Monday, December 30, 2013

I Did Something Terrible....

I ate them.  All of them.  In one sitting.  Uuuuuuugh.  My tummy is so sore.  I will never eat gummies again!  Why?? Oh why did I do this to myself. to drink all the water in the world and hope that I am not constipated for the next 2 weeks.

Back on track in time for the wedding reception tomorrow.  I WILL be good.  And tonight I have to do 100 ab exercises to pay off my debt.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Hey, Good Lookin'!

So, New Year (soon!) New Look!  I have redone my blog to make it a)more visually appealing (to me, anyhow) and b)more friendly to all of you!  The recipes will be organized into a main location, I have a space to fill you in on all my little confessions, there will be pictures to showcase my transition, and there is my Quick-spiration page which will be filled with images and inspirational/motivational quotes to keep you going!

In addition to these way the blog looks, I will also be bringing you weekly items so that way you can pop in whenever you want!  Here are the following (current) guidelines for the blog:

Mantra Monday: I will be providing you with a new mantra to help improve self esteem, confidence, and bring a smile to your day. 

Tasty Thursday: New recipes to help you achieve your goals or just get you eating cleaner, healthier, and more delicious food alongside me.  As well, I look forward to getting recipes from all of you guys as I am not much of a culinary artist, those of you that like to dabble and create things, send forth your delicious recipes!  I know there are a few of you out there who love to cook, so help me out and get your recipes featured!

In addition to that, eventually I will be proposing challenges for you guys to do alongside me and some more fun stuff like that.  I don't want to overwhelm myself, but I figured I should probably start organizing things a bit better.  Both for myself and for you guys!

Anyhow, I want to tell you about the amazing smoothie I made for lunch today!!  I had gotten a can of coconut water in my stocking and wanted to use up the groceries we had in the fridge before we leave tomorrow, so it turned out quite deliciously!  It also ended up being the exact same color as the view from my window today!  Check out the recipe here! (It will also be available in the recipes section :P)

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Another Christmas Come and Gone

Happy Boxing Day!  If you are reading this, then congrats you have survived yet another Christmas!!  Weehoo!  Yesterday I ate fantastically at my Mom's, but also consumed half a bag of Christmas Mini-Eggs.  The interesting thing is, that I have actually lost about 5lbs in the last 2 days.  I am not at all condoning my activities, but I think part of it is the fact that I am actually eating the amount of calories I should be eating.

As you can see from the plate above, I enjoyed about 2/3 of my plate full of salad, some chicken, a smidge of potatoes, 1 homemade bun, and a few tbsps of stuffing.  The only seconds I went back for were for more salad.  For dessert we enjoyed some delicious lemon meringue pie, which I limited myself to 1 slice.   I drank copious amounts of water with lemon, neglected the red wine, and made sure I went to the gym this morning.
It certainly wasn't easy to get my ass to the gym, but I did go and it felt good, but I have been sleeping in these days, which I need to stop.  I need to get up earlier because it is way less busy at 8am than it is at 10am.
So, now that Christmas is over, let us talk about goals for the New Year.  I don't know about you, but I am a HUGE fan of goal setting, vision boards, and seeing myself where I want to be.  If you are not a person that standardly sets goals or the like, I promise you that if you actually give it a go and give it 100%, you will actually achieve them.  It truly works.  A hell of a lot better than just wishing.  The key to goal setting, though, is to reflect on the past, before attempting the future.
So, here are some things that I remember most about 2013:

1)At the beginning of 2013, I was working for a photography company and traveling up north to various reservations and towns doing school portraits and family portraits.  What I realized during this short stint was that a)I don't want to do just any photography and b) I need to be with the people I love.  There was a point in my life when I absolutely lived to run away, be alone and travel to uncharted places, and not talk to family or friends for months at a time.  My job as a traveling photographer to places where there is sometimes no phone/internet, etc. caused me to experience moments of depression and sadness.  I missed Ryan.  I missed my mom.  I missed my brother and sister and the ability to just call, go to their houses, or send a quick email.  
Therefore, one of my goals for 2014, is to spend more time with my family, travel more to visit people or spend time with people that I love, and to make MY people more of a priority in my life.

2) 2013 was a year of learning, education, reading, and furthering my life and my career in photography.  It was the first time in my life, that I invested more into my business than the money that was coming out, but I feel 1000X richer as a result of my newly found education.  Another big goal of mine for 2014 is to impact young women who are trying to find their way in the world, whether it be to inspire them in the form of becoming an entrepreneur, achieving their health goals with this blog, finding their strengths and not hiding from them or hosting workshops strictly geared towards inspiring creative minds.

3) This year I finally gave up trying to create what I thought was "expected" of me and starting creating things that came from my soul.  This was quite difficult because a lot of times us "creative folk" are worried about what people will think of us, etc.  I got too caught up in what other photographers/artists were doing and found that it made me incredibly negative towards my own work which was quite ridiculous.  I am just thankful that I recognized this darkness before it caused me to rule out my profession all together.  I was finding that I was wasting more time on being negative, rather than spending time on building my business.  Instead of being scared of other, new photographers, I started to become inspired by past, amazing photographers.  Once I achieved this mindset, my whole world opened up and opportunities starting flowing in.  Therefore, my goal for next year is to continue studying the greats and to help other artists instead of secretly hating them.  I have been asked to assist with an awesome magazine called Quiescent which is aimed at helping aspiring photographers get their work out there and providing them with some lovely guidance!  

4) August was the month that I decided to get my shit together health-wise and start finding my way back to a healthier, happier me.  Again, my goal is not to get skinny, but I do want to either lose 40lbs or look like I have ;).  The number on the scale is not a huge threat to me, but how I feel in my clothes and how my body reacts is important.  Obviously, I will be keeping up this blog as a way to document my trials and tribulations throughout the process and I hope you all will stay with me!  My goal for this is to not only increase my knowledge and share it, but to also create more of a consistent blog, including v-logs, new recipes, new juices, and progress pictures.  I want to inspire other people, but also to continually motivate myself to learn more and do more!  Also, I want to kick ass at my ballet recital in May haha!

5) Towards the end of the year, I realized just how important it was to ration my money a bit more carefully, as this was the actual first year of running my business and relying ONLY on my business for income.  Summer was okay, but then winter was a bit slower and of course, I had already spent my money because that is what I normally do.  Well, not anymore!  I do not like this stress of  worrying about car payments and credit cards and bla bla bla.  Therefore, I am budgeting, saving, and being diligent in my spending.  Not only do I want to put more money back into my business, but I also don't want to stress as much.  I am quite lucky to be in the situation that I am but I do not want to take that for granted, so I need to work smarter.  I look forward to becoming a true, functioning business owner with a goal and schedule!  

At the moment these are my big picture goals, but I do need to make smaller achievable goals to get to all of these things!  I am quite excited for what 2014 is about to bring, not mention that I get to start it off by shooting a wedding on NYE, spending the first week in Regina with Ryan's family, and then finally heading off to Seattle to experience my equivalent of meeting Oprah and Ellen in the same room and LEARNING from them.  My life is currently quite full, but I believe my goal next year will be to enrich my life even further and take my talents and strengths to the next level.  I hope you will all join me and watch my journey as I stumble and get back up over and over again!  I also would like to hear from my readers!  Tell me, what are your goals, where do you want to be by this time next year?  Share your stories!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

The Countdown is On!

The holi-DAY is almost here and that means that it is also almost gone!  Not that I don't love the never ending loop of Christmas carols, insane-drivers, jam-packed stores full of people hating the holidays, and the obligatory feeling of needing to pay for presents, even though the radio commercials remind you to "remember the true spirit of Christmas" 1 second before they blare their sales pitch. Yes, yes, that sounded oddly Grinchy of me, but let's be honest, by this point (and by this point I am referring to the fact that you are contemplating eat the "food" in the margarine container found in the back corner of your freezer just so you don't have to go to the store to get groceries) we are all ready for the holidays to be done.

haha oh man..ouch.
(I just saw this on Facebook and thought it was funny....)

There are plus sides to working for myself.  For example, I am not invited to countless Christmas parties to stuff my face full of delicious pastry-type foods and fill my soul with copious amounts of red wine.  But there are also downsides, and that is that I am not invited to countless Christmas parties to stuff my face full of delicious pastry-type foods and fill my soul with copious amounts of red wine. Sometimes I want to dress up in sparkly outfits and go out to parties like all of my friends who work for companies, but then that feeling swiftly goes away when I imagine wearing owl pjs and tank top sans bra.  On the other hand, I think it is funny that I sometimes will dress up and sit at my computer to edit photos.  The look I get from Ryan is worth it all.

But I cannot say I have been eating as best as I could the last few days.  I have been sneaking cookies and chocolates (they are literally the print shop, at the bank, at my mom's, at my sister's, at my friend's house) and I have not been preparing actual meals.  To make matters worse, after Christmas I will be zipping off again.  This time to Kindersley, SK, then to Regina, SK, then to Seattle! 

Tonight we gathered at Mom's for Sunday night supper, but today was what I call party platter.  Basically 3 tables full of munchies, appetizers, dips, and desserts.  Essentially, death to my intestinal tract and weight loss efforts.  I must say, though, today I was cautious, listened to my stomach, and had only water with lemon to drink.  I went home satisfied but not stuffed and that felt good.  Whenever I feel crappy about where I am at, I always think about where I was and how would I have behaved before changing my lifestyle?  Sure, I ate a cookie...but that is better than the 5 cookies I previously would have indulged in.  I think a lot of times we are way too hard on ourselves and that is a perfect example.  When you have a negative thought...stop, think back, and appreciate where you have come from.  Instead of focusing on the fact that I cannot fit into a size 10, maybe focus on that I am no longer in a size 18....etc.

 Last night, I also made these awesome apple chips.  It was a recipe I found on Pinterest (shocking, right??) They are extremely easy to make and absolutely delicious to eat. 

Here is the recipe:

 Other fun things, I finally took my measurements.  I had the tape measure out for the clothes so I finally got it done.  Here are my current measurements as of today:

bust 47"
back 41.5"
waist 40"(I have a higher waist than most, so I also took the measurement around my...)
bellybutton 47"
hips 48"
bicep 14"
thigh 28"
calf 20"
wrist 7"
ankle 10.5"

Lastly, I found something in my desk while I was moving it around, and it was this little quote that I had come across in a magazine when I was in about grade 6 and I had cut it out, "laminated" it with tape and kept it ever since and it is a quote that has shaped my life and the way I live it.  I love the fact that I still have it! 

On that note, I can tell you there will probably be a Christmas post either Christmas day or the day after, but in the meantime, I wish everyone a happy holiday, and please, for the love of God, do not yell at people or get stressed out.  Stay home, wear your jammies, and enjoy your friends and family!  Lots of love <3


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Farm Food = F***

So, whenever I go to the farm it is like the homing beacon of comfort.  Essentially, when it is winter, my body reacts how it always has since I was a little kid.  Stay inside, nap a lot, eat a lot, and nap some more.  Needless to say, this is not ideal for my goals of staying fit and healthy and I would love to say that I made some drastic changes this time around, but alas, I have not.  I did, in fact, fall into the ol' farm trap.  I have eaten more dainties (not so dainty when your stomach aches), licorice, and beef jerky than is necessary for a three day stint.  I have been keeping up with the water intake, but I have also been staying up late, sleeping in, and only going outside for 15 to 30 minutes a day for fresh air.

However, from eating the licorice I learned something pretty nifty.  I was laughing because on the back of the Nibs bag it says "Make sure you read the label every time."

To me, that seemed odd and I mentioned it to my brother and he advised me that the reason that this happens is because manufacturers will sometimes change their ingredients based on what is cheaper.  I had no idea this was a thing that would happen, but apparently it did happen and a parent had bought a treat that did NOT contain sunflower oil (or something like that) and thus assumed that the following packages would contain the same ingredients.  Not so the case.  The poor kid ingested the treat and got extremely sick because of his allergies.  It was the same package, but not the exact same product.  The good news is that they do have to list the ingredients when they do change, but let's be honest....if you found something that didn't have an allergen in it, wouldn't you assume that going forward it would be the same?  I would think so, but apparently you have to be even more diligent about label watching.  That's my tidbit for the day ;)

In other news, I got home tonight and unfortunately binged my face off on Chicago-Mix and pistachios.  Ryan didn't do a good enough job of hiding them hahaha!

I am going to be a good girl henceforth.  Green tea tonight, a lovely juicing situation for dinner, and LOTS of water followed by gymming it tomorrow!  Yay!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Listen Up, PCOS Friends!

*Note: I will be talking about periods and menstruation and delightfully female issues, so if that isn't your cup o' tea, get out now and skip to the second paragraph!

I can barely contain my excitement!!  As you know about a month ago I started working out, obviously eating relatively healthy, and just being mindful of what I was doing.  I hadn't even finished taken the naturopathic supplements designed to help with my cramps and this month my whole menstrual cycle has changed...for the better!  First off, I woke regularly in the morning to the lovely little surprise that I got my period.  Standardly, I am awoken by massive cramping and internal pain before my period actually starts, so while it was a surprise, it was a good sign.  I am into day 2 and there are very few clots (I know, gross, but it is an important factor as to what is going down inside the body) and it is already starting to lessen.  I am literally blown away by the immense change.  Very little to no cramping.  I am impressed and that makes me even MORE motivated to keep the exercise going on a daily basis.  Also, I think drinking a lot of alkaline water (water with lemon or cucumber if you are concerned about the wearing away of your enamel) and I think that definitely helps.  The interesting thing (but still frustrating) is that I haven't lost any "weight" according to the scale, but you know what...I don't care.  My goal was to get healthy.  To change the way my body works by working with it instead of fighting it.  It seems to be working and that bodes well for my future.  To read some funny things about periods go here.

In other news, I have been extremely diligent with the gym, and I have gone 4 days this week and then did ballet on the 5th.  Tomorrow, Stephanie and I are adventuring to yoga in the morning at the gym which will be interesting because it was when I was doing yoga with my friend Vicky in the summer, that I realized exactly how bad my body had gotten.  It made me so self conscious and sad that I couldn't hold myself up or touch my toes because my tummy was in the way.  Now, I feel stronger, I love the definition in my arms, my core is tighter (I can tell when we balance in ballet), I can lift more, and I have more energy.

I have to say though, there were at least 2 days this week where I attempted to not go to the gym.  But I made myself go and I am super glad that I did.  Motivation is a hard thing sometimes, especially when we live in Winterpeg.  I certainly do not enjoy crawling out of bed at 7am to get into a cold car in -30.  And this weather isn't the worst of it yet.  Sometimes it is just nicer to stay in a snuggly bed, or hang out on Facebook with the fireplace going, but I know that those habits are not what helped me achieve my current results.
55 Motivational Quotes To Help Get You Through The Week

Right now I am watching a documentary called Fat, Sick, & Nearly Dead on Netflix.  It is an interesting documentary on the benefits of juicing and as you know, I have been into the juicing situation for awhile now.  This documentary is very interesting and I know a lot of people joke about "the juice diet" but I think it is about moderation and once you reset your body, implement juicing as a way to incorporate those fruits and vegetables that you hate to eat.  I think the greatest thing about the documentary is just the transformations and the motivation that you can get from watching another person's journey.  For myself, I find it extremely important to keep reading, watching, and learning about nutrition, exercise, and overall health.  It is keeping me accountable, but it is also incredibly interesting!  I am now watching Food Matters and it is much more in depth.  Watch it ;)


I also bought 2 new books from Chapters which I am pretty pumped about!  I will write more on those later when I get to reading them! In the meantime, have a good time perusing my Recharge Wishlist for Christmas!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Home is Where the Heart (and the snow, apparently) Is

Well I have survived my 3 week vacation and am back home enjoying my time sitting in front of my computer, looking out the window at the snow, and appreciating this moment for being self-employed.  Hello, No Pants Monday.  Just kidding.  Kind of.

Anyhow, since being home I have been consuming baked goods from sister (working at her tradeshow yesterday) and a home cooked meal from my mummie, but today is back on track.  I even went to the gym!  I will save you the rest of the details from today, but rather post the entries that I wrote while I was away and had no internet access on the cruise ship.  So, without further adieu, enjoy!

A Sailing We Will Go ~ November 27, 2013

Ahoy, mateys!  I am currently onboard the Celebrity Infinity, cruising our way to Guatemala.  This is the first time I have written since the beginning of our trip (aside from my San Diego post) and thus far we have been sailing for 6 days.  At the moment we are at what feels like a 30 degree incline, but Ryan has informed me that it is only 5 degrees.  The waves are quite big, but the wind today is absolutely insane!  The wind is currently at 70km/hr.  It’s a little crazy.

Anyhow, let me tell you about my adventures in staying “healthy” whilst living aboard a cruise ship where food and drinks of any kind are available literally 24/7.  So far, not too horrid as I am keeping it top of mind.  But this is also why I had to blog, because I can feel the temptation for delicious goodies growing.  Seeing as I cannot “blog” online, I am just writing it like a journal entry.   So, prior to getting on board the ship I made up some “rules” or “guidelines” for myself.  

 They are as follows:

1) If I eat something sweet, I cannot take the elevator for the day.  I must take the stairs regardless of whether I am starting on the 4th floor or the 10th floor. (We are located on the top floor: 11th)

2) I must choose between dessert or alcohol for my dinners.  If I want to enjoy a sweet deliciousness after dinner, then I cannot drink wine during dinner.  I feel that this allows me to carefully weigh the options.  Last year on our Alaskan cruise, I did EVERYTHING!  Drank, ate, and slept.

3)I have to make an effort to exercise in the morning.  Whether this means walking/running around the jogging track, heading to the gym, or participating in group Zumba.  So far, I have enjoyed taking Zumba every day and the best part is that I have made friends who are all 30+ years older than me.  This cruise is definitely more geared towards the elder crowd, which I am okay with.  I also head to the gym to participate in upper body workouts every second day because I miss working out at the gym.  But because it is nice out, I like to do my “legs” workouts outside.

4)If I have one massive “cheat” day then I have to be diligent for the next 4 days.  (This has happened once and I hated how I felt after it, so I don’t think I will do that again haha!)

5)Any excursions MUST be strenuous excursions, whether I be hiking, walking, kayaking, snorkeling, swimming, etc.  I must be active as much as possible because it can be extremely easy to enjoy the relaxing, sleeping, napping, lifestyle of a cruise ship.
I have been following these rules relatively closely BUT I have been indulging my sweet tooth a bit too frequently.  Today I decided to nip that in the bud and NOT eat dessert/wine every day.  Just because I can, doesn’t mean I should.
There is a cafĂ© here which makes fantastic smoothies in the morning, so I like to participate in those as much as possible.  Some of them taste “healthy” but I know they are good for me (containing spirulina, chia seeds, etc.) so I drink them!  I have not been so great at taking my supplements either, though I should definitely be taking them I think.  So, I shall start with this evening and begin adding that to my regular routine of wake up, smoothie, Zumba, breakfast. :D   I haven’t weighed myself since being on the ship as I haven’t found a scale anywhere, but I am pretty sure there is one somewhere around the gym or in the change rooms, I just haven’t looked too hard for it.  Perhaps in the next few days I will.

 As for other fun things that I have been enjoying whilst on this vacation is letting my hair go unruly and free.  I attempted to restrain it the first day, but the further south we got, the more humid it got and therefore I was continually fighting a losing battle.   The awesome thing is that the salt water and health pool water make my hair so awesomely curly!  Proper ringlets and really healthy looking.  I am also taking care of my skin by religiously applying sunscreen.  I had burnt my nose a few years back in Mexico and it still bears the scars of the sunburn, so I definitely do not want that to happen again.  I have, however, acquired a delightful tan which I like a lot.  I love the sun and being outside in the breeze and the sun.  I am sad to see how I will feel when I have to go home to the cold and the snow L.  But let’s not think about that now.  Anyhow, for now I will log off to go enjoy some heat in the sauna!  

Angry & Frustrated ~ November 28, 2013
These are 2 of the words that I can only use to apply to myself right now.  Yes, I know I am on a cruise.  Yes, I know I am supposed to be enjoying myself and though I have been trying to do everything better I have still managed to gain weight (at least according to the ship’s scale).  And not just a little weight…according to this scale I have added another 7lbs since I left Winnipeg.  While I know it is a different scale, I’m on a wobbly ship, I was wearing a heavy article of clothing, etc. it still f*ing sucks.  For this particular blog post I am going to be venting about my frustration with my inability to get my shit together.  More importantly I hate venting about this stuff to Ryan because a)he feels bad about bringing me on a trip that is full of “temptation” and I don’t need him feeling guilty about it and b)it brings him down.  So I shall turn to you, Word document, help me through this venting.

I shouldn’t say that today was a total frustrate-y day, but looking back, I should have appreciated my accomplishment of the day and then weighed myself tomorrow, but alas, I didn’t now here we are.  Today our excursion was in Guatemala where we climbed a volcano.  And it was no easy feat, let me tell you.  It was 8000ft above sea level and volcanic rock/gravel.  It was incredibly physically challenging because the terrain was rough, slippery, roll-y, and scratchy plus it was at an incredibly steep incline. 

Ryan says it was 30 degrees  and definitely no more, but it certainly felt just shy of 90 degrees. In any case, I was huffing, puffing, and burning my way up the volcano and then back down which was just as difficult.  Overall, the hike was 4 hours long and our bodies are exhausted and the spa has never felt so good!  Unfortunately, it was this time of going to the spa that I made the mistake of weighing myself.  The stupid thing is, I have felt way more fit, lean, and strong so when I saw the stupid number on the scale I immediately slumped into a bit of a depression.  The other thing was, while I was grabbing the tickets for today’s excursion I got a glimpse of the tickets for our next one and because it is to do with ziplining, it has a maximum weight of 270lbs and I was immediately saddened because I am so damn close to that number.  L  It scared me to think that I might not be able to participate in activities because of my weight.  So you can see why today is a horrible day for my self esteem.

I am off to dinner now, so I shall tread lightly and forgo the tempting breadsticks that get placed on the table.  No wine or dessert tonight.  Just healthy food, lots of water, and green tea before bed.  That should work.  Hopefully I will wake up in a better mood tomorrow and more excited to lose this “added” weight.

Who Knew You Could Learn So Much on a Cruise Ship ~ Dec 2, 2013

Yesterday I had a day full of knowledge in regards to health and wellness and it was absolutely incredible!  I had went to a seminar on detoxing and the importance of detoxing the liver for health and weight loss and I learned a lot more information that was so cool.  The way the presenter delivered the info was awesome as well and I will lay it out here for you.
So, he talked about the triangle of absolute health which is:
And when I was working at the weight loss clinic, this is the same approach that we followed to help our clients achieve their goals so I knew there was something to it.  Nik, the presenter, talked about exercise first, advising that exercise only accounts for 15% of weight loss/maintenance in total and the type of exercise makes a huge difference.  As we all know there is the dreaded cardio aspect of exercise and then (for me!) the more fun part, resistance training. It was interesting when he talked about cardio, because he said that running for 30 minutes will burn approximately 300 calories, while walking at a brisk pace would burn 265 calories in the same amount of time, the only difference is that the running will further improve your cardiovascular health: your heart and lungs.  Cardio without strength, however, is quite useless.  Strength training is absolutely necessary to overall weight loss and maintenance and he advised that you can burn 700 calories for 30 minutes of resistance training, but it will process over the next 48 hours as your muscles work to rebuild themselves.  So cardio has more of an immediate effect, where strength training works over the course of a few days, which is awesome!  Score another point for my favorite part of the gym!  He did, however, state that we need both cardio and resistance (*eye roll*) to make it all work.  The cardio improves blood flow and helps eliminate the fat from the body in a faster manner, while exercising builds that lean muscle mass that allows you to burn more calories while doing absolutely nothing (why I was able to stave off the weight for about 5 years after my bodybuilding days)  That being said, exercise again only counts for 15% of the work.  Nutrition comes in next, counting for 35% of our overall goals.                    
#cardio #exercise #fitness #quotes #moti  - - #myfitmotiv #fitness motivation #weight #loss #food #fitness #diet #gym #motivation
The nutrition part was broken down into a few sections and while we only had about an hour for the seminar, he touched on some pretty great information.  First off, the stuff that most of us eat come from the below words.  It is immensely difficult to find any foods that do not contain the following, especially if you shop at big name grocery stores for the “cheaper” items.
Coffee/Tea – Further enhance the acidity of the body and is usually used in place of healthy snacks/food.   He also showed us packets of Splenda, Sweet N Lo, Refined sugar, and Brown sugar to show what most people put into their coffee/tea.  All of the above, aside from the brown sugar (if it is produced directly from cane sugar) contain either aspartame, silica (the little packet of stuff that comes in your shoe box to prevent moisture and kills bugs and clearly says DO NOT EAT), and bleach.   If you need something to make your coffee taste better, maybe don’t drink coffee at all….just sayin’.    While little bits of these things will not make a difference, add them up at 1-2 tsp/day for a year and you have consumed well over enough to do damage to your internal organs.  Not cool.
Refined sugar – It is bleached, unhealthy and found in pretty much ALL the things you will buy off the shelf or in a restaurant.  Would you drink bleach?  I think not.
Additives – This is the great ingredients that make us addicted to food so that we eat more and thus, spend more money.  It makes sweet stuff taste sweeter, spicy stuff taste spicier, flavors taste more flavorful, which is why when we go back to eating healthy we say it is “boring” and “dull”.  Give it more than a week and your taste buds will come back.  I promise.
Preservatives – Naturally meant to preserve foods forever.  I am sure most of you have seen Supersize Me and various other documentaries that show McDonalds or other various food items that remain unchanged after days in the heat.  I think the worst part is that we assume that our bodies will break it down more efficiently, but that isn’t the case.  Just because we can break down the “food” with saliva, does not mean our stomach and intestines can do proper work to dispose of the preservatives and then it adds up in our colon, leaving us with weight and bloating around the midsection. 

Essentially, if we eat these foods we eat and feel like:

 Another point that Nik made about the food we eat, is the way that we eat it and the way we eat one day, determines how we eat the next day.  For example:
The average person wakes up tired and usually feeling “blech” so they grab a coffee and maybe a muffin or something small, then it is just before lunch and their tummy is truly hungry, but it is so close to lunch so they ignore the hunger signal, have another cup of coffee, then lunch time comes and they enjoy a sandwich and maybe a piece of fruit or something similar, then maybe one more cup of coffee for the afternoon slump, then home for a big dinner because there is time to prepare.  Does this sound like you or someone you know?  It is extremely common, but what ends up happening, is that you go to bed with that extremely full tummy and your body attempts to digest it throughout the night while you are sleeping (taking the full 8 hours) and so you wake up again tired, because your body has been working all night.  

So, how can we change this?  Well, first, make time for a big breakfast.  When I was in Korea, my boyfriend at the time would tell me that this was your “gold medal” meal.  This is the one that will determine how the rest of your day goes.   Like babies, you should eat every 2-3 hours to build a strong metabolism.

With that, you can see how different of a body shape you will create.  As Nik put it, would you rather look like a Christmas tree or a carrot?

Another part of the nutrition he touched on was the pH balance of our bodies.  A ridiculously healthy body should be at a 7.36 alkaline state, but the majority of us are far into the acidic state, causing our body to become more cancer-prone and easier to get sick.  Our bodies are in a constant battle to find that perfect balance which is slightly alkaline, to create an easier environment for our body to do its job efficiently.
I met with Nik afterwards for more information and he gave me a sheet of alkaline rich foods and acidic foods.  He advised me that we should try our bests to not mix acidic with alkaline because they will cancel each other out, making us feel bloated and uncomfortable.  We should be eating 75% alkaline and 25% acidic every day.  It is awesome information, but really hard to implement because we have been taught for so long that you need to have a starch, vegetable and meat on  your plate at the same time.  Interesting, right?
Meat and Potatoes Meal

But no matter how hard you try to exercise and eat right, if you do that with a full liver, then you won’t be going anywhere fast.  As we lose weight, our bodies release the toxins that hang out in the fat cells, so we need to eliminate them from the body.  The last portion of the seminar was used to discuss detox and the challenges that our body goes through in this day and age where we are overwhelmed with chemicals in our food, our beauty supplies, our air, etc.  The main filter of the body is the liver and this organ is AMAZING.   

Most people know that this organ has the ability to regenerate, so if we change the way we do things, it will regenerate for the better.  With a super clean liver, you can filter through a bunch of crap without any weight loss for about 5-6 years which at that time, the liver gets too full and stops working as efficiently as it can.  If you have fish, a pool, a car, a house you understand how quickly filters can get full of crap to keep everything clean.  Our liver is no different.  If you were constantly subjecting your car to driving through dirty air filled with carcinogens and other delightful chemicals, how quickly would you need to replace the filter?  Within a few months, right?  Our liver is no different, especially because we subject the poor thing to so much.  Anything that is inhaled, ingested, or brought in through the skin goes through the liver for filtering.  So how does one go about cleansing the liver?  Well, apparently eating a diet higher in alkaline rich foods and taking blue/green algae capsules is a great place to start.  Basically, if we can stop pouring crap into our liver, it will have time to catch up and cleanse out the stuff that has been hanging out for the last few years.  There are a number of ways to cleanse the liver, but there is no such thing as a proper cleanse that lasts 7-14 days.  If it has been accumulating longer than 10 years, it will probably take longer to remove it than 7-14 days.  Eating clean is a stellar place to start, and now that I know about alkaline vs. acidic, I can plan my meals even more efficiently to improve my body’s response.

I know this is a pretty long post, but there was just so much information that I learned that I want to share all of it!  There was some more information, but it has eluded me at the moment.  Once I remember it I shall present it.
In other fun news, a few years ago I had the pleasure of going to LA for the weight loss company I worked for and as part of the trip, we had the pleasure of doing yoga and learning from Yogi Cameron. 
The Guru in You - Yogi Cameron Alborzian 
 He is a guru who studies ayeurvedic medicine (essentially separating the body into temperatures and elements…it’s very precise and interesting…I am in the process of learning more.)  Anywho, that was back in about 2010 I believe, and I haven’t though too much about it.  Until I flipped on the TV on the cruise ship last night and every night at about 10pm, his show is on, called Model Guru (he used to be a fashion model who gave up the commercialism and all that stuff to pursue his true calling.)  The show was incredibly interesting and full of information.  Each show takes him through a journey with a new client as they try to heal their ailments through Eastern medicine.  It is so neat to watch people change their views in this type of science.  He uses lots of herbs, oils, yoga, and nature to help his clients achieve their results.  But I do remember when I chatted with him in LA, that he had told me about hot vs. cold foods and you should not eat these together.  For example, fruit and yogurt.  He said that so many people eat this together, but fruit is cold and yogurt is a hot element.  I assume that this is the way of explaining the acidic vs. alkaline properties of certain foods, just in a different method.  I find this stuff absolutely interesting and am intrigued to learn more about ayeurvedic medicine.  He also says that if you want dessert, eat it before your meal because it is harder to digest, aha!  Will do!  I think forever we have been eating it AFTER more as a bribing mechanism for kids…if they eat their meal, they will get their treat, etc.   In addition to that, obviously removing yourself from an internal environment is very important.  Regardless of the weather, it is important to breathe fresh air for at least 30 minutes a day, if not more.  Obviously, he doesn’t live in Winnipeg in the winter.
So yes, this is only part of the information that I have been fortunate enough to learn while on this trip, but I will let you know that my gym-going/Zumba-doing adventures are paying off in the form of a more lean upper body (yay!)  I am just excited to be home and able to apply the food information in addition to the working out.  It is VERY difficult to choose food items after lunch that are properly balanced, not overly heavy, etc.  But they are extremely delicious.  Last night we ate a restaurant called Qsine, which is “Uniquely Unordinary”  Essentially, lots of appetizers that are prepared in a crazily, awesome fashion.  This morning I definitely felt the food coma, but pushed myself out of bed to get to the gym because today we head through the Panama Canal, so wanted to work out before that.  It is so bloody hot and humid that I would not feel like working out during the middle of the day.  But I am certainly not complaining, I know it is about 100 degrees different back home….ugh.  On that note, I shall leave you and write again soon!

Close to Home~ Dec 6, 2013

I am sitting in our cabin, the last day of our cruise before we head home to the freezing weather and I am filled with mixed emotions.  I am glad to be going home to see my family (I have been having dreams about my babies for the last 4 nights…I think I am missing them :P and if you are reading this for the first time, you should know they are not MY babies, but rather they are my brother and sister’s kids :P)  I will look forward to a house lacking in temptations, being back at work, finishing up a fantastic photo project I did right before I left, and helping my sister with her markets.  What I am NOT looking forward to, is the weather.  I love the sunshine and the sound of waves and wind, so to hear the shrill sound of a blustery wind and feel the sting of the cold makes me slightly anxious and I can guarantee I will be pissy for a few days when I get home.  It always happens as I get acclimatized to our disgusting winter weather.

I am actually quite proud of myself and the way I have attacked this cruise.  I was telling Ryan that when you go on a cruise and people say “enjoy yourself! It’s only a vacation!  Go nuts!” it’s a bit crazy.  I mean, I understand if it was a 4 day trip, even a full week….but 3 weeks of “going nuts” is a lifestyle and enough days to create new habits, so I definitely did not want that to be the way I did things.  Instead, I made sure that I got up early and worked out every day (more so than I did at home!), ate healthy 80% of the time and was cautious of how I felt when I would eat something not so great for me, so I wouldn’t get used to ignoring my bodies instinct to reject delicious, but bad food.  I still consumed quite a bit of starchy things, but I know that that will definitely not be occurring when I get home, so that is okay with me.
In other news, I forgot to mention before that I became quite famous on the cruise.  Was it for my stellar Zumba moves?  No, though I do make an appearance on the cruise video.  Was it because of my consistent visits to the tea and coffee bar?  Nope, though within a few days they knew my name, room number, and usual order.  It was because of my outstanding athletic prowress during the Celebrity Olympics!  I showed great skill in the area of…..bean bag tossing.  That’s right!  I won the gold medal (and was the only guest to get a bean bag in) against the captain’s team.  It was funny because for days afterwards people would congratulate me on my “bean bag tossing skills.”  Prior to this, I didn’t know those were skills you could possess.  I guess I should thank my dad for making us fiberglass bean bag toss games when we were kids hahaha!  

I am intrigued to see how my active cruise-style and relatively healthy eating has impacted my health regime at home.  I am pleased to say I feel stronger, can feel my muscles and look leaner, so that is great place to start I feel.   Now, when I get home I will apply the same workout regime and then eat a lot cleaner so we should see some great results, health wise and weight wise.
At the end of the day, this trip was amazingly fun and it was great to spend a lot of time with Ryan.  For the last few months leading up to the trip, Ryan has been extremely busy with work and before that I was busy with photo sessions and work as well so we rarely spent time doing things together and would rather just sit and watch tv.  This trip has been great for our relationship as well, as most trips are.  If you can travel with someone, live in extremely tight quarters with them and see them essentially 24/7 for 3 weeks, you know you are meant to be in each other’s lives.  You learn A LOT about each other’s habits and bodily functions bahahaha!  But alas, I will sign off for now and go enjoy my last little bits of sunshine, heat, and water!  Next time I write I will be home :D!!

  So now, I have arrived home and am pleased to announce I have only gained 2lbs difference from when I left (YAY! Most people gain a lot more) Not only that, but I have established a concrete habit of working out every day! Woot woot!  Now to journey into the Christmas may be worse than a cruise.