29 Jul

Final Cleanse Recap

So I mentioned a couple weeks ago that prior to my birthday I would be doing a final cleanse based on this detox cleanse from A Healthy Purpose for a period of 12 days before my birthday to give my digestive system a break, reduce bloating, and reduce psychological cravings for stimulant foods (like sugar and chocolate).

This was the basic outline of the plan:

Days 1-3: 100% Raw
Days 4-5: Green Smoothies
Days 6-7: Master Cleanse
Days 8-9: Green Smoothies
Days 10-12: 100% Raw

Of course, you’re all wondering how it went right?

Mental Reactions:

In terms of cravings, I didn’t find the cleanse to be too hard. The raw days were easiest. It being summer, I naturally want to eat raw food anyway, so not too much trouble there. Although, I might have cheated a bit on my raw days (okay, actually I cheated A LOT on day 11. I ate bread and pasta, woops!).

My liquid days were a lot easier than anticipated. I expected to be thinking about food all day long, but surprisingly I wasn’t even craving food all that much. I’m always craving something and usually that something is sugar. So it really did work in suppressing my psychological dependence on food. Unfortunately that suppression didn’t last beyond he cleanse, because as soon as I was done it I was back to eating cake and cookies and chocolate.

During days 6 and 7, the Master Cleanse days, no one wanted to be around me, and I don’t think it’s coincidental. Matt kept asking me why I was so moody. I was cranky and annoyed all the time, for no apparent reason. It wasn’t pretty.

Physical Reactions:

In terms of energy level, I still had lots of energy over those 12 days. I’d even venture to say that I had even more than when I eat normally. The cleanse didn’t effect my weightlifting at all and I was still able to run 16 miles over the course of the week. I even did more yoga classes than normal because I felt so good!

I mentioned some specifics of the Master Cleanse in this post that I wrote on Day 6. Basically, between the lemonade, the herbal laxative tea, and plain water I was so hydrated that I needed to be near the bathroom all the time. The herbal laxative tea is definitely effective, but it gave me quite an upset stomach.
One thing that I didn’t mention in the Master Cleanse post was the salt water flush that I did before bed: 2 tsp of salt dissolved into 2 c. of water. Stir and drink. Sound kinda gross? Try worst thing I’ve ever had. You’re actually supposed to drink a litre, but I could barely get 2 cups down. It tasted like I was drowning in the ocean. I tried to chug it all in one go, but I had to stop in between to chase it with some fresh water. When I finally got it down, I waited for the magic to happen. Less than 15 minutes later, that “magic” was more like a bad case of the stomach flu. Suffice to say that I’m pretty sure my colon was entirely cleansed.


Would I recommend this cleanse?

Yes. I really did feel good during those 12 days, my cravings were suppressed and I felt less bloated and more energetic.

What would I change?

If you wanted to make it a bit shorter, I would suggest cutting out the first and last raw day and maybe just steer clear of meat, dairy, and gluten on those days. I don’t think 3 raw days was totally necessary.
I wouldn’t do the master cleanse for more than 2 days, because I don’t think people could stand my crankiness!

Will I do it again?

I think so. Maybe during the winter. I could make it a biannual thing.

Do I think it worked?

I don’t think it had any lasting effects. I mean, I lost some weight, but it was obviously just water and poop. Also, my craving suppression didn’t last beyond the 12 days.

28 Jul

Six Months of Results

So, did you all see it? Me in my bikini glory? Tuesday was my birthday and I finally rocked a bikini for the occasion– the first bikini I’ve ever worn. Exciting? Yes. Stressful? Yes. I might have had a minor panic attack in the wee hours of Tuesday morning that nearly involved getting out of bed to delete my whole blog as if it never existed. But I didn’t. Accountability. I’m willing to let myself down, but random people who I don’t know from all around the world? Well, I wouldn’t want to let them down now would I? That would be a terrible thing.

So, yes, I followed through. And, I intend to post more bikini pictures after partying at the beach this weekend with my friends and family (lucky you!). Until then I have a whole different set of pictures that I want to share with you. The muscle shots.You know, the stereotypical bathroom mirror pictures that only douche-bags take? Yup, I took ’em (and you’ll have to scroll all the way down to see ’em). Feel free to judge me right now. Don’t worry though, I kept to myself the one of me kissing my bicep. I might have framed it for my cubicle.

The Numbers

So, you all know that I broke up with my scale, and I’m really happy with how well I’ve been doing about not obsessing over my weight. But, at heart, I’m a numbers kind of girl, so I stepped back on the scale to see how they stacked up:

January 27, 2010:

Waist:                           81 cm
Hips:                             103 cm
Waist to Hip Ratio: 0.79
BMI:                              25.3 (overweight)
Weight:                        153.6lb
Body Fat %:               33%
Muscle Mass %:        33%

April 29, 2010:

Waist:                           78 cm
BMI:                              24.5
Weight:                        149.4lb
Body Fat %:               31.3%
Muscle Mass %:        33.8%

July 27, 2010:

Waist:                           77 cm
Hips:                             102 cm
Waist to Hip Ratio:  0.75
BMI:                               24.2 (healthy!)
Weight:                         147.4lb
Body Fat %:                29.9%
Muscle Mass %:        34.5%

Body Fat 29.9%, Hydration 48.1%, Weight 147.4lb

Muscle Mass 34.5%, Bone 10.9%, Suggested Calories 1995

So, my goal was to get down to 24% body fat. Big time fail, according to the scale. BUT recall that this is a bioimpedence  scale that you step on so the current runs through your lower body and belly where most of the fat is. That’s unlike the hand-to-foot bioimpedence analysis that I had done at the Naturopath in March when I learned that I was actually more fit than my home scale described. I had a body fat percentage of 25% (normal), and muscle mass of 40% (high). So, if I consider my progress since March, I can probably assume that my numbers are slightly below these.

The Strength Gains

Over the past 6 months I have made some pretty impressive improvements in my weight lifting abilities. My strategy was to strength training before cardio, splitting my schedule into 2 upper body and 2 lower body days each week, and lifting very heavy weights for 4 to 6 reps. Check out some of my weight lifting programmes here.

I used this nifty calculator to determine my one rep maximums for just a few of my favourite exercises. I’m most impressed with my new ability to do pull-ups and chin-ups, which I was never able to do before (check this post for tips on how to learn to do a pull-up). Also, with my gains in my squats (no wonder my bum looks so good! see pictures below)

Upper Body

Exercise Start: 1 Rep Max End:1 Rep Max Improvement
Bench Press 113 lb 128 lb 13%
T-Bar Row 100 lb 129 lb 29%
Dumbbell Shoulder Press 39 lb 41 lb 5%
Pull-ups (unassisted) 0 159 lb
Chin-ups (unassisted) 0 169 lb
Dips 141 lb 196 lb 39%

Lower Body

Exercise Start: 1 Rep Max End:1 Rep Max Improvement
Barbell Squat 120 lb 230 lb 92%
Deadlift 120 lb 162 lb 35%
Lying Leg Curls 60 lb 90 lb 50%
Dumbbell Lunges 32 lb 58 lb 81%
Leg Extensions 133 lb 162 lb 22%

The Visuals

And now what you’ve all been waiting for, here are the dreaded before and after pictures. I only took 2 “before” pics and no muscle shots in January because I really, really didn’t want to take pictures of myself. Here’s what changes I’ve noticed:

  • slightly smaller abdomen
  • less chi-cha (aka muffin top)
  • way nicer bum! holy hell, how much better does my bum look, eh?
  • bigger arms

Before


After

Feel free to comment whether you agree or disagree with what I see in these pictures, or, of course anything else you might be thinking.

28 Jul

Bikini Confidence: Kenzie

Kenzie Fakes It ‘Til She Makes It

Kenzie blogs at A Healthy Purpose where she focuses on her high raw/high vegan kitchen creations and lets readers in on the habits that let her live her best life possible. I love reading Kenzie’s blog because she has a perfect perspective on wellbeing– the path to a health is not “one size fits all”; it’s up to you to determine what works best with your lifestyle. Kenzie is resplendent (I mean, just look at her, isn’t she glowing?) so I had to ask her to share the secret to her confidence.

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When Samantha asked me to guest post on her whimsically honest and admirable blog, I felt really honored she thought of me. While not always an easy topic to talk about I’m just going to give “confidence” all I got:

I’m confident. And I accept my body. But I don’t love it. And I don’t think anyone NEEDS to love it, you just need to appreciate it and see that there is beauty even with your flaws.

To me confidence is about radiating from the inside out. And the secret to that vibrancy is doing things that make you really happy and being the person you want to be. By following your gut and making decisions others would be shocked about. Make a path others will want to follow.

Go confidently towards the life you want to lead and feed off that confidence in other areas of your life.

But I’m sure we all know from the number of blogs and fashion magazines that write about the topic: feeling confident all the time is a difficult task to maintain.

That’s why my one big strategy for feeling good about myself is to not let other people think for a moment that I’m not confident! If you constantly bring up your insecurities or present yourself in a way that shows you lack confidence, people will see that. But if you put your best foot forward and believe it really is what’s inside that counts, then that’s how the world will recognize you.

Lastly, I believe that doing what you love and allowing other people to witness your confidence in the life you’ve created, will ensure that that confidence really does exist. If you cease to talk about your flabby arms or your tire swing (yes, swing) stomach then maybe you’ll stop thinking about those negatives, and stop letting them bring you down.

Do you want to throw away your scale yet? I do! Happy eating today, my friends! Make it food you feel good about.

Kenzie from A Healthy Purpose


This post is part of the Bikini Confidence Series. If you missed them, check out the other guest posters:

And don’t forget my own Bikini Birthday post!


If you have a story to share about your own struggles with body image or your opinion on how women’s body image is affected by media or society please feel free to e-mail me your idea at samanthaamenzies@gmail.com.
27 Jul

bikini confidence: this is me

This is not me in a bikini.

(source)

I’ll never look like that in real life and it would take a lot of retouching to make me look like that in a photo (well, a lot more retouching than was done on this model, anyway). With my curly hair and fair complexion I’ll never fit the conventions of attractiveness defined by the current zeitgeist. I’ll never look in the mirror and see a swimsuit model. …and yet slowly I’ve been seeing beauty.

It started small. After brushing my teeth I smiled at the mirror and thought My teeth are kinda decent, aren’t they? I mean, they are. They’re all lined up nicely. They’re a natural shade of off-white. And they have a small little gap in the front that gives me character.

…then slowly it started building up to bigger things. Some days I would do a double-take in the mirror and think something like Man, my butt is perfectly perky today or Are those my triceps muscles? Yeah, I think I see my triceps! or My shoulders look pretty nice in this top or even I look pretty.

I have to admit that I feel guilty about these positive affirmations, as if I am being cocky and thinking taboo thoughts. As if I am somehow betraying my own self-destructiveness. Who do you think you are, believing you look so good? Breaking out of the self-disparaging attitude that has been my security blanket for much of my life has proven to be the most challenging part of the last 6 months. But the truly amazing thing, is that I AM breaking out of it. While I used to always succumb to my critical self, I’ve now created a bizarre internal conflict between my critical self and the confident self that I long to be. And Confident Me won’t go down without a fight.

Confident Me can’t deny what she sees in the mirror. Where Critical Me sees bulk, Confident Me sees strength. Critical Me sees fat; Confident Me sees femininity. Critical Me sees plainness; Confident Me see beauty.

It would be delusional to think that I can completely rid myself of my criticism, but then again, I don’t even want to. I think a healthy level of self-judgment keeps us modest and down-to-earth. It allows us to accept and embrace our capabilities and our weaknesses. When we allow our self-criticism and self-confidence to coexist then we can achieve fundamental happiness. I may not be at that point yet, but I’m getting there and I’m learning a lot about myself along the way.

So here I am not perfect, not tanned, not Amanda Brandao. I am 25 years old. I am beautiful. I am happy. I am me.


Happy Birthday to Me.


25 Jul

Bikini Confidence: Meghan Telpner

Meghan is Chubby and Likes it That Way


Meghan Telpner’s blog Making Love in the Kitchen was the launching point for my own personal food revolution. Before I started reading it I was eating yoghurt with aspartame and textured vegetable protein and thinking that I was a healthy eater. Through reading her blogs and participating in her Green Smoothie cleanses I have learned to appreciate real, whole foods and how what we eat impacts every aspect of our health. I’m so glad that she let me publish one of my favourite of her posts as part of the Bikini Confidence series: I’d Rather Be Chubby.

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Weight is such a tricky issue when it comes to health. Skinny does not equal healthy- but weight seems to be what drives most of our health related decisions- whether to exercise, whether to order a salad, whether to celebrate with a piece of chocolate cake. The thing is, when we feel well and when we are truly happy from way deep inside, our weight becomes less of an issue.

Why would I rather be chubby? I was skinny once upon a sick sick time.

I was skinny when I was sick but never saw the beauty of it. I just saw sickness and tiredness. I got lots of compliments too which totally screwed up my self-image. I kept being asked  how I had lost all that weight. Twenty pounds in one month. At five feet tall- and starting at 130 pounds, that is a huge amount of weight to lose in a very short time. What was my secret? As if anyone really wanted the details of what I was going through with Crohn’s Disease. I may have looked great with my skinny jeans falling off me,  but I couldn’t leave my bathroom and my thick curly hair had lost it’s curl and was falling out in handfuls.

Bobblehead-like with thinning hair. This was the weekend up at the cottage following my colonoscopy. I hadn't been able to eat solid food in about three weeks and despite the smile, I think it's clear in my dozey eyes how icky I was feeling.

The craziest thing about this time in my life was that I had never been sicker and had never had more people tell me how great I looked. As I began gaining weight back, when my disease went into remission, I became very self-conscious about this weight. I was often told how healthy I looked and would wonder if it might just be a nice way of saying ‘fat’. I had been trying to squeeze into my ‘Crohn’s wardrobe’ for two years  and only recently packed it up to give away. I am just not meant to wear those tiny jeans and though it has taken some time to accept, I am now fully a-okay with that.

When I work with clients who need to gain weight, I can tell you there is nothing harder. Any of us who have ever had a challenge with our weight and struggled to lose it have no idea what people go through who are sick and can’t gain a pound.

What I know for sure is this: I would rather buy new jeans than be sick again. I would rather not look as conventionally perfect in a bikini than be sick again. I would rather have thick curly hair and nails that grow than be sick again.  I would rather be able to travel and eat at restaurants, sleep through the night, have a boyfriend,  toast a best friend’s wedding with champagne, wake up in the morning full of energy and excited about the day to come than be sick again. I would rather spend my day in the kitchen, cooking up amazing whole food based creations, be five pounds overweight and healthy, than living off pureed soup, rice cakes and liquid meal replacements.

I’d rather be a little chubby, with a fuller bottom, rounder face, clearer skin, thicker hair and feel wonderfully vibrant, clear-headed, excited about life,  healthy and happy, than ever have to be sick again.

What would you rather be? What’s most important to you? The way you look or the way you feel? Are you able to make these co-exist? Are you at a place of optimum health? What does health look and feel like to you?

See Original Post.

Bio

Meghan Telpner is a certified nutritionist and holistic lifestyle consultant with a private practice in downtown Toronto and a client base that extends around the world, from Mozambique to Australia. Meghan provides an array of nutritional and lifestyle services that range from weekly group cooking classes to corporate programs and personal consultations. Meghan is the official nutrition blogger for The National Post and her own blog Making Love In The Kitchen. She has become well recognized in Toronto for her colourful presence, with her bicycle covered in flowers and a flag on the back boasting the phrase, “Feel Good? Feel Great!”   With humour and passion, Meghan inspires people to take a look at their lives and to start living their dreams now. Meghan’s enthusiasm, charisma, positive energy and dynamism are truly motivating and inspiring.

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This post is part of the Bikini Confidence Series. If you missed them, check out Heather’s Bikini Confidence post here and Nicole’s post here.

If you have a story to share about your own struggles with body image or your opinion on how women’s body image is affected by media or society please feel free to e-mail me your idea at samanthaamenzies@gmail.com.
22 Jul

day 189: beach volleyball

Beach Volleyball by opart

Image by opart on Etsy.com

Sometimes I have moments of partial memory loss where I forgot how terrible my coordination is. Moments where I can only remember my fitness level but completely forgot my lack of hand-eye coordination. That’s when I do something stupid like sign up for a sport league or a dance class. I generally steer clear of such activities, except in these moments of weakness, lured by the pretence of it being fun. It never is.

I am coordinated enough to put one foot in front of the other and run, but ask me to do something with my hands simultaneously and you’ll get a blank stare. Even worse is something like soccer where I have to use my legs for 2 things at once (gasp!) while my arms flail wildly in confusion. I once played pick-up soccer with friends and after repeated taunts of “you suck!” during the game, I refused to return. Then there was that one time that I was misguided enough to take a reggaeton dance class, unaware that reggaeton requires you move your shoulders and hips in different directions at the same time. Coordination: It’s all a bit too much for my brain to take.

In a fleeting moment of insanity I signed up for a beach volleyball league with friends. Our first game was on Wednesday. Before the games started I became really nervous as memories of volleyball season in high school gym class came to mind. All I remember was being teased by the good players and watching my P.E. grades plummet.

I suck at volleyball. I’m basically a spectator on the court. If I make any contact with the ball at all, it’s a miracle. I try to go for the ball most of the time, but sometimes I panic when I see it coming my way. I think “You’re going to fuck this up” and move just out of the way. The worst part of playing is the words of encouragement. I know they’re well-meaning, but do I really need to hear “Good try Sam!” as the ball flies over my head in my attempt at an easy volley? It’s like reinforcing the fact that I’m just not good enough. I want to scream: “It wasn’t a good try! It was a terrible try! If I got the ball over the net but failed to get a point, that would be a good try. You and I both know that sucked, so lets just all shut up, okay?” But instead I grind my teeth and try not to have an outburst.

Our team is not very competitive, and none of us are really that good (we lost 5 out of 6 games), but I still seem remarkably bothered by my own poor performance.  It’s a metaphor for life, really: me being dejected by things I can’t accomplish. I want to be good at everything, or at least average, and when I’m not– when I watch myself fail– I get upset. Even if I’m failing at something I care little about. It’s tough to be good at volleyball but I think it’s even tougher to accept the fact that I’m not good and just have fun. Because when it comes down to it, it’s really just playing in the sand. And who wouldn’t love to play in a giant 16m x 8m sandbox?

21 Jul

Bikini Confidence: Prevention RD

Nicole Knows How To Be Her Happiest Self

There are some food bloggers, like me, who talk about healthy eating and then there are bloggers who actually know about it. Nicole knows her stuff. She’s a Registered Dietitian who specializes in diabetes. She writes informative pieces, answers readers’ FAQs, and shares her delicious and healthy recipes in her blog at Prevention RD. Enjoy her contribution to the Bikini Confidence series.


Hello Bikini Birthday readers! I absolutely love Samatha’s candid writing — her posts always make me smile. I am honored she asked me to write a guest post on body image. Thanks, girl!

So with Bikini Birthday’s birthday here, it’s time to celebrate you…just as you are, perfectly imperfect. Because that’s what you are.

It’s not always easy to have positive body image, but it’s important to come back to loving yourself at the end of each day. As the saying goes, you have to love yourself in order for others to love you, too. I learned this first-hand.

Tipping the scales from the age of 3, body image was always a struggle for me. And in high school when I shed 70+ pounds, it was easier to feel better about myself. I was finally able to do things that meant more than looks alone — I ran, smiled, and glowed with true happiness because my physical opinion of myself was no longer holding me back. My stomach was never flat, toned, or tan…but I donned a bikini back then! My bikini body was physically-speaking leaps and bounds ahead of what once was, and I for once, I was satisfied with what the mirror reflected back at me. Faded stretch marks, loose skin and all…a better me. A genuinely happy me.

Today I do not carry a weight I am happiest at, but I remain happy and with healthy body image. To gain 20 pounds (due to health problems) and to have good body image is a reflection of my opinion of me — head-to-toe, INSIDE and out — what really matters. And if you ask yourself what makes you proud of YOU, what would you say? Chances are it isn’t something on your exterior. And so maybe that’s the problem…we put too much emphasis and self-worth on things that do not produce a better, prouder, healthier, happier you.

So ask yourself, what makes you proud of you? And celebrate that…because you are more than a size, shape, or weight.


If you missed it, check out HEAB’s Bikini Confidence post here. If you have a story to share about your own struggles with body image or your opinion on how women’s body image is affected by media or society please feel free to e-mail me your idea at samanthaamenzies@gmail.com.

20 Jul

day 187: master cleanse confessions

I hope you all liked Heather’s Bikini Confidence post. If you have a story to share about your own struggles with body image or your opinion on how women’s body image is affected by media or society please feel free to e-mail me your idea at samanthaamenzies@gmail.com. I’m hoping to keep this guest post series ongoing.

Now, on to the important things. What I ate today:

No, not grapefruit juice, or kombucha. That is lemon juice, cayenne pepper, and maple syrup — the trifecta that is the Master Cleanse. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I started my 2 day Master Cleanse. It’s part of my 12 day Final Cleanse, so basically I haven’t had solid food in 3 days. Except, maybe I had a bite of some delicious multigrain sandwich bread that I baked on Sunday…

…Oh, and there might have been a  teeny taste of some zucchini muffins that I baked last night. But whose counting?

My Master Cleanse drink was made up of:

  • 2 T maple syrup
  • 1/2 t cayenne pepper (I like it HOT)
  • 250 mL lukewarm water
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced — once I used a whole lime instead, just to be daring.

I drank about 4 over the course of the day but you’re evidently supposed to drink 6-12. Oops. I’ll have to up that intake tomorrow. I also had some smooth move tea to get my bowels moving; it didn’t hurt that it kept me warm in my frigid office.

By now you’re all wondering about my thoughts on this whole Master Cleanse bullshit business. Well, I don’t know whether my body has yet achieved an “alkaline state”, but if you’re wondering if it works for weight loss and if it really cleanses your system then yes and yes. Here’s how I currently feel about the cleanse on day one.

Confessions of a Master Cleanser:

I actually like the drink. It’s true. I usually have lemon juice and cayenne in the morning before breakfast and I find that alone quite tasty. Add in 2 tbsp of maple syrup and that’s a drink I can really get behind. Honestly, it’s like a treat for the tastebuds: sweet, tart, spicy. What’s not to like? This stuff is delicious!

I need to be near a bathroom all the time. Between the lemonade, the herbal laxative tea, and plain water I’m uber-hydrated. I might have gone to the bathroom nearly every hour while I was at work today. On a trip to Home Depot tonight I realized that it’s important to be near the bathroom for more than just #1. While Matt spent 20 minutes inspecting every light bulb in the store to determine whether they may or may not fit into our new ikea lamps, I had to burst out into a near run to find a toilet before I caused a “clean up in aisle 1” situation that no one would want to respond to.

I’m embarrassed by my growling stomach. An important technique to develop when on the Master Cleanse is the skill of synchronizing a fake cough with the sound of your imploding stomach. “Was that your stomach just now?” “Ahem, ahem. No, I’m just  clearing my throat.”

Being around food makes me cranky. Matt made chili for dinner tonight. I could smell it before I even opened the front door. Let me tell you Matt makes a mean chili. He must have commented at least 4 times about how good it was. I avoided the kitchen like the plague to keep me away from shoving Matt aside so I could have the chili all to myself.

I still have lots of energy. I surprisingly don’t feel tired or weak or lightheaded. I actually ran 4 miles today in decent time (34 minutes) and did a slow flow yoga class. Not too shabby, eh?

Unfortunately, I have one more day of this shit (how people do 10 days is beyond me) but at least I have some tasty lemonade to look forward to… and my birthday too. 7 days to the big 2-5!

19 Jul

Bikini Confidence: HEAB

Heather Eats Almond Butter But Doesn’t Wear Bikinis

I’m very excited to introduce the first blogger in the Bikini Confidence Guest Blogger Series: Heather from Heather Eats Almond Butter.

You all know this beautiful woman for her healthy weight loss journey and her love of the good stuff: almond butter. Heather lives in Nashville where she works as a massage therapist, blogs about her healthy lifestyle, and is expecting her first baby with her husband, known to her readers as CD.


Heather here from Heather Eats Almond Butter, or HEAB for short. Many thanks to Samantha for inviting to be a part of her Bikini Confidence Guest Post Series. Thanks Samantha – it’s an honor.

So, thing is I don’t actually have much bikini confidence. When I was in my early twenties (about 10 years ago), I lost 100+ pounds through diet and exercise. I had been overweight my whole life, and although I never set out to lose that much weight, I did it.

All of a sudden, I was thin. I could walk into the GAP and buy jeans, and I could go hiking with my friends without worrying about whether or not I would be able to keep up with them.  Exercise became something I actually enjoyed rather than a chore to dread. I started running, and I had so much energy. Eventually, I got into yoga, and my practice helped to strengthen my entire body. I couldn’t believe how toned my arms looked, and I was amazed by some of the poses my body was able to do. Yes, I completely transformed my body, but I still feel really uncomfortable in a bathing suit. In fact, I can’t tell you the last time I wore one. You see, there are still remains of my overweight self that haunt me.  I have horrible stretch marks everywhere, and loose skin hanging from my stomach and thighs. You would never know as I’m able to hide it fairly well, but bathing suits and short shorts are two things I do not wear.

However, my life is about to change dramatically. I’m pregnant, and my husband and I are expecting our first baby this November, referred to fondly as the HEABlet.

It’s pretty easy for me to avoid bathing suit events these days, but I know the HEABlet will want to go to the pool, and I can’t wait to take her to the beach someday. I can’t avoid a bathing suit forever. Our little baby girl has already taught me so much about my body. I’ve really loosened up around all my food rules, and I’m taking it easy when it comes to exercise. For once, I’m actually listening to my body, giving into many of my cravings, and resting when I need it. The weight gain aspect has been a little scary, but it’s so worth it when I feel those little back kicks inside my belly.

I’m really not quite sure what the future holds for me as far as bathing suits go, but I know I don’t want my little girl growing up feeling at all ashamed about any part of her body…So, I think it’s time for me to do some bathing suit shopping, don’t you?

I’ve said it before, and I’m going to say it again because I think it’s something that I need to hear: Eat well, stay active, but most importantly, love every aspect about yourself, including all that your mind, body, and spirit has to offer.


If you’re interested in writing a post for the Bikini Confidence guest blogger series, send me an e-mail at samanthaamenzies@gmail.com

18 Jul

day 185: cleansing weekend

Have you ever taken an 86 year old woman shopping for clothes? Let me tell you, it is a nearly impossible task. My sister and I took my Nonna to the mall on Saturday morning to go shopping for a shirt to wear to an upcoming wedding. We always dread taking her shopping for clothes, not because she walks painfully slowly through the mall corridors, nor because she shouts commands at us (“Pay the lady!”) but because she is the world’s pickiest shopper.

You could pick any top off the racks of the most “old lady friendly” clothing store and she’ll find something wrong with it before even bothering to try it on. I believe the standard response to anything that we presented to her was “Oh ca’mon, I look ridiculous!”, a phrase used to mean anything from “I don’t like the colour” to “The sleeves are too short” to “The top is too long”. My sister and I were able to get he to try on several tops just by ushering her into the change room and bringing tops to her that we thought she might not hate. Whenever Nonna put on a top in the change room she would lament at how tight it was on the belly and tell us that she was getting fat. …I guess I know where my fat talk comes from.

So I guess fat talk doesn’t stop with age. It grows with you if you let it. It crosses generational boundaries. I hope that if I live to be a spunky 86 year old woman, like my Nonna, I won’t still be standing in front of the mirror picking at my body. I hope that my wrinkles will tell of all the days I’ve spent enjoying the sunshine, and that my chubbiness will show off my penchant for decadent desserts, and that my grey hair will make me look distinguished (okay, maybe that only works for men, but a girl can dream).

Eventually we were able to find a beautiful sheer black tunic with a grey camisole that makes her look 20 years younger. We even convinced her to buy a trendy long silver necklace to go with the outfit. Before we left my sister and I mentioned that Nonna is very picky when it comes to clothes. Nonna piped up and said: “I know what I want, and that’s what I’ll buy.” So, in spite of her fat talk I’m proud that she knows what she wants and what will make her comfortable with her appearance. I wish I could say the same.


Saturday was another raw food day for me as part of the final cleanse. My meals kept me energized for a day of weightlifting, running, and shopping.

I had intended to make some chia pudding for breakfast because I loved it on my first and second raw days, but I was out late on Friday night catching up with a friend and I totally forgot to make it. Instead I made a Sesame Banana Bowl with a very ripe banana.

1 Banana, sliced; 1 T tahini; 1 t molasses; sprinkling of cinnamon

After I made my dish pretty for the camera, I just mushed it all together and ate it with a spoon. Oh Yeah.

Bananas are my favourite food.

Lunch was a papaya salad from Red Papaya.

Dinner was a raw zucchini and carrot salad with a dressing made of cashews, tomato, and LOTS of basil.

Today was a green smoothie only day. As is tomorrow. I’d be interested if anyone has any good green smoothie recipes they want to share.



Update: Look out tonight for my first post in the Bikini Confidence blogger series!