CHALLENGE #9 – A VIDEO BLOG

Well, having never done a video blog before I was very unsure of what to do.  And since I wasn’t really that into sitting in front of a video camera and talking to you all.. I made a video of photos.   Our challenge this week was to make a video and share with you the things we have done to improve our health and lessons we have learned along the way.

 

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A Few of my Favourite things…

Okay come on … admit it.. you just started singing didn’t you?  When I hear “my favourite things” I suddenly want to run in a field in Austria whilst twirling my dress made out of curtains …. annnnnd back to reality!

The challenge this week for us GreenFighters is to share with you some of our favourite things, and so… I present to you, my favourite things… NOW try not to sing!

Raindrops when running & making me hustle
20lb dumbbells and feeling my muscle
Great tunes on iPods making me sing
These are a few of my favourite things

Cream in my coffee and crisp juicy apples
Winning at negative tough mental battles
Cold dreary weather turning to spring
These are a few of my favourite things

Fresh Breakfast smoothies to drink in the morning
Feeling my healthy body transforming
40 degree heat and yoga and stretching 
These are a few of my favourite things

When the day’s tough, when there’s no zing
When I’m feeling sad
I remind myself of my favourite things 
And then I don’t feel so bad

hot yoga

hot yoga

I have really enjoyed discovering Hot Yoga at Oxygen in Walnut Grove, they have a great variety of hot yoga classes and I have found that while I’m recuperating my back (and still wanting to stay active and healthy) this has been a great solution.

I’ve signed up for a full year and don’t plan to stop!  I’ve been doing 3-5 classes a week, the instructors are so awesome there & always offer help in modifying for my injuries etc.  If you’ve ever considered giving Hot Yoga a try, I really recommend it.

I love my running shoes, my favourite shoes so far, the bright colours on a rainy day (have you looked outside today?) make me smile.  I love lacing them up and heading outside for a walk.  I’ve accepted that for now, I can’t push myself to run and I am IMG_4512(somewhat) okay with that.  I have gone running a few times in the past couple weeks and have definitely paid for it later on in the day.  So for now, I walk.

My smoothies are another favourite thing, I can throw any combo of fruit and veggies in there with some protein and I have a delicious meal ready to be enjoyed

cranberry & veggies w/ chocolate protein powder

cranberry & veggies w/ chocolate protein powder

My favourite meals are salads, again being able to throw such a variety of foods in … okay.. it excites me.  The other day I had a craving, I wasn’t sure what for but I wanted something kinda sweet.  I came up with a citrus salad with goat cheese and shaved dark chocolate… can you say YUMMM????

Citrus Salad

Orange
Grapefruit
Avocado
Boursin Cracked Pepper & Cranberry cheese
shaved dark chocolate

citrus salad with goat cheese and avocado

Another favourite thing… okay well PERSON is my awesome trainer Andrea.  She has a boutique studio for women in Cloverdale.  Anyone intimidated to go to a gym, or wanting more than just an on-your-own gym workout – go see Andrea.  Even though, at the moment I’m unable to do the HIIT classes, TRX classes or weight lifting, Andrea remains to be a wonderful supportive inspiration and I hope that I will be back training at Life Designs Fitness Studio very soon!

I love getting creative in the kitchen and trying new meals….. what are some of YOUR favourite things on your health & fitness journey?

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Challenge #4 – an Easter Fitness/Health Challenge

Easter and Health aren’t necessarily words you would put together… there’s chocolate, candy, more chocolate, large meals, hot cross buns … but all of that doesn’t mean you can’t have a healthy Easter (and enjoy some chocolate! – 70% dark is my favourite!!)  All can be enjoyed… in moderation of course.

The challenge this week for us Kin’s GreenFighter’s is to share some tips on how to make this Easter a healthier one.

So here are my tips:

1.  a healthy and fun breakfast (bunny pancakes anyone?)  I’ve shared my pancake recipe below

2. a fitness inspired easter egg hunt.  We have sports themed eggs and fill them ourselves.

You don’t always need to fill these with candy! why not try some of these ideas:

      • miniature cars
      • silly putty / play dough
      • little jewelry
      • littlest pet shop animals
      • fun shaped erasers
      • Home made coupons i.e. “movie night with mum” or “a trip to the park” etc.
      • Bath beads
      • stickers
      • a loonie or twoonie
      • magnets
      • hair accesories

3. go on a different type of hunt…. a GEOCACHE HUNT … never heard of Geocaching? It’s a free outdoor treasure hunt.  You try to locate hidden containers using your smartphone or GPS… a fun family activity!

4. do an Easter inspired fitness circuit & break a sweat:

      • HOP
        • Plyometrics baby!! (Plyometrics is a series of explosive movementd:  jumping, bounding and hopping exercises they fire up your fitness level and will also help with coordination and agility)
        • jumping jacks
      • SKIP
        • grab that skipping rope!  it’s a great way to work up a sweat
      • JUMP
        • jump lunges
        • jumping jacks
        • burpees
        • skaters
    • My littlest one LOVES joining in on my workouts when I’m at home… create a “little kid friendly easter workout” 
        • hop like a bunny
        • roll like an easter egg (somersault)
        • bend down and pretend to pick a flower then hold it over your head
        • flap your arms and tweet like a chick

5. eat like a rabbit (wear your bunny ears!). you can usually find some fun easter dress-up ideas at your local dollar store.  Put on your bunny ears and see who can eat the most bunny food.

        • Snack on carrot sticks, celery etc. and dip them in hummus
        • fresh fruit salad
        • bunny trail mix (dried fruit, seeds, some pretzles and maybe a few jelly beans)
        • make a fun little salad (like my little cottage cheese bunny salad)

I hope you enjoyed these ideas!  And don’t forget to share what YOU will do to get in some extra fitness and some healthy foods this Easter!  I hope you all have a fabulous Easter.

Oatmeal Cottage Cheese Pancake

(again, I tried to remember to write down what I used…. but sometimes I just “wing it”… sorry!)

I do use pancake mix in these so maybe they aren’t as “clean” as they could be but I figure with all the other good stuff in them (and the kids like them!) that for us it works!

half a banana mashed and some applesauce1 cup cottage cheese
1 cup steel cut porridge oats (Rogers) it has steel cut oats, oat bran, wheat bran, & flaxseed
1 cup pancake mix
2 teaspoon cinnamon (or to taste)
2 teaspoon vanilla (I use vanilla that we brought back from mexico… couldn’t live without it! lol)
milk and water, as needed to the consistency you prefer

mix … cook on the griddle and Enjoy!  Top with some fresh berries and a little fresh whip cream…. yummm!

A healthy vacation…? is it possible?

A healthy vacation…. can that happen?   We will soon find out!  

As I’m madly running around the house attempting to pack, trying to complete (ahead of time) 2 weeks worth of challenges for Kin’s GreenFighters, juggle the kids’ hockey schedule, work schedule and my own attempts at getting regular exercise in this week…. I’m wondering if this whole “fitness / healthy eating regime” that I’ve stuck to so well over the past while will stay that way!

Vacation is for relaxing (well as relaxing as a 2 year old allows it to be!)  We go-go-go non-stop every day of the week when we are home.  So this is a very welcome change to our everyday lives.  Do I want to exercise?                                 Actually, YES… I DO!!! 

I will be packing my exercise bands… I intend to workout – but will it happen?  Instead of lifting weights, will I be lifting a pretty drink with an umbrella?

One thing I’m HUGELY thankful for, is that we are staying in a condo – this means I can control my own food intake and don’t have to rely on restaurant cooking.  Yay … too bad I can’t pack my Vitamix!

I will have to ensure that I get in some form of regular exercise while on holiday; swimming, going for a walk – maybe even hitting the gym at the condo?  Any suggestions ?

Maybe the fact that as soon as I get back from vacation I need to weigh in and measure my waist and submit it to the Kin’s Challenge…. YIKES!

Personally I actually detest weighing myself and having a number define me, I can go up and down by 6lbs in a day!  Anyone else like that?  I think the fit of my clothes, and the way I feel are better judges as to how I’m doing.  The weigh in is a requirement and I understand the concept behind it, however I don’t find weighing myself motivating at all – it has the opposite affect on me.  I avoid the scale at all costs!  So I will just keep up with what I’m doing, fitting in exercise and healthy eating.  I feel better, more energized – so this MUST mean I’m doing something right!?

Let’s see what happens…………..

update on week 2

I’m approximately 2 weeks into this challenge as a Kin’s Greenfighter with Kin’s Farm Market. I’ve learned that my keywords on this challenge are “plan & prep”. 

I can tell you that having this challenge hanging around my mind has, in a very positive way, helped increase the motivation and drive to improve on my health and fitness.  I’ve been making sure that I do some form of exercise for a minimum of 30 mins every day. Last week I was able to get in 4 one hour hot yoga sessions, 2- 45 min intense HIIT Training sessions and 2 walks over 5K.

Scheduling in exercise, just as if it were a Dr. appointment or such, and pre-planning my week of exercise has ensured that I can fit it all in. Even on the busiest day I’m making sure to take some “me” time. No more excuses!   Certain days it may just be a 40 min walk around the hockey rink neighbourhood while one of the older kids is at the rink getting ready to play, either way – I’m finding ways to make exercise happen! I’m feeling stronger and feeling that this new “habit” is going to stick. I love the energized feeling I get from working out!  Things are coming together!

Eating healthy has also been a big focus. Planning ahead for the week to come has really helped with making sure I’m not just going through a drive through, grabbing “whatever”, or making a frozen pizza. When I plan ahead I alleviate the stress of “what’s for dinner?!” (the biggest question of the day in our house!) and when I have a plan and my foods are prepped, it really doesn’t take much time at all to make a healthy meal. The other day when I was so tempted to run through a drive-through because I only had 30 mins between getting home from work & having to leave for the hockey rink, I quickly fired up the BBQ and bbq’d chicken, tomatoes and peppers. Having a lot of fruits and veggies on hand helps with healthy snacking as well!

All that being said, there is no way I could do this all on my own.  My family has been amazingly supportive.  The older kids have volunteered to watch the little one while I go work out & my partner always makes sure that I have time in the day to accomplish my fitness goals!  It’s a true team effort!  AND the healthy habits are rubbing off on the kids as well!  A complete WIN WIN situation!

 

50 Shades of Pink – Chapter 1.

What is going to be demanded of me in the next hour? I lay down on my back. Close my eyes. 

The lights are dimmed. Candles lit. Music softly playing. I enter the room with slight trepidation.

I can feel the heat gathering in my body. The room is hot. Breathe deeply I’m told. Feet in the air.

Time to warm up those hips.

30 minutes later I’m on my hands and knees rivulets of sweat running over my body making it glisten with tiny diamonds.  There is not one part of me that isn’t soaked.  My body heat increases evermore and my skin has gone from a light shade of pink to a deeper fuchsia colour.

Up onto my toes. I’m told.

Hands in front of me as if I was to do a push-up …

Slowly slowly lowering my body. I’m shaking ..

Hovering my body just above the floor. Desperate.  I so badly want to hear a countdown so that I can release myself to the floor. My chest almost touching the floor I don’t look up. I can’t. This requires too much…concentration.

My arms are shaking and my body is screaming. I’ve never done this before. And then I release, gracefulness is lost – muscles exhausted.  I’m flat on the floor on my stomach. I can hear a couple muted groans and then the room is quiet again save for the music.

But there isn’t time for rest.

I’m back on my hands and knees, head lowered down to the ground … I somehow contort my body into a headstand with my knees resting on my bent elbows.

The hour goes by quicker than I anticipated and with regret I prepare to leave the softly lit room.

Leaving behind my regrets, I am reborn.

Calmed. Sweaty rosy cheeks.

I leave with a smile … I just finished a hot yoga class at Oxygen Yoga & Fitness and it felt sooooooo gooooood. 

 

50 Shades of Pink, baby.

and the challenge is officially ON!

For the past number of months I’ve been attempting to get healthier. Eating well, exercising and hoping the numbers on the scale and the inches on the tape measure decline.  It’s been slow going! VERY slow as far as I’m concerned, at least on the weight loss part.  I’ve definitely gained some strength & have also led a mainly healthy eating plan.

When I saw this Kin’s Market challenge I thought, “why the hell not?” and so I entered, immediately forgetting I had until I received a phone call.  Suddenly, now that March 1st has arrived and the challenge begins, this whole being in “public” during my attempt at getting healthier and increasing my fitness level has become very intimidating!

Seeing my face in the paper, finding out my body fat percentage, sharing that with anyone who reads the paper… it scares the S#*T out of me! So what am I afraid of?  FAILURE, a word that I have recently told myself I would eradicate from my vocabulary. But what am I failing at? What is the goal here? I know I’m already getting healthier, I know I’m stronger than I was 5 months ago.  I’ve built muscle.  I eat well. It can only get better from here …… right?!

Somewhere in my mind there’s some level of perfection I’m attempting to attain.  I know that leaving this vague notion of something perfect in my mind will get me nowhere.  Perfection, as far as I’m concerned, is unattainable – why? Because if, or should I say when, I reach whatever that “goal” is, my expectations are yet again raised. So here I am, wanting to run for the hills, cringing at being in the Surrey Leader on a weekly basis & having to share my story to the public. I’m afraid that I will somehow let someone down because I couldn’t lose the inches or weight in the right amount of time.

I need to change my thought pattern, remove the pressure and remind myself this is a journey about health, and improving it – along with improving my fitness level.  It’s about living a full and satisfying life.

I know for me the fear of failure has often taken the form of excuses and rationalizations about why I can’t do something. “Oh I’m so busy today”, “I don’t feel well”, “the kids need me at home”, “I need to fold socks”, “I’m tired”,  “it’s raining out”…..

Fear of the unknown becomes your jailer and your prison.  You stagnate.  Wasn’t it FDR that said, “ The only thing we have to fear is fear itself!”?

So it’s time for me to drop the fear, gain a healthier life and hopefully also drop some pounds.  Oh and maybe the occasional shove in the right direction by someone won’t hurt!

Want to go for a walk? I’ll find a way to go with you!  Want to meet me at the gym?!  Want to share healthy recipe ideas? … I’m open to it all!  WE can do this!

Here’s a photo I took this past summer … I added a little quote to the photo.  I have this as the homepage on my cell phone as a daily reminder!

And a cool little acronym I found.

The workout I never thought I could have

Today I went to my regular training class with Andrea of LifeDesigns. I take part in one of her 12 week programs called “Bounce”. This is my second time taking part in Bounce and I LOVE it. Andrea works with women and delves into not only the fitness and health side of things, but she also gets inside your head (in a very good way!).

lifting weights

lifting heavy and feeling great!

My Bounce group of 4 had a killer workout! If you had told me 5 months ago, that I would be curling 25lb+, doing lunges holding 35lbs, running sets of stairs (repeatedly!), holding a plank for over 1 min, doing “real men” pushups etc. I never would have believed you!

With Andrea’s constant encouragement, positivity and her 100% confidence in me (when I didn’t have it) she has pushed me way beyond what I thought I could ever accomplish. I’ve also been working with her on my nutrition, using the myfitnesspal app is also helpful! Andrea has tracked my food logs and given amazing pointers (more grains, consistency, eat more….) I love fruit and veggies, so luckily that part isn’t a trial for me. My favourite breakfasts are smoothies and I’ve complied quite a list of recipes! I’ve found that the possible culprit of my very very sloooowww weight loss could be that I: do not get enough protein, don’t eat enough calories, and need to cut back on evening snacking.

If you have ever considered looking into a trainer, and don’t want to go to a “big gym” or find them intimidating (I do!) then Andrea is the lady for you. The women that I have met through Andrea have become some of my very close friends. We bond over dumbbells and squats, we laugh and share common frustrations and goals and there is ALWAYS encouragement. I feel very lucky to have discovered such amazing people!

Am I the only one who gets excited about making a new smoothie for breakfast?!

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

Health & Fitness Evaluation… a reality check!

As one of the lucky individuals chosen to be a “Kin’s Green Fighter” I received a health and fitness evaluation.  Boy, did I get a reality check!

Part of being selected as 1 of 13 contestants in this competition meant that I received a very comprehensive health/fitness analysis.  Blood work, Dexa Scan, fitness testing (ECG treadmill stress test, pushups, situps, flexibility….) Lung capacity, grip strength – the works!

Here’s what I learned:

  • I have 47.5% body fat        are you SERIOUS?! I mean I know that I have gained weight, but that made me feel sick How utterly embarrassing! I’m told that the “average woman” should have roughly 25%-33% body fat.

Embarrassment aside, the DEXA Scan was interesting.  You lay on a bed, toes taped together, and a machine scans your body for 6 mins. measuring lean muscle, fat, and bone density.  Apparently I do have a good amount of muscle, it’s just all hidden “under a nice layer of fat” …… sigh

  • my bone density is not that great   (I will now be taking Vitamin D along with a multi-vitamin and Omega 3-6-9)
  • I lasted 9 mins on the treadmill stress test until I got to my target heart rate (I’ll be aiming for longer at my final evaluation after this 13 weeks.  Time to up that cardio and get my heart even healthier)
  • I can do 30 full standardized situps in 1 min (this puts me in the “good” range)
  • I can do 7 standardized “men” pushups (feet together, on your toes … I’m unsure if this is “good” or “bad” as I cannot find a chart for women based on a full pushup, they all seem to be based on doing a pushup from the knees)
  • I can jump, although I’m not exactly sure how high? (I forgot to get that measurement!)
  • my flexibility is decent … there is always room for improvement (more yoga here I come!)
  • I don’t get enough protein (I don’t like milk, I don’t eat much red meat.. I’m a veggies, beans, salad, smoothie and fruit kinda gal)
  • my lung function is fantastic (yay for not smoking!) I met 99%-100% of what was expected
  • my cholesterol level is slightly high (which, even though it’s genetic, it’s very important to me to fix this … healthy heart, healthy body is the goal here!!)

So here I am … can you see all that light pink?  That’s FAT!  All that dark pink, MUSCLE!  I want more dark pink, less light pink

And apparently, according to my eldest daughter I have a small head! (I already knew that thank you!)

All in all, the health and fitness evaluation was very informative!  Now it’s time to GET HEALTHIER!

fat vs muscle vs bone.. BODY COMP SCAN

fat vs muscle vs bone.. BODY COMP SCAN

1 Minute Sit Up Test (Women)

Age 18-25 26-35 36-45 46-55 56-65 65+
Excellent >43 >39 >33 >27 >24 >23
Good 37-43 33-39 27-33 22-27 18-24 17-23
Above average 33-36 29-32 23-26 18-21 13-17 14-16
Average 29-32 25-28 19-22 14-17 10-12 11-13
Below Average 25-28 21-24 15-18 10-13 7-9 5-10
Poor 18-24 13-20 7-14 5-9 3-6 2-4
Very Poor <18 <13 <7 <5 <2

Busy vs Active … which are you?

I’m pretty sure I just had an “Ah-Ha” moment (That’s what Oprah calls it right?).  I think I’ve been “convincing” myself that I’m busy, okay there is no need to convince – I AM! However, there is a difference between being busy and being active.  While I do my best to be active, it’s not consistent enough.  One week I might do 7 yoga classes and 2 training sessions, the next week I may only go for one walk, and one training class.  I need to find consistency here!  I’ve been following one lady in my area on Facebook, she has gone on a walk every single day since Jan 1st!  And not just for 20mins, she’s cranking out 8K, 10K, 12K! (believe me this lady is busy, how can you not be if you have 6 kids!?) you can follow her as well at Running on Empey

So what I just realized was that while being busy can mean: fielding phone calls, sitting at my desk in the office working on files, driving kids to various activities, doing dishes, laundry, cleaning house, grocery shopping, making meals, entertaining a 2 year old, attempting to help teenagers with homework … it does not mean Active.  I’m sure you are familiar with being busy!  Most people are, it’s not something new & we all have our variation of busy.

In a New York Times article called “Is Sitting Lethal?”  the researcher describes what happens to your body when you are sitting:  “Electrical activity in the muscles drops, the muscles go as silent as those of a dead horse, leading to a cascade of harmful metabolic effects. Your calorie-burning rate immediately plunges to about one per minute, a third of what it would be if you got up and walked. Insulin effectiveness drops within a single day, and the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes rises. So does the risk of being obese. The enzymes responsible for breaking down lipids and triglycerides— for vacuuming up fat out of the bloodstream, plunge, which in turn causes the levels of good (HDL) cholesterolto fall”   YIKES!!!

Clearly I need to move more!  I need to remember that even if I do exercise 30 mins a day, it isn’t my license to be sedentary the rest of the day. Nor does it mean I can eat whatever I want in any given amount.

So here is my challenge, to myself … and to you as well if you wish!  Get Creative with movement throughout the day.  Yup, okay so I’ll admit it.  I go to the bathroom at the office, and will put in 20 counter pushups (if I come out of the bathroom flushed, I promise it’s only because I did pushups and squats!)  I squat when unloading the dishwasher.  If I am microwaving something I will do a little squat, jump routine.  I need to do more of this.  Turn daily chores into a calorie burn.

558887_10152256066175597_310926132_n

So basically, even if I’m so busy that I don’t know if I’m coming or going it does not mean that my body is getting the physical activity it needs. BUSY IS NOT ACTIVE.   I need to schedule in more “active”

I’ve considered purchasing a body monitor of some sort.  While chatting with the ladies at training one day they mentioned the fitbit have you heard of it?  The “FLEX™” looks pretty cool, and you can wear it as a bracelet. Flex™  keeps track of steps taken, cals burned, hours slept, distance traveled … pretty sure this would be a great motivator for me! Plus I can sync it with my iPhone.

My amazing Trainer Andrea of LifeDesigns has definitely helped me in getting to this “Ah-Ha” moment! Without her genuine caring, supportive ways and her kick-ass workouts, I wouldn’t be in the emotional space that I am today!