Weekend Round Up – Races and Food

This past weekend was a bit nutty but much appreciated after a week of being quarantined to the couch.  I get a little restless after being sick for two long, it seems that every time I come down with something I expect to be healed and healthy within max two days of getting sick, unfortunately that is not always the case.  But I digress, after a week of not socializing, running, going to the gym, and yoga I was more than happy to dive back in Friday.

My Friday evening gym session wasn’t as successful as I had hoped I was happy that I at least gave it a go.  Even though it wasn’t the best gym day I was proud of myself for respecting my body and going a little easy on myself despite my ego wanting to do more.  After the gym and some studying I was stoked to get ready to hang out with a girlfriend of mine. We haven’t had too much one on one time in the past couple of months so we booked a sushi date. It was so nice to get to sit down in a quiet space and just chat without all the distractions of entertaining, children, other friends etc. It was nice mellow little Friday evening.

Saturday started bright and early, I headed off to the gym the second it opened and then over to a friend’s house to help them with their own workouts.   After wrapping up all my gym time I headed over to pick up Susan so we could grab our race kits.  We headed off to the Running Room to pick up our CIBC Run for the Cure race packages and then over to the Aviation Museum to get our Fall Colours Half Marathon package.   The only blip here was that apparently the pick up location for the half marathon had changed without notice, so after a bit of a frustrating afternoon we were able to figure everything out and will be attempting (hopefully succeeding) at picking up our half kits next week before the race.   After the running around had been completed I sequestered myself in a room and hit the books again (my Personal Training exam is coming up this week).

run for the cureSunday was another early day,  with the Run for the Cure starting at 9:30am Susan and I wanted to be sure to hit up the farmer’s market before hand, so we headed off to do some groceries right as the market opened. Quickly dropping off our food we then headed over to the start line and started getting pumped up.  The Run for the Cure is always such a fun run full of families, school groups, teens and kids and has some of the best cheering sections I have ever had the opportunity to be cheered by.  Although the run is a fun run and fundraiser Susan and I always want to do better than the year before and this year we definitely did a good job running our 5k in under 30minutes which felt pretty great.  finish so quickly also meant we were lucky enough to beat the rain, which just made everything all the better.

brunchAfter our race we decided to treat ourselves to a nice brunch at Gezellig which was absolutely delicious. It is always nice to treat yourself to a nice little outing with a friend. After brunch it was back to my study room for another couple hours of information digestion before setting up to work on my meal prep for the week.

meal prepAs usual my meal prep starts days before the actual cooking.  I always start by looking through old and new recipes, what is in the fridge and what will be in the fridge.  Normally I pick one type of protein and just go with it for the week, come Fridays I just suck it up and eat the chicken for the millionth time that week.  This week however  I wanted to try something new out and see if it actually tacks on more time to cook up multiple choices.   Short answer “no” cooking more than one type of protein did not increase my meal prep time.  The oven was already on so adding a different type of protein to the mix didn’t drastically change the time I required to make my meals.

With my half marathon this coming weekend I wanted to make sure to have a good mix of healthy complex carbs, loads of veggies and some lean healthy protein.  So I went with  tilapia and salmon, sweet potatoes and brussel sprouts from the farmers market, and a new and delicious fall style quinoa salad (I will likely share the recipe on Friday).  After making all my tasty lunches for the week I turned to our left over turkey from the Feast and made my husband some turkey pot pies for while I am away at Yoga Teacher Training next month.

About 3/4th of the way through my meal prep I thought I should have taken pictures of what my kitchen actually looks like while I am cooking and making up multiple meals, so I will do my best next week to show you what type of disaster zone is created while I am making my meals.

foodSurprisingly all of this took less than 2.5 hours, which I guess might sound like a long time but for three different types of meals and a boat load of quinoa salad and the majority of my meals taken care of for the rest of the week 2.5hours is nothing.

After finishing up meal prep and studying for the day I anchored myself to a couch and watched some Parks and Rec before heading off to bed.

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend and Happy Monday!

Weekend Round Up – Hello Monday

Hello Monday! Although I would much rather be lazy snuggled up in my ridiculously comfortable bed I did have to get up and head on down to work. It seems that the longer the summer goes on the more challenging my 5 A.M. wake up call becomes.

This weekend started for me last Friday, I work a compressed schedule and I get every second Friday off, which normally ends up being reserved for running errands and getting things done around the house, but this Friday I decided to relax a bit. So after heading over to the gym for an early workout i started preparing lunch.

Last week it was a dear friend’s birthday and we hadn’t been able to celebrate so we schedule a lunch date and I went to visit her at her office with a little picnic.

20130819-053341.jpgI made us some salad with the organic baby kale I finally managed to find in the store and we sat outside and chatted for a bit.

After lunch I headed home and opened up some course books that arrived, my course (more on the course later) doesn’t start until the end of September but I am a nerd like that and like to get started early. Then I finished my afternoon off with a long chat with one of my sisters. It felt like a great Friday and I felt so rested by the end of it.

Saturday morning started pretty early for our house as we were having an old unsafe chimney removed. To get out the house and move around for a bit I went on a short bike ride and ran some errands. Once I got home I parked myself on the deck and was back in my books.

Sunday I woke up bright and early and got myself ready for the farmers market and a nice little 7k tempo run. This weekend had been so perfect temperature wise and I had the chance to run my favorite path on the south side of town.

After my run and grocery shopping my husband and I did a little quick gardening and running of errands before deciding that it was time to relax and enjoy the rest of our weekend. We decided to watch some classics like “the man in the iron mask” and “not without my daughter” before sitting down to a delicious meal of BBQ chicken and zuchinni with roasted potatoes. All in all a pretty great weekend and the best part is now it is less than a week before my sister comes to visit and before gingersneezes run club’s first 10k race!!!

Happy Monday!

We All Have Bad Days

This past month I set a pretty aggressive goal for myself, full out believing I would be able to achieve it.  Unfortunately the second I set a number on my goal (it was 8lbs) I immediately started to psyche myself out.   Then when it came down to it, well I didn’t achieve what I had hoped for.
psycheAfter my weigh-in last night I immediately began to chastise myself for not putting in enough of an effort, not watching what I ate close enough, or not being dedicated enough to my goal.  This cycle of self doubt is in no way helpful or useful to my progression, it doesn’t encourage me to try harder, and it doesn’t make me feel about missing my mark.  The problem is that it takes me a minute or two to realize that I am talking to myself like this and for me to correct it to let myself know that I have been putting in a great effort, I train like a beast, and I eat clean probably 90% of the time, and then the hardest part is to remind myself that everyone has bad days.

I want to be clear that I am not complaining, I am so very happy with all of my achievements to date and I am shocked that I have come as far as I have come, I just believe that in a situation like this we become our own worst enemy, and honestly we are all allowed to have momentary lapses from reality aren’t we?

Now similar things have happened before (bad weigh-ins that is) I just think I had placed this one so far up on a pedestal that when I didn’t hit my mark. It was my last official weigh-in before I start training on a more solo basis and I was just wanting to have much larger gains in order to feel like I had some wiggle room, you know like a financial nest egg of weight loss, which of course sounds a little silly I really thought it would help me to feel more comfortable about, well, leaving my comfort zone of personal training.

After a bit of a display of emotion in the consultation room at the gym my trainer (Alannah) helped get me to see that this journey wasn’t about 6 months of personal training and that the training was just the starting my starting point. This isn’t a journey you start for a couple months and then cross your fingers that you will effortlessly remain this way for the rest of your life. It is a lifelong journey and where you are meant to create and encourage lifelong healthy habits, not temporary fixes for immediate weight loss, it is a process and sometimes processes take some time.

This journey is for LIFE so why am I getting myself all worked up about one weigh-in, in this light it all sounds a little silly because in life journeys are about both successes and failures and setbacks.  What this journey has taught me so far (and I had a wonderful teacher) is that you have to learn to be proud of your accomplishments no matter how small, you have to learn how to deal with disappointment in a healthy and productive manner, the journey is about small changes that turn into positive habits and all of this will translate into a happier healthier person.

So yes of course I was disappointed (I am pretty hard on myself sometimes) but I am also very proud of myself for everything I have accomplished to date and I know those last 8lbs will be gone in no time as long as I keep moving in a forward motion on this journey.

How have you dealt with setbacks on your journey for health and fitness?

Do you have a similar story?

Weekend Round Up – Day Light Savings

So this past Sunday was Day Light savings, and I have got to tell you I am not a fan. I so very much dislike how it completely throws off my internal clock, and how I get that weird panic the next morning that I am late for something because my phone didn’t self set. All of that aside I am just hoping that I adjust to my 5 A.M. wake ups super fast and I get used to walking to work in the dark again, I had really grown fawned of the sun in the mornings, but on the bright side of things it is amazing having so much sunlight after work, longer nights means more opportunities for out door runs.

This weekend was pretty fantastic. Friday night I went to the gym as per usual, followed by an amazing party thrown by my wonderful husband and my amazing running/gym buddy. The party was filled with great company, great food, flowers and bubbly.
Oz_-_The_Great_and_Powerful_PosterThe following day, my husband, of my two girlfriends and I went to see the new Wizard of Oz movie, and I have got to say it was not bad at all. It started off a little slow, but it really picked up. We didn’t see it in 3D but you could tell that it would have been amazing in 3D so if you have the option I would pick the format that involves ridiculous 3D glasses.

Sunday was unusual as it started with me heading over to the gym for a personal training session, to make up for the fact that I had missed Monday’s regular session due to car issues, but it was actually kind of nice to finish the week off with a bang. The workout was super challenging and I was definitely exhausted at the end, but all in all I would say it was worth it. Then that evening I went out for supper with my mom and step-dad for my birthday. Dinner was then followed by my husband and I heading home to just relax on the couch for a bit before our work week started. The cats were definitely happy to get in some cuddle time too.
sleepy catsThe weekend was all pretty magnificent if you ask me, it kind of makes the loss of an hour worth it .

Happy Monday Everyone.

How did you spend your weekend? Were you able to enjoy the outdoors?

Part Three – Living my Life

Here is the last part of the 3 part series (part one and part two) on my journey in health and fitness. These posts have been a bit more emotional and sappy than I had originally planned (and nope sorry this one is no different) but I am hoping that from opening up and sharing with everyone I can in some small way help to motivate,support or encourage someone out there to do something awesome for themselves.

Much of my young life was spent clouded by a negative image of myself and it wasn’t until my early 20’s that I started to realize that in order to grow I had to want to grow.  This is the realization that lead me to seeking out the help I needed in order to find that growth, and well here we are today. I am now getting ready to leave my glorious 20’s in just a little over a year and I am now finally starting to feel settled in my skin. When I say “settled in my skin” I by no means mean that I am at a point where I feel that I look perfect, act perfect, know everything and never need to look inwards again. What I mean is I have realized that I am not perfect, I cannot fix everything on my own, and not everything needs to be fixed, and I am happy and comfortable knowing this.

Over the short years that have been my life I have always wanted to be perfect or better yet be someone else. It wasn’t until the introduction of some solid and supportive friends, positive role models, inner reflection and learning how to ask for help, that I realized I just am who I am and that is okay. This realization began when I found my Naturopath; she was caring, understanding, and an amazing listener. She encouraged me to take a minute for myself and taught me how to start asking for help without feeling shame. My monthly visits with her were something I looked forward to, it was exciting learning new things, catching up and having her check in with how I was doing (I was on a cleanse at the time,  I was completely crazy), but she was there to help me get through it, monitor my progress and encourage me.

It was during this time with the Naturopath that an amazing friend of mine and I decided to start dabbling in yoga, starting up one day a week, two, three, and then it somehow turned into an almost daily ritual with us. Going to yoga wasn’t only about moving my body and burning calories, it was about self time and it eventually started to feel like a small community. Seeing the same faces from week to week, instructors getting to know my aches and pains and encouraging me try the next level. It was this type of gentle encouragement which started me back on a path of loving my body and respecting all the amazing things it was capable of doing without comparing it to others. I began to learn how to appreciate my body for what it was/is, instead of hating it for all it was/is not. Slowly all of this positive momentum built and I started experimenting with cooking again, started looking after myself (my knees in particular) and making healthier and happier choices.

I think I should point out that despite this love of sweating and learning to cook/bake new healthy things for myself I still wasn’t in peak physical form I was just happy. Which I have found makes a huge difference no matter where you are physically in your life.

I understand this is all sounding very soft and fuzzy, so happy, so positive and it definitely was, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t a couple if not several bumps and hiccups along the way.  In my experience there is no such thing as a never ending winning streak, it is just a matter of learning how to deal with the loses or bumps that matters. For me the struggle is learning how to deal with self dissatisfaction and disappointment, and turning it into lessons and motivation as opposed to roadblocks.

At this point I had been seeing what I was capable of on my own or with a friend, but I had always toyed with the idea of personal training, but always felt too self conscious to really examine it seriously, until the fated day I told to enter my name in a raffle while attending the opening of a new gym and was lucky enough to win 3 free personal training sessions. I pretty much instantly feel in love with the gym, the workouts and the trainer. Working with Alannah has been as encouraging to me as my first days with my Naturopath, my first full week of yoga, or my first 10k race.  I am so happy I won those sessions and have been lucky enough to keep training with her, it has been and continues to be amazing discovering how much I am capable of, the ceiling just keeps getting higher.

Now welcome to the present day of my journey. I’m sure it would have been nice to start off where I am today but then I think “would I have learnt all the things I know now?” “would I have respect for all the little things I had to work so hard for?” Maybe, but having put in the amount of effort I have over the years to; build up to that 130lbs deadlift, do a full side plank in my yoga classes, run 5km in under 30 minutes or  choosing steamed broccoli over poutine as a side dish makes me beam with pride, and that I would never want to lose.

I have maybe taken the long route to get to where I am but this route has helped me to realize what potential is and can be.  It has taught me that potential is what matters, not perfection and that potential isn’t a place to arrive at but rather an idea to keep you motivated for change and growth.

What small decisions do you make every day that make you proud of yourself?  Have you ever struggled with self-satisfaction?

Happy Heavy Tuesday Folks! 

Calluses

So it’s my third week of the build phase of my personal training, and it is going pretty incredible. I am finding that it is definitely starting to feel a bit more natural to make healthy/positive life choices when it comes to food, activities, self-esteem, family, friends, and my overall lifestyle. At just over 2 months into the program and I am definitely starting to see some pretty rad changes, from the calluses on my hands, feeling lighter and happier it has been a pretty fun change. I am writing about this because sometimes I think I get side tracked by how difficult it is sometimes and forget to acknowledge and appreciate all of the positive that has come from all of the work that goes into healthy choices.

As I had mentioned before this phase is about pushing my body to the limits and getting to a point of failure, because of the nature of this phase I have seriously been building up some strength. Last night was the first time that I had to take a step back and get some chalk for my hands because I felt like it would definitely help me hold onto the weights. I think sometimes you just get to a point where you need a little something more than just the skin on your hands to keep the weights from slipping through your fingers. I am not entirely sure if chalk helps that situation but it sure made me feel a bit safer doing a step up with ridiculous weights in my hands.

Each week I am shocked at just how much the body can handle and how well my mind is adapting to pushing past the “I don’t want to do anymore” and getting to the “Let’s just see if I can get out one more rep”. Originally I had thought this build phase, and working towards failure would be super depressing or at the very least frustrating (and at times it is) but mostly it has been a bit of a high for me. This adventure has really opened my eyes up to what an amazing tool our bodies are and just how much we are all capable of doing.

Oh goodness this all became very mushy. I think the holidays coupled with me doing a 90lbs step up last night has me in overload mode.

What keeps you motivated and psyched at the gym or in your fitness routine?

I hope everyone had a great Monday, and have an awesome Tuesday!

What’s Your Stress Response

So a while back I had mentioned that I was going to attempt to look at my stress triggers and what my stress responses tend to be. This activity has been particularly challenging for me, because looking inward isn’t always one of my strong suits – I think this might be an challenge many people are faced with. But as a part of my training, I agreed to give it ago and to look at what I am doing in moments of stress; do I eat, cry, scream, smoke, drink, run, sleep? How do I respond to stress?

Originally this was going to be a little personal journey I was having a tough time so I figured I wouldn’t have much to share but then yesterday while sitting at work thinking of everything I have planned for December and everything I still have to do before going to Edmonton at Christmas I was completely consumed with anxiety. It felt overwhelming like there weren’t enough hours in a day (even though there definitely are) but this lead me to thinking that maybe it might be helpful to share what I have learnt about myself in past couple of months when it comes to stress.

Firstly I have learnt that there are so many “triggers” in life it is actually easier to focus in on what my stress responses are. From that I have identified three main stress responses, one is pretty healthy and the other two compete for unhealthiest (perhaps you can help decide), so here they are:
wolf
My number 1 stress response is to avoidance. To completely retreat from everything, stop doing anything that needs to be done. I know this sounds irrational but stress responses aren’t always the most rational things in life. So basically I try and hide in my bed, on the couch, basically anywhere I feel that there may not be any expectations of me, I think I am hoping magical fairies will take care of whatever needs to get done for me. This stress response hasn’t been such a successful tactic in the past, I’m looking at you multiple years of university and last minute essay writing – shutters.

My number 2 isn’t triggered right away, it takes a bit for it to sink in, but then my logical half speaks up and tells me to do something active. Without running, yoga, weights, or sweating in general I become a pretty unpleasant person to live with (ask my husband, although I am sure he will tell you what a pleasure I am). I find that running especially helps with any frustration type stress, as I often find it to be more of an aggressive workout.
animal-mammal-rongeur-686952-oMy number 3 is carbs carbs carbs and more carbs, with a side of cheese. I will start craving a delicious poutine (this is French fries, cheese and gravy for my non-Canadian friends), a whole family sized baguette with a wheel of brie, a massive lasagna, or anything else layered with carbs, dairy and fat. Heck I once ate pancakes rolled up with cheese and peanut butter inside. if G.I. Joe has taught me anything “knowing is half the battle”, and I know this isn’t the most healthy response so I do attempt some self talk before indulging. I try to slow down a little and ask myself if I really “need” a poutine, sometimes this works sometimes I eat a poutine.

So these are my number three responses. I also do other things like act a little irrationally or burst into tears at the drop of a hat, but these are my top three stress responses. From my homework assignments from the personal training, I have been able to recognize what is going on instead of just going through with whatever impulse I feel at the time. I am starting to learn to pump the breaks a bit and take a step back. But mostly I have learnt that you can’t control feeling stressed but you can make a choice about how you respond to that stress.

I think it is important to point out that I am not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, so no I don’t always go out for a run, or perform some type of physical activity instead of stuffing my face or sleeping a day away, but I am definitely less likely to do so now that I am aware of what I am doing. I have found that paying attention to my internal queues has helped me approach this whole health and fitness deal with a bit more mindfulness and confidence.

How do you deal with stress?

Happy Thursday everyone!