Category: Nutrition


I always have such a hard time starting my posts. My brain synapses fire in 8000 different directions and I’m not sure that everything that I want to say will end up coming together in a conclusive matter… but here it goes…

I’ve been pondering people’s struggles… a lot. I’ve even talked at length with my mentor about it. This past week, after finishing another couple of books with eight others on the go (I seriously have book ADHD – its amazing I ever finish a book!), watching a documentary last weekend (I have an exciting life!), and a whole whack of client cancellations (some weeks go like this), I have felt the weight of the world on my shoulders.

The problem is that no one can solve the problem. Seventy-eight billion dollars are spent on the diet and weight loss industry every year in North America (53% of Statistics are made up on the spot – and while I’ve tried to find the EXACT number – there are too many variables – one indicated if you include bariatric surgeries – it soars to close to $140 Billion in the US alone). So I keep asking myself, “Can anyone actually ever change?”. One book I have finished, titled, Body of Truth, by Harriett Brown does not seem to think so. I read this book twice. I agree with some, but not all of what she had to say.

There are a ton of factors that go into why I feel we are not successful on our weight loss journeys. The first, quite obvious from the dollar expenditure above is that humans (in this generation) want instant gratification. We don’t really want to have to work for it. I don’t mean this as an insult but its one-hundred percent true (and yes, I made that statistic up!). The thing that comes to mind here is all the multi-level marketing companies out there promoting their “lifestyle” changes through various supplements and shakes. My clients come to me at least once a week asking about the “newest” system on the market. I then go research it and find another dozen out there. There are literally hundreds of these systems out thstruggle1ere. I have had clients show up for their workouts with me on their second “cleanse” day so depleted that we couldn’t make it through a workout. I always discourage clients from any of these systems. At first, they can have great success but I don’t know very many who want to bring their tubs of meal replacement to the Bahamas with them so that they can stay on track.

Another big problem is our perceived sense of reality. I need a huge kick in the ass about three times a week from either my husband or a friend when I whine and snivel about how I look. Who the hell am I comparing myself to? Well… of course then I have to research it to death (that’s my original trade after all…). Here is a great video I found (by the way – this gal is super cute and has a great, common sense approach). Well, I compare myself to those asshole Instagram pictures of girls twenty years younger than me who have rock hard abs and huge muscles!!! I have been told many times that I may be a bit “naive” about how these women are achieving their bodies. I do think our expectations of how we should look are slowly changing with things such as the Dove campaigns and the Special-K campaigns – LOVE this video!

One of the BIGGEST problems is our food, what we eat, how the food industry produces and mstruggle2arkets our food. Its awful, shameful, should be illegal… I recommend this documentary to EVERYONE!!! Its on Apple TV and Netflix. It should be shown in our middle/high schools. I almost blew a FUSE when my oldest daughter brought home homework on the Canada food guide. You’ve GOT to be kidding me. I know the teachers have no control over this, as its required curriculum – but seriously even the US is ahead of us now with their rendition of the food guide, although the grains is still way out of proportion. Our food is being created to be addictive. There are great books out there explaining this phenomenon as well. Moreover, while our food is being created to be addictive, there are some people who are genetically predisposed to be more addicted to certain types of foods (mainly white, processed foods – aka sugar and flours). Some people have the same types of addictions to food as those with a drug or alcohol addiction. I also recommend the book, Food Junkies, by Vera Tarman. She even goes into talking about how so many people who have bariatric surgeries (another instant gratification solution) turn to alcohol and become alcoholics or drug addicts. The problem with the bariatric surgeries most of the time is that these people still have not dealt with the CORE reason of for their obesity. This could be emotional trauma or chemical trauma such as food addiction.

Other problems include our emotions and our lives in general. We are too busy and too sleep deprived. Don Saladino – a celebrity personal trainer in New York stated on a TV program I was watching (I do occasionally make it past 8:00pm) that his biggest secret to weight loss is SLEEP. One of his male clients lost 9 pounds in ONE MONTH by adding 90 minutes of sleep to his night!! There is a TON of research out there on sleep and weight gain. I know myself, if I am tired – LOOK OUT CARBS – oh my word… I will devour any sort of sugar left in my path… My Mom (who is a part of the generation that did all the latest diets – along with all of my clients her age and now have damaged metabolisms and are stuck on the 1200 calorie a day regimen – side bar: you should see the look in their eyes when I prescribe them 1900-2200 calories – they almost pass out!) often talked about how she would tell her weight loss clinic or group or whatever – about the tiredness and always felt “silly” or that she was alone in that problem and how she couldn’t control her appetite if she was sleep deprived. Flash forward 20 years – OH we have HORMONES that get f#*ked up if we don’t get enough sleep and we eat like there will be no tomorrow (now they just have to figure out how to get these hormones in control – common’ science people!!!).

Emotions. I wrote about this a while back. You have to deal with your shit before you’ll get anywhere. Again, Brenda Turstruggle4ner in her response to the huge ass Nicole Arbour (may karma come to you bitch)… she talks about how so many people wear their battle scars on the outside in the form of obesity. I don’t believe that all obese people are obese due to emotional issues. I see there being a HUGE problem with food addiction, which I believe to be more chemical but can certainly be an emotional issue in and of itself. In this video however, she is talking more specifically about abuse, etc. I have clients who deal with depression, anxiety, eating disorders, self-esteem, self-confidence issues… the myriad of emotions that create toxicity within our body. Toxic thoughts create toxic chemical reactions within our body. If you are constantly telling yourself that you are worthless, fat, ugly, stupid, etc. Your subconscious does NOT know the difference, it may as well be the person standing across from you yelling these things. I’m a firm believer in that you become what you think or believe. Trust me, I’m a work in process as well…

So back to how I will pull this all together… I often hear the statement, “Why am I not seeing results?”. My answers can be summed up as follows:

  1. Are you working hard enough? That is, are you putting in the time at the gym or with some sort of exercise routine? We are so much more sedentary than ever before. One hour of exercise at the gym is NOT enough… walk – move around… park further away, go for small walks – keep your body MOVING… 1 hour at the gym is only 4% of our day!
  2. Are you being consistent? This relates to number 1. You can’t exercise 5 days one week and 1 the next and expect results. You need to be CONSISTENT!!
  3. What TYPES of food are you eating and HOW MUCH?? We always under estimate how much of what we are eating. Try using a food tracker for a few days to see where your macronutrients are falling (calories, fat, protein, carbs)
  4. BE CONSISTENT!!! Again, you can’t eat clean all week and then binge on the weekend… you’ll ruin ALL of your dedicated eating. Instead, as I’ve said before follow the 80/20 rule. 80% clean and 20% for joy and pleasure – whether you plan that on a micro level (80% of your daily meals, 80% of your week, month… ).
  5. SLEEP!!! Get enough – if you don’t your hormones will be out of whack and you’ll not burn fat the way you should and your appetite won’t be regulated the way it should.
  6. Deal with your SHIT! All the emotional baggage. Divorce, affairs, abuse, cancer, death, special needs, children, depression, anxiety, eating disorders… the list goes on. Until you deal with what is holding you back in your life emotionally, change will be almost impossible to achieve. Mental, emotional and spiritual health is paramount to fix first before you can be consistent with all the rest.

… But mostly I want people to know that they are not alone in their battles. Each and every one of my clients battles – I become so attached to them and want to take away their hurt and solve their problems as if they are my own children… it keeps me up some nights. I want to find THE ULTIMATE solution to the very problem I opened with. But for now, I don’t have all the answers… just the ones that are close to my heart. Knowing that hopefully if I can provide them with enough easy to digest knowledge, the right tools, the best support that I can, a place to vent or cry to that is not attached to them in other ways such as a family or friend – a place of “unconditional support” and confidence, that everything will be ok. Not perfect, but ok. We can achieve great things through small steps, common sense approach, long-term changes, and mostly through finding even the smallest of things to be grateful for when the world seems to be crashing down on us.



Getting Back to Basics…







We are well into January and most people have already fallen off of their New Year’s resolutions they made 18 short days ago… I’m one of them! I made it 3 days. I was going to go 30 days without a glass of red wine. What happened as soon as I said to myself, “no red winmoderatione for you”? I wanted it even more! I was like a 15 year old kid rebelling against my parents. It proved once again to me, that restriction is not the key but rather, moderation.

Weight loss resolutions are the most difficult to make. Especially if you are setting a broad goal such as, “I’m going to lose weight”. Its been proven time and time again that in order to achieve a goal it must be specific, it must be reasonable and it must be measurable. I think its always good to set a date or timeline in there as well. For example, “I’m going to lose 13 pounds in 15 weeks”. That is specific, measurable and reasonable.

The next step is to create a plan on how to achieve your goal. This is where things get messy. With fitness magazines, the wonderful world wide web and social media people dive head first into big ideas and trends that are expensive and not sustainable. There are so many conflicting ideas and such an over-abundance of information that things become overly complicated very quickly. When it gets complicated and overwhelming we tend to give up. In a day and age where we have access to so much we are truly blessed but also cursed as well.

We are starting week two of our Body Challenge at Fitness Inc. Myself and my partner-in-crime, Jessica Law, are coaching and training 20 amazing people to get healthy. I’m very fortunate to work with Jessica. We have very similar outlooks on fitness and nutrition. Our hope is to teach our challengers that fitness is necessary to be healthy for all of the right reasons, which are very personal to each individual. However, the one common denominator is that it has to fit with ones own lifestyle. I strongly believe that you do not have to spend hours in the gym to accomplish this and you may not need to spend any time in the gym at all. In fact, there is a large percentage of people who hate the gym. But every person needs something… anything… to be active. You need to find what that thing is.

When it comes to nutrition… oh my word… so much information. Always a new trend, whether Atkins, South Beach, the Zone, Paleo, Beach Body, Isagenix on and on and on. I read EVERYTHING. The thing is, when you read these books, eachsimple2 and every one of them is convincing in their claims. I bet if you were to read a book about each one of the major “diet trends”, you could find that you would do beautifully on any one of them and you probably would… for about six months tops. Unless you have the type of personality where you are highly motivated and driven. For those… maybe a year to eighteen months. After that, unless it becomes something that is very simple for you to follow… essentially, effortless, we fall off the wagon.

Being healthy shouldn’t be complicated but like everything else, its something you have to work at and something you have to dedicate yourself to. You have to practice and be patient. Only when you surrender to the fact that there will be no short-term fix, when you decide to practice healthy living for life, will you succeed.

Some may find that this means spending up to two hours in the gym most days of the week. These people are there because they love it, they thrive on it. There is a social aspect and it keeps them motivated. For the more introverted type, they may choose to turn on a DVD in their living room, for those who crave the outdoors, it may be running or hiking or any sort of outdoor activity.

Nutrition definitely seems to be the most complicated and I believe it makes up 80% of the equation. I’m not a fan of calorie counting but if you’re just starting out, I truly think its a necessary evil. Once you get into the habit of what your calorie requirements look like in terms of macro-nutrient (protein, carbohydrates and fat) breakdown is… you won’t have to count for life or at least things should be simple enough that you shouldn’t have to. Tracking what you eat and more importantly – how you FEEL is key. Everyone feels extremely different eating different foods. The big trend right now is gluten free. There is a very very small portion of the population who have true gluten allergies. For the rest, its a grey area. But, if you track your food and how you feel after eating it – that is the best indicator of whether you should consume it or not. Something else that takes patience and dedication.

I recently started reading a book called, “Fat Loss Happens on Mondays” by Josh Hillis. I skimmed though and movenow I’m reading full-on. But what has captured my attention is his insistence on simplicity of ones approach to health. When he talks about nutrition specifically, he states the following: 1. Quantity of food determines your scale weight, 2. Quality of food determines your body fat percentage and 3. The ratios of macro-nutrients determines how satisfied (or satiated) you will be each day. The macro-nutrients is where you need to experiment. For myself, I have slowly discovered that if I eat a high protein, higher fat diet – I crave sweets less. For some, they may need a much larger proportion of carbs to stay energized and satisfied.

Keep your food simple. One ingredient or very few ingredients. As close to nature as you can find. If you can’t pronounce it, don’t consume it.

In summary, my hope is that each and every one of you who have set weight loss or getting healthy as your New Year’s resolution will be successful. However, in order to sustain your motivation you need to follow simple steps:

1. Pick a reasonable, measurable, specific goal.

2. Track your nutrition intake (online or on paper) – along with how you feel.

3. Move more – but with that – find what you love to do – or what makes you feel happy and joyful. Ski, dance, walk, hike, bootcamp, crossfit, gym, swim… if you love it – you’ll stick with it.

4. Eat simple, wholesome foods.

5. Don’t restrict anything, especially if its your favorite. Unless of course, you know its a “trigger” food.nutella2 Ummmm… that would be Nutella for moi! Get it out of the house. If you know you can’t enjoy in moderation – then don’t torture yourself. Don’t challenge me – I could eat a full-sized Costco tub of that shit! I tell my clients to pick three things that they refuse to give up. Mine are red wine, chocolate, and peanut butter. For me, knowing I can have those things every day if I so choose, makes me know that I am in control and I’m not deprived.

There you have it!

I hope that all of you have an amazing 2015. So much happens in one short year. Enjoy each day, work to embrace the challenges thrown your way and give yourself permission to achieve those goals you have set for yourself!

xo ~Olivia

Intuition… A.K.A. – Go with your GUT!

It’s hard to know where to begin with a topic like this. But, I will start with something non-fitness/food related. Kids. Now, hang-tight if you are not a parent – it will get better – lol!

I remember when I was pregnant with my first daughter. The Internet was still pretty slow back then – but it was available. Actually, now that I think about it – Wow! The virtual world has come such a long way in a short time. I didn’t have any friends at that time who were having babies – I was pretty young by today’s standards. My Mom couldn’t remember anything, which had me wondering if perhaps I was adopted, except that my Dad and I are way too much the same to not be genetically related.

Every little thing I panicked about. I am the kind of person who needs to research everything and study everything and just be plain anal and type “A” about everything. So, I read all the “What to Expect” books and what was available on the Internet. At one point, I had myself convinced that my baby was going to be born with purple horns and three eyeballs. That was the point at which my husband and my Mom wanted to rip the computer out of the wall and turn off the wonderful World Wide Web.

Then the baby came. I had no idea what the hell I was doing. Again, no friends with experience. So, I researched everything. I was basically a basket case the first two years of both of my daughters’ baby-hoods. I really didn’t start to like them at all until they were around the age of five.

I compare myself to one of my best friends, who until just three months ago did not own a thermometer. Four babies and she didn’t own a thermometer??? WTF? I mean, babies are just petri-dishes of disease… you need a thermometer if you don’t want to kill them – don’t you? She also did not own any baby books. Oh and guess what? All FOUR of her babies slept through the night. Ummmm… at the ages of 12 and 10 – mine STILL don’t sleep through the night and some nights I swear I’m going to lose my shit – okay – well I’m not gonna lie… I DO lose my shit.gut2

I have pondered this many a times. I have come to one solid conclusion: my dear friend and I had one major difference – she trusted – TRUSTS her gut! That built-in mechanism we were blessed with called intuition. I, on the other hand, with my spazzy, OCD, read and research everything until I’m running circles, lost the ability – or maybe didn’t even start with it, to trust my gut – my innate intuition.

Ok – so I hope I haven’t totally lost all of you non-parents yet – I think you get where I am coming from. Let’s apply this to ourselves.

This week at the gym, I had several people approach me and talk to be about diets. Questions like, “Have you read this diet?”, “What do you think about this way of eating?”, “What do YOU eat?”.

While I am currently working toward my level one nutrition coaching certification, it is not in the scope of practice for personal trainers to prescribe meal plans. However, we can discuss nutrition, we can evaluate your food diaries and give suggestions and we can discuss nutrition in general terms.

Most fitness professionals will agree that the Canadian Food Guide is, well – shit. If you ate with those recommendations, you’d probably be obese and lethargic all the time.

If you’ve followed, you know that I had struggles with my weight. To this day, I still have to keep everything “in-check” to maintain and no, its not completely effortless – but it has become a way of life and something that I believe is sustainable for me.

I’ve read just about every diet book out there. I’ve never followed any of them. I simply read, pull certain information, perhaps give it a try or incorporate some ideas – but I can honestly say I’ve never followed a specific plan or “way” of eating.

I became over-weight myself for the first time after having two kids and being home-bound and in-active due to my postpartum anxiety. We ate very healthy as a family, proteins, carbs, fats – but for me – it was simply about portion control. When I was breastfeeding, I could eat like a machine and was super-thin. But when the babies were weaned, I continued to eat the same calories and be anxious and the pounds crept on.

For the past few years, fitness has been a large part of my life and that has evolved into a different way of eating all together. I was doing it all – bodybuilding, crossfitting, marathon training and starving myself. It was egg whites, protein shakes and chicken breasts. I wouldn’t even touch a carrot because it had too many carbs. That resulted in poor performance (in hind-sight), low energy, moodiness, hair-loss, dark circles under my eyes… oh and then there was that hospitalization thing.

About a year ago, I came across an awesome website, called “Eat To Perform”. I started to read more about it – and there are other similar sites as well. I kept reading over and over about fueling your body to perform – not to lose weight. So, I thought I’d give it a try. This meant adding carbs, which scared the crap out of me – but it also was the timing of the carbs. I gave it a try. What happened? I started lifting heavier, I had more energy, I was sleeping better… aaaaaaaand… I gained weight. That was hard, but I know now, that at the time, I was not a healthy weight for my stature. I still struggle with the fact that I’m not wearing a size four anymore – but then I consider my health and what that means and it brings me in-check.

Fast forward to today. What am I doing now? Well, today, I have learned to go with my gut – to follow my intuition. I believe that this is something that takes practice – a lot of it. But, with continued practice – and I am practicing every single day – comes health and success. I stock our pantry and fridge/freezer with foods as close to mother nature as possible. With kids, its hard – they are picky – but I believe if I continue to provide healthy options, they will learn to choose correctly as well. I also KNOW myself. I know that if I have sweets in the house – I will eat them. So, I simply don’t make them available. I have learned what makes my body feel good, what helps it lift heavy, train hard, get through long days of training clients, teaching classes, my own workouts, running my kids around and all the other commitments I have. If I don’t fuel properly – I won’t make it through the day.

This way of nutrition has become so intuitive that if I actually tracked my food (which sometimes I definitely do if things are getting off-track) – based on a female-cycle – I know there would be some very obvious patterns. I can feel if my body needs extra carbs, a little more protein, or a little more fat. I can also tell when I need a glass (or three) of wine. You have to become in-tune to your digestive patterns (bloating, gas, elimination patterns – TMI – I know!), your sleep, your moods, your energy. It all takes practice – and following your body’s signals.

All that being said, there are ways to make it easier. You have to make the right foods and choices available to yourself (your wine rack must be fully stocked – JK – not really). Things I do: every Sunday – I cook a package of chicken breasts – they are ready to go. I have hard-boiled eggs on hand ALL the time. I have Quest bars in my car, my gym bag, my drawer at the gym. If I know I’m going to be out all day, I whip up a protein shake to go, nuts, eggs, apple, veggies, etc. It all comes with me. I also eat chocolate every single freaking day. I allow myself to have wine three nights a week – but if I have that wine – I don’t eat a carb with my meal – its protein and veggies. If we eat out, I will have a couple bites of dessert – we order one dessert for the family – and we share it – knowing a couple bites will satisfy the palate but also knowing that depriving will lead to failure.

I have written a novel this time – and I could continue forever… but I hope this helps you consider a few things or recognize a few things in your own patterns. I will always preach that we need to develop and learn a way of eating that is sustainable for our entire life – not a rigid plan that includes depriving us of the things we enjoy. As soon as we do that, we will fail and life needs pleasure and joyous moments – and if a bite of chocolate and a glass of wine gives you joy, then learn how to make that work for YOU! Trust your GUT!gut3



Fitness, Raw Chocolate, Elixirs and Essential Oils…

Oh my goodness – BEST WEEKEND EVER!

Over the past couple of months I have had the honor and privilege of creating an amazing new network of fitness friends and fellow health nuts! I mean truly, I feel so blessed to have had my path lead to such warm, passionate, and incredibly knowledgeable people. Through my courses I have become friends with some amazing women. The thing is when you become part of the fitness profession world things can get a little competitive. But not once, have I felt anything but encouragement and complete positivity from everyone! I get so excited when I see that one of my fellow classmates has officially become a certified trainer and I know they have been cheering me on as well! They have a wealth of knowledge to share and it excites me to see the “web” expand so we can all reach out to others and help make this world a healthier and more amazing place.

This weekend I made another trek back to Calgary and I was super excited – coincidentally my timing was perfect! I was able to attend a session with my ProTrainer, Andrea Thatcher AND the beautiful Eva Sefcova-Gustafsson, holistic practitioner, Reiki master and fitness model – google her – seriously she is gorgeous on the inside and out! Our session was about essential oils. Many of my friends know that I’ve used oils since my girls were little. Actually, another Mom at school introduced me to their powerful immune boosting properties because my little nose miners were sick all the time, which meant I was a crabby mama! Anyway, I was super excited about this because I got to learn a million, zillion more ways to use the oils that I already have as well as add a bunch of new ones to my collection! I even got a new cacao1bottle of wild orange – and let me just say, these aren’t just any essential oils – they are therapeutic grade – it makes a HUGE difference in the way they work. Before we went out for dinner on the town, I made Chris breathe some in and then I smeared some on him – he has learned to embrace my inner modern hippy chique  – or at least that is what I will call it.

I also learned how to make my very own raw chocolate and superfood elixirs! Oh my… I was in CHOCOLATE HEAVEN!!! The elixir we made was also made with raw cacao – various forms and all sorts of other superfoods! I am super excited to be taking a raw food certification course through David Wolfe as well. I will write a whole other post on that at some point. But incorporating all sorts of ways of nourishing our bodies – AND our souls with foods closest to mother nature comes with practice. It takes time at first and experimenting, but after a while – you tune into your intuition and let your body and soul lead you to what nutrients we need based on the day!

So the only thing better than learning is SHARING! I’m so excited to bring all of my new knowledge to YOU! Within the few weeks I will be hosting my own session on how to make-over your medicine cabinets and cleaning closets with the gifts that we are given from mother nature herself rather than the toxic, disease causing chemicals most of us use! We can eat some raw chocolate and drink elixirs and have tons of fun learning about superfoods! If you’re ever interested in hosting your own event, do let me know! It would be my privilege to help you and your friends learn too!oils1

On a training note – WOW! September is going just as I thought it would! Everyone is getting back to their routines – our classes are super full at the gym and full of wonderful energy! LOVE IT! We have some amazing new instructors at the gym and I’m just dying to try their classes! My clients are booking up too. If you haven’t had a chance to read my last post, I suggest giving it a read – time to get back to those routines and give yourself the time to find a healthier you! Also, my promotion will still be running with my beautiful friend Christine, from the Dot Mobile Boutique (find her on Facebook!) – anyone who signs up for a 10 sessions will get a gift certificate to use on themselves (or to give to their wife, girlfriend, mom, etc.) for a FREE manicure or pedicure. Check her work out! She is a seriously amazing artist and full of laughs!

Here’s to YOU having the best week ever!