‘target heart rate zone’ and, my personal favourite, the maximum heart rate they attained during their workout (that’s my competitive streak coming out again!).

Anyone can join in. You needn’t be a member of FitFluential (but of course, you should be! The only requirement is an interest in healthy living!).

Some examples of my recent #PROOF? Why of course!



I’d love to see YOUR #PROOF!

All you need to do is Tweet the details and include the hashtags #FitFluential and #PROOF!

And please feel free to let me know in the comments box below.


Monday Motivation: sometimes, it IS about looking good!

Happy Monday! Need some motivation? Let me help!

Last week, as I was packing for my spring break in the sun, I faced a dilemma. Which bathing suit to bring. I own several, all bikinis, but wasn’t exactly feeling ‘bikini ready’, if you catch my drift.

Usually, I don’t have to think about getting into a bathing suit until July (summer comes late and is very brief in the Pacific Northwest) and my winter workouts, clearly haven’t been tough enough to prepare me for the early arrival of swimsuit season. I needed to choose a suit that would give good coverage in the rear and cover up a soft belly.

While my standard motivation to eat well and exercise daily is feeling good, there’s nothing wrong with using looking good as motivation either!

For all of you who don’t have to think about putting on a bathing suit for a few more months, treat this post as a wake up call. Wake up glutes! Wake up abs! Wake up arms!

Pull out your bathing suit and let it motivate you to get to the gym regularly and clean up your diet. You’ll thank me later!

P.S. The orange, yellow, teal and pink suit won (Victoria’s Secret, purchased on a girls trip to NYC). Definitely the most flattering when I’m feeling a little sub-par physically! (But I may just bring a backup, in case I’m feeling brave!)

Do you wear a bikini or a one-piece?

How do you feel about putting on a bathing suit? Proud? Terrified? Indifferent?