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Dear Cassey: How do I deal with stress eating?

By | Dear Cassey | 23 Comments

Dear Cassey,

Do you have any tips on how to combat stress eating? Hormones, lack of sleep, changes at work, and just general stress at work have been making me feel very stressed, and I’m finding myself reaching for snacks in these times of stress.

I try to keep snacks relatively healthy, like nuts or cheeses, but other times, I crave chocolate or something salty, and usually find myself feeling so full later that even thinking of a meal doesn’t sound appetizing, and I feel tempted to skip a meal just to try to “even out” and not take in too many calories.

I’m not unhealthily overweight, but I have gained weight since my cheerleading days, 5 years ago, and I feel like finding a healthier stress relief could help me feel closer to losing the unwanted weight. I know working out more can help relieve stress overall, but I wonder about immediate forms of relief as well. I would appreciate your advice.

Thank you!

Stress Eater

Dear Stress Eater,

First of all! I want to say thank you for being one of the first people to ever write in to my advice column! I am excited to focus on helping you deal with your stress eating today – because GIRL, I feel you. I used to stress eat A LOT and it was problem that I needed to acknowledge before I could get better.

Look, all those things you mentioned: lack of sleep, hormonal changes, and issues at work – those are 100% stress inducers! And guess what stress does? It makes us act out of character…it makes us cranky…it makes us cave into our weaknesses…it makes us make bad decisions…and it makes us want to reach for things that can make us feel good with low effort. And one of the easiest feel-good things we can reach for is FOOD!

I mean food makes us feel good in the moment – there’s no debate about that. And there’s nothing wrong with reaching for something to eat to make us feel better – because really, it DOES make us feel better!

Biting into something sweet or crunching on something salty brings us back to the good ole days of our childhood, where we could pretty much eat whatever we wanted without worrying that it would make us fat. Good flavors make us happy. But then, ya know, adulthood came along, and all of a sudden food had consequences. And that’s why we’re having this conversation.

Stress eating makes us eat more than we need to because we’re not eating when we’re hungry. We’re eating as a coping mechanism. And when we eat in EXCESS of our weight-maintenance caloric levels, we gain weight.

So, how do you stop the stress eating? Well – you need to figure out what you think is making you stressed and stop putting yourself in those situations! Here’s my advice.

BREATHE, HYDRATE, WALK.

The next time you wanna run to the snack cabinet and down a bunch of chips, take a moment to breathe. In through the nose and out through the mouth. Slowly. Remind yourself that you’re not actually hungry, and that you just need a break. Take a sip of water and go outside for a walk. It’ll help clear your mind and get your blood pumping, which will in turn make you feel better pretty much right away!

SLEEP MORE.

Not getting enough sleep 100% makes you stressed out. It increases your stress hormone cortisol, which also has been shown to be linked to an increase in lower belly fat. So what to do? Make it a PRIORITY to get into bed earlier. Try 10 min earlier, then 20 min, then 30 min, then an hour earlier. The sooner you get IN bed (even if you’re not sleepy), the sooner you’ll be likely to fall asleep.

If you have trouble falling asleep, do not look at your phone right before you go to bed. Work emails and notifications will stress you out. The light will make it harder for you to fall asleep. Instead, try reading a book. That always puts me right to bed!

CREATE A POSITIVE WORK ENVIRONMENT.

You mentioned that changes at work and work stress in general have you feeling not so great. Is there a way you can talk to your boss and tell him or her what’s going on? How can your boss help you do your job better? I mean, yes they are there to manage you, but there are also there to get you to do your job well. It’s ok to ask for help! Maybe there’s something that you guys can discuss that will improve the work flow for the whole team!

If talking to your boss sounds scary, how about talking to your co-workers? Problem solving together and then bringing your plan to the boss might even impress him or her! Well that is…if your boss is open minded and is thinking about the welfare of the team and not his or her pride!

Either way, when work is stressful, I think it is important to them someone know so that they can help you get through it. I encourage our employees to always tell me if something is bothering them so that I can help them thrive at their job. It’s my duty to help them work on their best level!

FIND YOUR FORM OF MEDITATION.

Traditional meditation isn’t suited for everyone. I tried, and I just couldn’t find peace in sitting still for an hour. But meditation doesn’t have to look like that!

My form of meditation is getting a deep tissue massage! That makes me feel so relaxed right away.

I also find that getting in the zone when working out is another form of meditation for me. I always feel good after.

Find something that you can get lost in. Maybe it’s drawing, yoga, knitting, gardening – whatever it is – your form of meditation does not have to look like anyone else’s. It just needs to make you feel relaxed.

TALK IT OUT.

If you’re still stressed after trying all of this, talk it out with someone. Sometimes we just need someone to hear us complain! Get it off your chest. Talking it out will bring clarity to the situation and will help you figure out what is ACTUALLY stressing you out. Once you figure that out, and figure out a plan of attack for your problem, you won’t be stressed anymore! Being solutions oriented helps me stay less stressed because it keeps be objective and focused on the end goal.

Alright Stress Eater – I hope that helps!

If any of you guys have a question for the “Dear Cassey” advice column, please text your question to me at 510-692-4556. If you’re not able to because you’re not in the US or Canada, then you can leave a comment below!

Instagram filters that’ll actually make you ...

By | Cassey's Corner | One Comment

Hey guys!

Fun stuff happening at Blogilates HQ! We’ve been diving into making Instagram AR (augmented reality) filters and we are having SO MUCH FUN!!!! Here are the ones we currently have out that you need to try right now!

#1. “Your best quality is…” by @popflex_active

The girls on the team wanted to create a filter that would give you an instant mood boost! You know that feeling you get after someone gives you a genuine compliment? Well, that’s what this filter is all about.

#2. “Sparkly Eyes” by @popflex_active

The way I see the world? Full of magic and possibility! This is an optimistic filter that’ll fill your eyes with wonder, while gently shooting out stars and lightning bolts every time you blink!

#3. “Post workout sparkle” by @blogilates

Pretty much the epitome of the phrase “I don’t sweat, I sparkle.” This filter will give you skin a natural glow and add dainty sparkles around your face.

#4. “Roses are Red” by @blogilates

In a lovey dovey mood? Or just wanna try on red lipstick without actually wearing red lipstick?! This filter paints you as the ultimate romantic, complete with rose crown, floating hearts, lashes, cat eyeliner, and lush red lips.

#5. “Workout Command!!” by @blogilates

What better way to boost your mood than with a quick workout!? Run my workout command filter and do the command that pops up! It’s short and doable. So, just do it. Don’t skip it! Or else you will miss out on a natural high! Hello endorphin boost!

 

So, how do you find these filters?

First, you need to be on your phone! You can’t use them on desktop (or as far as I know).

Go to the Instagram profile of either @blogilates or @popflex_active and click on the sparkly face icon.

That’s where you will find all the filters that we’ve created. Then click on the filter you wanna try!

You can click on the camera icon to try it! But also, click on the download icon to save it to your IG stories. This way you won’t have to keep going to my profile every time you wanna use it.

How many of these filters have you tried!??? Tag me if you try em. I wanna see your pretty faces!

Paleo Zucchini Muffins (grain free, gluten free, s...

By | Breads, Desserts, Food, Recipe Index | 8 Comments

Hey guys!

Last week, I had the pleasure of testing a couple zucchini inspired baked pastry recipes! And I am so happy to tell you that we’ve got a keeper!

Introducing my moist, dense, decadent, and perfectly sweet…

Grain Free, Gluten Free, Sugar Free Paleo Zucchini Muffins

I made these in muffin holders because I wanted to portion out my servings, but if you want a traditional Zucchini Bread look, then use a regular bread pan and slice. Same recipe!

INGREDIENTS (makes 12-14 muffins):

  • 3 cups of grated zucchinis (about 4 medium zucchinis with the water squeezed out!)
  • 1/2 cup walnuts (optional)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp tapioca powder
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1 1/2 cups almond flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 5 eggs
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cups of 0 calorie monk fruit sweetener (depending on how sweet you like it)
  • 1/2 cup of light butter, softened

DIRECTIONS:

1 – Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

2 – Grate your zucchinis. Make sure to squeeze it as dry as you can! If you don’t, your muffins will be wet after baking, and not in a good, moist way! Use paper towels or a cheese cloth.

3 – Mix all the ingredients together in a big bowl.

4 – Then line your muffin pan with muffin liners. Or if you’re using this recipe for zucchini bread, no need to line anything!

5 – Pour the batter into the muffin liners.

6 – Bake in oven for 50ish minutes, checking towards the end to make sure centers of muffins are baked the whole way through.

Once done, they will look like this…

HOW BEAUTIFUL ARE THEY!!???!!!!

The best part is, even though these are grain free, sugar free, gluten free muffins – SAM APPROVES!!! Guys, you must try it! Moist. Soft. Just the right amount of sweetness. And full of amazing ingredients that are GOOD FOR YOU. You don’t even taste the zucchini.

I am so happy to have a little time to experiment in the kitchen. This is relaxation for me – cooking, baking, creating…I love it so much, and I just love feeding people. I hope to bring you more recipes throughout the year!

NUTRITION:

(Per muffin, with walnuts)

163 calories, 14 g fat, 6 g carbs, 6 g protein

(Per muffin, no walnuts)

135 calories, 11 g fat, 5 g carbs, 5 g protein

The Blogilates February 2020 Workout Calendar!

By | Calendar | 209 Comments

Hey guys!

I know I say a version of this all the time but…I cannot believe we’re already a whole month into 2020! WHAT!!!

February. It is Valentine’s month. The month of love, romance, red roses, heart shaped everything and LOTS of chocolate! When it comes to Valentine’s Day, usually everyone gets so caught up with their relationship status. We always focus so much on our relationship with others, when really, we need to BEGIN taking care of the relationship we have with ourselves. You can’t give love if you don’t have any for yourself. Everything starts with the relationship you have with yourself.

So this Valentine’s season, I want us all to embark on a little self love journey together. You ready?

I want you to take part in my 7-day #BodyLoveChallenge beginning February 10th!!!

What is it!? Well each day, I’m going to ask you to take a moment to do something that’s gonna boost your self esteem and strengthen the relationship you have with yourself and your body. And you know what? THEY WORK. How do I know? I’m excited to tell you that I teamed up with my friend and mental health specialist Kati Morton to come up with these daily actionable challenges for you guys! After 7 days of completing the tasks, I promise that you will notice a change in the way you view yourself. You’ll stand taller, walk more confidently, and see more beauty in others and in yourself. I can’t wait to do these 7 daily tasks with you.

So, are you in? If so – comment “I’m in!” in the comments!

Also, if you complete all 7 daily tasks, you will be entered to win a ticket to the 4-day POP Pilates Retreat this summer in Scottsdale, AZ (worth $1398)!!!! AHHH!!!! This will be the biggest prize I’ve ever given out!!!

So – how do you enter?

  1. You will need to post the challenge of the day, everyday for 7 days, from Feb 10 to Feb 16.
  2. You must follow @blogilates and @poppilatesofficial.
  3. You must tag @blogilates and @poppilatesofficial in each post.
  4. You must hashtag #bodylovechallenge in each post.
  5. You can complete the challenge on your Instagram feed or your Instagram story! If you choose to do stories, we will be asking for downloads of the stories to ensure that you completed all 7 days.

Good luck to all! This is open to POPsters from ALL OVER THE WORLD. Yup, I’m serious.

ALSO – if you wanna take your Body Love Challenge to the next level – come to a live POP Pilates class for FREE anytime between Feb 10 to Feb 16 at your local 24 Hour Fitness! My instructors will be playing girl power anthems on their playlists so class is gonna be extra empowering! Make sure to wear pink or red in the spirit of Valentine’s Week! Click here to check the group exercise schedule.

Now that we’re gearing up celebrate our bodies and the amazing things they can do, let’s check out the February 2020 Workout Calendar! This month is going to be SOOO GOOD! I can feel it!

When you download the PDF, you’ll find that each video is linked! Just click and it will take you to the YouTube video listed!

Also, I recreated the calendar on Coda and you have to check it out! It looks so good and I will be back to doing them every month on there.  You can check off your workouts there (for free!!)

Here’s what your week will look like. Each day has its own focus! Get ready to sweat 😉

SUNDAY: Outstanding Obliques & Abs
MONDAY: Booty Burn Bonanza
TUESDAY: Lovely Leg Day
WEDNESDAY: Ultimate Upper Bod
THURSDAY: Total Body Babe
FRIDAY: Rest and Recovery
SATURDAY: Feel the Fat Burn

Do each video once (unless otherwise stated) and check off as you go! Each day will be around 45 min of exercise! If you’re just getting started or want to ease into working out, my Beginner’s Calendar is a great place to start! It’s a free 4 week program to get you stronger, so that you can join in on the monthlies when you are ready.

I hope you’re ready for another amazing month! You absolutely crushed it in January so I know that February is going to be AH-MA-ZING! Especially with our bonus Body Love Challenge!

I can’t wait to celebrate our relationship with ourselves this month. Too often we out others in front of us and forget to take care of ourselves.

But beginning Feb 10, that is all gonna change. Today, I want you to prep for the challenge by asking yourself what you’re the most insecure about. Then envision how you want to feel at the end of the challenge on Feb 16. If you’re IN for the #BodyLoveChallenge, type “I’m in” below!

Insanely Moist & Buttery Zucchini Bread Puddi...

By | Breads, Desserts, Food, Recipe Index | 9 Comments

Hey guys!

It’s pre-Sam birthday week (his bday is on Feb 2) and that means…I have an excuse to bake some fun creations! Last night I stayed up til 3am baking 2 recipes (we had a crazy schedule and I couldn’t start baking until 11pm). I almost lost hope around 1 am because I had a disaster with my vegan coconut cream cream frosting.

My frosting was not acting like frosting. Instead of being thick, it was being drippy. There was no way I would be able to frost my cake.

But it was a blessing in disguise.

I decided to turn my 3 layer cake recipe into bread pudding and O-M-G this is literally one of the best desserts I have EVER made! So I present to you my…

Insanely Moist and Buttery Vegan Zucchini Bread Pudding!

Bread Ingredients:

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp tapioca powder
  • 1 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 1 cup zero calorie monk fruit sugar
  • 3/4 cups vegan butter, softened
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2.5 cups shredded zucchini
  • 1 c walnuts (optional)

Glazey Frosting Ingredients:

  • 4 oz vegan butter (1 stick), softened
  • 1.5 cups zero calorie powdered monk fruit sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk (or any nut milk)
  • 1 can of canned coconut milk

Directions:

1 – Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

2 – Grate your zucchini. You do not need to squeeze the water out. 2.5 cups is roughly 2 medium zucchinis.

3 – Now mix together all of your bread ingredients.

4 – Once you have a thick bread batter, pour onto a lined cake tray.

5 – Bake for 40-50 minutes at 350 degrees F. If you spread your batter thin across the tray, you will need less time than if you pour it into a tall cake pan. Just do the toothpick check! When you think your cake is done, dip a toothpick into the center of your cake. If it comes out clean, you’re good! If it doesn’t, then keep baking!

6 – Once your cake is ready, take it out and let it cool.

7 – Once cooled, crumble it up with your hands and put the cake pieces back in the tray. We’re gonna pour the bread pudding glazey frosting on it next!

8 – To make the glazey frosting, just pour all of the ingredients in a large bowl and mix by hand until you get a smooth consistency.

9 – Now pour 1/2 to 3/4 of the glazey frosting onto your cake until the pieces begin soaking it all in. If you feel like you need more, just add another 1/2 cup of almond milk to your glazey frosting.

10 – Put everything back into the oven and bake at 350 degrees F for another 20-30 min. This will allow the glazey frosting to soak into the bread. VERY IMPORTANT.

11 – Once the top is golden brown, remove from the oven, pour the rest of the glazey frosting on top of the bread and SERVE warm!!!! Or you could leave the glazey frosting in a separate bowl and have people pour it on themselves. OR you can put them in these cute mini mason jars like I did and top with glazey frosting and walnuts!

I highly suggest serving these warm. Every just popping them in the microwave for 30 sec will elevate the flavors tremendously!

Seriously guys…SO GOOD! It tastes buttery, creamy, warm, cozy, slightly sweet, soft, moist, dense, and just so so good!!! OMG I am in love with this zucchini bread pudding recipe. And the best part is…it’s vegan…AND Sam said it’s one of the best things I have ever made! Yay!!!!

Nutrition (per serving, makes 12 servings):

Without walnuts:

357 calories, 24 g fat, 28 g carbs, 5 g protein

With walnuts:

423 calories, 31 g fat, 30 g carbs, 6.5 g protein

 

Those are the macros assuming you’d evenly use all the glaze – which is a super generous amount!

Let me know if you end up making these and tell me how much you LOVE THEM! OMG seriously, I cannot wait for you to taste them! THEY ARE HEAVENLY.

I’m putting on the ultimate fitness retreat&...

By | Group Exercise, Motivational | 4 Comments

Imagine this. We’re hanging out in the desert with larger than life cacti…

Spending 4 days at a gorgeous hotel and spa…

With lots of instagrammable moments like this…

And this…

And even your bedroom is instagrammable!

Healthy meals served to you all day…like this…

Or this…

Or this!

Fun workouts all weekend long that will motivate you to move…

Meeting your life long workout buddies…

Intimate dinners and discussions about stuff you can’t normally talk about…with people who’ll actually “get you.”

A pink carpet! Evening gowns!

Fun photo shoots GALORE!!

A POPFLEX fashion show featuring unreleased designs…and a chance to model in it!

Imagine coming out of the weekend with your spirit lifted, your body sore, a new fire lit inside of you and the CONFIDENCE to go conquer anything!

You guys, this summer I’m hosting the POP PILATES RETREAT in Scottsdale, Arizona and I want you to be there. I want to train you. I want to talk to you. And I want to see you GLOW UP over the course of 4 days. Because I promise you, you will leave changed.

Normally the POP Pilates retreat has been exclusive only to my certified instructors, but this year, I’m opening it up to the Blogilates community. If you have been on the edge of getting certified and starting a career in fitness, then I am inviting you to come! I’ve even built in an instructor training in Scottsdale, so that if you’re making a long trip, you’ll get everything done at the retreat.

Here’s what you can expect!

  • 4-day fitness retreat in Scottsdale, AZ!
  • Swag bag worth over $100+ of my favorite health, wellness, and fitness brands upon arrival! (For early bird registration before Jan 31, 2020)
  • 3 night accommodation at the fun Saguaro Hotel & Spa!
  • Delicious hand crafted, healthy meals
  • POP Pilates Instructor Training Workshop
  • Workouts all weekend: POP Pilates, PIIT28, Sunrise Yoga and more!
  • Perfect Form Training
  • Flexibility and Splits Training
  • Self Care, Body Positivity, and Confidence Building sessions
  • Social Media Secrets 2020
  • Fitness entrepreneurship sessions
  • 1 VIP Ticket to POP Prom!
  • 1 VIP Ticket to the Welcome Fiesta!
  • Many many chances to hang with me and @SirGeorgeTheMagnificent

If you wanna come, click here! We even have a payment plan set up to help you out. If you have any questions, comment below! I’ll be answering! Ahhhh I can’t wait to see you in Scottsdale ahhhhhhh!!!!!! It’s gonna be so much fun, so much crying, so many revelations, and so much random dancing! Whoooo!!!!

Shocked. 💔 RIP Kobe.

By | Feelings | 3 Comments

Complete shock. 💔Today Kobe Bryant passed away in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, CA along with his 13 year old daughter and 7 other people. Literally was just in Calabasas last weekend buying fruits and flowers.

When Sam and I started dating in college, he brought his love and enthusiasm for basketball, the Lakers and Kobe Bryant into my life. I was never into sports, but Sam’s spirit for the game was so cute (he literally changes from the chillest person in the room to the most outrageous, passionate sports fan in the arena), so – I became intrigued. Sam often updates me with game stats, quizzes me on players, tells me how his fantasy basketball team is doing, shows me clips of cool plays on House of Highlights, and tells me about things I don’t really understand. I’m not a b-ball fan myself, but I am a super fan of Sam being a super DUPER fan of the Lakers!

*sigh*

Today’s tragedy reminds me that we don’t know how long we have on this earth, so we must not waste our time holding grudges…we must not waste our time with toxic people…and we must not waste our time being unhappy. Seriously, stop doing things that don’t being your joy. Go be with the people you love. Go travel to the places you dream about. Do it. Because the clock keeps ticking. But we don’t know when our time runs out.

With a heavy heart, I leave you with this Kobe quote that struck me deeply.

This is why I hate competing against others. It’s better to just go, and go hard – regardless of what other people are doing or saying. Focusing on your journey, not someone else’s is the key to success. That’s what Kobe did, and that’s why he will forever be remembered as a legend.

Sending my love and strength to his family. What a sad, sad day.

Love you guys.

I went meatless for 20 days and this is what happe...

By | Food, meatless challenge | 74 Comments

YOU GUYS!

I officially finished my meatless challenge! I was strictly lacto-ovo vegetarian for 20 days straight! Very proud of myself. Before I get into the details, I wanted to let you know that I released a new series on my YouTube channel called “12 Minutes to Toned”!

 

These are intense 12 minute workouts that are timed, and also set to the beat of the music. They are fun, intense, and will make you die. I mean, it’s Jan 2020 – of course we’re gonna go hard!!! This week we are focusing on arms! And omg – your triceps, biceps, chest, shoulders, and traps will burn. Like SERIOUSLY.

It’s 6 weeks of brand new 12 minute workouts that will challenge you and change you. C’mon. Let’s go HARD.

Also – totally obsessed with the decor for my new set. I love love love interior design and had so much fun designing this one to feel fresh, semi boho-y, and semi havana-y. Do you LOVE!!???? Cuz I LOVEEEEE.

Now…onto to the findings from my meatless experiment! I went lacto-ovo vegetarian for 20 days straight, meaning I could have anything I wanted except for actual meat. So eggs and dairy were ok. In general, I tried to be as grain free and dairy free as possible. This experiment was inspired by the controversial Netflix movie The Game Changers which tries to prove that plant based athletes are stronger than meat eating athletes.

20-Day Meatless Experiment Goal:

To see if going meatless would increase my fitness performance and my energy levels!

20-Day Meatless Experiment Results:

  Day 0 Day 20
Weight 116.6 lbs 114.8 lbs
Body Fat % 20.1% 19.6%
Muscle Mass 35.2% 35.4%
Abdominal Muscle Tone Some definition. Light to no definition.
Cardio performance Good Good – no difference.
Strength ability Good Good – no difference. Lifted the same weights.
Energy Levels Good Good – no difference.
Mental Clarity Good Good – no difference.
Quality of Sleep Deep Deep – no difference.
Skin Normal Had a 2 week rash on my face. Still on my face.
Digestion Normal First week I was bloated and had slow and blocked digestion. The next couple weeks, it became normal.

 

Analysis:

Body composition:

I went down in weight and body fat a bit, but nothing too significant. The one thing I noticed the most was that I started feeling softer all over. I began noticing a loss in muscle tone in my abdominal region, which is the most difficult place for me to see any definition.

Fitness performance:

Overall, I did not see a difference in my fitness performance or my energy levels, which was kind of a bummer! But at least it did not decrease. I purposefully did not want to time myself doing a sprint on Day 0 versus Day 20 because I wanted to be extra conscious and attentive of how my body FELT. I did not feel a difference in my cardio performance or in how much weight I could lift. Everything pretty much stayed the same.

Mental clarity:

Mental clarity was on point before and stayed on point after. No changes.

Sleep:

With sleep in general – I just don’t sleep enough. It has everything to do with the amount of work I need to get done daily. I averaged about 5-6 hrs of sleep a night on my 20 day experiment, which is about the same as what I was doing before. I’m tired by the time I get to bed, so I knock out immediately. Quality of sleep? Really good/the same before and during the meatless challenge.

Skin:

Ok, I have no idea if this has anything to do with me being meatless but I developed a terrible red rash on my left upper cheek that has been on my face now for over 2 weeks. Usually weird face stuff goes away after a couple days, but this one is still here. I am not exactly sure what this is caused by and I am surprised that it hasn’t gone away yet.

The only thing I did differently during this time period was I tried using a derma-roller on my face the first week of the challenge. It’s a little rolly device that has mini spikes on it. You’re supposed to roll it on your face and it’s supposed to poke your skin so that your face will want to produce more collagen to repair the pokes. It is indeed a modern day mini torture device for beauty. Ha!

Once I saw the red rash come in, I stopped using the derma-roller. And now it’s been 2 weeks and the rash is still on my face. Not sure what happened, but I hope it heals soon.

Digestion:

The first week or so of the challenge, I was having terrible digestive issues. I was bloated, constipated, and my stomach hurt. I believe it was due to the fake meat I was eating. A lot of times fake meat has wheat gluten in it, and in general, I eat pretty much gluten free. So – that was bad. Once I stopped ordering fake meat from restaurants like Veggie Grill and focused on getting my protein more from eggs, tofu, and the occasional Beyond Burger, things got better and my digestives returned to normal.

Conclusion:

My goal was to see if going meatless would increase my personal fitness performance and my energy levels. My results show that everything stayed pretty much the same.

In The Game Changers, they really tried to paint the picture that vegan athletes are much stronger than non-vegan athletes. They did a wonderful job showing how very specific vegan athletes excelled in their sport. But, what they did not do was look at the bigger picture to give the audience a fair understanding of how the top athletes eat. They never laid out the best athletes in each sport to examine what their diets were. It would have been interesting to see what % of them were vegan vs non vegan and to correlate their diet to their ranking in their sport.

So, what now?

The 20 day meatless experiment allowed me to get super creative with my veggies, and I enjoyed cooking so much on this challenge! I will continue to cook and eat with a much more plant-based focus, but I am not going to continue eating vegetarian for now. It was difficult to be a low carb vegetarian whenever we ate out at restaurants and I would often leave feeling hungry. Almost anything vegan or vegetarian had bread or grains in it, and those things make me bloat intensely. Additionally, my blood test results confirmed that the best diet for my body would be low carbohydrate, and I have found that to be true.

The takeaway?

  1. Eat more vegetables, fresh fruit, nuts and seeds in general.
  2. Eat whole foods and avoid processed foods, meaning things that have a ton of added sugar, are fried, or have ingredients that sound chemical.
  3. Realize that your body is unique. We have different genetics and biochemistry, so what works for me may not work for you, and vice versa. You need to do your own experiment.
  4. When watching documentaries and reading things on the internet, don’t believe everything you’re being told. Do your own research – ALWAYS. Read articles from both sides and come up with your own truth.

Should you try going meatless?

YES! You should. Sam went meatless with me for 20 days and he survived, so I know you can too! I’m a huge believer in committing to something new, different, or difficult, and learning something you didn’t know about yourself. You may discover something that could change the rest of your life. Or maybe not – but at least you’ll know what your limits are!

Yesterday’s Day 20 Food Log:

Tofu with cauliflower fried rice and a side salad of butter lettuce and cilantro dressing.

A snack of plain greek yogurt. I added in some monk fruit sugar to sweeten it up!

A fun middle of the day drink.

Sweet strawberries for snacks!

OMG it looks like the seaweed is on fire – haha.

Dinner! Went to a restaurant called Gjelina in Venice! It was really good. I ordered a bunch of veggie appetizers and shared with our table. This was the kabocha squash! There was a lot of olive oil, pomegranate seeds, and some green leafy thing on top. Super good.

Roasted beets.

 

Japanese sweet potato.

Brussels sprouts!

Maitake mushroom! So crispy and good. I also had some roasted cauliflower but forgot to take a pic of that.

I was really craving some ice cream, so Sam took me to Target to get some Oatly. OMG. It was perfect. The original plain flavor is my favorite!

Alright you guys! That is all for today! I hope you enjoyed reading my 20 day meatless challenge posts. I will write to you again soon.

Today, do something nice for yourself | Day 19 of ...

By | Clothing Reviews, Designing, Fashion, meatless challenge | 7 Comments

Wow you guys! Today marks the FINAL day in the 2020 Challenge! AHH!! Officially you have completed 800 reps. EIGHT HUNDRED. Think about that.

I AM SO PROUD OF US.

I am currently obsessing over all of your check marks on all of your calendars!!!

Usually by this time of the year, 91% of people who set new year’s resolutions have already quit. But not you. NO. YOU ARE SPECIAL! You are unstoppable! 2020 is your year FOR REAL.

So, today, you need to go do something nice for yourself. Whether it is soaking in a luxurious bubble bath surrounded by candles, doing a face mask, scheduling a massage, or indulging in some retail therapy – give you body the thanks it deserves. Because if you don’t give appreciation each time you accomplish something hard, you will burn out. You need to take the time to say thank you. Physically you need the rest, and mentally you need the reward to keep you motivated for your next challenge.

To celebrate, I’m giving anyone who finished the 2020 Challenge a special discount code to get 20% off the new POPFLEX Constellation Collection! I never ever EVER put new collections on sale, but since you epically crushed this challenge, I had to do something special for you.

Use code “2020CHALLENGE” to get 20% off anything in the Constellation Collection. The code will deactivate on January 27th, so hurry before everyone grabs what you want.

To help you decide what to get…I’ll do a lil review here for you of my fave things!

For your reference, I wear a size small in most brands. I am 5’5″, I wear a 32B bra, and am a size 25-26″ jeans depending on brand and stretchiness of the material.

BEST LEGGINGS: Capricorn Legging

Why?

The V-shape waist band. It automatically creates the illusion of a smaller waist and wider hips, giving you a natural hourglass shape. Most flattering legging I own. Also, it has pockets.

I am wearing a size 4.

MOST UNIQUE BRA: Zodiac Bra

Why?

It’s the first bra we’ve ever designed with a pocket! This is perfect for runners or gym girls who need a place to put their phone when working out. I’m soooo guilty of sticking my bra in my chest and trying to do burpees without it falling out of my boobs. Impossible. IT ALWAYS FALLS OUT. It’s just a terrible, clunky, sweaty boob situation that no one should have to deal with. The Zodiac bra eliminates this issue :)

I am wearing a size small.

BEST YOGA MAT: Vegan Suede Yoga Mat by POPFLEX

Why?

The sweatier you get, the GRIPPER IT GETS. The unusual microfiber material that I use is velvety soft to the touch! Plus, the material does not wear away over time like with your regular neoprene mats. You can wear shoes on this, do plank jacks for days, and the color and material will not rub off.

COOLEST POST WORKOUT OUTFIT: Hypernova Hoodie Mini Dress

Why?

It’s made of the same buttery material the cardigan is made of, so it’s super duper soft. The dress is baggy so it’s comfy and doesn’t cling to every curve on your body. I love the cutout on the chest – it gives it a slightly sexy feel. There are thumbholes, a front pocket, and a hoodie. I truly enjoy designing things that fuse my girly side and my athletic side.

I am wearing a size 4. Be aware though that if you are taller, this may not be a dress on you! It might be a tunic. Looks so cute with sneakers.

There you go! Those are my fave pieces from the Constellation Collection. I hope that helped you make a decision! If you end up getting something, TAG ME!!!! I wanna see!!!! And take a mirror selfie immediately after you get your new outfit. I must see how beautiful you’re gonna look in your POPFLEX!

Yesterday’s Day 19 Food Log:

Brunch was mushroom scrambled eggs with cauli rice with coconut aminos and sriracha, and a side of butter lettuce with tomatoes and cilantro dressing.

Strawberries.  So sweet. So good. Perfection.

Had a little macrame crafting night with my friends and everyone brought some food! This is just one of my like 5 plates that I ended up eating that night! It was a mixture of guac, carrots, mangos, dehydrated broccoli, blackberries, brie cheese, and bits of chips and french fries here and there.

Oh yeah, and of course, I had more flourless blue velvet cake :)

And then proceeded to snack on some coconut chips.

Twas a great day :)

DIY Macrame Night! | Day 18 of 20

By | meatless challenge | 6 Comments

Hey guys!

I just finished a fun night of crafting and games!

I had some friends over for macrame night! Have you every macrame’d? We wanted to tackle making plant hangers today. I chose a YouTube tutorial that claimed to be “easy” and only take “5 minutes” but…WE ENDED UP TAKING AN HOUR AND MESSING UP A LOT. None of us are expert crafters. Maybe that was the REAL problem?!!

In the end, we did come out with some pretty cool macrame planters though! Not bad though, huh?! I want to do a more advanced version one of these days now that I have my feet wet in the macrame world…

Then we played some games on Jackbox.tv. Have you guys ever played? If not, try it out! You get to use your phone to connect to the game on screen, so it’s really interactive and cool! Your phone is your controller.

Above is a game called “Drawful” – kinda like Pictionary! This one made us all laugh so much because you have to use your finger to draw on your phone and that alone is just SO HARD. The prompts are weird and the drawing is incredibly inaccurate. So, you’re bound to have a great time with your friends!

Yesterday’s Day 18 Food Log:

Went to CAVA and ordered a salad with falafel and roasted veggies. Had a side of harissa tomato soup.

Snacked on some super sweet strawberries! The current batch at Costco is ruby red and perfectly sweet!

Kombucha while getting my nails done!

Dinner was spring rolls with tofu, lettuce, avocado, and my hoison/sriracha/lime sauce.

I also had some tofu shirataki noodles with mushrooms, zoodles, and tofu! Slathered on that sriracha of course!

Also had some more of my flourless blue velvet cake. Yup. Still can’t stop eating cake. Hahaha.

Can’t stop eating cake :P | day 17 of 20

By | meatless challenge | 4 Comments

Hey guys!

This morning Sam and I went to go do some heavy lifting at the gym before we checked out some wedding venues with my sister and Nick!

It was a full day of site visits, wedding dress talk, bridesmaid talk, music talk, photographer research, veil research, color palette research, and EVERYTHING I LOVE ABOUT WEDDINGS RESEARCH! I am so excited to help my sister plan her wedding. It’s like I get to relive my wedding planning ALL OVER AGAIN! I think my sis found her venue today! So next up…I am going to plan her engagement party! WHOO!

Once again it is a late night so I will keep it brief! I have another class in the morning, so must make it to bed!

Yesterday’s Day 17 Food Log:

A 4 veggie spring rolls with hoison/sriracha/lime sauce. These were filled with thick slices of tofu, spiralized zucchini, and crunchy butter lettuce. YUMMMMMM.

Cauliflower fried rice with egg, peas, corn, and sriracha. A side of seaweed soup.

After this I also ate a bowl of plantain chips with salsa. No pic, sorry. It was impulsive.

Then I snacked on some of my blue velvet cake :P …

…and ate some green tea matcha mille crepe cake too! The celebration continues I guess! Hahaha.

After eating all of the sweets, I do notice my belly getting extra bloated and gassy. I know it’s due to the dairy, the sugar and the grain – but oh well, my b-day only happens once a year! So eat cake I will!

Ahh, only 2 more days of meatless. Proud of myself for doing this. Almost there.

How to stop time. | Day 15 + 16 of 20

By | meatless challenge | 5 Comments

Hey guys!

The last couple days have been so jam packed that I didn’t have time to blog. I decided to prioritize sleep, so at least it was for good reason :)

Anyway, on Jan 16th, I celebrated my birthday!

And you know what I’ve realized? That time keeps going and no matter what you do, you can’t buy more time. Doesn’t matter how much money you have – the clock keeps ticking, the world keeps turning, and you keep getting older.

However, here are some 9 tricks that I learned that will allow you to play with the perception of time:

  1. HOW TO STOP TIME: 💋 KISS.
  2. HOW TO TRAVEL IN TIME: 📖 READ
  3. HOW TO ESCAPE TIME: 🎵 MUSIC.
  4. HOW TO FEEL TIME: ✍🏻 WRITE.
  5. HOW TO RELEASE TIME: 🌬 BREATHE.
  6. HOW TO SLOW TIME: 🏖 DO LESS.
  7. HOW TO SPEED UP TIME: 💻 DO MORE.
  8. HOW TO WASTE TIME: 😖 BE AROUND PEOPLE WHO MAKE YOU FEEL BAD.
  9. BEST WAY TO SPEND TIME: 👩‍❤️‍👨 BE AROUND PEOPLE WHO MAKE YOU FEEL LOVED.

Let think sink in.

Now, let’s recap some festivities!

Brought my flourless blue velvet cake to the office for the Blogifam to enjoy and the team said they liked it! I kept saying “DON’T LIE TO ME!!!!” But everyone ended up finishing their entire slice. So it was indeed a hit!!!

Released 2 new vegan suede yoga mats on POPFLEX on my b-day! This one above is called Terrazzo. I love the fresh new pattern so much! Plus the baby blue matches my Dream Collection outfit so well.

This one is called Desert Sky. I feel at peace practicing Pilates on this mat. Don’t you love!? Also, if any of you have not tried a vegan suede mat…OMG. You must switch now. The microfiber texture actually get GRIPPIER as your hands get sweatier.

Then, because everyone knows I love blue velvet cake…my friend Laura surprised me with 2 slices of ACTUAL REAL blue velvet cake from MILK – the bakery that inspired my wedding cake! Hahahaha. OMG. I totally devoured. So good. But like…was it better than my flourless blue velvet cake? Honestly guys…maybe my tastebuds are weird…but I kinda liked mine better!!!

Then I went out to dinner with Sam, Jackelyn, and Nick (forgot to take a fam pic!) and they surprised me with my other fave cake ever – green tea matcha mille crepe cake!!!!

OMG. Absolutely delish. Guys. Green tea matcha mille crepe cake goes head to head with blue velvet. These two are my fave two cakes in the entire world. And in case you were wondering how to healthify it…I’ve already made a Cheap Clean Eats video on it! ;)

 

I don’t know if I have ever had so much cake in one day, but it was so good and so fulfilling…for by belly and my SOUL!!!! I’m going to skip the food log for the past couple days because, well – in all honesty – there are too many pics to upload :P I’ll start back up again tomorrow!

I can’t believe I have been meatless now for 17 days! Only 3 more to go.

I’ve taken some intense cardio classes and I don’t notice a difference in my energy levels. I felt great when eating meat and I feel great now. So at least there is no negative impact. What I do know is that I am eating more carbs than I normally would on my regular low carb omnivore diet, and I am noticing that my muscles look and feel softer. You can’t tell obviously, but I can. I’m probably not getting enough protein for my body. I will review my average macronutrient intake on this 20 day meatless challenge versus on 90 day journey in my final blog post. I am actually curious how different my protein, carb, and fat intake has been compared to before, and how that is changing my body composition.

Time for bed! It is 11:31 PM, Friday night.

Going back to what I wrote at the beginning of this post…I really need to work on DOING LESS. My days go by too fast because of work. And then it ends up sucking away time from the people I love. Sam already went to bed and I always have to crawl in quietly after. It’s been like this for a few weeks. We were supposed to watch a show together tonight, but we couldn’t because I was editing and writing. I’ll need to figure out how to get more help in my business this year because it will begin to severely eat away at my personal life and my most important relationship.