Fit Life Coaching: Where Do I Start? — Resident Nutrition Expert Kristin Ames

Kristin Ames - Nutrition Expert

Ahh, January, the month where we all decide to adopt a healthier lifestyle.  Maybe lose some weight?  Start a new fitness regime? Get better sleep? Meditate?

It can be overwhelming trying to decide where to focus our efforts.  We know we want to feel better, but there are so many different options out there it can quickly lead to analysis paralysis and we end up doing nothing because we don’t know where to start.

On the other hand, it is possible to take on too much at once.  Starting a fitness program, cooking all your meals at home and trying to get 2 more hours of sleep every night, when you previously weren’t doing any of these things consistently, probably isn’t the recipe for success that you’re hoping for.

Extreme or time-consuming changes to your daily routine may be overwhelming when piled on top of all your regular responsibilities and commitments, to the point that you’ll likely end up abandoning your new healthy habits before you have time to reap the benefits.

Kristin Ames of Fit Life Coaching
Kristin Ames of Fit Life Coaching surfing

So what are we to do? I recommend choosing one new habit or behavior that feels manageable right out of the gate.  On a scale of 1-10 where 1 is ‘never gonna happen’ and 10 is ‘I can do this all day long’ it should be at least an 8, otherwise you need to scale back. 

When we are successful at improving our habits and behaviors, we get motivated to make more changes.  I know if feels like radical change will be the most effective, but it rarely is.  Small, manageable changes will lead to lasting results. 

You’re also more likely to keep doing something you enjoy, rather than grinding through something you hate; even the most disciplined person in the world will crack eventually if they don’t enjoy what they’re doing. 

Let’s say you decide you’d like to get in better shape; going to the gym 5 days a week for an hour will surely get you results – right? Well maybe, but it will also probably get you injured and discouraged if you don’t really like going to the gym. 

What if instead you signed up for a fun weekly exercise class, or tennis lesson, or set up a standing date to meet a friend for a walk?  Seems like it wouldn’t be nearly as effective to get you to your goal as the gym option, but guess what? If you stop going to the gym after 2 weeks, you’re never going to reach your goal. 

But maybe, after doing the exercise class for a month, you find another one to add to your week, and then you meet some like-minded people in the class and decide to get together on the weekend to go for a hike…you see where I’m going with this.

Kristin Ames - Nutrition Coach
Kristin Ames selecting fresh fruit in Keremeos, BC

The same principle goes for your nutrition – if your eating habits need an overhaul, think about what small changes you could make easily.  Do you eat out too much?  Set a limit as to how many meals a week you’re going to eat out. 

Don’t eat enough vegetables?  Set a goal of trying 1 new vegetable a week or eating a certain number servings a day.  Don’t buy 10 new vegetables at the grocery store with the expectation that you’re suddenly going to be eating them all day every day, chances are at weeks end you’ll be staring at a fridge full of rotten produce.

If you’re still tempted to bite off more than you can chew, try to narrow down your priorities – what single behavior change or new habit would have the biggest overall impact on your health and lifestyle? 

If you’re struggling with injury or pain, working on your mobility would be a great place to start – if you’re not in pain, you’ll sleep better, feel more like exercising, and probably not be cranky all the time.  

Kristin Ames of Fit Life Coaching
Kristin Ames of Fit Life Coaching lifting weights

If you’re always low energy and tired, then improving your sleep would be beneficial – you’ll be less tired (obviously), keep your hunger in check, and have more energy to exercise more.  Lots of benefits from one doable change.  

So pick something you can start working on tomorrow, and make sure you’ll nail it. Define what you’re going to do, how often you’re going to do it, and how you’ll measure your success.

Once you reach this goal, then, and only then, will it be time to add another.  Maybe it’s something you can master in 2 weeks, or maybe 2 months, it doesn’t matter.  I’ve said it before, but it really bears repeating: small, incremental changes are so much more effective and sustainable over the long term than big radical ones.

They may not be as exciting (for sure no one else wants to hear about your goal to eat 6 servings of vegetables a day for the next 4 weeks) but who cares? What is exciting is that you’ve set yourself up to reach your goals and still enjoy life while getting there.

Kristin Ames is a certified Nutrition Coach, Personal Trainer and Health Coach living in North Vancouver.  Her company, Fit Life Coaching, helps people achieve their best body and health with personalized nutrition and fitness programs. If you would like to learn more about the programs she offers, contact her on her website or Instagram.

Mayumi & Mama Izumi’s Foodie Adventures — Fets Whisky Kitchen

Fets Whisky Kitchen

Welcome to my new series, Mayumi & Mama Izumi’s Foodie Adventures! Today marks my first installment and I’m very excited to write about Fets Whiskey Kitchen. It was my second and Mama’s first time at the yummy eatery and bar.

Located in East Vancouver’s Little Italy on ‘the Drive’, Fets is nestled beside Havana and across the street from Grandview Park.

Mama and I ordered their Country Fried Steak and the Cooper’s Breakfast. Fets’ Country Fried Steak is crispy on the outside and the organic meat is moist and tender on the inside — the best I’ve had. It is accompanied by Maker’s Mark Bourbon white gravy, rosemary biscuit & bread, sunny side up egg, hashbrowns (with sauteed onions), and a dash of greens (with pickled onions). Delish!

Fets' Country Fried Steak and Cooper's Breakfast
Fets’ Country Fried Steak and Cooper’s Breakfast

The Cooper’s Breakfast is so tasty that my mouth is watering reliving my memories of it. It is comprised of braised local pork, black beans, sunny egg, and cornbread. All the flavours in both dishes enhance rather than compete with each other. It is gourmet comfort food and my gourmand compliments go to the chef.

Not only am I a foodie, but also a coffee connoisseur. Fets did not disappoint. They serve Western Canadian, Canterbury coffee that is filled with multi levels of roasted flavour notes.

Canterbury coffee at Fets Whisky Kitchen
Canterbury coffee at Fets Whisky Kitchen

A definite must if you haven’t already had the pleasure to nom at this wonderful Commercial Drive restaurant. Besides the yummy eats, the customer service is also top notch and they have a heated patio. Need I say more?

If you would like to learn more about Fets Whisky Kitchen follow them on their Instagram.

The Challenges of Being a Makeup Artist During the Peak of COVID – Beauty Expert Insha Pathan

Fashion INVESTIGATOR INC's Beauty Expert Insha Pathan

INTRODUCING … Insha Pathan!

I am very excited and honoured to announce Fashion INVESTIGATOR INC’s new Beauty Contributor and resident Beauty Expert, Insha Pathan. Most of you, will remember that I interviewed this Boss Babe back on May 16th in my Babes Promoting Babes Interview Series. If you missed it, and want to gain more insight into Insha and how she became a make-up artist, have a look after reading her blog …

If you had told me in early March that I wouldn’t work for three months, I would have given you a look of incredulity. Sitting here in the middle of June, I will say that COVID has affected me in more ways than I ever thought possible.

Three months ago, I had jobs lined up doing make-up in the Film Industry and was excited as usual. Being able to work in my aspired profession makes me look forward to going to work every day. When I found out that there was no date set to return to work and filming was postponed indefinitely, I felt lost.

Initially, I enjoyed my time and the break from work, I saw it as an opportunity to better myself and get my life organized. I became healthier, decluttered, organized anything & everything and worked on improving and focusing on myself. Eventually, however, not being able to work started to weigh on me.

Being a makeup artist in the Film and Fashion Industries is a dream come true. I didn’t think I would ever be doing what I am! I have always been an artist and now the only difference is that models and actors are my canvas.

A sample of Insha’s makeup artistry.

I am always full of adrenaline and so excited to be on set. Racing against the clock to get the job done, meeting deadlines and overcoming challenges left, right, and centre, while still being able to be artistic was perfect for me. Not being able to work was making me miss it more and more, and a sense of dread began lurking because there was no definite date for when filming was going to begin again.

It felt like I was sitting in a waiting room, patiently hoping that at any moment, my number will be called, but with no end time in sight. I had two options, one was wallowing in self pity and the other was taking that energy and channeling it towards my creative talents.

I was an artist before I became a Makeup Artist. My inclination towards anything creative is what drew me to my field in the first place. So during this time of not working, I started to draw, paint and beginning Do It Yourself projects and practiced my craft and explored all types of makeup.

Insha’s sketches rendered during time off from the Film & Fashion Industries.

I decided that I would use this time during COVID and social-distancing to express my creativity and open myself to inspiration, so that when the time came, I would go back to work with a fresh mind set. I concentrated on what makes me happy — ART!

COVID has been hard on many of us and the most uncertain of times. When have we ever gone through a pandemic?!

Finding a balance and keeping a positive outlook helped to keep me sane and I did this by doing the things that I love. I let myself be creative and channeled my energy into art.

To everyone out there reading this, not being able to do their dream job, be patient and don’t give up. Things will go back to normal eventually and till then, find other ways to use your energy that support your peace of mind and your talents.

If you would like to learn more about Insha Pathan, follow her on her Instagram profile: https://www.instagram.com/insha_artistry/ and her website: https://www.inshaartistry.com/ Remember to subscribe to Fashion INVESTIGATOR INC, if you would like to see Insha’s future Beauty Contributions as our resident Beauty Expert!

I AM Grateful …

I'm Grateful

I am GRATEFUL …

I am grateful for so many things but top of mind — Mama Izumi, Big Sis and a certain someone who has recently come back into my life …

I risk “scaring” him off if he reads this blog BUT I guess that’s the risk I take for expressing my thoughts in the moment.

This moment is sooo delicious too … Leave it to a foodie to describe time with a food adjective. Hahaha … I’ve got my ear buds plugged into YouTube music and Shawn Mendes’ song, “In My Blood” and I’m feeling really happy.

Sooo back to gratefulness and this certain someone … We are supposed to go on a date today. I have the perfect outfit picked out too. My thrifty finds that I purchased from a Facebook Marketplace seller yesterday — sleeveless white & blue blouse that ties in the back with a teardrop opening $5.00 and stretchy jeans with a proper waist $8.00 (I hate low-waisted pants – they give me muffin top – yuck!).

We recently reconnected on Facebook and exchanged numbers and spoke on the phone a couple of times. Almost every time I think about him I get butterflies … Awww … I’m such a girl. Hahaha ….

This blog is going to be short and sweet like ME. I shall end this here for: 1) fear that he will read this and I may reveal TOO MUCH and 2) I will continue this later and let y’all know what happens …

Question is — WILL HE ACTUALLY CALL TODAY …. Fingers crossed, Babes.

Family Day Long Weekend

My Family

As I get older, family and friends that have become family are of utmost importance to me. I grew up an only child and my parents divorced when I was 11 years old so I have a very small family. My best friend of 23 years and partner in crime, Mona has become my Big Sis.

It’s a great feeling to have a big sister. Growing up, I always wanted a sibling and when I was about 5 years old, I told my parents while we were driving somewhere in East Van. They told me to pray for a brother or sister. I did but to no avail.

Almost two years ago before I moved, I endured a horrible situation where someone was breaking into my apartment. No matter how many times I spoke about it, Mona listened when no one else did. She stood by me and supported me. That is true friendship. That is love.

Mama told me that everyone needs someone they can trust but it doesn’t have to be a family member. I am fortunate and grateful that I have two such people–her and my Big Sis.

I hope that you have at least one such friend or family member and enjoy this Family Day long weekend with them. Show them that you care and tell them that you love them. You don’t know when they will be gone…

Welcome to my Lifestyle Ezine, Fashion INVESTIGATOR INC!

Welcome to my page and thank you to all the new subscribers! I normally send our new subscribers our Newsletter but the latest issue is currently in the works. STAY TUNED I will send you our 2020 Newsletter SOON!

My goal is to create a community of positive thinking people both male and female who would like to share their dreams, goals, and aspirations.

I have a lot of exciting projects that I am working on and if you would like to participate there are opportunities such as joining my Small to Medium Business Meetup, Babes Supporting Babes – meetup.com, I have a podcast by the same name that will be airing this Spring through – capilanoradio.com and my first interviewee will be our Fitness Contributor – fawngillfitness.com and Mayumi’s First Annual Charity Fashion Show Gala on – eventbrite.com and if you don’t live in Vancouver, BC you can still be a part of my community on Instagram @mayumiizumi.

Vancouver Is Expensive AF – Thrifting Is My Solution!

What was once just for fun, has turned into a lifestyle and necessity for me. Through one of my Instagram alter egos, Miss M: https://www.instagram.com/missmsthriftyfinds/ – I am your guide to thrifting and share my thrifty finds that I purchase mainly via Facebook Marketplace sellers, but also at my favourite thrift store, Clothes For Change in North Vancouver and various other thrift stores sprinkled throughout our city such as BC SOS Thrift Stores in Steveston.

Thrifting brings me such joy. I plan a whole day around my Facebook Marketplace appointments and make it an adventure! On Saturday, I had two appointments in Port Coquitlam and invited my Mom, Mako to join me in my modern day treasure hunt.

We picked up a NYX eyeshadow palette for $10.00, an IKEA rug for ONLY $5.00, enjoyed lunch at Arisu where the food was so yummy that it immediately became my new favourite Korean restaurant. After lunch we went downstairs and did some grocery shopping at Hanam Supermarket.

The pricing was good at the market, fresh produce AND best of all they have a customer loyalty program in which they reward us with points and exclusive special prices. They gave me 3 key tags so I gave one to my Mom.

Hanam customer service actually recommended sharing their loyalty program with family and friends when they gave me the key tags. Great for sustainability and since Mako would be coming with me it only made sense that we would open just one loyalty account.

Thrift shopping, even if you’re just looking is a great way to spend the afternoon with friends or family. On Sunday, I met up with one of my BFFs and Big Sis, Mona on Commercial Drive in the heart of Vancouver thrift.

We went to Miscellany Finds for the first time and it is a huge store with lots of great thrifty finds! And the best part we didn’t spend a dime. A truly thrifty experience – we were just window shopping …

Family means EVERYTHING to me…

My family is very small. It’s just me and my Mom, Mako or Mama Izumi as I affectionately call her in my Instagram posts. My father, Hiroaki lives in Japan with his second wife but he didn’t have any other children – just me.

I’m the last Izumi and because of this I have decided to keep my last name if I get married. As I get older, marriage is not my goal but having children is of utmost importance to me.

I already have my children’s names picked out Ryder, for my son – my “big sis” and bff, Mona suggested it and I agreed. And my daughter will be named, Mia.

Who’s my baby daddy?! He shall remain unnamed and a mystery… Lol!

Subscribe and stay tuned for MORE on my family stories …

Procrastination – Why am I doing it?!

I thought I had beat my Enemy – my self-saboteur … But apparently NOT. I am a Communications student at Capilano University in North Vancouver and for reasons not clear to me I am procrastinating doing my assignments. So much so that it becomes too late to submit them.

And my wonderful professor had even given me extensions on our first two assignments due even though I didn’t ask! And then we just had our midterm. It was a straight forward exam and had I studied properly I could have aced it. Nope, I failed it by 1.5 marks!

Although, these marks say something about me as a student it is sending the wrong message. It’s painting the wrong picture. I am a former honor roll student, winner of top 100 student in my school district, highest mark in my English 12 class and awarded 3 English awards during my high school years.

After high school, I studied Fashion Design at the International Academy of Design & Technology in Toronto, Ontario, Fashion Merchandising and How to Start a Small Business at VCC in Vancouver, BC.

Last year I enrolled in the Applied Digital Communications & Social Media program at Capilano University and just one course shy of completing the program and receiving the Award of Achievement. I just registered for the last course, Effective Writing for Web Content. I can’t wait! It will be taught at our new campus, at the historical Shipyards District.

Possible reasons for my self-sabotage: fear of success, fear that I may truly get EVERYTHING THAT I DESIRE, or to balance the success I am experiencing in my life …. I’m not sure why I am doing it.

I was hoping that by the end of this blog I would have it figured out … Apparently not. I will keep you in the loop when I know the answer. Stay tuned …

When you subscribe to www.mayumiizumi.com you will receive our Fall Newsletter.

4 Myths That are Keeping You Fat! – Monthly Fitness Contributor, Fawn Gill

Are you working your butt off but still fat? I hear so many people complain about doing all the right things but not losing weight. This all leads to feeling frustrated, being overwhelmed and eventually the ‘forget this’ attitude that then leads to eating the whole bag of chips.  Sound familiar?

If so, then maybe you’re buying into these four myths.

Myth #1:  If I eat fat, I’ll get fat.

Truth:  Incorporating healthy fats into your diet will actually help you lose fat. Eating fat from sources like avocados, olives and coconuts can actually help you increase your metabolism, keep you full longer and each your body how to burn fat when you remove sugar from your diet. Choose fats like nuts, seeds, fatty fish, eggs, full fat yogurt and grass-fed beef. Remember, that non-fat foods actually have crazy high level of sugars and it’s sugar that makes you fat.

Myth #2: I need to do tons of cardio to burn fat.

Truth: While cardio burns calories, if you want to burn fat, choose HIIT (high-intensity interval training).  Incorporating HIIT into your workouts will make your body and metabolism function at a higher rate of burned calories for hours and hours afterward. So yes, you could be reading AND burning fat at the same time! Lifting weights will also help you increase your resting metabolism. When you have more lean muscle on your body, your metabolism increases. This basically means you could be burning fat while sitting and watching Netflix.

Myth #3: I need to significantly reduce my calorie intake.

Truth: This is actually partially true. The reality is, we eat too much. Take a look at how much you actually consume in a day. We often underestimate how much we eat and overestimate how much we burn.  And ultimately to lose fat, you do need to be in a calorie deficit. The calories you take in need to be nutrient dense meaning that they are full of the good stuff the body needs. Not empty calories from things like non-fat foods, processed foods, sugar, and pop.

Ultimately, what you eat is truly the most important factor when losing fat. Be sure to eat a diet high in lean proteins (whatever your source), vegetables, healthy fats, and carbs from plant sources. Don’t forget to move your body daily, get plenty of uninterrupted sleep, reduce your stress levels and you will find the weight will drop off.

Myth #4: It’s too late to start.

Truth: SO NOT TRUE! It’s never too late to start an exercise program or healthy eating! We CAN reverse the damage done AND move forward feeling better than we ever have! The trick is to get help! You can’t do it alone. Grab a friend and just start walking every day. Hire a trainer. Workout with a YouTube workout. Or join a program that will help you get there.

No matter what you choose, you can start today! Right now!!! 

If you have not taken the time to invest in yourself yet, today is the day.


Fawn Gill is the Group Fitness Manager of Steve Nash Fitness Clubs for the North Shore. She is a Certified Personal Trainer, Fitness instructor, Pilates Instructor, Barre instructor & Accountability Coach. Fawn has over 25 years experience teaching others the benefits of living healthy and has helped thousands of people lose weight & get fit. Check her out at www.fawngillfitness.com