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Monthly Goal Check-In

Hiya! How was everyone’s Monday? Mine was surprisingly good! Despite missing my bedtime by almost two hours last night, I still found the energy to charge through another Monday. Getting up for a 6am spin class always helps though. I’ve learned my lesson – every Monday should begin with a spin class. Sweating buckets in a room full of people in padded cycling shorts just sets the week up right, ya know? :P

I also felt pretty legit walking in and out of the gym with my shmancy new gym bag.

Went straight to the office after class and got there at 7:45am! Gave me plenty time to dig into my packed breakfast of overnight oats.

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  • 1 40g package of spiced multigrain instant oatmeal
  • 2/3 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 1/2 scoop vanilla whey protein powder
  • healthy dose of cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp raisins
  • 2 tbsp cashews

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As far as overnight oats go, the yogurt/applesauce combo is definitely a winner for me. I specifically used cashews in there because I knew they’d get soft in the fridge overnight… mmm…

I never photograph it, but my at-work breakfasts always include a mug of iced coffee.

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I chug half a french press worth of iced coffee before the gym, then drink the rest after.

My snack was an un-homemade bar.

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These were $0.99 each at the grocery store this week, so I picked up a few. Did they change the Luna bar recipe in Canada?

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I could have sworn the old version of these had 180 calories, not 190, and less rolled oats. Also, it looked smaller. Or I’m going crazy, which is a likely possibility as well.

Lunch!

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Turkey pita with veggies and Olive & Feta Hummus. That odd-shaped fruit on the side is a ya pear. Another on-sale purchase. I find it tastes very similar to an Asian pear – super crunchy and mild in taste. Wikipedia says it’s a Chinese white pear with a taste similar to rose and pineapple. Either way, I prefer my bartletts.

My snack looks disgusting, which means it was really good!

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Ham and cheese. I ended up only eating one of the herb & cheddar cheese sticks because there was more ham in the bag than I thought. I wrapped the ham around the cheese and it made for a stellar high fat, high protein snack. Seriously yummy.

Work was busybusy today, but one of those good busy days. Lots of fun projects to putter away on. Then I came home my Secret Bloggie Valentine gift!!

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Eeeeee!!!! I was especially excited for this to arrive seeing as I’m a single gal this Valentine’s Day. I was even more excited when I saw who it was from – Adrien from Confessions of a Health Nut!! She’s one of the many new bloggers I’ve stumbled across lately, and I was super pumped to see a name and blog I recognized on the card :D

Ohyes, the goods!

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First, the Yogi Tea in lemon ginger, kombucha, peppermint and chai rooibos. Funny, because lately at work I’ve been saying I’m going to join the tea-drinker club. Everyone there chugs back tea all day but me! I’m totally bringing in my stash tomorrow. Also funny that she sent me romantic word magnets. My mom used to have these and we had so much fun coming up with hilarious and inappropriate combinations on her fridge. Something to do while I wait for my waffles to cook ;)

My mom stayed at my place all day painting my kitchen. How sweet is that? She’s been hard at work whipping my apartment into shape. I am so grateful she’s willing to do it! Anyways, my kitchen is full of wet paint, so I made us a cold dinner.

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On the beastly sandwich:

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I ate 1/4 of an avocado and didn’t die!!! Yessss!!! I did have slight tummy pains, but I also chewed a lot of gum today, which does that to me too. Regardless, a successful Fatty February experiment :)

Dessert was, what else, chocolate from Adrien!

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Being the foodie nerd that I am, I noticed this was organic chocolate from BC, close to where Adrien is. So I checked out the Denman Island Chocolate website, and was really really impressed by it. They sound like a wonderful company, manufacturing natural food in a beautiful part of the world. Oh, and the chocolate was delicious. Although, my mom insisted it had hemp in it, but she just thinks people in BC are hippies :P 

 

Monthly Goal Check-In!

Okay, so I usually do this on Sundays. But hey, better late than never? Let’s see how I’m doing with my monthly goals after a week…

1. Work out no more than 6 hours a week. I worked out five times at 5 hours and 25 minutes. Perfection! My body was challenged, but not overworked. I almost worked out a sixth time, but listened to my body and slept in instead. That extra day off was just what I needed to finally combat the cold I had.

2. Say yes more. Yes, yes, and yes. Went out for some jazz and drinks last week, and I’m going on a trip this weekend!

3. Make more leftovers. I made a recipe last week from an actual cookbook. I got four meals out of my Spinach and Ham Ricotta Pie, and an addition 52 meals out of the ham I bought for the recipe. (that’s exaggeration btw, it was more like 38)

4. Eat more fat. Yesss!! I’ve been tracking my calories on and off and I’m getting about 30% of my calories from fat these days. That’s around 60g of fat a day – triple what I was eating before! I’ve been doing just little things like adding a dash of oil or butter here and there, switching to full fat cheese, and even eating avocado and dark chicken meat like I did for dinner today.

 

I also have a couple more updates. Remember one of my monthly goals in November was to get more sleep? I wrote “This is an ongoing issue that I think is more than just scheduling and bad time management. There are reasons I can’t sleep, and it’s time to get to the bottom of it.”

Well I’m happy to report that my sleeping patterns are back to normal!! For some reason, at the end of 2008, going into my lat semester of university, I just stopped being able to sleep. I used to be the girl who could sleep 10 hours a night, no problem. I blamed it on aging and stress from school, but it never went away. I graduated, worked a job I didn’t like, and it continued.

I made that goal on November 1, two days after I quit my job. The sleeping got a little better after that. I stopped naturally waking up at 5am everyday at least. But now with a more regular schedule, and a few more life changes (ie less things to worry about and weigh me down) I feel relaxed enough to be able to sleep the whole night through – 8 hours plus!!

However, it’s not all good news.

Remember the awful rash on my legs?

Well, my mom and I have been sharing a bed these past few nights. And she says she woke up last night to the sound of me furiously scratching my legs. I had a suspicion I was doing this in my sleep, but she said it was pretty bad last night. I think it has something to do with my anxiety disorder, I used to grind my teeth when I was a teenager. Anyways, I have no clue how to train myself to stop doing this. The obvious solution is to wear gloves to bed. But it would be really nice to get to the heart of the issue so I don’t have to worry about it at all. My mom says I need 1) massage, and 2) to get out of my unhappy living environment. I couldn’t agree more.

 

Last but not least I am going to Halifax this weekend! This means two things:

1. I am looking for three guest posts for those days. E-mail me at thegreatbalancingact@gmail.com if you’re interested, first come first serve!

2. Blogger meet-up!!! I’ve already been in contact with some wonderful Halifax ladies, and we’re planning on meeting for lunch on Sunday. If you want to join in on the Maritime bloggie fun, send me an e-mail! thegreatbalancingact@gmail.com :D

 

Question of the Day: How are you doing with you February goals? Fatty February? Let me know!

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Hooked on Endorphins

Hi friends!! Are we all looking forward to the weekend? You know my feelings on weekends. But this is my last week doing a full weekend of 5am shifts. I switched days off with a co-worker, so I have next Sunday off. So now next Saturday (Dec 5) is my last day at the radio station!

On the other job front, I know I yammered away about not being able to exercise in my last post, but I do fully expect to take extra rest days now that I’ll be working on my feet 40 hours a week. Exercise, to me, isn’t fully about being fit and staying thin though. In perfect honesty, it’s my love. It’s always my favourite part of the day, and the thing I look forward to most. I’m a total endorphin junkie. The thought of not being able to exercise makes me very sad. I also plan on paying special attention to my body, as I expect my appetite will increase with a more active job.

However, I got a reeeeally good endorphin fix this morning in spin class. Man! It was good! I slept awful last night, maybe five hours? I blame it on the coffee tasting I did at Starbucks (Christmas Blend is pretty good this year).

Anyways, I told myself that if I felt like crap when my alarm went off, I’d just skip the class and go back to sleep. Sleep trumps everything for me, even exercise. But come 5:30 I was ready to go! I hopped out of bed and proceeded to push probably the hardest I ever have in spin class. It wasn’t on purpose, I was just really feeling the resistance today. My legs are especially sore right now, and I feel good knowing I got out of my comfort zone :)

I refuelled with a PB&J oatmeal sandwich bowl when I came home.

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  • 3/4 cup rolled oats
  • 2 1/4 cups water
  • 1/2 scoop vanilla whey powder
  • cinnamon
  • peanut butter
  • blackberry jam

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Action shot of the “sandwiching.” I let these oats simmer on the stove for about 20 minutes while I primped this morning. Oh gosh. They were so mushy and creamy. I like my oats over-cooked, and these were perfection!

[insert work here]

And then I came home and made supper! An old favourite: bowl o’ protein.
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  • curry powder, ground cumin, chili powder
  • 1/2 block firm tofu, crumbled
  • red pepper
  • zucchini
  • mushrooms
  • red onion
  • tomato
  • spinach
  • jalapeño
  • salsa
  • laughing cow cheese
  • scrambled egg
  • pepper

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Basically, I just scrambled this in a pan, but I did the egg separately, otherwise it gets lost in the mess. Yum!! I love eating food from a bowl :) It’s a comfort thing.

 

Okay, so I know there’s been a lot of weight lifting talk lately, but I just have to share some of this info! I get a Men’s Health newsletter everyday that is actually quite informative most days (Men’s Health is one of my favourite fitness mags). Today was no different! They shared 7 Muscle-Building Mistakes to Avoid. Here are the highlights:

Skipping Basics

Plenty of lifters believe that doing isolation exercises like chest flies and leg extensions is the only way to make their muscles grow. But basic moves such as bench presses and squats force several muscle groups to work together, imposing more stress on your body for bigger gains.

“Your body reacts to all that stress by having the anterior pituitary gland issue more growth hormone to compensate for the extra effort,” says Allen Hedrick, C.S.C.S., head strength-and-conditioning coach at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. Of course you need variation, but don’t abandon basic moves in favor of intermediate isolation exercises.

Fix it: Write down the exercises in your routine to see what percentage of them are compound moves. “If it’s not in the range of at least 40 to 50 percent, then you’re doing too many isolation exercises,” says Bell.

Starvation

You need to eat after your workout. Right after a session, your body is hustling to convert glucose into glycogen so your muscles can repair themselves and grow. “If you don’t eat after exercise, your body breaks down muscle into amino acids to convert into glucose,” says John Ivy, Ph.D., chairman of kinesiology at the University of Texas.

Fix it: After you work out, eat a high-carbohydrate meal—and don’t forget the protein. A study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that a four-to-one carbohydrate-to-protein ratio can provide 128 percent greater muscle-glycogen storage than a high-carbohydrate drink alone. (They used Endurox R Recovery Drink in the study.) For even greater results, have a sports drink before and during exercise.

 

First, I love the tip about doing 50 percent compound moves. Second, I like the 4:1 carb-protein ratio for post-workout meals. I’ve heard this before, but am still constantly berated with advice to suck back the protein after. Good stuff! Although, I have opposing thoughts about the sports drink while weight lifting, but my goals are different. You can see the rest of the list here.

Alrighty folks, time to wrap up my traditional early Friday night post. These are soon going to be a thing of the past once I’m done at the reporting job. Maybe I’ll start going out on Friday nights like a regular person! :P

Question of the Day: What do you think are some common exercise mistakes? One that immediately comes to mind is people who stretch before a workout. Most research shows that stretching cold muscles can do more harm than good, and that if you must-stretch it should be after your warm-up when you’re more flexible. Personally, I just like doing really long warm-ups.

Sleeping Beauty

Hello friends! How is everyone doing? Are we all T-G-I-effing yet? I am, and I work at 5 am on Saturday and Sunday…

Loved hearing how you’ve been challenging yourselves! Now I feel inspired to go sign up for an expensive yoga studio :P

I challenged myself this morning by getting up at 5:30, whilst still dark out, to run a new distance record. Well, okay, it’s my weekly long run. The point is to run farther every week, but it’s nice to celebrate the small accomplishments :)

Thankfully, it also cooled off a little last night. I actually had the opportunity to fall into a deep sleep, so I felt well rested for the first time this week.

Fuelled up with half a giant banana, PB and iced coffee.

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On my messy end table. Oh hell, my whole apartment is messy.

The stats:

Distance: 6.34 miles (10.2 km!! Heck yes!!!)
Duration: 60:06
Avg Pace: 9:29 min/mi
Avg HR: No idea, it cut out on me after 40 min. It was the usual though – 165 ish, probably a max in the high 170s (that’s when I start huffing and puffing).

I upped my run/walk intervals to 8:1. A little harder, but still awesome. I’m planning on doing a 10k race on Sept. 20, so today’s run was very reassuring! I’m hoping to cut out my walking intervals just for that race.

My post-run meal was beyond satisfying – savoury oats.

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  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1 1/4 cup water
  • salt
  • 1 tsp Earth Balance
  • 1 breakfast sausage, chopped
  • 1 fried egg
  • salsa
  • mozzarella cheese

This was my first time cooking REAL sausage! A little greasier than I’m used to, and definitely not on the healthy side. But one breakfast sausage every now and then ain’t gonna kill me ;)

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Ohhh yesssss. Soft yolks in hot oatmeal is absolutely glorious.

 

I actually made dinner tonight! SO glad I did – it was delish!

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A “tofu salad sandwich.” I chopped up 1/4 block tofu and microwaved it for two minutes (raw tofu doesn’t agree with my belly). Then I mixed it up with 1 laughing cow cheese wedge and green onion. Put on toasted bread with spinach and tomato.

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This was soooo good! Using real, bakery bread helped. I’m officially off the “light” stuff. What’s the point in eating bread if it’s not the best possible kind? Real stuff fills me up more anyways :)

 

Since I’ve been having a rough time sleeping this week, I thought it would be fun to ask you guys what are your tips for getting a good night’s sleep?

One thing I did differently last night is that I slept in the opposite direction – with my head at the “foot” of the bed. This is a trick I’ve been doing ever since I was a kid. Whenever I have issues falling asleep, I just turn around. For whatever reason, changing up my position so drastically helps out.

I also never go to bed hungry. I always joke that my stomach doesn’t sleep while the rest of me does :P Seriously, if I go to bed with an empty stomach, I will be up at 4 am ready for a big meal.

Finally, I cut back on caffeine. This is what I do on the days before my early morning shifts. I either cut my caffeine consumption in half, or don’t drink coffee at all. It’s amazing the difference it makes! Not having a morning coffee can be the difference between me conking out at 8:30 pm or lying awake until 11 pm!

 

So share away! I’ll be sure to post the tips tomorrow :)

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