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Moments that make you go “a-ha!!”

Happy Monday! Or, er, Tuesday. Thursday? Crap, doesn’t matter when you’re reading this, you get my point! It’s a holiday week, I’m allowed to be chipper :P

I loved reading everyone’s goals for this week. There’s a good mix of people who feel they need to be mindful of their food and exercise this week, and another group who recognize it’s time to loosen up on their iron grip! I’m in the in-between group. Bring on the gravy and Bailey’s coffee, but keep the sugar cookies away from me please :)

I tried to recreate my turtle pretzels for breakfast this morning…

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  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup soy milk
  • cinnamon
  • 1/2 scoop vanilla whey protein powder
  • 1/2 banana, cooked in
  • mini chocolate chips
  • peanut butter
  • pretzel pieces

I thought this was going to be uh-mazing, but it was just good. The pretzels got kinda soggy :\ And I missed the creaminess of custard oats!

I unloaded some cake balls and peanut butter cup cookies on my Starbucks co-workers today. For people who are surrounded by cookies and cakes all day, they went pretty quick! Had what’s becoming my usual drink of a tall Americano with four shots espresso, 2 pumps sugar-free caramel, 1 pump sugar-free hazelnut and a splash of soymilk. 

I was mega lazy this morning, and didn’t bother packing a lunch. Easy to do when I work seven steps from a Subway.

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6 inch turkey breast on whole wheat, no cheese with mustard and all the veggies available. I was thinking that while Subway can be a good choice for eating out, I really shouldn’t make this a habit. Not only because it’s weirdo processed food – but this sandwich was five bucks! That shite adds up.

We were oddly over-staffed today and I got sent home early! Lost about 1.5 hours pay, but I also could have used the extra time in my day. I headed over to Sport Check to use the gift certificate my old co-workers gave me as a going away gift. Fiiinnaaally bought some long workout pants! Not only will they be great in the cold weather, but they’ll be added to my new “personal trainer wardrobe” I’m working on ;)

The second I pulled in my driveway, I saw a bright package sitting on my mailbox. I pretty much ran to get it and ripped it open. I’ve been anxiously expecting it!!!

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Eeeeeee!!!!!! SO MANY GOODIES!!!! Sent my way from the lovely, hilarious, heavy liftin’, smoothie genius Deb. Thank you SO much Deb!!!! She remembered me saying I didn’t have hot water bottles on her blog a while back and sent two to me. Deb, these will pretty much keep me alive at my mom’s frigid house this week. Other goodies include Wonka Tinglerz, a Jordan’s bar (never tried, but love his muesli!) Primal Strips (can’t wait to try!!) Cocoa Roast Almonds, mini Chewy granola bar and a Japanese marshmallow candy. Even the marshmallow is fitting because y’all know I love me some fluff ;)

Even though I wanted to dig into my snacks right away (okay, okay, I had to sample the Tinglerz), I’m going to save them as emergency snacks for my trip home. I instead made up a snack plate.
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i.e.an excuse to eat almond butter ;) AB on half a banana, and then on two light wasa rye crackers with cinnamon and honey. But apparently my snack attack wasn’t over. I somehow ended up with one of these in my hand…

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Gah! So good! I think these may be my favourite item I baked this weekend. Which is why I can’t wait till they’re out of my house :P

Dinner was leftover butternut squash soup.
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Tonight’s version included herbed tofu, broccoli, cauliflower, 1tbsp peanut butter.

You see, I am slightly obsessed with the butternut squash + peanut butter combo. Holy moly, it was even good stirred into the soup! Try it!!

Getting off work early gave me extra time to get my chores done, which cleared up my schedule for yoga tonight!! I haven’t been to a Body Flow class at my gym in weeks. It was just what I needed. Yoga has an amazing ability to make me feel good about my body. More so than a sweaty session at the gym ever could.

For my evening snack, I blended together 3/4 cup cottage cheese, 2/3 cup frozen blueberries, stevia and cinnamon. It was a wonderfully thick and creamy snack.

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 Hiii!!!101_1536
That’s my yoga face. Not to be confused with my running face.

 

In honour of Deb, I felt it only made sense to answer a question she posed after I’d wrapped up Q&A week. But no question is a bad question, and hers is particularly good! So here’s your answer :)

Deb (SmoothieGirlEatsToo) Said:

I’m so behind on reading/commenting that I think you already answered your Qs. I do have one though if it hasn’t been asked: was there an a-ha moment that made you turn your life around from drinking/drugs etc to your healthy current self?

I’ve had a series of “a-ha” moments. My first one was when I was 16 years old. I’d been heavily into, ahem, “bad things.” One night, I watched a very good friend of mine get injured in a fight and I couldn’t do anything about it. That was my first notable “a-ha” moment. I never wanted to put myself in a position where I was that helpless again. After that, I stopped doing drugs altogether. I started doing better in school, hanging out with a solid group of friends, and my life almost resembled that of just your normal rebellious teenager.

Unfortunately, I still continued my bad relationship with food, smoking and alcohol. I moved in with my high school boyfriend when I was 18, and it was just a bad time for me. Kinda like these past few months since finishing university have been. Something in my gut was just telling me “you’re not supposed to be doing this right now.”

The high school boyfriend got ditched after I started university,and so did the smoking. Chris also entered the picture around this time, and my confidence took a nice little turn upward. Unfortunately, so did my drinking and eating habits. For the record, I cannot keep up with a 27-year-old boy in the beer or nacho department. However, I did not realize this until over two years later.

That a-ha moment came after several months of increased indulgence. Chris and I took a trip to Jamaica, and I continued the food and drink vacation once I got home. I knew my weight had skyrocketed. I had just gotten my first TV job and could see it onscreen every night. I was breaking down and buying sizes I’d never seen. But I’d resigned to the idea that I’d just always be a chubby person. I liked food and beer too much, so I just gave up in favour of that.

That is, until my roommate got a Wii Fit. We plugged it in one night after I’d downed two big Coronas (two litres!!). While setting up my Mii character, I saw my weight, and my jaw dropped. I knew I’d been gaining weight, but it didn’t fell real until I saw those numbers in front of me. That same night I put down the Corona. The next day I started looking up my calories online and writing them down in a little book. A couple weeks later, I found The Daily Plate and that’s when the weight really started falling off. I committed to doing 30 minutes of activity every day. Soon I was setting fitness goals and falling in love with it. And eventually I started taking pictures of my food and posting it on the internet! :P

 

Question of the Day: What was your food/fitness/healthy-living “a-ha” moment?

Answered – The Final Round

Omygaaahhhh!!!! The weekend is almost here!! Hell has frozen over, pigs are taking over the skies, because I have a weekend off. I predict it will be amazing :D

But enough about the future, let’s live in the past for a little bit. I couldn’t decide between waffles, pancakes or french toast for breakfast – so I combined two of them.

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French toast waffles. I defrosted a couple Nature’s Path pomegranate plus waffles in the microwave and dredged them in egg whites. Dipped in a maple syrup/almond butter mix. Did you know Thursday was National Maple Syrup Day? I didn’t! But I’m Canadian, I have it every day anyways ;)

Long after breakfast was digested, I braved the –28 C (-18 F) windchill to run at the gym. I don’t know what I was thinking when I said I wanted to run outside this winter. I want my runs to be fun, not spent getting frostbite or falling on the ice.

Skipped my usual 5-mile speed run for a 5-mile tempo run. Basically, I slowly increased my speed as time went on, then brought it down slightly. I find running fast on a treadmill is easier than trying to jog on it!

I waited too long after breakfast to go to the gym though, I was staaaarving before I even finished stretching! Came home and whipped up a fast one.

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Turkey and hummus pita. Surprisingly, the best part of this pita were the pickles on it. I swear I’m not pregnant, but I’ve been loving the pickles lately.

Worked 2-10pm again today. Hit up Subway again for a veggie sub.

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Doctored up with my own mini-can of tomato & onion tuna. The people at Subway thought I was a weirdo for sure after ordering a dry veggie sub. They asked me if I wanted cheese three times.

 

Noooow it’s time for the fourth and final round of Q&As!

Hallie, Said:

Oh another question, do you ever feel pressure to blog on a certain schedule or about certain things? What do the people in your “real life” think about your blog, given that you talk about some pretty personal stuff on it.

First, I never feel pressure to blog about certain things. One of the reasons why I love blogging so much is that I make it what I want it to be. Some days I have tons of food photos I want to share, but not much content. Other days I have boring food, but some words I just need to get off my chest!! Although, there are days when I have absolutely nothing. That’s usually when I’ll provide links to more interesting articles or posts ;)

As for my posting schedule, I do sometimes feel a slight pressure to post every evening. What I’ve started doing is writing up posts when I get the chance during the day (like right now!), then just publishing before I go to bed at night. Some days I just can’t get anything out, and I won’t publish at all. I like having regularity to my blog though, and I miss it when I skip a post!

So far the feedback from my family and friends has been positive about the blog. I think it’s allowed them to learn a lot more about me, and perhaps even strengthened our relationships because of it. I try not to publish anything personal relating to other people. So while my life may be an open book, if it involves someone else, it’s a no-go zone.

 

holly Said:

besides journalism and fitness, what career path would you like to pursue?

I still want to open my own cafe someday! But that’s a long way down the road. You need money to open a store, and that’s not something I’m going to have for a very loooong time ;) Nor am I stable at the moment, I’ll likely be moving at least a couple times over the next several years. The cafe will have to be something I do when I’m finally settled a few decades from now ;)

Nowadays though, I’m trying not to think too much about the future. Mostly because the idea of choosing a career path scares the crap out of me. I’m just trying to do what makes sense and makes me happy in the moment (and, ahem, pays the bills).

 

Bekah Said:

My question- from a fellow embarrassed muncher to another: When you munch, what are your munch foods?

Anything small and in a box :P Cereal, chocolate chips, raisins, dates, crackers, nuts. I actually munched my way through a whole box of Kashi Cinnamon Harvest! I do most of my munching when I go out the door to work out. Usually because I go into a workout with a semi-empty tummy and my mouth doesn’t want to wait till after a workout to have a meal! Or when I first come in the door hungry. I’m pretty bad for munching while I prepare dinner. At the same time though, having a few chocolate chips here and there keep me from having crazy chocolate cravings. So while munching isn’t always the greatest, there are worse things :)

 

fightingwithfood Said:

Here’s my question for you – If you could, with no consequences, throw the “Great Balancing Act” out of the window for 24 hours, what would you eat and do?

I believe this is called “New Year’s Eve” :P Seriously, that is one of the few days a year where I throw it all out the window. Fortunately, the blog was created just days after New Years last year, so there is no blog evidence of the damage that was done ;) There was a lot of whiskey consumed (the only liquor I really drink). Multiple chicken wings, chips, cookies, mozza sticks, etc. And there may have been some drunken dancing to old Rancid songs in a stranger’s living room.

So to answer your question, I would drink and eat with abandon and have a blast :)

 

ellie Said:

How are you liking your coworkers? Overall…the job? Good/bad? Ugly? :P

I hate to say this, but being back at Starbucks has made me realize just how much my old job was slowly killing me on the inside. Everything just feels so easy at the cafe. People will sometimes complain about having to do the smallest tasks, while all I can think about was the time I had to be the first to report three teenagers drowned in the river. That, was hard. Having to wipe out the milk fridge is a cake walk compared to that.

The only thing that I’m kinda “meh” about is the drama that always comes with service based jobs. I am a no-drama zone. And already my coworkers are trying to pull me in! I’m just not taking any of it seriously, and I’m not sweating the small stuff :)

 

That was fun!!! I’ll have to remember to do these more often. As always, you know you can ask me anything at any time. Be it a comment or e-mail. I always try to be active and prompt in responding to comments and e-mails. One of the best things about blogging is that I get to communicate with so many wonderful people out there :D

And with that, I’m hitting the hay! Just closed the cafe, only to open it in 8.5 hours time. I’m thinkin’ an extra shot of espresso may be needed in the morn’. Night night!!

 

Question of the day: If you could, what career path besides your current one would you want to pursue?

Healthified with a Few Answers

Hiya! Hope everyone got a good start to their weeks :) Today I realized I’m doing a “real” work week. Work till Friday then have a WHOLE weekend off!! Sweet damn!

Did the ole 2-10pm closing shift at Starbucks tonight, so I had the morning to myself. Would have been wonderful if I didn’t wake up at 6:30 am with a charley horse (ie severe cramp) in my calf. So. Painful. Needed some comfy oats to make me feel better.

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Custard oats!! I followed Tay’s method of whisking a whole egg into the pot as my oats cooked. It turned out amazing! I love my oats really thick and creamy, and that’s exactly what happened. Topped with some dates and homemade maple pecan butter. Epic.

Then it was off to my favourite Monday morning step class. It’s the same ladies there every week and we’re starting to bond. I just love it :) It’s one of the few times I get to just let loose and get a silly sweat on.

Replenished after with a Janetha inspired lunch.

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  • 1 cup cottage cheese
  • 1/2 cup garbanzo beans
  • 1 tsp ranch seasonin
  • 1 orange bell pepper
  • chopped onion
  • 1 tomato
  • kale

All mixed up and eaten out of a giant bowl. This was really filling!! Except, I used up all my fresh produce in it, which meant no giant pita to bring to work for supper tonight. Instead, I opted for the Subway in the food court.

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It’s a 6 inch veggie delight on whole wheat with every veggie available. Then I brought my own pouch of tuna and added it to the sub, with a drizzle of Italian dressing I got on the side. Tuna subs used to be my favourite thing ever, and they’re one of the worst subs you can get (helloooo goopy mayo!). So this is a healthified version of my old favourite. It was awesome!

I’m actually not allowed to take pictures at Starbucks – it’s a corporate policy. But I managed to sneak one of my drink tonight.

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Tall unsweetened iced black tea lemonade. I can’t find the nutrition facts for the unsweetened version of this drink. The lemonade is about 1/3 of it and has some sugar, so it does have calories. How many, I don’t know! Not that much I’m assuming, maybe 60 cals?

P.S. I discovered the coffee frappuccino bases have high fructose corn syrup today for anyone out there who watches that stuff.

I also broke my “no buying any more mugs or tumblers with my sweet partner discount” rule. It was just too good to pass up!

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An insulated cup just for cold drinks. Just think of all the Deb inspired smoothies I could fill it up with!

 

Okay folks, time for the first round of questions and answers.

I got some excellent questions from y’all! I’m going to answer a little each day this week, as some deserve well thought-out answers. Since I’m short on time tonight, I’m going to tackle the easiest ones first ;) Don’t worry if yours isn’t featured here – I will be answering all of them in the days ahead!

 

Emily (The Experimentarian), said:

ooh! Question time! let’s talk about travel! Where is the coolest place you’ve ever been? Where would you like to go?

What is your favorite hobby besides blogging and working out? Is it crafting? Ha ha. Yay for arts and crafts! xoxo

Okay first, I’d have to say fitness is my number one hobby!! Chris is a huge car hobbyist, and one day I was complaining to him that I don’t have any hobbies. He was just like “Umm, Susan, you spend all your spare time at the gym or thinking about it.” Which is totally true. When I’m not working out, I’m reading about it, planning for it, talking about it. It kinda consumes me :\ 

But I do really enjoy playing my guitar when I feel inspired. I’ve also been known to knit on occasion, which I took up five years ago to help me quit smoking. And I know this is a lame hobby, but I still love the news! Watching it, reading it. I love keeping on top of current events.

As for travel, I wouldn’t say I’m a globe trotter, but I’ve been to some pretty neat places. The list: America (duh), Mexico, Cuba (twice), Jamaica, Germany, Holland, Belgium, Luxembourg and France. Of all those places, I think the trip to Mexico with my mom to visit my sister (who was studying there at the time) was the most memorable. We stayed with a Mexican family in a city called Cuernevaca. We did a lot of travelling to the surrounding cities and got to see some of the real Mexican countryside. The food was also fantastic ;)

Right now there are a lot of places in the United States I really want to go to – Las Vegas, Washington DC, Chicago, Los Angeles, Austin, to name a few ;) Overseas, I reeeeeally want to go to the UK. Ellie, I’m coming someday, I promise!!

 

julie,said:

i wanna knowww what’s your fav starbreezies drink!? now that you work there and all :)

I think my favourite coffee drink of all time (besides plain coffee) is a dry latte with two shots of espresso and a squirt of vanilla. I love my lattes foamy, but I prefer only a hint of sweetness and not the overpowering one that most Starbucks drinks have.

But, my favourite Starbucks-only drink is an iced caramel macchiato. There are many others I once had love affairs with, but unfortunately have been discontinued :(

Lori (Finding Radiance), Said:

My question would be: How do you plan on building your personal training business? Will you start at your current gym with advertising (guess not if you are moving?).

This is a good question, seeing as I never really went into how I plan on using my personal training certification. My goal now, is to get a job at my current gym chain. They’re the largest in Canada and are constantly hiring full and part-time trainers all over the place. Their trainers don’t have to seek out clients, but the clients are paired with trainers through the gym. So the “business” side of it would be taken care of.

That’s my short-term goal anyways. There are some privately owned and smaller gyms in the area that I’ll be looking into as well. There are also a couple companies around here that set trainers up with businesses who want them for their employees.

Long-term, I plan on getting my my Nutrition & Wellness certification so I can do a little fitness-based nutrition counselling as well. And of course, I want to do some freelance writing! Put all this knowledge out there to share :)

I’m still iffy about being a group fitness instructor. But ya never know, it could lead there. At the moment though, I’m more focused on working with individual clients.

 

Ashley Said:

So….I looked into buying a waffle iron the other day, because I love the look of yours (they are photogenic!) but the only one I could find was like $80. Which is a lot. I can buy a $20 one online and I was wondering whether its hard to go wrong with a waffle iron? Do you think I can get away with a cheapie? (I realise this probably isn’t what you meant when you invited questions….!!!)

I thought this deserved to be answered in a post because I get a lot of comments from people saying they want a belgian waffle iron. There are some nice ones out there that do all the fancy flipping stuff, but mine is just a “press.”

It’s a Proctor Silex Morning Baker Waffle Iron. I bought it at Walmart for close to $30. I have absolutely no complaints about it. It cooks up fast and makes giant fluffy waffles! I’d just be wary of the non-belgian style irons. I had one before that did two small rectangular waffles at once and it took forever to cook.

 

Well that wraps it up for today! I’ll be delving into some more of the “deep thought” Q’s tomorrow. If you have a question you’d like to add, leave a comment or send me an e-mail at thegreatbalancingact@gmail.com :)

 

Question of the Day: Any old foods you used to love but now “healthify?” I used to be a french fry person, but now I make all sorts of fry substitutes. Like butternut squash fries, yuca fries and most recently green bean fries!

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