The #1 Reason to Complete the Whole30 (that has nothing to do with food)


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I recently finished a little something called, The Whole30 Challenge; it was a 30 day dietary makeover- no sugar, grains, legumes, dairy, alcohol…and most importantly, no FUN (okay, that last one was optional). Let me answer the FAQ’s that are probably rushing through your mind: Yes, I drank my coffee black. No, I didn’t always enjoy it. Yes, I had to make sacrifices. And yes, it was hard.

Before I embarked on my 30 day adventure, I knew it was going to be tough, but as you can see here, I was ready for the challenge. And although at times it was a struggle, I (obviously) managed to come out of the 30 days alive.














I stuck to the rules and even lost the 15lbs I gained at Basic Training. I know, I know… I GAINED weight at Basic training?! I kept telling myself it was because I was wearing heavier clothes and hadn’t cut my hair in awhile, but then I realized those two things were ridiculous and had to come to terms with my weight gain. So, while most people at Basic…correction…everyone at Basic had the pounds melting away, I somehow managed to grow an extra 15 lbs. Let’s just clarify what that means, that’s like a small person attached to me, like a baby midget (?what?), on my back at all times. And I know what you are thinking, “oh, stop it Megan, it’s probably just muscle”. Let me stop you right there, NO, it wasn’t.

Before the Whole30 on the Left and on the right, just 1 week to go with the W30

Before the Whole30 on the Left and on the right, just 1 week to go with the W30

Irregardless (not a word), I’m not here to talk about food, weight loss, or my obvious outrage concerning the military’s lack of high-intensity physical activities for recruits. I’m here to give you ONE really good reason to complete the Whole30 that has NOTHING to do with food. Sounds ridiculous, right? Hear me out. Completing your own 30day challenge could be good for numerous reasons (unless of course it’s 30 days of binge drinking; in that case you may want to rethink your life choices). However, one of the main reasons I believe you need a 30 day challenge to add a little spice in your life is because…. We all need a lesson in:

 Learning to set a goal, committing to it and seeing it through till the end

(…is that three reasons?).

Here’s WHY we all need practice at this:

These days it’s tough for most people to focus through a three minute video, let alone something that takes 30 days of their time. I recently read that we now have a shorter attention span than a gold fish….Wait…did I lose you? Let me say that again. WE now have a shorter attention span than a gold fish. Ummm, what? So much for us being an advanced species. Sure humankind has made major medical breakthroughs, travelled to space and created insane technological advances (hello!? have you SEEN Ironman?!…oh. Wait. That’s not real..?…..awk.waaard…). But if you ask most of us to concentrate on anything for more than 10 seconds, well, that appears to be asking too much.

Calvin didn't realise that in just 3 seconds he'd have a 2nd chance to make a 1st impression...


In this day and age, with constant stimulation, being pulled in a thousand directions, it’s important that we pursue our goals and learn to commit to something. What’s even more important is to stick with that something, even when obstacles arise or things get difficult. We are becoming so used to instant gratification, that when things get hard, we bow out. I see it all of the time in yoga; the moment a pose starts getting challenging, or uncomfortable, I’ll see students give up on themselves. But, it is in those moments of discomfort that we begin to mentally GROW and shape ourselves.














So, why not commit to a positive change in your life for 30 days. You’ll challenge your mind to commit, plan ahead and overcome obstacles in order to achieve your goal. It doesn’t really matter what the goal is, whether it is big or small; what matters is that you learn to stick with something and see it through- RIGHT until the end.

I mentioned in my last post that I wanted to complete the 30 days to not only see if I could give up my food addictions, but to become mentally stronger. It takes a lot of will power to turn down junk food at a BBQ, or even just constantly defend my choice to not have a drink when I’m out at a pub with friends. Believe me, it would have been a LOT easier to cave and drink alcohol over listening to the, “You’re doing WHAT? For 30 days? Why!?…I would NEVER…” But, I stuck with it and I do believe I’m mentally stronger because of it.

So, if I’ve managed to keep your attention this long (1) kudos to you for outlasting a goldfish and (2) now it’s your turn to choose your 30 days for change. The hardest part is beginning. So, DECIDE, take a deep breath and take the first step towards positive change.


2 Small Steps to Create Big Change


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The other day I experienced the power of “being ready for a change”. Not the, kind of-maybe-I think I’ll give it a shot, ready. It was a definite shift in perspective. Confused? Let me provide some context. A lot of people who go to my gym were participating in something called, “The Whole 30”. It’s essentially a lifestyle change of your eating habits for 30 days. There were lots of conversations in the gym regarding who was participating and how progress was going. Every time I heard people discussing it, I thought, “there is no way in H*LL I’m doing that. Give up my coffee creamer? Friday night pizza? Saturday poutine? Forget it. It’s not happening.”


Then one day after a workout, the coach was speaking of his experience during the 30 days. He said, “I really believe that I’m mentally stronger from completing it.” And that was it. Something in me clicked; I had found my motivation to make a change. I was finally ready and now I could commit.

So, what is the lesson here? What can you take from this and how can you apply it to your own life? First off, there is probably an inkling of a feeling deep down inside of something you’ve been wanting to change, whether it be eating healthier, working out more, being nicer to people…being nicer to yourself. Here is your TWO (yes, two) step model in order to create change.

1. Find Your Why.

Why do you want to make this change? For me? uhhh, to be healthier, make mad gains in the gym and to have my skin glow like a mermaid… obviously. While those reasons may seem standard (okay, maybe not standard), they weren’t a strong enough reason in the past to keep me from eating 1kg of mini eggs in one weekend (oh, don’t act like you’ve never done it).

 My “WHY” of taking on these 30 days was the challenge of becoming mentally stronger by making changes of things that I perceived to be “hard”. Why was mental strength more important to me than having a bod that is hrrrddd assss f*k? Well, it probably has something to do with my background, or that fact mental toughness will allow me to aspire faster to my goals. OR, when Mr. Only-cares-about-the-physical-Joe and his fabutanned abs are failing him during a plank-off, I will be tapping into my mental strength and will outlast him every time.

Screen Shot 2015-07-12 at 10.26.21 AM

My “why” for change may be very different from yours. Maybe the physical is enough and you are going to work out because it makes your butt look great. That’s awesome (and your butt does look great). But maybe you need something else; perhaps it’s for your own mental health, the longevity of your life, or that one day you want to be the worlds greatest Grandma- running laps around your grandchildren, or to still be doing headstands when you’re 90. It doesn’t matter what it is, what matters is that you find it.













Once you know your WHY, it’s time to:

2. Change Your Perspective













Before I started this 30 day endeavor, I had the mindset, “No sugar? This is going to be so hard!” But then I read this from the Whole 30 website:

It is not hard. Don’t you dare tell us this is hard. Beating cancer is hard. Birthing a baby is hard. Losing a parent is hard. Drinking your coffee black. Is. Not. Hard.”

Touché. Touché. I had to stop thinking of my changes as sacrifices and as changes that I was CHOOSING because I want to accomplish my ‘why’.

As I mentioned, if my experience is different from you and it doesn’t click right away. Don’t you fret! Changing self talk and potentially years of patterned, automatic ways of thinking could take time to change. So be aware of these thoughts, be patient and be positive.

If at this point you are totally lost or confused, go back to step 1 (you know, the step right before step 2) :) Soul search, meditate, talk to your friends, family, or neighbors dog and figure out the “WHY”; your true motivation for wanting to make change.



Good luck on your quest for change…whatever that change may be.



10 Life Lessons from Basic Military Officer Training 

I recently finished BMOQ- Basic Military Officer Qualification (AKA Basic Training). It was from January to April in a city about one hour outside of Montreal (..umm Quebec in the winter? Can you say freezing?…anyway- irrelevant to this post).


I can honestly say that this training was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my entire life. Not because it was physically demanding, because I did not find the physical aspect hard. It was challenging because I was so far out of my comfort zone; I was mentally pushed unlike anything before. Anyone who remotely knows me can probably understand what I mean when I say that I was out of my comfort zone. My BFF actually said to me, “The only person less suited for the military than me, is you”.


THIS person decided to join the military….What?

I’ve spent the last 5 years of my life completely immersed in a yoga community- where we don’t resolve conflict by yelling or degrading. We yogi’s hope for peace on earth and support each other with hugs, vegan salads, homemade chocolate and Kombucha (…or something like that)!


Me as a warrior…before I was a REAL CAF badass warrior….or worrier…depends on the day :)

So, let’s take me, an overly sensitive, introverted yogini and throw me into a testosterone dominated environment, where…not everyone wants to get along…or necessarily feels the need to be nice to everyone. AND THEN on top of that, ask me to not only be surrounded by people constantly, but to lead them, work with them and live with them. Sometimes I felt like I was living in another world.

Home Sweet Home

SO, in true Sport Psych fashion, I reflected, I debriefed and came up with a few lessons that I can translate into my life (and hopefully you can too!)

Here we go:

1) What people say about you says way more about them than it does about you.

I’m not going to lie, some people could say really hurtful, rude and blatantly mean things to or about other people;  rumors flew and people talked. I was on the receiving end of some of the words and rumors. And it sucked…a lot. But when I could take a step back from the emotion and how the situation made me feel, I realized that the words were not a reflection of anything I had done; it wasn’t my story, it was theirs. The words came from that particular persons fears, insecurities, and/or past experiences.


Which leads me to my next point:

2) People may not remember what you say, but they will always remember the way you made them feel. ‘nough said.

3) Nothing is ever as bad as it seems.

I would get myself worked up over most of the big tasks we had to do- our missions, leading the group, living in the field. And every time the “tasking” would pass, I would wonder why I got myself so worked up. I began utilizing my skills from yoga to stay present and try not to think of what was yet to come and focus on taking things one step (or moment) at a time.

4) You are so much stronger than you think.

I saw our platoon members achieve things they never thought possible. Some made such amazing personal changes within themselves that it was almost hard to recognize them by the end of training. You never really know how much you can grow or what you can endure until you jump right in and give it everything you’ve got.

5) Believe and trust in others…

Micromanaging a group of 50 people doesn’t work anymore than micromanaging a group of 5 people does. Trust that people will get the work done, believe that people will pull through for you. Chances are if you treat them with respect, they will come together for you.

6) More importantly, believe and trust in yourself.

This may seem redundant to number four, but there was a point when I was doubting my capabilities and what I knew (deep down) that I could do. My sisters boyfriend gave me a piece of advice that I will never forget: “A lion doesn’t ask himself how to be a lion”. I knew that I had everything within me to be successful, I didn’t need to ask myself how to be something that innately I already am.

PSP Top Athlete? Hilare.

PSP Top Athlete? Hilare.

 7) Be who you are and say what you feel…

..because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind. Thanks for the life advice, Dr. Suess. And thanks for Steph who didn’t mind one bit :)


8) People will always find what they are looking for.

Every room inspection I’d hear: “dust in the barrel”, “lint on your clothes”, “dust on the window sill”. If I would have wiped the window sill SECONDS before my Sgt walked in, he still would have found dust. If someone has something set in his/her head, they will always see what they want to see.

9) It’s okay to cry.

I probably cried once a week at training (hah); it made some people very uncomfortable, it made some feel like they needed to console me or offer me advice. I wasn’t ever looking to elicit a response from others; after days of holding in frustrations, it was a way for me to release and process things for the week ahead. Big kudos to my sister who was on the receiving end of almost every single one of those phone calls ;)


(This picture describes how I felt most of the time)

10) Look for the lessons learned in everything you do. 

The Mental Performance Consultant in me loves a good debrief and to talk about lessons learnt. In every challenge I faced, every difficult person that was presented to me, I always asked myself what I could be learning from this person or this situation. Usually I was able to work on my own insecurities, my own fears and build my own self-growth project out of each moment.

While I would never choose to go back to Basic, I am forever grateful for the people I met and connected with, the experiences I had and the foundation that has been layed for me as I start to intertwine my yogi self with the CAF…the ultimate yin and yang.


-Until next time.

Peas Love and PB Sandwiches.

Can Downward Facing Dog Wreck Your Shoulders?


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Since Moksha Yoga Westshore has opened their doors, I have been reminded of my love for anatomy, movement and yoga. Not only that, I am reminded of how much I love to teach other people these things! As there is an influx of new students, I have been paying a lot of attention to people coming into postures for the very first time. One that is particular interesting is Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana). Practically every style of yoga practices this posture (besides Bikram, most Yin styles, and I’m sure there are a few others out there).


Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

BUT, should everyone be doing this posture? My answer is No. Definitely not…at least not always in the beginning of his or her yoga-journey. As the title of this article states, it could be a DOWNDOG disaster for some people’s bodies. While there are a number of things that could prevent your shoulders from being set into the proper position to take DownDog- a very common reason is a shortened Pectoralis Major muscle, which contributes to internally rotated shoulders.

 What activities (or lack of activities) make you a candidate for having shortened pecs? Too many “push” exercises (punching, pushups, planks), sitting with improper posture at a computer, desk, in a car, spending all day at a sewing machine (!MOM!), sitting and texting, sleeping for 8 hours curled up in a little ball, if you are a rower, swimmer, or perhaps you have had your heart broken and your shoulders have slumped forward in an effort to protect the body; or you were bullied or lack confidence, so you walked around for years with your head down and shoulders rolled in, instead of walking with your chest forward and head held high…I could go on, but as you can see, there are many, MANY reasons why your shoulders may be internally rotated.

How to tell if you have internally rotated shoulders? Stand up, shake your arms out, let them fall to your sides naturally and see which direction your thumbs point. An ideal situation is to have your thumbs point forward in a natural standing position. Knuckles pointing forward (or  ‘caveman arms’) is an indication of internally rotated shoulders.

Why does it matter if your shoulders are internally rotated? The shoulders are not a stable joint to begin with (they favour mobility over stability); however, the shoulders are MOST stable when they are externally rotated. This means that all of the structures surrounding the shoulders are in the proper place and the shoulder is working as efficiently as possible. Over time internally rotated shoulders can cause a whole host of injuries and pain in the body.

If your knuckles do point forward (from the exercise above), you may notice that you have troubles/restrictions when trying to reach your arms overhead. OR, you may be able to get your arms over your head, but the head of your humerus is smashing into the acromion or, to be more technical, “the greater tuberosity can “impinge” on the undersurface of the acromion, compressing the subacromial bursa and irritating the supraspinatus tendon” (, making things very uncomfortable (not to mention, not very sustainable over a long period of time).

The MMA fighter in the picture below is extremely fit looking, but as you can see, his shoulders are internally rotated, meaning they are not in an ideal position.

A tight Pec Major may be contributing to rounded shoulders and be causing havoc in your downdog.    allisat-use


Now, what the heck does all of this have to do with your downward facing dog? Since your shoulder position is a very important piece of this posture, if you are heading into your downdog (or plank, or chaturanga for that matter) with internally rotated shoulders, you are creating a very unstable and unsustainable position that will more than likely cause injury over time.

Is your Pec Major the cause of all of this internal rotation? Maybe, maybe not. But it is definitely worth looking into if you practice yoga. Can Downward Facing Dog wreck your shoulders? If not practiced with proper alignment, there is a likelihood of shoulder issues that may develop.

Practice smart and you’ll be whipping out that downdog for years to come.

Peas, love …and stable shoulders.


As a bonus- check out the video below! Jill Miller, creator of Yoga Tune up, gives a very simple assessment tool that will allow you to identify a few other obstacles to your downward facing dog, as well as a different posture that may save your shoulders.

Life Lessons

“When a baby comes into the world, its hands are clenched, right? Like this?” He made a fist. “Why? Because a baby not knowing any better, wants to grab everything, to say the whole world is mine. But when an old person dies, how does he do so? With his hands open. Why? Because he has learned his lesson.” “What lesson?” I asked. He stretched open his empty fingers. “We can take nothing with us.”
― Mitch Albom, Have a Little Faith: a True Story

The Quickest Way to Improve Performance…and Your Life.

Originally posted on Align4Sport:

Very often I hear about the negative internal dialogue that has a tendency to run and rule the minds of many, many athletes (and pretty much every single other person out there…).

There is no advantage in approaching performance or life situations thinking, “I can’t” , I won’t be able to do this”, “I’m not good/smart/fast/strong enough”. A lot happens in the body physiologically when we start to think negatively; it can cause powerful changes in our brain’s chemistry that can profoundly influence coordination, balance, concentration and muscle response accuracy.

You may not even be aware of the constant fight that goes on in your mind. But, for the most part, there is a lot of mental chatter going on. And if you just silently responded in your head, “no, there’s not“…well, I prove my point.

So, how do you get rid of the negative voices? How do…

View original 324 more words

House in the Sky, Three Cups of Tea & Lone Survivor.


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The last two books I have read are: House in the Sky & Three Cups of Tea. Pair that with my recent viewing of the amazing movie, Lone Survivor (which, by the way was one of the best movies I’ve seen in a long time) and it leaves me thinking a LOT about international development and education for children in developing countries.

There is a quote that stood out to me in Three Cups of Tea. It was during a conversation between an American and a Pakistani about America and Osama Bin Laden:

“…As a military man, I know you can never fight and win against someone who can shoot at you once and then run off and hide while you have to remain eternally on guard. You have to attack the source of your enemy’s strength. In America’s case, that’s not Osama or Saddam or anyone else. The enemy is ignorance. The only way to defeat it is to build relationships with these people, to draw them into the modern world with education and business. Otherwise the fight will go on forever.”

House In the Sky is another amazing read (which I’m sure will be a movie soon enough). While the book doesn’t detail what happens after author (and Albertan) Amanda Lindhout survived 460 days as a hostage in war-torn Somalia, a quick google search will reveal that she founded the Global Enrichment Foundation. Lindhout firmly believes that her captors were products of their environment, and if they would have had the opportunity for education they might have made different choices in their lives.

And the final piece of my trail of thoughts comes to Lone Survivor; I don’t want to give any spoilers, but if you watch the movie, perhaps see if you can make the connection with what I am writing above.

My sister said today that one of the ways to start thinking about your life purpose is to consider the following question: “What would you do if money wasn’t a factor?” I really believe that if I had the money and the means, that I would start my own charitable foundation that would help to educate children around the world. I see truth in the quote that is listed above: The enemy is ignorance.

That is about as far as I have come with my reflections; the wheels are turning though…

On a side-note, if you have not checked out either of those books, or the movie, I would highly recommend it.

Until next time.

One (or three) Things YOU are Missing from your Morning Coffee


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I am a BIG coffee fan. I love, love, love to sit and have a nice warm drink in the morning.

I have started to drink a variation of “Bulletproof Coffee”. If you are not sure what that is, well, if you do a quick google search you will find a lot of hype around it, especially within the Crossfit community.

The original recipe is something along the lines of:

  • Coffee
  • UNSALTED grass-fed butter
  • MCT Oil or Coconut Oil
  •  Blend everything together

What I put in, is much better! …but pretty much the same.

I blend

  • 1 tbsp (or less) of butter (organic, unsalted, grass-fed if possible)
  • 1 tbsp of coconut oil
  • Half a scoop of protein powder (both chocolate and vanilla taste good).

It. is. amazing.


I know what you’re thinking… “Butter in your coffee!? That sounds absurd! Isn’t butter bad for you?”

Well, if you follow health trends, then you’ll know that for YEARS we have been told that saturated fat makes us fat. Howeverto quote Dr. Malcolm Kendrick, “there is not one molecule of evidence to suggest that saturated fat consumption causes obesity”.

“What’s certain is that saturated fat is a key component of our cell membranes, and essential for the production of certain hormones. It also acts as a carrier for important vitamins, and is vital for mineral absorption, and many other biological processes”. More can be read in the article, here; it goes into the stigma butter (and saturated fats) have somehow had bestowed upon them.

As for coconut oil, which is also considered a saturated fat. Everyone loves it; regardless of whether they are using it to cook at high temperatures or for cosmetic uses. So I don’t feel the need to say too much about it (feel free to click here to read more).

What IS important to note, is that there are many claims on the internet that type of coffee helps to curb appetite and aid in weight loss. Maybe it does, maybe it doesn’t. But I would like to point out the obvious -this is not a coffee that you would have for breakfast with bacon, eggs and toast. Unless you are working out a crazy amount and need that many extra calories in your diet. For me, this coffee replaces my regular breakfast.

Well, there you have it! Three things you are missing from your coffee: Butter, Coconut Oil and Protein Powder. Give it a try and let me know what you think!



Negative Self T…

Negative Self Talk

“You’re so Stupid”, “You can’t do anything right”. Suddenly there are two battles raging: the one against an external opponent and the internal battle against yourself. Out of nowhere, in the heat of battle, a little voice inside begins a relentless litany of self-critism. What was once a unified fighting force against an outside opponent becomes a divided fight within….A battle that must be waged on two fronts is far more difficult to win.”
– From The New Toughness Training For Sports by James E. Loehr

Next Chapter


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As I write this today, I realize that I have been MIA from the posting world for a while. There is a reason for it and I finally feel as though it is time to come clean!

….I stopped being a Vegetarian… *GASP*

I am sure the yogi gods just rolled in their graves. But hear me out…

I went to the Doctor and had a nice little chat about all my health issues. It was then recommended that I just TRY incorporating a weeee bit of meat into my diet. I was VERRRRRYYYYY reluctant; when I finally came around to it, it felt very foreign. But then something started to happen… I felt better. For the first time in YEARS, I stopped taking my 2 hour afternoon naps. I used to be exhausted AAAAALLL of the time. I was losing my hair, I was having skin issues (not to mention many other problems that I don’t feel the need to discuss). But when I started incorporating meat into my diet, everything changed… for the better.


Now, I DOOOO believe that some people can be vegetarians and live happy and healthy lives. However, I have done some research with ‘O’ blood types (which is what I am), and it appears that ‘O’ thrives when they eat more meat. I believe it is an ‘A’ blood-type that does better with little to no meat. In reading about ‘O’s, I started asking my vegetarian friends and my meat-eating friends questions about their diet and their energy. More importantly, I started asking vegetarians who had stopped and started eating meat again. EVERY single person I spoke to that did not feel healthy as a vegetarian/vegan was an O blood type. Coincidence? I’m not sure.

I do care about animals and Julien and I do not buy our meat from the Supermarket, but rather we go to a local farm. I’m not trying to justify the change in my diet, but I do want to make the point that I still care about the conditions of these animals and I do not OVER consume. For the first time in YEARS my body feels good, and that is something that I can’t deny. And yes, I’m sure people are going to think that I didn’t do vegetarianism “right”. But I am telling you, I had the iron supplements, the kale, the spinach, the legumes, the protein powders…you name it, it was probably in my fridge.

In the end, you gotta do what’s right for your body and being a veggie wasn’t for me. I REAAALLLYYY REAALLLYYY wanted it to be. But it wasn’t. I digress, I could rant about this all day.

In other news, I have finished my Yoga Tune Up Teacher Training and feel more aware and informed about anatomy and physiology than I ever have before. (The pic is of Jill Miller, Founder of Yoga Tune up)


Oh and am super stoked to be moving into …this:


That’s all for now!

Big changes happening all around, but I can’t share everything at once!



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