Tag Archives: body image

Happy New Year!

Can you believe it’s the last day of 2015?!

I can’t help but to reflect on what a wonderful year it has been.

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I have so much to be grateful for! Our baby Sofia and 4-legged baby Bella, our family and friends, old and new.

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And last but not least, my beloved husband.

I’ve definitely had some tough situations to deal with this year and he’s always been there for me. As they say, through thick and thin till death do us part. He is my best friend, and I still can’t fully grasp how lucky I am to have this man in my life and that two of us created our beautiful precious baby.

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I know it will probably sound absolutely crazy, but when I was pregnant, it seemed like a miracle that there was someone growing in my belly. And now, I am a mom. I LOVE being a mom! It is such a rewarding feeling.

being parents

I haven’t been much in the blog world this year. I guess, it’s mostly because I wanted to live my experiences and not to spend a lot of time writing about them. That being said, I am so grateful for my blog friends and readers. You are like an extended family to me and I value more than you can ever imagine!

I am so excited for 2016! It will be a year full of firsts for Sofia. It’s so inspiring to watch her push her boundaries each day. My aspiration for 2016 is to grow too. I want my little girl to be proud of her mommy.

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I am wishing you all a beautiful year ahead. Make it memorable. Make it count. Tell your family and friends how much you love them and appreciate them, don’t wait for special occasions to do so. Love. Create new memories. Share smiles. Don’t forget about people in need. Don’t be greedy. Get stronger day by day. Be healthy.Be happy. Explore new horizons. And be the best possible version of you not for everyone else but for YOU!

Happy 2016!

xoxo
Olena

 

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Filed under Family, Holidays, Uncategorized

Pregnancy & Positive Body Image: Celebrating Femininity & All Body Types

Hello 3rd trimester!!! I can’t believe it’s been already 28 weeks that I have a little miracle growing inside of my belly. It is, hands down, the best experience of my life! So before I was wondering about the purpose of life, having children (own or adopted) just might be it!

bump 27 weeks

I won’t say that it’s just sunshine and roses all the time, but it’s definitely worth the end result!

You may or may not recall, but last year I wrote a post about my struggle with my body image in the past. And even though I do have some off days here and there like everybody else, I do my absolute best to welcome and celebrate the changes my body goes through during pregnancy. Creating life is the most beautiful thing on Earth and we as women should embrace it.

This being said, there are so many people who are out there who feel entitled to make comments to future mothers like ‘Gosh! You are so small! Is it normal?’ or ‘Are you sure you don’t have twins in there?’. To me, each pregnancy is unique and as long as the baby is growing normally and you make healthy choices for the both of you, you are a great mother: Your size says absolutely nothing about your baby’s health or development.

What some individuals don’t realize is that those comments may be hurtful, especially if you catch a mommy-to-be on a day when she is not feeling that great about herself.

Recently, Cassey Ho from Blogilates, whom I greatly admire, did a social experiment on her Instagram account. What was the reason? She got really fed up with all negativity and cyber-bullying. Let’s be fair, famous or not, pregnant or not, we all have days when our self-esteem is not at its highest. So what she did is posted a photoshoped picture of herself with the ‘perfect’ body, but she didn’t mention anything to anyone.

Cassey Ho - the perfect body experiment Finally got my perfect body. Watch my new video where I share with you all my body slimming secrets www.youtube.com/blogilates (link in profile)

A photo posted by Cassey Ho (@blogilates) on Apr 16, 2015 at 9:21pm PDT

I remember scrolling through that picture. I was surprised by a drastic change in her body and thought to myself that something was off. I won’t lie, I was confused because those who follow Blogilates know that it’s just not the way she is. But as usual, there were plenty comments from both haters and admirers.

A day later, Cassey posted the following video on Youtube:

I was instantly relieved and reminded why I like her so much! What is the perfect body, anyway? Who is it that decides?

I remembered about a video on BuzzFeed posted a few months back about women’s ideal body types throughout history. Check it out for youself:

Lesson learned? EVERY SINGLE BODY IS BEAUTIFUL in its own and unique way. There is no such thing as a perfect or ideal body. We should all celebrate our beauty and uniqueness! This is why I was absolutely thrilled when a few weeks ago I was contacted by a company called eShakti to review their product.

eShakti.com is the only online women’s fashion apparel company offering sizes 0-36W and custom clothing. What I loved about it from the get go is that the company believes that all women have the right to wear affordable fashion that is made for them and makes them look their absolute best. *FINALLY!*

I was offered a choice of an outfit, and even though it was gifted to me, all opinions are my own.

Let me start by saying that normally I do not feel comfortable buying clothes online because I always have the fear ‘What if it doesn’t fit right?’, so I normally limit myself to buying books from Amazon. *What? A girl HAS GOT to shop! Haha!* The process, surprisingly was extremely straight forward.

Step 1: Choose the style

I went for a flowy maxi dress because I wanted to be able to wear it ASAP and for as long as I can, obviously! *Haha!*

Step 1

Step 2: Customizing 

This is the step that I normally fear.

I really loved that they have both standard and custom size option; especially that my baby bump is constantly growing! I can’t emphasize enough how happy I was to be able to put in extra comments to make sure that the inside lining wasn’t too tight to accommodate my growing baby girl. I also made sure to specify my height and ask to make the dress shorter (just enough to go all the way to the ground) because I plan on wearing flats and not high heels. *I’m all about comfort!*

There were also options to remove embroidery and/or pockets, but I really liked the dress the way it was and decided not to use them.

Step 2

Step 3: Ordering

Ordering was as simple as it gets! But I’ll be honest, I was still very much apprehensive about the quality of the dress and whether it would look like it did in the picture. I was pleasantly surprised with the outcome!

The dress fit really well: All of my instructions were followed to the T. Even the length was perfect! The color and quality were also great. After all was said done, I might reconsider shopping for clothing online! *Sorry, my dear wallet! Hehe!* 

And, of course, I was all for modeling it for you… AND CELEBRATING MY BEAUTIFUL BABY BUMP!

eShakti 1

eShakti 2

eShakti 3

By the way, the last picture is my favorite! I look like an air balloon and I’m absolutely loving it!!!!

You can check out eShakti for yourself through the following media channels:

Website: www.eShakti.com
Facebook: eShakti
Twitter: @eShakti
Pinterest: eshakti

Finally, the company was kind enough to provide my readers with a discount of 10% until May 17, 2015.  You can take advantage of it by entering code candiesandcrunches in ‘the promotional code’ box. *Please, be advised that I do not benefit from any of your purchases.*

A few other pointers:

  • It is not case-sensitive.
  • Code can be used any number of times until the validity period.
  • It can be combined with any other promotional offer, gift coupon or gift card in the same order unless explicitly specified otherwise in the offer conditions.
  • This discount code is not applicable on clearance / sale, gift cards & overstock categories.
  • Not applicable on previous purchases.

Finally, I’d like to finish off this post by saying the following:

EMBRACE YOUR BODY AND FEMININITY REGARDLESS YOUR AGE, SIZE OR BODY SHAPE! YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL!

celebrating all body shapesSource

How do you celebrate your body?

xoxo
Olena

6 Comments

Filed under Fashion, Health, Motivation, Reviews

Hydration 101: Why Dehydration Is Making You Fat & Sick, 8 Hydration Myths Busted, And How to Remember To Drink More Water

If you read yesterday’s post, you must have realized that staying hydrated is crucial to a successful detox or body cleanse. Even though drinking enough liquids throughout the day could be a simple thing to someone, I’ve always struggled with it.

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I am not sure if it is because I was forbidden to drink any water during my rhythmic gymnastics classes or for some other reason, but I simply FORGET to drink. I know, it sounds silly and probably doesn’t make sense to some of you; however, very frequently I realize that I’m thirsty when I am EXTREMELY thirsty. Obviously, dehydration has many negative impacts and should be taken very seriously.

Why dehydration is making you fat and sick

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Despite my multiple efforts to read more on this subject, I found myself reading many conflicting reports. As a result, I am more confused than ever.

Nevertheless, I was lucky enough to come across a great article on Runner’s World: 8 Hydration Myths Busted. I strongly recommend to check it out, but here is a quick overview:

  1. Drink eight glasses of water a day: A healthy dose of hydration is an individual thing.
  2. Pee clear to be hydrated:  “As long as it is a pale yellow, like lemonade, you’re hydrated,” says Yeargin. If it’s completely clear, it just means you’re full to the brim; what’s going in is coming out. On the other hand, if your pee is the color of apple juice or darker, or particularly smelly, you need to drink up.
  3. Caffeine dehydrates you: Apparently, if you drink only 2 cups of coffee a day and exercise regularly, the impact of caffeine is minimal, if any.
  4. Thirst isn’t a good hydration tool: It is a pretty accurate mechanism; however, it is good to be aware of other ways if your body is hydrated enough.
  5. Pure water is best for hydration: It really depends on the kind and amount of physical activity you are doing.
  6. You can’t drink too much: “You absolutely can drink too much,” says Casa, “and it can be deadly.” Too much water can cause symptomatic hyponatremia, a condition where the sodium levels in the blood become dangerously low.
  7. Drinking lots of water is a good way to “detox”:  “There is no evidence that excess water makes your body more clean,” says Dr. Stanley Goldfarb, M.D., a professor of medicine in the Renal, Electrolyte, and Hypertension Division at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine. “If anything, drinking too much water can slightly impair the ability of the kidneys to filter blood.”
  8. Staying hydrated eliminates your risk of heat stroke: Staying hydrated will definitely do you some good; however, you should always pay attention to the entire picture like body size, exercise intensity, fitness level, and age as well as humidity and air temperature.

how to remember to drink more waterSource

So how can you improve the situation if you’re forgetting to drink water just like me?

  • Check out the Hydration Calculator from Runner’s World;
  • ‘Spice up’ your water by adding fresh mint leaves, sliced cucumber or a squeeze of lemon or lime to it;
  • Make it a morning ritual: chug a glass or two of water when you wake up;
  • Have a glass of water with your meal, especially when you’re drinking alcohol;
  • Always carry a bottle of water with you and keep it visible;
  • Freeze little bits of peeled lemons, limes and oranges and use them in place of ice cubes;
  • Put a water alarm on your phone;
  • Every time you pass a water cooler stop and take a sip.

Wake up

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How do you stay hydrated? Do you have trouble remembering to drink enough water?

xoxo
Olena

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Filed under Fitness, Health

How To Naturally Cleanse Your Body, Doing Detox Right & Ultimate Stretch Yoga Routine

For some strange reason, February tends to be the toughest month of the year for me… EVERY year… Without any exceptions! Perhaps, the winter just gets old or maybe it’s the lack of activities outside.

I LOVE being outside! I love going for jogs, walks and simply sitting at a park taking in the fresh air. However, with the super low temperatures and occasional snow storms, it’s *KINDA* hard. So by the end of the month, I start feeling… well… heavy. And no one likes that feeling, right? I can’t be alone?!

feeling fat

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Okay, don’t judge me. I know I am fine and I am NOT looking to lose any weight. However, I do want to get rid off this annoying feeling. So I figured that the best way to go about it would be to make my body take a break for a few days from any food that makes me feel that way. In other words, I want to detox my body from all those nasty things that have accumulated inside. *EWWWWW! That sounds bad, eh?!*

I will not be taking any DRASTIC measures because I find that many detoxes are NOT healthy and excessive. So this is pretty much my plan.

How to naturally cleanse your body

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These are the foods I will be focusing on and avoiding.

Doing detox rightSource

Pretty simple, right?

Planned workout for the day

Run 4 miles, perform 15 burpees every 15 minutes. Followed by this ultimate stretch yoga routine.

anti-stress yoga

Have you ever done a detox? What was your experience? Any tips?

xoxo
Olena

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Mountain Climbers: Your Arms, Legs And Core Will Thank You! Also, A Great 500 Ab Workout

It’s very hard not to love high impact exercises that don’t require any equipment at all and can be done pretty much anywhere. Some of those exercises are: the burpee and the plank. It’s one of those love-hate relationships for me. However, today I’d like to talk about MOUNTAIN CLIMBERS. Not only it’s a plyometric exercise that tones your arms, legs and core, but it also strengthens the cardiovascular system. And no, you don’t have to climb a mountain to do them!

Seems simple enough, right?! But don’t be fooled! There are so many health benefits to this exercise:

  1. Core Strength
  2. Power Training: lower body
  3. Strengthen heart and lungs
  4. Burn calories *=FAT*

Not enough a challenge? Try placing hands on top of a medicine ball!

mountain climbers with a medicine ball

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According to the Spartan Race blog, “When the race course turns vertical, you’ll also appreciate the power you’ve generated with your time spent mountain climbing. While you’re down on the ground, you can also do a few 25′ bear crawls to better ready yourself for barbed wire obstacles.”

One of the ways to incorporate mountain climbers in your workout is to drop and perform 1 to 3 sets of 10-30 mountain climbers at the half way point during your routine run. Whatever gets your heart pumping, right?!

exercise

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I’m sorry! I couldn’t resist the temptation to post this picture. I mean, how ridiculously funny it is?!?! Haha!

Anyhow, moving on to today’s workout. This is what is going to happen (as per the Spartan race training guide).

Interval running

10 reps: 10-second hill (sprint), 10-second rest
5 reps: 20-second hill (very high intensity), 20-second rest
3 reps: 30-second hill (high intensity), 10-second rest

Do not stop until all 18 intervals are complete. Walk for 5 minutes to recover, and repeat for half the reps. Jog easy for 20 minutes.

AB 500 

25 crunches
50 bicycles
50 back-scratchers
50 rotating crunches
25 leg-lowers
50 scissor-kicks
50 side-crunches
50 bicycles
50 back-scratchers

** You can find how to do all of these exercises properly here.

Don't give up

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What are your favorite high impact exercises? How do you add them to your workouts?

xoxo
Olena

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The Benefits Of Stair-Climbing For Runners & Arnold Strength Workout

It probably won’t sound like a big secret, but GOSH, I’m fed up with this snow… and winter… and cold! Despite living all my life in countries with cold winters, I don’t think I will ever accept it or get used to it. Yesterday, on the way home with my hubby from work, I kept on daydreaming. I was like, so one day when we are rich we’ll move to a warm country. But Justin bluntly cut me off, he said he’d rather take winters than hurricanes, tornadoes, wild fires or earthquakes. What’s your take on that?

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On second thought, I think my hubby forgot about having to deal with my cold feet every night… I might have a chance! haha!

As you know, lately I’ve been looking for different ways to strengthen my legs to improve on speed during my runs. There is a StairMaster at my gym; however, I don’t use it. I don’t even know why. Most likely because I just feel so comfortable with my routine. I guess it’s time for change because there are many benefits of stair-climbing for runners.

stairmaster

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According to this article posted on http://www.canada.com, the benefits are as follows:

  • ability to increase your cardiovascular fitness;
  • burn more calories;
  • improve muscle conditioning in your legs and buttocks;
  • improve balance

Pretty sweet, don’t you think?

Burn baby burn

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Then, I came across a great article on Runner’s World: Why Stair-Climbing Is Good for Runners. The article proposed these 3 amazing stair workouts:

  1. Run Up Like… A Competitor: “After a 10-minute warmup, run hard up stairs for 20 to 30 seconds, then walk back down. Repeat for 20 to 30 minutes. Or run stairs for 10 minutes after a long run to help your body build endurance and learn to push through fatigue.”
  2. Run Up Like… November Project: “Warm up for 10 minutes. Then climb 20 to 30 seconds up the stairs at a tempo effort—slowing as needed to keep your ascending pace consistent—and without pausing, run back down. Repeat the cycle for 30 minutes. If you’re in a stadium, run from section to section at the tops or bottoms of flights, maintaining tempo effort.”
  3. Run Up Like… A Gym Rat: “After a 10-minute warmup, crank up the incline *on a treadmill* (slowing your pace as necessary) to 15 percent (or whatever the machine’s maximum incline is—the higher, the better). Do one minute at the hardest pace you can manage, then reduce the incline to zero and recover for one minute. Follow with two minutes at maximum incline and two minutes of recovery, working your way up, minute by minute, to five minutes of each. Then work your way back down to end with one minute hard and one minute recovery.” 

turn intentions into actions

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I am really looking forward to trying them out over the next couple of weeks. As for today, I have Arnold Strength training according the training guide.

Repeat this 3 times, using a weight you can lift within the desired range, 10-15 reps each:

** For dead bug and flutter kick, make sure the lower back stays neutral.

good things come to those who sweat

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Now I’d like to hear from you! How often do you incorporate StairMaster in your workout? What is your favorite way to break some sweat apart from running?

xoxo
Olena

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The Ultimate Guide To Good Posture & Better Posture Workout: Exercises To Improve Posture And Prevent Hunched Shoulders

I have never really told you what I do for living. Without going too much into the detail, I work in the financial industry. Working in the finance, as you can imagine, very often means that I sit all day long and stare at the computer screen while doing my best at securing my clients’ financial future. So the key word in the previous sentence was SIT… Sit all day long! It wouldn’t be too bad, but I have a horrible habit of sitting in the ways that are not good for my back. Most of the times you will see me sitting on the edge of a chair, even when I’m eating at home, which is a big no-no, or with my legs crossed. I don’t even know why I do it because it is not even a particularly comfortable position! *I know, you can call me dum-dum from now on!*

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Anyhow, with  RRSP season (Registered Retirement Savings Plan: a Canadian program to help residents save for retirement and reduce their taxable income at the same time) quickly approaching, my days are getting busier and busier. Thus, the last thing on my mind will be thinking if I’m sitting properly. So I decided to be proactive and educate myself a little bit more about what I could do in order to keep my back straight and avoid injury.

Posture

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As you also know, good posture is critical to a runner’s success. Try this workout to improve your posture and to prevent hunched shoulders.

Now it’s your turn! Does your job require sitting for prolonged periods of time? How do you stay aware if you’re sitting properly?

xoxo
Olena

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