How to Stay Healthy When Your Family Isn’t

Happy Mindful Monday!

Trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle is definitely easier when you have like-minded people around, but what if your loved ones aren’t on the same page? It can be really hard to avoid temptations when, for instance, your parents are always stocking up on junk food or your social life is primarily structured around going out to dinner. Today I’ll be sharing some lessons I’ve learned about staying on track when those around you (i.e. your friends, parents, or significant other) aren’t ready to give up the junk food and/or incorporate exercise into their daily lives.

First off, be firm but considerate. Let them know that your eating and exercise choices are not simply fad diets, but a lifestyle that you are trying to maintain. Keep in mind that your parents may have grown up in a time when it was important to eat everything on their plate, and that when you refuse the food they lovingly prepare for you there may be some hurt feelings. It is important to tell them that you appreciate what they do for you, but you feel the happiest and healthiest when you are putting the right food into your body. You might encounter a lot of resistance at first, but soon enough they’ll come to accept your decision and might even join you!

When it comes to those social gatherings at restaurants, you can’t necessarily avoid them if you want to also maintain healthy relationships with your friends. I suggest researching the menu ahead of time and planning out what you want to eat. Consider options that are high in protein and come with a side of veggies. If you’re ordering a salad, ask for dressing on the side and don’t be afraid to modify the offerings to suit your diet (ex. add on an extra protein like double grilled chicken). A lot of places have a “health conscious menu” or gluten-free options, as well as calorie counts that make it easier now more than ever to make an informed decision.

friends-at-the-dinner-table--1410356923-large-article-0.jpg

Another critical tip is to meal prep. Preparing meals ahead of time will help you avoid the temptation that comes when only unhealthy options are available. If you are still living at home and your parents refuse to buy the supplies you need, there are loads of cheap healthy ingredients you can buy in bulk (ex. rice or frozen veggies). It all comes down to prioritizing your time and money to suit your goals!

Don’t shove it in their faces!! No one likes to be told they are eating or living in the wrong way. Sharing your success is okay, but you need to realize that your lifestyle isn’t for everyone. No matter how good your intentions are, you can never force someone to change their ways. Offer to prepare healthy meals on certain days of the week so you can show them that eating clean is delicious and easy. Take it slow and show them through example what healthy diet and exercise can do for the mind and body 🙂

When all else fails and you can’t seem to get your family and friends to come around to a healthy lifestyle, think about recruiting a new #fitfam. Attend some group classes at your local gym and relish in the positive energy you find there. Sign up for a rec league or your local running club to make some new friends and lasting memories. Join an online community and gain social support by sharing your fitness journey with complete strangers. With that being said, follow me on Insta @the_robyns_nest and we can support each other in a judgement free zone!

Screenshot_20170626-163245.png

Let me know what you do to stay healthy when your loved ones aren’t in the comments below. Hope everyone had a great start to their week and I will talk to you again soon 🙂

Love, Robyn

Advertisements

Chocolate Protein Balls

The weekend is here and you’re looking for a sweet treat… Don’t cave to those summer temptations like ice cream, instead make these delicious chocolate protein balls that will satisfy your cravings while keeping you on track with your healthy diet!!

Lately I’ve been craving chocolate big time, but since living a healthy lifestyle usually means no junk food (*sigh*), I’ve had to think of an alternative to my usual Kit Kat or peanut butter cups. My favourite snack lately has been these chocolate protein balls which are ideal when I’m on-the-go. If you haven’t guessed yet I’m a big fan of healthy foods that I can take on the road, because who has the time to sit down for meals anymore? 

These protein balls have 8.6g of protein, 11.7g of carbs, and 11.7g of fat per serving. They are packed full of nutrients that will keep you full, and the ground flax seed is amazing at aiding in digestion. These are great for picking up my energy levels mid-day and satisfying me between meals. I pop mine in the freezer because I prefer them to be nice and cold.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • IMG_20170622_2241191 Scoop Vega Protein and Greens Powder in Chocolate
  • 1/2 cup of old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup of smooth peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon of ground flax seed
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract

  1. Combine all ingredients into a medium bowl
  2. Roll between your hands into approximately 6-8 balls
  3. Place balls in a sealed dish and let refrigerate for at least an hour 
  4. Enjoy!!

And there you have it, a super easy recipe for a delicious on-the-go snack 🙂

IMG_20170623_095705

Hope you all have an amazing weekend, I’ll catch up with you again on Monday!

Love, Robyn xx 

Popular Leggings Review

Happy Wednesday!

In honor of hump day, I’ve decided to review 5 leggings from popular active-wear brands here in Canada. I will be rating them based on fit, quality, price, and overall satisfaction. Side note: All of these leggings have passed the “squat test” or else I wouldn’t have picked them up!

Under Armour HeatGear Compression

Fit: These full-length leggings sit just below the waistline and feature a wide, flattering panel to hide the lower tummy. They aren’t as high rise as I’d like them to be, and I find myself pulling at the waist from time to time as they slip down when I’m running or bouncing around a lot.

Quality: I’ve found this material to be extremely durable and long-lasting. I must have washed and dried these pants over 20 times and I have yet to see any loose stitching or wearing in the fabric. These UA leggings are a blend of polyester and elastane (similar to spandex). They look and feel like a high quality pant, and are super soft and slippery to the touch.

Price: I picked these up at Sport Chek for around $80 CAD. They were on sale and I don’t see them on UA’s website so it’s possible they no longer make these specific ones.

Overall Satisfaction: 3.4/5 – While I love the colour and quality of fabric, these aren’t the most flattering pants I own. These leggings are perfect for high intensity workouts because of the mesh panels and special HeatGear technology that keeps me cool. The pocket design is genius with a zippered compartment to hold your phone/ipod and a hole for your headphones. Overall, worth the $80.

Lululemon All The Right Places Pant II

Fit: The All The Right Places Pant II has a truly flattering fit. The compression and stitching in these leggings makes them worth every penny. Pair them with a nice top and you could wear them out in public without looking like you just rolled out of bed.

Quality: The “Full-On Luxtreme” fabric gives these leggings a four-way stretch and makes them highly efficient in the sweat-wicking department. I really like how cool and smooth these pants feel and haven’t experienced any pulls in the fabric so far. However, after only a couple weeks of wear I started to notice a slight stretching around my thighs and waist. I often find myself having to pull up the pants and re-adjust, especially during high intensity workouts with lots of jumping around.

Price: $138 CAD. Okay, they’re expensive. Before you say no just think about how many cheap, unflattering leggings you’ve gone through in your lifetime and how this pair could replace all those future disappointing pairs… Trust me on this one, every girl deserves a pair of Lulus in her life.

Overall Satisfaction: 4/5 – Sure, these pants are expensive, but I prefer to think of them as a great investment 😉 I love how these leggings make me look and feel, and during my university days I would wear them on the reg. Due to the stretching I’ve experienced, I prefer to use them for low intensity and everyday wear rather than running or H.I.I.T. The side pockets are nice and deep, perfect for even the larger smartphones on the market.

Garage

Fit: These capri leggings from Garage are my go-tos for a comfy, minimalist look. While they won’t draw attention to your bum like brands such as Lululemon or GymShark, Garage does a great job with their subtle detailing. The soft grey panels add a little extra to the look while keeping it classy. While browsing the activewear section on their website, it’s clear that the brand loves to play around with detailing and mesh panels to dress up their otherwise boring black and grey colour schemes. These leggings fit securely around my hips and I never have to worry about them slipping down during even the highest intensity of workouts. Unfortunately they don’t really have much to offer in the compression department…

Quality: I’ve had this pair of capris for a couple years now and they’ve never let me down when it comes to pulling and wear. They are a mix of nylon and spandex and offer a soft, thick feel.

Price: At $25 CAD you do get a great pant for a low price.

Overall Satisfaction: 4/5 – While I’m a big fan when it comes to how comfortable and durable Garage capris are, I can’t find too much in their small line of activewear that I like beyond the same old black and grey. I also prefer the feel of slippery leggings rather than thick, soft ones. Tbh without cool colours and slippery feel, they’re just meh.

Old Navy

Fit: The Old Navy capri leggings are of a lower rise then most other leggings in my collection. I’m always a bit nervous buying low rise pants in general because they’re usually uncomfortable and aren’t as flattering, but these leggings exceeded my expectations. The wide fabric panel below my waist is flattering and functional, helping to suck in any lower belly fat while providing support. The stitching around the bum is also pretty flattering, and the placement of the mesh panels somehow make my thighs look thinner.

Quality: These leggings are a mix of polyester and spandex. They have a soft, yet cool texture which makes them super comfy to lounge in. They are surprisingly thick and not see-through at all for a cheaper legging. I have yet to have any issues with pulls or seams!

Price: $20ish CAD- can you really beat that value?

Overall Satisfaction: 4.5/5 – Every time I wore these to group classes I would be asked where I bought them. They never fail to make a statement, while at the same time being practical for any kind of workout. If I were to improve on them I would add more pockets (only includes one tiny hidden pocket in the front), and add more flattering seams around the butt region similar to my Lulus.

Victoria’s Secret Pink Ultimate

Fit: Out of all my leggings, these have to be the worst fit. Maybe the 7/8th leggings just don’t suit me, but they seem really awkward-looking in pictures. If you are looking for a tight, low rise legging to lounge in these are for you. I would not recommend these for working out in, as I’m constantly tugging them back up and there is no ventilation whatsover. 

Quality: Thick, high quality fabric that is pretty durable. The tag reads 77% polyester and elastane (similar to spandex). Like my other Pink leggings, I found that the waist band slowly loses its shape over time and no longer provides compression. Other than that, these pants are well made and the stitching is still intact after many washes.

Price: $45 CAD- not really worth the high price tag in my opinion. I feel like you could find much cheaper ones at stores like Forever 21 with decent quality and better fit. I guess I was just paying for the label and the cool side panels hehe

Overall Satisfaction: 2.5/5

And the winner is…. 

Best everyday legging: Garage. These leggings are perfect for everyday wear- they’re comfy, breathable, durable, and go with just about any top. I throw them on for any type of workout or when I simply need to grab something from the store. 

Most flattering: Lululemon All The Right Places Pant II. There’s no denying it, these Lulus have stitching that will flatter almost anyone’s rear end, plus the no front seam eliminates that camel toe look. The high rise waist band and zoned compression will make you look and feel securely held in. 

Best value: Old Navy. For under $20 you get great quality leggings that are comfortable, squat proof, and whose funky patterns are sure to get you a few compliments at the gym.

Best overall: Old Navy. I own several pairs of Old Navy leggings, from pink to black to the bright purple ones you see above. While not all of the leggings they sell are alike (make sure you do a squat test in the change room!), most are extremely high quality for the price you pay. Old Navy has really stepped up its game in the active wear department, and if you aren’t one of those girls who buy clothes just for the label you should definitely check these out. While they might not be as flattering as my Lulus, I still think they make my butt look good and I really like the mesh inserts that keep my legs nice and cool. The fit is excellent and I don’t have to worry about them sliding down during my higher intensity workouts. 

**Moral of the story: low price doesn’t always mean low quality. Do your research and you’re sure to find great leggings at a decent price!!**

That’s it for now, hope everyone has a great night.

-Robyn xx 

 

 

Easy Overnight Oats

Hey guys! Hope you’re having a nice weekend so far 🙂

Thought I’d share a quick recipe for overnight oats that I prepared last night and ate this morning. Oats are a great way to start off the morning because they fill you up, are a great source of fiber, and can help lower cholesterol which makes them heart-smart! They are also rich in magnesium, iron, and vitamin B. I also added in some ground flax seed which is high in omega-3s and fiber, and can also help achieve healthy hair and nails. Overall, overnight oats are a great choice for a healthy breakfast that will help you lose weight and maintain good digestive health.

What you’ll need:

IMG_20170616_214940

  • 1/2 cup of quick oats
  • 2/3 cup of milk of your choice- I used Silk Almond Milk in Vanilla
  • 1/3 cup of Greek Yogurt- I used Liberté Greek Yogurt in Vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon ground flax meal
  • Splash of vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 medium ripe banana mashed
  • Optional toppings: chocolate chips, banana slices, honey

Directions:

  1. Whisk together all the ingredients in a medium bowl
  2. Seal in an airtight container and refrigerate for at least 4 hours
  3. Enjoy!

 

IMG_20170617_074316.jpg

Let me know what you think!

Love, Robyn xx

From Sleepless Student to Glowing Grad: A Complete Guide to My Convocation Look

Yesterday, after 4 years of late night cramming and many tears shed (both happy and sad), I finally wrapped up my time at the University of Guelph and graduated!! In the moments leading up to my walk across the stage I thought about all the people who gave me the unconditional love and support I needed to get this far- my parents, my boyfriend, and of course my friends. My best friend Victoria was one of these amazing people. She always seems to be there when I need her, and yesterday she came through once again by giving me a makeover for grad. Today’s blog will be all about how she helped transform me from a tired-looking Uni student to a glowing grad.

IMG_20170614_105123
BEFORE
IMG_20170614_113901
AFTER
IMG_20170614_183135
8 HOURS LATER

Victoria recommended a natural look with brown, earthy eye shadow tones that would suit my hazel eyes.

IMG_20170614_112023.jpg

She started out by having me cleanse my skin using Garnier SkinActive Micellar Water and applying a thin layer of Simple Protecting Moisturizer with SPF 15. Despite having sunscreen I found the moisturizer to be non-greasy and very light on the skin. Make sure you always have clean hands before starting to work with makeup. Victoria suggests working in natural sunlight, as this will give you the best idea of how your makeup will end looking. In most cases, especially for special events, apply eye makeup first as it will be much easier to sweep away any fallout on clean skin vs. that with foundation.

Next, she applied  Hourglass Mineral Veil Primer to minimize the look of pores on my face, concentrated around the chin and nose area. This primer is like nothing I’ve ever felt, very silky and leaves a beautiful finish even without foundation over top- I would highly recommend. The eyelid primer she used was NYX Eye Shadow Base which is comparable to Too Faced Shadow Insurance. Face and eyelid primer are absolutely essential to help makeup last longer and stay crease-free.

Now for the main event… The eyes! Victoria swept MAC “All That Glitters” across the entire lid, then used a tapered blending brush (MAC 217) to apply MAC “Bronze” in the crease and under the eye 1/3rd of the way. Blend the crease in well with a clean brush.

IMG_20170614_104942
MAC “All That Glitters” in the top left pan; MAC “Bronze” in the bottom left pan

Moving on to the Chanel eye palette in “Tissé Rivoli.” Using the glittery taupe shade (B), she enhanced the outer corner of the eye as well as dragging it along the upper and lower lash line 1/3rd of the way. Then with the dark matte brown eye shadow (D) she thinly lined the top lashes with a angled brush 1/3rd of the way. The glittery taupe (B) was used once again to blend over the shadow liner. The highlight colour (A) was used in the inner eye and under the brow bone to add dimension. Victoria also suggests adding the highlight colour (A) on the middle of the lid to make the eye appear brighter.

Chanel
Chanel “Tissé Rivoli”

Now for a little face time- Victoria and I got real up close and personal to make this look happen! My foundation of choice is Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum in Vanilla. This brand was once owned by Chanel which means its some pretty good stuff, but for a lower price than what you’d expect (I paid around $25 CAD). I can’t rave enough about this foundation and I think its highly underrated. As a regular user of BB cream this is my all-time favourite because it is an extremely light-feeling gel with a medium semi-matte finish (more coverage than your average BB cream). If the decent price point and great finish didn’t sell it for you, it also has an amazing scent (somewhere between pomegranate and strawberry). On the back of her hand Victoria mixed two pumps of the foundation with 1-2 drops of Cover FX Custom Enhancing Drops in the shade “Sunlight.” The mix created a nice golden glow that she proceeded to spread onto my skin first using her fingertips, then buffing it in with the Real Techniques Foundation Brush. She suggests working in small sections, being careful to buff down the neck, ears, and hairline to prevent harsh lines.

IMG_20170615_200354
Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum in Vanilla

**Victoria Tip: for summer or when you want a lighter coverage you can mix your everyday foundation with your moisturizer to create a custom tinted moisturizer. Usually two parts foundation and one part moisturizer is a good starting point. Apply this mixture in light layers and build up where you need coverage.

Using Maybelline Age Rewind Concealer she covered up my dark under-eye circles and redness around my nose and chin. To spot conceal she applied a heavier cream concealer (from MAC) with a small tipped brush, then lighly tapped around the edges of the spot to blend. Next, Mac Mineralize Skinfinish Natural powder in “Light Plus” was lightly pressed onto my t-zone with a large fluffy brush to prevent excessive shine. Victoria decided a warm rosy tone of blush would work with the bronzy golden look. She applied a MAC cream blush in the shade “Ladyblush” after the powder to preserve a dewy finish. 

Hoola Bronzer was used to warm up the face and contour. She applied the product with a fluffy brush using an E and 3 motion, pinching the end of the bristles to get a more precise contour. The Cover FX drops were used again as a highlight on the cheekbones, temples, and cupid’s bow.

To finish this look off, I gave my lashes a deep curl by squeezing at the base, mid-point, and tip of the lashes. I used two different CoverGirl Mascaras (Total Tease and Super Sizer) to give my lashes a full and long look without having to use fakes. My brows are pretty thick and full as it is, but I did fill in a couple patches using NYX MicroBrow Pencil in Ash Brown which is comparable to the very popular Anastasia Brow Wiz.

IMG_20170615_200425
CoverGirl Total Tease and CoverGirl Super Sizer

Just add a nice dress, pinned hair, and an expensive piece of paper and the look is complete!!

 

Thanks Victoria for making my day extra special! Cheers to the class of 2017!!

IMG_20170614_161928.jpg

-Robyn xx

 

Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started My Fitness Journey…

Hey everyone! Happy mindful Monday.

Lately I’ve been seeing a lot of discussion around “things I wish I knew…” (i.e. when I was 16, in my 20s, graduating high school/University, starting my career, etc.). Case in point, I wanted to reflect on my own fitness journey and come up with a few things I would’ve told myself back then if I could.

Over the past decade the fitness industry has been booming. The invention of social media has made it easier now more than ever for celebrities and models to promote fad diets, pills, and magic potions that will help you attain your dream body. We live in incredibly confusing times when it comes to health and fitness and it can take years of tweaking your diet and exercise routine to find what works best for your body. I am certainly no exception to the rule, as it has taken me about 4+ years (basically my whole University experience) to finally get comfortable with my lifestyle changes.

I think I was around 19 when I started feeling uncomfortable with my weight. All throughout high school I was pretty active and had a fast metabolism which basically meant I ate what ever I wanted. For example, every day after school I would have a couple of those microwaveable Pizza Pockets as my pre-dinner snack and it didn’t even phase me that that might be excessive. This continued into the first half of my first year of University when I ate practically anything I could get my hands on at the school’s cafeteria. When I came back from Christmas holidays I had gained my freshman 15 and it was starting to show. My solution? Start working out, eat sparingly, and binge at night when I figured out I was starving. As you can imagine this didn’t work out too well and my body ended up hanging on to more fat because it thought it was in starvation mode. This leads me to the first thing I’d tell myself: You need to eat breakfast. Breakfast gives you the adequate physical and mental energy you need to get through your day and helps you satiate those late night cravings. I don’t care if you need to wake up half an hr earlier or meal prep the night before- get it in. Smoothies are my favourite way to get a nutritious breakfast on the go- see my previous post for a good recipe!

enjoy

^Greek Yogurt Banana Muffins are also a great on-the-go option

Next, don’t obsess over calorie counting. Sure, it can be good at the beginning of your journey to track what you eat and make sure calories-in don’t outweigh total energy output. However, if you are eating real, unprocessed foods and getting at least the recommended amount of physical activity per week (150 mins for adults) then it’s probably unnecessary and unrealistic to count every little calorie that you put in your mouth. Instead, focus on how you feel when you eat certain foods and how that relates to their macro nutrient and ingredient content. An easy way to do this is start a food journal or use apps like myfitnesspal that provide visual representations of the ratio of protein/carbs/fats in your food. Through trial and error I noticed that foods high in refined carbs and most dairy products caused me to bloat and feel uncomfortable for hours after consumption. My body tends to react well to foods high in healthy fats, lean sources of protein including chicken, turkey, and fish, as well as vegetables and small portions of fruit (my favourite being semi-frozen mangoes). Of course everyone is different so you’ll have to experiment a little to find your own best diet, but you get the idea.

Step off the scale! If you are overweight and looking to lose 20 pounds I get it, but at a certain point the numbers on the scale start to become irrelevant. The scale can only tell you your total body weight, but it can’t tell you how much of that weight is fat or muscle. Instead, take progress pictures and lots of em! I regret not taking more and from all angles.

myfitnesspal-1496685841936.png

^December 2016-present; 0 pounds difference but feeling a lot more toned and energetic

Stop stressing! When you experience stress your cortisol levels rise dramatically. Not only does this lead to weight gain, but it could put you at risk for heart disease, interfere with memory and learning, as well as lower your immunity. It’s very important to me during times of stress (e.g. exam week) that i keep my stress levels low to increase my productivity and avoid weight gain and acne. See my last Mindful Monday for my top 10 tips to de-stress!

Lastly, make your health a priority. Both mental and physical health are the key to living a long and happy life, so focus on exercise, a balanced diet, and healthy relationships as the keys to success. Material objects can only make us happy for a limited time before we want bigger and better things. Good health is something sought after by all, and it is not until we are sick that we realize what a blessing good health really is. Think of the last time you had just recovered from a cold. I bet in the days following you were so happy that you could breathe in fresh air again and go wherever you wanted without worrying about not having Kleenex nearby. I want you to try and recreate that simple joy this week and smile every time you realize you are alive and capable of taking on the world without blocked nostrils 😉

That’s all for today! Hope you had a great Monday and I’ll talk to you again soon 🙂

Best,

Robyn xoxo

 

 

 

Greek Yogurt Banana Muffins

TGIF!! It’s Friday so you know what that means… treat day 🙂

greek yogurt banana muffins

Today I’m going to tell you how to make the perfect snack for “Fat Friday”- Greek Yogurt Banana Muffins with a sneaky addition of chocolate chips. This treat is inspired by a recipe I got off Crumb Kitchen (https://crumbkitchen.com/greek-yogurt-banana-chocolate-chip-muffins/) with a few modifications based on the ingredients I had on hand. This recipe yields approximately 12-14 moist and delicious muffins that are perfect for breakfast on-the-go. The addition of Greek yogurt gives this snack an extra protein-kick while helping it maintain a slightly healthier status compared to your regular ol’ muffin. The muffins can be kept in an airtight container for about a week or you can freeze them and re-heat when needed. muffins.JPG

ingredients for muffins.jpg

Here’s everything you’ll need:

 

  • 2 and 1/4 cups of flour
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup of softened butter
  • 3/4 cup of sugar
  • 1/4 cup of golden yellow sugar
  • 1 and 1/2 large or 2 medium overripe bananas*
  • 1 cup Plain Liberté Greek yogurt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp vanilla**
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips

 

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin pan with paper cups, or like me, place reusable plastic ones on a baking sheet. Lightly coat the cups with a spray of olive oil.
  2. In a medium bowl you’ll want to combine your dry ingredients; flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl cream together your softened butter and two sugars. Add in the mashed bananas, yogurt, eggs (beaten separately), and vanilla**
  4. Fold in the dry ingredient mixture and chocolate chips, taking care not to overmix.
  5. Fill each muffin cup up 3/4ths of the way with the batter. As you can see below I slightly overfilled! Make sure to add a few extra chocolate chips on top if you have a major sweet tooth like me!muffin cups
  6. Bake for approximately 25 minutes until muffin tops are golden brown or when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool for at least 5 minutes before you do a taste test 😉 Enjoy!!

bake.jpg

complete.jpg

enjoy.jpg

Let me know if you end up making them!

-Love, Robyn xx aka. the muffin (wo)man

*Tip: If your bananas aren’t ripe enough, try stabbing them with a fork a couple times and heating them up in the microwave for 30 seconds at a time

**I didn’t end up adding the vanilla because I used the Liberté Greek Yogurt I had on hand which was vanilla flavour