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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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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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!

 

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.

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.

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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!