kierstyn

thankful; (adj)

Hello hello! I know what you are thinking- who are you and where have you been? Honestly, I’ve been busy and life happens so I’ve had to put my focus on other things BUT HERE I AM. ALIVE AND WELL.

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, I want to take this time to reflect on a few things I am thankful for. I love this time of year because it is filled with so much love, joy and happiness. The things below help get me through every single day and I wouldn’t be who I am without them.

  1. My support system – There are so many people in my life who are there to support me through everything I do and I honestly wouldn’t be where I am or who I am without them. Whether it’s my mom, my close girlfriends or my boyfriend, I am constantly surrounded by people who love me and want whats best for me. 

  2. My body– I have had a love/hate relationship with my body for quite some time but it still provides me with the ability to do everything I love- running, hiking, weight lifting etc. I push it so much and it bares through it all. I am beautiful. I am strong. My body works wonders. 

  3. Earth and its beautiful creations– Earth is beautiful and it provides us with so much. Here are some delicious creations provided from the fruits of this lovely planet. (I’m 100% a foodie and will love food till death do us part.)

 

4. You– Because you took the time to read this which means you’re still invested in Squats Over Sweets although I have been MIA for quite some time and I appreciate that so much. Knowing you’re interested in what I have to say and how much I’ve grown means so much.

 

Thanksgiving gives us a little reminder that we should think of the things we are thankful for but I make a point to think about these things every single day. A good friend once told me that I should think of three things that made me happy each day right before I fall asleep at night. It really helps put reality in check and I highly recommend you try it!

Be thankful. Be grateful. Be you. Be kind. Love always. Give graciously.

Talk soon,

K

kierstyn

Where in the World has Kierstyn been?

Sometimes things in life change and it’s not always in a way you were hoping. Sometimes you have super high highs where everything is going swimmingly and sometimes you have incredibly low lows where you feel like nothing will ever go right again.

Summer 2016 was the most incredible time of my life. I got out of a relationship I was unhappy in, focused on my health, dropped 30 pounds and found joy in the things around me. I was working two jobs I loved and had little worries in the world. It was what I thought was the beginning of an incredible life with tons of new found knowledge and understanding of who I was and what I wanted. I met someone who I thought filled my life with everything it was missing. I looked up to him in more ways than one and finally felt things in my life were falling into place. The problem, though, was that I didn’t need someone to fill my life. I needed to have a full life and meet someone who complimented that.

This summer, everything changed. That relationship ended, I took a summer class which I had to dedicate all my time to, I lost my fitness mojo, I developed a binge eating habit and my mental health hit an all time low. I thought I lost myself. I filled all my time with work, pushing myself through excessive overtime hours to avoid the feelings I was dealing with. Instead I wore myself too thin and started getting sick. I spent a lot of time laying in bed, I ate foods which used to repulse me and I spent money on ridiculous things. I guess a good way to sum this entire thing up is that I no longer feel like myself.

Being in your 20s is definitely troubling. It’s the time in your life when you’re trying to figure out what you want and who you want to be. It’s the time in your life when you put the most pressure on yourself to finish school, get the job, meet the partner and plan the wedding. It’s the time in your life when you forget to enjoy the little things and instead focus solely on the future rather than living in the present moment. I wish it didn’t take me the entire summer to realize I was the reason everything felt crappy. I made the decision to dread on what wasn’t going to happen instead of feeling great about what was already happening.

In my past relationship I was so focused on finding someone who was just like me that when I did, I thought that was the person I was going to spend the rest of my life with. I was more infatuated than I was in love and when it ended, I let it affect me more than I should have. I took a few months, let myself be sad and threw myself into my work. It was during this time that I met Mikey. Mikey started at my work about two months after I went through one of the hardest times in my life and I was in no place to be seeing anyone. I let him know that the moment he asked me out. I learned from my previous break-up that I had to make sure my life was full instead of just filling the void with someone else. This man was different though- there was no pressure, I didn’t feel like I had to constantly be better for him and he made me feel comfortable through everything. It felt incredibly natural to be around him and he helped me realize the value in life without making me feel like I wasn’t enough. He complimented my life.

During this time, I put more focus on my friendships and my goals for the upcoming year. This is my final year of University and big things are coming! So much is going to change over the next year and I have to put less pressure on myself to be perfect. I can’t be everything or do everything. I think that’s what stresses me out the most- the fact that I have little control over the things that happen to me and I can only do so much.

Luckily, I’ve been able to surround myself with friends that support me and are ALWAYS there to listen. I’ve met someone who understands what I am going through and doesn’t judge me for my weaknesses. I’ve built a stronger relationship with my mom and step-dad than I’ve ever had before. I was going to apologize to you all for being distant and not posting as much but honestly, this is exactly what needed to happen. I needed space. I needed to work on things for myself. If you feel like you need to, do it. You are not perfect and you can’t expect yourself to be. You’re allowed to have flaws and show weakness. You’re allowed to accept your mental illnesses for what they are rather than being ashamed of them. I’m still learning these things and trying to remind myself of them every single day.

Life is all about learning and I am learning every single day. Some learning curves are harder than others but working through them is what makes you strong. I am still not in the place that I want to be and I’ve definitely been at a very low point but each day gets a little easier.

I want to thank you. First, for reading the mumble jumble that is this blog post because let’s face it, my mind moves faster than my fingers. But second, for standing by my side. For understanding that I’ve been going through a really tough time and for supporting me no matter what. Every single picture I post is a chance for me to express who I am and what I’m doing. BUT obviously there are days where I don’t make it to the gym, eat like absolute garbage and can barely leave my bed. You guys don’t get to see those days and that’s something I plan on changing. I don’t want you guys to assume I am perfect or have my whole life together, because I absolutely do not. This is a quick summary of where I’ve been and what’s been going on in this little head of mine. Where in the world have I been? Right here, struggling and thriving through each day I’ve been given on this beautiful earth. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

kierstyn

#BodyPositivity

The “body positivity” movement is one which encourages individuals to adopt a more loving and forgiving attitude towards their bodies no matter the shape or size. It’s all about self-love and empowering others. This movement does not lend itself to only one body type, one gender or one race. It’s a collective movement for the entire world to embrace.

Earlier this week, an Instagram post caught my eye addressing “bopo [body positivity].” It referenced that the movement started as an “opportunity to shine light on the lives of fat people” and that “it’s not really fair for companies or public figures who are geared towards fitness to be using #bodypositivity to label themselves because they have plenty of representation in the media and are generally deemed acceptable within society.” Although the BoPo movement may have started in the way stated above (which I cannot confirm or deny), I think it’s incredible that it has evolved into one that doesn’t discriminate based on an individual’s body type.

A Personal Take on Why I Use #BodyPositivity

Ever since I was little, I was taught through the media (subliminally, I might add) that body image was important. Being “skinny” meant being popular and being popular meant having a lot of friends and getting boys to like you. It took me 21 years to realize that most media was wrong and that body image isn’t everything. It took me 21 years to realize that what YOU think of YOURSELF is all that matters. Today, I use the hashtag #bodypositivity to represent how far I’ve come on my fitness journey. [Note: Fitness is a term I use to describe being mentally, spiritually and physically fit. Fit doesn’t mean skinny. It means confident in your own body and being healthy.] My 16 year old self would go to the beach in a one piece bathing suit with a huge t-shirt to cover. My 22 year old self walked across the beach this summer in a two piece bathing suit without a care in the world. THAT is #bodypositivity. I do not refer to myself as skinny. Hell, I don’t even refer to myself as fit. I’m not even close to where I feel my body is capable of being and I definitely have rolls. Rolls that I am hella proud of. The state of my mental well being is what allows me to embrace my own #bodypositivity and it’s what has changed in me the most over the past 6 years.

I promote fitness 100%. I would classify myself as a public figure that is geared towards fitness, without a doubt. BUT that does not mean that I ONLY promote being skinny. I stand for being healthy, loving your body and taking good care of it- getting in your daily dose of exercise, feeding your body the right nutrients and cherishing your mental health. Doing all of these things IS being fit.

To say that #bodypositivity should only be used for one type of body size is ridiculous. Who is to say who can be proud of their body and who can’t be? Who determines what classifies someone as “fat” or “fit”. There are SO MANY variables that go into bodies and every single person is different. For the past decade, we have been trying to tell people to be proud of themselves and to practice self-love, but now we’re dictating who can and can’t share their #bodypositivity moments? Why are we moving in a backwards direction?

Be proud of your body. If you have a little junk in your trunk, embrace it. If you’re a size 2 working on building muscle, embrace it. If you’re feeling extra bloated today, embrace it. If you love how your body is transforming, embrace it. EMBRACE THE HELL OUT OF THE BODY YOU HAVE BEEN GIVEN, NO MATTER YOUR SHAPE OR SIZE. I will continue to share my #bodypositive stories with you because I worked hard to get to where I am today and my positive outlook is what keeps me going. You should continue to share yours too.

kierstyn

Recipe: Easy Wild Rice Risotto

This past week I made myself a nice dinner (when I probably should have been studying!) which is something I haven’t done in a really long time. Cooking and baking have always been things I’ve enjoyed doing but I miss out on opportunities when life gets so busy! With that being said, here is the recipe for the delicious wild rice risotto I made!

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Ingredients:

1 cup minute rice

1.5 cups chicken broth

3 sliced mushrooms

20 chopped green beans

2 chopped broccoli crowns

2 tbsp of olive oil

Seasoning of your choice (I used steak spice!)

Cheese (Optional: to melt on top!)

Directions: 

1. Heat olive oil in a pan. Toss in mushrooms, broccoli and beans until lightly browned. Add seasoning and mix.

2. Add in rice and broth. Mix well. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 30 minutes or until broth is absorbed.

3. Pair with a nice chicken breast or steak and enjoy!

The reason I love this so much is because of how easy it is! I made this batch and proportioned it into three servings. It covered me for 3 meals and that’s the kind of convenience I need when I’m living a hectic lifestyle! Give it a try and let me know what you think!

 

 

kierstyn

When Did Loving Yourself Become a Crime

Growing up we were taught that bragging about ourselves and our accomplishments was vain and inconsiderate. We were told that being proud of who we are and what we’ve done is okay, as long as we keep those thoughts to ourselves because sharing them only makes others feel bad. This then translated into us not being content with who we are as people because we felt like we couldn’t be. It forced us into a state of constant competition and trying to be better than the person sitting next to us without even speaking a word.

Over the course of the past 400ish days, I’ve been on a journey of self-discovery. Throughout my journey, I’ve found self-love and have learned to be proud of who I am and all that I’ve accomplished. During this time, I would express what I’ve learned with others, how I’ve come to terms with my strengths and weaknesses, often following the conversation with, “I’ve finally learned to love myself!” This is huge for me as I’ve struggled with confidence my whole life. What shocks me most, though, is that when I express this to others, they usually follow it with, “you’re pretty vain, eh.” Or something along the lines of, “you think so highly of yourself.” Sometimes all I get is a scoff or even a little chuckle.

In today’s day and age, depression and anxiety are at an all time high. Suggestions to *fix* this are to learn to love yourself but when you do, you get ridiculed anyway. Can someone please explain to me when loving yourself became a crime?

Some days I wake up and love everything about myself (almost) but then other days I don’t. Either way, if I’m proud of myself, why do people have to make me feel like I shouldn’t be?

I get it. It all comes down to jealousy and jealousy is a dangerous emotion. But encouraging others to be proud of themselves is one thing, letting them be is another. Don’t preach loving yourself and then sit there and judge people when they do.

There are two things I want you to learn from this blog post:

  1. If you judge someone for loving themselves and being proud of who they are, take a step back and ask yourself why you are judging them. Get to that root cause. It’s most likely an internal struggle you are dealing with and is a reflection of how you truly feel about yourself.
  2. If you’ve found self-love or have done something that makes you proud, SHOUT IT TO THE WORLD. Let everyone know how proud you are because odds are it will inspire others. Finding self-love is hard and it does come and go so when it’s there, embrace it in all of it’s glory. You deserve it.

The world spins round and round and as cliche as it sounds, life is way to short to sit in the shadows. They always talk about finding love in others and when you find that love, to never let it go. Instead, once you’ve found love in yourself, never let THAT go. That’s the love that will stick with you for life.

kierstyn

8 Tips for Getting your Diet Under Control

What most people don’t realize is that losing weight, building muscle and obtaining optimal health is most dependent on what you eat versus how much exercise you do. A lot of people refer to the 80/20 rule, stating that fitness is 80% diet and 20% exercise. Exercising seven days a week will not help you obtain a healthy lifestyle if you are fuelling your body with garbage. With that being said, here are some key tips that I’ve learned over the last year regarding diet and making healthy food choices!

  1. Consistency is key. Find a few meals that you love and have those a few times a week. For example, my favourite meal is breakfast and I always have two hard boiled eggs, a piece of toast and a banana. I eat this every single day because I don’t need variety but you may want to alternate every other day.
  2. Meal prepping helps you avoid temptations. Having food already made ensures you don’t spend money on take-out and stops you from being hungry and choosing something quick/ unhealthy to eat. I usually meal prep for three days at a time. I’ll make chicken and vegetables because they can be made in various ways such as in a salad, by themselves or in a wrap.
  3. Snacking is required as long as you do it right! Try to always have fruits and vegetables available for you to munch on. Fruit will definitely help satisfy your sugar cravings and they will keep you full as well. Avoid the following: high carb snacks like cookies, donuts, chips and candy. Substitute nuts, dark chocolate and natural foods.
  4. Make sure every meal is well rounded. For lunch and dinner I always make sure I have a form of protein, vegetable and carb. This helps keep me full and ensures I’m getting all of the nutrients I need. My most favourite lunch meal is grilled chicken, broccoli and sweet potato.
  5. Eat every 2 hours. This will help with cravings and ensure you aren’t hungry all the time. What you eat every two hours is important as well. Aim for small snacks like an apple or a protein bar.
  6. Don’t eat two hours before you go to bed. Setting guidelines like this for yourself will stop you from forming bad habits. In addition, your metabolism slows when you go to sleep so processing food won’t happen like it does during the day.
  7. Get creative! So many people tell me that eating healthy is boring. This is only true if you make it that way. Use this as an opportunity to make those recipes that are stored in your favourites tab.
  8. Allow yourself to have the food you love. Quit labeling food as good and bad. Allow yourself one meal a week that you can look forward to that may not be as healthy as the rest but makes your heart happy! If you abstain from eating the things you’re used to eating, your body will quickly go into withdrawals and you are more likely to crack.

It’s important to note that the term “diet” gets a negative rep. You often hear people saying “you shouldn’t diet, it’s not healthy for you” but diet is simply what you are eating and you should monitor that as long as it’s in a healthy way. This means ensuring that you are getting your recommended intake of vitamins and minerals every single day. This does not mean cutting back how much you eat or skipping meals. Finding a happy medium between cutting out unhealthy foods and filling that space with healthy all-natural foods is the goal.

I love food and I have a lot of issues with food (ie. emotional and stress eating) BUT these tips above are what keep me on track. I’m not perfect and you can’t expect yourself to be either. Figuring out your diet can be extremely difficult and frustrating but every small step will help. If you have any questions at all, don’t hesitate to reach out! I’m here to help YOU!

kierstyn

Find Your Superhero Cape

I have so much appreciation for myself and this life I’ve built. For the first time ever, I feel like my very own superhero. I’ve surprised myself in more ways than one and I’ve taken charge of my life. One thing I’ve come to understand is that I feel most confident wearing my superhero cape. Capes can come in many different shapes and sizes, but mine comes in the form of my favourite sports bra and leggings. When I wear these items, I feel like a new woman with the strength to take on the whole world. It’s the uniform I never knew I needed.

18378948_779007555610486_2010861273_oNike Pro Sports Bra

18362058_779007548943820_1448914382_oJoe Fresh Active Jacket

Joe Fresh Reflective Active Tank

 Diadora Studio Go-To Tights

Your super hero cape doesn’t have to come in the form of clothes (although mine does). It can come in the form of an activity, a skill or your favourite item. What in your life fuels you? What gives you that burning desire to do what you love? Putting on these clothes sets my mood and inspires me. What one thing gives you that push to make your life better? If you don’t know what it is, this is the perfect opportunity to take a step back and figure it out.

– K