3 Tips For Beating The Winter Blues

I can’t believe it is already November. Time is FLYING by. There are two months out of the year that I would happily skip, one of them is November and the other is January. I would happily hibernate through both if possible. Why? Winter has never been my thing. You can tell me to get over it all you want but I DO NOT like winter. I am a summer girl who needs sunshine to feel her very best.

For years I fit the description of someone struggling with Seasonal Affective Disorder. This disorder is a type of major depression that reoccurs at specific times of the year. It affects as many as 10% of a population that lives in a region with less sunshine. For me it started late October and would carry through until March.

It took me a few years of trying different things but I am now at a place where I am able to live my normal life throughout these months with only one or two days a month where I feel a little off.

Many people feel down in the winter. We go outside less, we feel cooped up, the sun hardly ever shines and we have to wear 10 layers of clothing to step outside our front door. Today I want to share three tips for helping you beat the winter blues!

  1. Vitamin D: You probably saw this one coming. If you live in a region like Northern Ontario, where there is very little sunshine throughout the winter months, you need to talk to your doctor about taking a Vitamin D supplement. Your body must have vitamin D to promote healthy bone growth and aid in the function of the immune system. No wonder we feel like sloths in the winter months, we barely get any Vitamin D.
  2. Exercise: Exercise releases natural endorphins giving you a boost of energy and positivity. A brisk walk on the rare sunny day, a weightlifting session at the gym or an hour at your local rink can all improve your mood. Can’t get out of the house? Something as simple as 10 minutes of squats, sit-ups and push-ups will have you feeling more positive.
  3. Socialize: Trust me, I am not in a social mood during these months. I would rather be curled up in the corner of my sectional drinking coffee and watching Netflix. I have to force myself out to see people and I find that when I do this I feel so much better! If you work mostly from home like I do, you need to create reasons to get out of the house! Go for a walk at the mall or grab coffee with a friend, don’t seclude yourself for too long!

Winter takes up about half of our year around here, don’t let it be half a year wasted!

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#SweatingForTheWedding: I’m baaaack

I’m baaack.

For each blog post here on out, I’ll be providing you with a 3-part update (The 3 W’s) as to how #SweatingForTheWedding has been going.

The Workouts
I started the strength training program Charity put together for me the week of Labour Day. As I write this, I’m halfway through week eight! Time has flown by! I complete four workouts every week, beginning with some sort of weight lifting/body-weight movement targeting a different muscle group each time. I end each workout with cardio. Twice a week this includes either a Tabata-, Every Minute on the Minute (EMOM)-, or AMRAP-style workout, while the other two times I run, either long distance or sprints. When I first started, I was dreading the days I had to run. I was doing a variation of 30 second or 1 minute sprints, 200m or 400m sprints, multiple 2-3km runs back-to-back, etc. Day-to-day the distance or time changed, but my feelings toward it did not, however, the more I did it, the more I got used to it, and the more I actually began to not hate running…as much. Don’t get me wrong, I still won’t go for a run out of pure enjoyment, BUT when I’m done and gasping for air, I feel surprisingly good about it, especially knowing my body is able to return to my resting heart rate (~60bpm) in a very short period of time.

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The Wellness
As most of you know, I also started taking a probiotic with warm lemon water every morning, in addition to omega 3 and vitamin D. Charity had told me to get the probiotic with the least amount of cultures. When I went to the store, the lowest one was 5 billion. I thought compared to 10, 20, or 50, that 5 was small. Little did I know she meant approximately 25 million! LOL. I was pretty nauseous the first time I took it, but after that my body adjusted. I’ve noticed when I miss starting my day off taking these, especially the probiotic and lemon water, I have a much higher chance of being bloated at the end of the day, regardless of what I eat. Days that I do take them, which is almost every day, I feel so much better when I’m going to bed. The recommended daily dose is three, spread throughout the day. I’m currently taking one, and will increase to two each day, and see if that helps even more. I’ve also found that the more water I drink, the more awake I am during the day. And yes, this is a thing. I confirmed it with Charity!

Girl talk right here:

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When I get my period, I tend to get a few breakouts on my face (like most women do). I’ve been drinking a lot more water these past few weeks, taking the probiotic, omega 3, and vitamin D close to every day, and doing my best to avoid sugar, dairy, and gluten. During my last period, I barely broke out at all! IT WAS AMAZING! When I do give myself a treat (Reese’s peanut butter cups…my favourite), it has to be a small dose because if not, I will breakout a couple days after…just from having it that one time. I envy those who can binge on ice cream, candy, potato chips, and/or chocolate, and be just fine.

What I’ve learned so far is that I can’t compare myself to other people. Everyone’s bodies are different, and react to things different ways. I’m beginning to learn what my body likes (and doesn’t like…I still love you, Reese’s), and how much of something (Reese’s) I can have without it backlashing at me. I’m exciting to have all of this nailed down, so it becomes a routine of what I can eat, how much I can eat of it, etc. I know some people like to hear about physical changes so they can visually see if what a person is doing is working. I don’t plan on posting photos as of right now, but I can tell you all about it! So, after every post or maybe every few posts, as I probably won’t change THAT much each month, I will have a ‘physique update’ as seen below!

Physique update #1: I’ve definitely toned up a bit, and since June this year when I did Charity’s Summer Shred & Fed program I’ve gone down dress/pant sizes. I never thought I’d fit a small shirt, yet here I am. It’s hard to see change in yourself when you see yourself in a mirror every day. But when you’re no longer able to wear your favourite pair of pants to work, you notice!

The Wedding
Obviously this is the most important part of the blog post ๐Ÿ™‚

Things are coming along. Most of the big things are already taken care of (venue, food, photographer, hair dresser, makeup artist, cake, etc.)…I know, I’m pretty far ahead seeing as I still have 10 months. But I’d rather plan it all now, and create less stress as it gets closer! Most importantly, I found my dress!! It’ll be a surprise for everyone except my mom, maid of honour, and aunt (+ her daughter) who were all with me when I tried on dress after dress after dress. But it’s so pretty!

Austin is coming to visit me in a couple of weeks. We plan on going to Moore’s to have him try on suits so we can pick one out for the groomsmen. I’m very excited to see him, as it’s been close to 3 months apart.

Thanks for following along, and putting up with another really long post!

Kayla White

#SweatingForTheWedding


Pregnancy Update: 32 Weeks

Hello All,

When I first got pregnant I planned on posting regular updates….HAHA. These 7 months have flown by, I can’t believe we get to meet this little munchkin in 8 weeks. In some ways I’m ready and in other ways I am cherishing these last two months of just Dan and I.

Physically

Thus far I have had a very healthy pregnancy. I had a few weeks where I didn’t feel myself but that was cleared up once blood work showed my iron was low. I suffered from anemia for years and only in the past two years have I gotten my iron to a healthy place, I was not surprised to find that pregnancy had lowered my iron. I struggled to work out during these few weeks and that itself made it hard for me to get my energy up, but all is much better now and I honestly can say I feel great!

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Weight Gain

During my 5th and 6th months of pregnancy I put on the weight that I didn’t put on in the first 20 weeks. I jumped up to a total of 24lbs gained but have maintained that up until now and know there is more to come. This was about what I was hoping for but I knew it wasn’t all within my control. Choosing nutrient dense food and continuing to stay active is what is within my control and I try to do my best in this area. I also knew that if this was a Henson (my maiden name) baby it was likely I’d gain a little extra. Henson babiesย  are often 9-10lbs with a big head….I should know, I was considered small at 8lbs. Looking at the ultrasound this baby does have appear to have a Henson head, so that’s something to look forward too…..HA!

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Also, getting up off the couch is hard. I basically have to roll over like an upside down turtle.

Food/Cravings

LEMONS! I want lemon everything, iced tea lemonade was my favourite this summer. I’m definitely craving more carbs but try not to let this get in the way of my vegetable intake. I’ve had two big binge moments…..one was mini-eggs and another was chocolate cashew ice-cream. I regretted the mini-eggs…..but the cashew ice-cream was delicious.

I have been enjoying some extra treats. My overactive immune system has been less active during this pregnancy and that means I’ve been able to eat a little dairy. I LOVE cheese. I’m still only having it once a week, but I enjoy every bite! I also enjoy a little extra chocolate ๐Ÿ˜€

Exercise

Since taking the Iron my energy is back up and I have returned to the gym, but it’s not the same. The rower has become near impossible due to my belly being in the way, and bending over to pick up dumbbells now takes some interesting maneuvering. I’m not complaining, just telling you how it is. I’m still able to run thanks to my core muscles. I’m not working out at near the intensity I used to but still enjoy getting my sweat on. Speaking of core muscles, My abs officially separated. This is known a diastasis recti and is very common especially in muscular women. I knew it was coming and am happy I was able to make it this far, now I just pray they don’t separate further…..but we still have 8 weeks to go.

Apparently my walk has changed, despite my best attempts to not let it. Sometimes baby likes to hang out low and that makes moving a bit more difficult, but baby doesn’t like to stay in one place very long so that usually passes quickly. Speaking of which, the little bugger flipped head down yesterday while I was on the treadmill, I guess it likes running about as much as I do.

Mentally

This has been my greatest struggle. You don’t spend 10 years in the health and fitness world without the unrealistic body expectations making an impact on you. Watching my body change has been amazing and terrifying all at the same time. Its amazing to feel Baby Elliott moving around inside of me, but when I look in the mirror there are parts of me I don’t recognize. I realise this is shallow and irrelevant at this point, but I acknowledge it is there and that it is something I need to work on.

I have a feeling the moment they place that baby in my arms none of the above feelings will matter, its all going to be worth it!

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Birth Plan?

I have had many people ask me about my birth plan. Can you really plan a birth? I willingly tell them what I hope for but have found people can be quite judgmental. If I could have it the exact way I want it, I would have an at home birth. I am aware that I don’t get to plan the perfect birth and that this baby might come a variety of ways so I am staying open to all possibilities and interventions. The plan for now is to stay at home as long as possible, if this means I have a home birth, great! If this means I reach a point where I want help with pain management, or we know ahead of time that there may be complications, I will not hesitate to go to the hospital. At the end of the day all that matters is that this baby is healthy! I love to learn, especially when it comes to health related knowledge, so I have enjoyed reading about pregnancy, labor and delivery and feel that I can make informed decisions when the time comes.

I want to encourage you today to uplift the young moms and moms to be in your life. Each woman’s pregnancy and delivery is so different from the next but I have found that people feel very set in their opinions and don’t like when you tell them you are doing something different than they are. It also isn’t helpful when you relay your traumatic birth stories to us. You don’t have to agree, but you can still support!

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The Ketogenic Diet: A Nutritionists Opinion

This post has been a long time coming! I’ve thought about writing it for a while now but recently have had even more clients/friends asking for my opinion. Here it goes!

What is the ketogenic diet?

The ketogenic diet is not as new as you might think. As early as the 1920’s Doctors started prescribing a ketogenic diet to their patients who had epilepsy. It was meant to replace long-term fasting which had also been used to help patients with epilepsy control their seizures.

The Ketogenic Diet was named when doctors noted that three water soluble compounds were produced by the liver when a patient was fasting or following a high fat/low carb diet. These water soluble compounds wereย acetone, ฮฒ-hydroxybutyrate and acetoacetate, also known as ketones.ย  Patients that ate a diet that was comprised of over 65% fat, or higher, would enter the state of ketosis.

In recent years the ketogenic diet has become more mainstream and is being used to treat autoimmune diseases and Type 2 Diabetes as well as being recommended as a weight loss solution.

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Keto and Type 2 Diabetesย 

Much like most diets, I do believe there is a place for the ketogenic diet. Dr. Jason Fung, is a world leading Nephrologist based out of Toronto. He has become widely recognized in the medical community for treating Type 2 Diabetes with a low carb or ketogenic diet and believes that type 2 diabetes can be completely reversed. He has had a lot of success with his patients and has written three books about his beliefs and the science behind them.

It is very important to note that he works with his patients as they begin this diet, this isn’t something that someone with Type 2 Diabetes should be trying on their own as it will cause drops in blood sugar and will require changes to the amount of insulin that the body needs.

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Keto and Autoimmune Disease

As someone who has an autoimmune disease, I have experimented with the ketogenic diet. The ketogenic diet is very limiting and as such eliminates most of the major food allergies/intolerances that people with autoimmune disease struggle with.

There is research being conducted in this area and thus far the ketogenic diet has proven to lower inflammation in the body as it causes the body to switch fuel sources from sugar to fat. It has been well established that sugar can raise inflammatory markers in the body and that limiting it is beneficial to our health. The tricky part here, is that staying in a state of ketosis means you have to limit all sugars, including natural ones. This eliminates many fruits and vegetables from the list of foods that are ok to eat while on a ketogenic diet. This could lower the amount of micronutrients being taken into the body if the dieter is not careful.

Keto and Weight Loss

Here’s the one you’ve been waiting for, you may have even scrolled down to get here! Does the ketogenic diet cause weight loss? The short answer, yes. When the body becomes efficient at using fat as fuel it can then begin to burn excess body fat, resulting in weight loss. Guess what? Starvation does the same thing, but it doesn’t make it heathy for you.

When it comes to weight loss people will often try things they would never have tried for any other reason. Once the desired weight is lost it is too easy to return to old habits, going from a low carb diet to a high carb diet can be very detrimental to the body. Before you try a new diet specifically for weight loss consult your doctor and ask yourself these questions:

  1. Will this diet be sustainable long term?
  2. Will this diet be flexible enough for my lifestyle?
  3. Will this diet have a positive affect on my mental health?

If you can’t answer yes to all three questions, this is NOT a sustainable weight loss solution for you.

Keto does not always equal healthy. Bacon, steak and coconut oil do not contain all the nutrients your body needs to function optimally.ย With the help of a doctor/health professional you can develop a healthy diet that is also keto.

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Final Thoughts

Like anything, there is a wrong and right away to approach the keto diet. Many people do not know what foods they need to eat to stay healthy on a keto diet and end up missing out on some key nutrients. For most people this is not a sustainable diet and I would not recommend it. For those dealing with autoimmune issues and type 2 diabetes this may be worth considering and talking to your doctor about.

In my personal life I have found the keto diet to be useful in keeping my autoimmune related inflammation down but I do not do it for longer than 4 weeks at a time and only when I feel my body needs extra help. Overall I have found a more paleo based diet to be a sustainable way of living for myself!

Each of my clients is treated as an individual and I am open to many different ways of eating for the different people I encounter. What works for you may not work for your neighbor. Stop trying to fit yourself in a box jus because someone else fit perfectly. You are unique and your diet should be unique to you!

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You Are An Inspiring Woman

Somebody asked me a few weeks ago why I was planning the Inspired Women’s Conference and what I was going to get out of it. I believe honesty is the best policy and today I want to share with you why this conference is important to me.

I grew up with two parents who believed in me. Not like you might think though, they weren’t planning my grand future. They weren’t hoping I’d become a doctor or a lawyer, although they would have supported me either way. My parents wanted me to grow up to be a caring, confident and loving woman. They wanted me to be the best version of myself. They never asked me to be like anyone else, they never compared me to anyone else. I was also fortunate to have other inspiring women in my life, not just my mom. I had grandmas, aunts, cousins, friends, friends moms and the list goes on and on. Each of those women gave me someone to look up to, someone I wanted to be like.

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Not all women have my story. Many women grow up with a lot of expectations placed on them. There is so much pressure put on women to be the best mom, the best wife, the best daughter and the best employee/boss. Women carry so many roles, as do men but this conference isn’t about them, and sometimes we can feel like we are just surviving in all our roles but not really succeeding at any of them. Often the world can bog us down. Hurtful words are never forgotten and we carry them with us. One person will make us feel guilty for giving up our careers to stay home with our kids while another will make us feel guilty for working too much. Often it may feel like we can’t win.

The reason I am hosting this conference is that I believe every woman deserves the same encouragement that I was fortunate enough to grow up with. I believe we can rise above whatever our pasts are, I’ve seen many women do so. We can rise above our circumstances and the lies about ourselves that we carry with us. If we can come together and learn from each other then we can go out into the world and help other women do the same. We all have a unique story, or gift, to share and on Saturday October 20th you will get to hear from six inspiring women who are no different from you. You are an inspiring woman, even if you don’t know it yet.

I’m not gonna lie, I was scared to take the steps needed to put this conference into motion. What if I failed? My mom encouraged me to go for it and often reminds me of one of her favourite quotes.

“What if I fall? Oh, but my darling, what if you fly?”

I would love to see you there. I would love to support you and have your support. I would love to see you encouraged to go back to your daily life and live it as the inspiring woman that you are. Even better, all proceeds from this event will be going to the Algoma Pregnancy Centre. A centre committed to educating and supporting women!

I need to confirm numbers a week from Monday! Teenagers welcome!

You can buy your ticket here:ย https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/inspired-for-women-by-women-tickets-46819207510?aff=ebdssbdestsearch

Charity โค