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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the secret to getting healthier…

yup.. I’ve figured it out! Work your ass off and then work some more... ! That’s right, no pill, no 2 week diet, no magic soup, no specific workout routine… none of that will get you there if you aren’t ready to take it on yourself and get YOURSELF there!

Exercise: walk, run, bike, swim, dance, lift weights, join a gym, take a belly dancing class, go to yoga, get a DVD, find a wii/xbox game … whatever it is… do IT. Scared to try something? just go and try it! who care’s if you aren’t perfect (uhh Angie? yeah I’m talking to you!) whatever you do, you are doing more than the person sitting on the couch saying “I wish I could lose weight/get fit/be skinnier”. Leaving that fear at the door has been awesome. I’ve gone on my own (big step for me!) to classes/activities. I’ve done belly dancing class, pole dancing, yoga, Zumba, HIIT, meditation classes, bootcamps, run clubs, water aerobics, played hockey …. just go for it! You never know what you may fall in love with!

Eat: yup, eat to lose weight. Don’t starve yourself! Don’t try a fad diet (as tempting as all those “after” photos look) Eat, enjoy, be creative, try new food/recipes. Take a nutrition course, take cooking glasses.. use google to your advantage. Prep food ahead of time, plan meals, don’t grocery shop in a rush when you are starved and have a kid hanging off your arm (although at times that can’t be avoided!)

I enjoyed my 3 day Dr. Oz cleanse, and actually it made me aware of the way some foods were affecting me (once I started eating some of the regular foods I eat again). For example, I’m a popcorn addict. I had some popcorn after my 3 day cleanse and 1. I got bloated 2. I got a killer migraine 3. my joints got achey. Years ago I did an allergy challenge diet… I’ve been very lax on foods that I was “sensitive” to. Yes certain foods I MUST avoid (eggs) due to severe allergies, but all the other stuff I just knew I’d deal with these reactions and left it at that. Last week, those reactions to just eating popcorn reminded me that, it’s no longer worth it – I don’t want to have those reactions. It’s not worth headaches, looking 8 months pregnant, stomach aches, sore joints (yes, food CAN and will do that to you).

Be consistent: for the past few months I wake up each day and (most days) reset my thinking. I don’t have an “all or nothing” attitude the way I used to. OR if I do, I’ve learned to recognize and correct it as best as I possibly can. i.e. I had a healthy breakfast but then I went to Starbucks for lunch and had a latte and some other high calorie nothing food.. it doesn’t mean the rest of my day is shot. It means the next meal will be healthy. It means I will go for a walk, go to yoga… OR just accept that yes I ate that food and I enjoyed it. So now, I ask myself – will I actually enjoy this, is it worth it?

Accept yourself now. Look at yourself. Be thankful for who you are now. Yup, I’m heavier than I want to be. However, I’m pretty sure that the people around me really could care less. They don’t like me for the weight I am or my clothing size... they like me for me. Yes, I can get whiney when my back is hurting so bad I can barely walk. But then I remember I can walk…. there’s others that can’t – that would do anything to just walk. Be thankful for what you have now. Take pride in the person you are right this very moment!

Plan ahead & make a date with yourself &/or friends: One thing that I’ve done for the past 2 months is sit down and map out all the hockey, badminton, ultimate, track and field, gymnastics dates and times and then work around that schedule and find time for me to fit in fitness. Right now fitness consists of yoga and walking (with a slight jog added in when my back is feeling okay). If it’s 6:30am or 8:30pm I make it happen. Some days I do miss it, some days just don’t go as planned. Again, it’s not the end of the world. Move on..

Yes you will get “stuck”, you may have a bad week/day … you might not want to drag yourself out of bed. Do you remember how good it feels to finish that workout? Do you remember how much healthier you feel when you eat well? Is that worth it? To me it is! Get up early to exercise, or after the kids have gone to bed. There’s so many days I want to lay on the couch in the quiet after our 3 kids are in bed. Go do that late yoga session, or take 30 mins to walk or do weights. A strong positive mental attitude will get you over those moments when it seems like nothing is working. And we all know there will be days like that, because that’s how life rolls.. it’s how you deal with it that makes the difference! I tend to only focus on my weight (the number).. I’ve stopped that. I look at things I’ve accomplished that I could never have done 6 months ago, 2 months ago, last week…. I’ve progressed. My number may not have gone down on the scale, but I FEEL better, I FEEL healthier… I am stronger, my balance is better…. celebrate every little positive thing on this journey called LIFE!

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Dr. Oz 3 day Cleanse / Detox

Today I started Dr. Oz’s 3 day Detox/Cleanse. So far .. all is good. Granted ……. it IS day 1, and it’s only 3pm (ohhh!! time for my “snack drink”). So far the only thing I miss is my coffee. I’m doing this Wednesday – Friday because 1. I’m not in the office those days (to my co-workers you are welcome!) and 2. the rest of my family is at school or work all day so they won’t have to deal with me if I get ummmm slightly “hangry” (they have told me is when I get hungry – I get angry!)

I enjoyed the breakfast and lunch smoothies, maybe because they consist of things I would normally put in a smoothie anyways? Even our toddler drank the lunchtime smoothie with me and she gulped it down! (okay so I took a little artistic license with lunchtime) I forgot to buy lime, so I added a chunk of fresh ginger & some avocado (negleted to put the coconut oil in). Also I can’t have too much almond (hives, tightness in chest) so I used unsweetened coconut milk. I’m wondering how dinner will be? I’ve never put cayenne in a smoothie before!!

I’m drinking lots of water, and thankfully I have a lot of ginger root & lemons here because that’s how I’m flavouring my water (also with fresh mint leaves) makes drinking water that much easier!

 

So this is the gung-ho me talking on day one – ask me again tomorrow how things are going?!

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my back … it hurts

I’ve been telling my Dr. this for months and months now… stretching, exercise, X-rays … nothing

Today I got my CT scan results.  

Lots of medical words that I’m going to have to look up… (I got her to print report for me)

Basically :

  • A disc bulge at L3-4 that flattens the anterior thecal sac
  • A moderate circumferential disc bulge at L4-5 that indents the anterior thecal sac
  • Early spinal canal stenosis
  • A disc bulge at L5-S1 .. greater on left … contacting my S1nerve root
  • Mild spondylosis

So now… on to an MRI

Dr. told me to lose weight (insert cynical laugh here!) ummmm YES, that IS what I’ve been attempting to do for 6 months!  Why I’ve come to you repeatedly asking “what’s wrong” “something isn’t right”.  The answer:  don’t eat late at night, cut your carbs.  BIG SIGHHHH  

And work on my core, once again .. I’ve been doing this for months.  Not that I expect instant results, but I’d hope something would have happened (in the weight loss department) by now.  And the pain? It doesn’t get any better.

At the very least, I know that all those times that I’m in tears trying to walk up the stairs, or that I feel like I’m really OLD when I get up out of bed in the morning… barely able to take a few steps at first.  They aren’t in my head, I’m not dreaming up pain.  I know why Advil etc. does nothing.  I just “grin and bear it”.  Pain is constant, some days way worse than others.  However, life goes on – there’s other people out there dealing with more pain and sickness than this…  and so … I grit my teeth and keep going.  It’s not the end of the world!  Hopefully there will be more information once I get my MRI.

I do my exercises that my physiotherapist gave me, I do yoga, I stretch, I workout, I lift weights, I do cardio, I log my food, I eat my veggies, I drink my water, I rarely drink alcohol, I rarely eat packaged foods, I pay attention to what I’m eating, I take my vitamins … is that not enough? One day it will all come together right? And the pounds will drop?

I’ll keep lacing up my shoes, I’ll keep eating well, going to yoga, exercising, walking  – I’ll continue to make my body better and healthier!

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A pledge of allegiance to my body

Yesterday I had to weigh myself and prep a blog (set to be posted for tomorrow)

As part of our challenge, we are required to have progress check-ins and this one was to share our weight and waist measurements.

It left me ….. Unhappy, depressed and frustrated with myself and my body and saying some not so great things about myself.

I found this pledge today (noted below) and it seemed to come at a perfect time!

I think many people spend too much energy focusing on negatives about their bodies and their own self image. I know for me it is a daily stress and I am never happy.

It is time to change! It is time to get rid of all that negativity and embrace life and embrace ourselves no matter what point in our life journey we are at ! It’s time to know we ARE good enough. And for me, it just time to friggin accept me and love me!

So to all you people out there that question yourselves or your body image … You are amazing the way you are. Love yourself and find the positives in each and every day!
…….

I have decided that it is my desire and conscious CHOICE to walk through each step of this journey ahead of me by honoring and respecting the body given to me.

My Body Pledge of Allegiance:

Today, I vow to start loving my body – no matter how I am feeling, how I look, and wherever I am in my journey.

I promise to stop the self- criticism, negative self talk, and to be present in each moment to stop and acknowledge my negative thoughts, and how I am feeling. This will help me realize that almost everything my inner critic says is not true, and to change my beliefs.

I pledge to never again to participate in a barrage of bashing of myself. This includes picking myself apart when I make an error in judgment or a mistake – no matter how big or small.

I promise to begin treating my body with respect by feeding it what it needs, and taking care of it so it can function as efficiently as it can – no matter what my age.

I promise to recognize that I can only ask so much of my body, and that it deserves to sleep and rest in order to prepare for the next day, and I will honor by giving it at least 7 hours of sleep every night.

I promise not to consciously or unconsciously compare my body to others.

I promise not to be influenced by the media, or the fashion industry in what makes a woman beautiful, or the right size. I know that the media does not set the standards for beauty or my self esteem, and is there only to further their own agendas, and line their pocketbooks.

I vow that I will no longer let the scale or a certain size define me.

I promise to recognize that all body types can be beautiful – including mine.

I pledge to recognize my strengths, achievements, and attractiveness. I will affirm to myself every day that I am wonderful just as I am in that moment.

I promise not to criticize myself, punish myself, or feel guilty when I make a mistake. I am human, not perfect; I know that my mistakes are a way to help me learn, which then helps me become stronger.

I pledge to be true to myself and others because it is who I wish to be.

I promise to stand up, and speak up for myself and others when I hear something harmful or emotionally demeaning said. We all deserve the respect and love of others.

I vow that I will remember that I deserve to love myself right here and right now – in every moment.

Today, and every day from here forward, these are my choices!

Here is where I found the pledge: http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5267578

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Holidays, a time to relax or a time to exercise?

Exercise or Relax?  In Hawaii… hmmmm?  Maybe a combo?

I knew in the back of my mind that the day we returned from holidays was the day I had to do my “official mid-way weigh in” for Kin’s Green Fighters… this stayed with me the entire trip – I couldn’t let it go.  My weight has constantly gone up for the past 6+ months and I’m not exactly enjoying that fact.  However I did NOT let it deter me from having a fantastic family holiday.

I did do active things on holiday… snorkelling, swimming, body surfing, walking, being conscious of what I ate (most of the time!), tennis, pickle ball…. it was a great holiday!  I even got to read TWO novels, I miss reading and it was awesome to have some quiet time to read. I did bring my purple exercise band… apparently rubber does deteriorate over time, because I broke the band and it snapped a good one on my foot! OUCH!

As for the weight thing… you will have to wait until Friday to get the dirt on that one (we can’t post until then)

I do know that I need to continue with my workouts at home, I will keep going to Hot Yoga and go on more walks… perhaps even a jog?  I haven’t been able to take a full stride without an excessive amount of pain for the past 8 months or so.  I finally had a CT scan just before we left for holidays & I’m hoping that this will give me some answers as to why I’m in so much pain.  I have sciatica, and I’ve dealt with that for 16 years, but this is even worse and it gets quite frustrating feeling limited to what I can do for exercise.  I know if I do anything that entails too much jumping, or longer strides (tennis, jogging etc) I pay for it later that day or I just can’t even do it at all because my body revolts.

So far Hot Yoga and weight training have saved me, when I’m able to be in control of what my body does I can usually modify to make it work.  My trainer offers alternatives to certain exercises if my back is really bothering me on a certain day as well.

And so, I do the best I can.  I stay conscious of what I eat and I try to keep up with exercise and being active as often as possible.

Now it’s back to reality.. a one day “break” and then we are off to the cabin to celebrate my oldest daughter’s 13th birthday.  She’s bringing 3 friends with her.  So it will be me and 6 kids…. wish me luck!

 

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!

my crush on kale

I was rather dubious when I decided to try kale last year, I love spinach, I love cabbage, I love a variety of greens – but I had heard that kale was bitter.  However since it’s insanely good for you. (packed with Vitamins A & C, and is also rich in beta carotene, potassium, calcium, and phytonutrients that are believed to help fight cancer and repair cells) Kale is like the Hulk of cruciferous vegetables, bulging with nutrients and antioxidant properties… I figured I’d give it a go….. I love it!  I could eat it in every meal. Breakfast, lunch, dinner & snacks!

Kale is low in calories, high in fiber and has zero fat.
  • One cup of kale has only approximately 33 calories, 5 grams of fiber and 0 grams of fat. It is great for aiding in digestion and elimination with its great fiber content. It’s also filled with so many nutrients, vitamins, folate and magnesium
Kale is high in Vitamin K.
  • Eating a diet high in Vitamin K can help protect against various cancers. It is also necessary for a wide variety of bodily functions including normal bone health and the prevention of blood clotting. Also increased levels of vitamin K can help people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.
Kale is high in iron 
  • Per calorie, kale has more iron than beef. Iron is essential for good health, such as the formation of hemoglobin and enzymes, transporting oxygen to various parts of the body, cell growth, proper liver function and more
Kale is filled with powerful antioxidants
Kale is a great anti-inflammatory food
 
Kale is high in Vitamin A
  • Vitamin A is great for your vision, your skin as well as helping to prevent lung and oral cavity cancers.
Kale is high in Vitamin C 
  • 17 times more Vitamin C than carrots and four times more than spinach
Kale is high in calcium
Kale boasts a relatively high protein content for the number of calories it contains. You won’t reach your daily protein needs eating kale, but when you’re running low every little bit counts
There’s more than one variety of Kale
  • Curly is the most common variety of kale and may even be found in mainstream supermarkets – I find this to taste better if softened by cooking, steaming, sautéing, adding to stir-fry or blending in my smoothie (delicious in a wintery type soup or stew)
  • Varieties of curly kale can range in color from a light green to a dark purple, though most common is a dark green leaf

Nero Kale | Lacinato Kale | Tuscan Kale | Black Palm | Dinosaur

  •  oblong shape and deep green bubbly leaves.   Grows in tall long stalks. For raw preparations, like salads, I much prefer Tuscan kale

Red Winter Kale | Red Russian Kale

  • resemble oak leaves with their soft sage color with red vining.  mild tasting and may have hints of sweetness

Today I made Kale Chips (these get devoured the second the kids see them)

START OF BY WASHING THE KALE AND DRYING IT

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SEPARATE THE LEAVES FROM THE STALK

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PUT ON A BAKING SHEET AND DRIZZLE WITH OLIVE OIL

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ADD SPICES (THIS TIME I USED PAPRIKA AND SEA SALT)

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POP INTO PREHEATED OVEN (350 degrees) FOR ABOUT 12-15 mins (until edges are browned & kale is crispy)

ENJOY!

kale chips

kale chips

Other ways to enjoy kale:  in a salad, in soups, sauteed with garlic, in a stir-fry,  blended into a smoothie, shredded onto pizza … so many options!

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!

 

Overnight Breakfast Parfait

OVERNIGHT BREAKFAST OATS
If you want a treat in the morning but are typically in a rush to get out the door try prepping the night before.
A couple of my favourite Chia Seed mixes are Qi’a and Ruth’s
  • ¼ cup rolled oats
  • ¼ cup oat bran
  • 1 Tablespoon chia seeds mix (or plain chia seeds)
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ cup almond/soy/cow’s/coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup frozen berries (or to taste)
  • water

The night before:

In a small container combine oats & bran with some cinnamon and vanilla and the milk – let it soak overnight
in another small container combine chia seeds with some water or milk (or mix in with above if you don’t care about layering it .. it all gets mixed together when you eat anyways!)
In the morning:
puree some frozen berries with some water
alternatively you could cut up a banana, put it in a container and freeze overnight.. then blend in the morning and add to the oats & chia
I alternate layers of oats, chia and berries in a glass and voila!… you have a very tasty meal in the morning