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Home and Homecooked!!

Happyhappy Friday friends!! It’s an even happier Friday around these parts – I’m at my mom’s!! I’m shacking up here till I move to Toronto at the end of the month. Happy days indeed :)

So! Wonderful feedback on my last post on tips for staying healthy in college. Here are some of the extra tips from the comments:

John
One tip is if you go with room and board you don’t have to eat everything the landlord puts in front of you. In my case she fed me like I was 2 people and soon I weighed that much!

Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga)
stay outta the cafeteria’s mega huge buffet lines..they scoop eggs and a side of bacon and toast on your breakfast plate that’s 1500 cals and that will set any one up for failiure. basically portion control and smart choices…PLANTS and VeggieSS!!!

peanutbutterfingers 
i know for me it was all about portion control at all-you-can-eat meal plan locations!

Jessica (electropositive)
As a thankfully graduated person, I do want to add one to the list: keep stress down! If you’re like me, stress = eats. Usually bad eats. I always wanted french fries and Coca-Cola when I was having a bad day, and if the day was bad enough I would top it off with going to town on whatever I had in the house when I got home. I would say stress was the #1 cause of my weight gain in college

Angharad
A good tip is to fore-go the late night burger joint and eat something when you get home. It doesn’t have to be carrot sticks, but it also doesn’t have to be half a pizza! You’ll save money as well as calories.

fightingwithfood
I would add finding a few dorm-mates or classmates that share your goals. Get chatting! Odds are, someone in class will want to join up for a gym session after class or lunch at a healthy restaurant. Having someone else around (that you see on a regular basis) will help hold you accountable

Really appreciated these extra tips! I never lived in a dorm, so I luckily didn’t have to rely on a microwave and cafeteria for sustenance.

Instead, I made ginormous bowls of hot cereal ;)

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I finished the cream of wheat! 

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Polished off the box today with some egg whites and dates cooked in. Topped with homemade maple pecan peanut butter.

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I must say, I`m now a cream of wheat convert. It’s fabulously creamy and the extra iron isn’t bad ;)

Spotted: poodle hiding treats in couch.

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I give Archie a treat after our walk everyday. Pretty sure I’ve found every single one hidden somewhere packing up. The most impressive one was found in the back of my closed sock drawer. How did he do that??

Spent the morning packing my car to the brim.

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Said goodbye to my favourite view…

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Then hit the road!

Arrived home to a loving household and dinner in the oven :)

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Mom made one of my favourites – roast chicken.

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Which I covered in homemade cranberry sauce post-picture.

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Oven fries. Smothered in ketchup (of course).

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And the mandatory greens. Perfect meal! Thanks mommy! I’ll have to contribute to the meals while I’m here. My mom has an excellent kitchen for cooking in.

Now I’m cuddled up with the pooch, watching CBC with the fam (although technically the Fifth Estate just began. We know how to rock it on a Friday night!)

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Archie won’t leave my side now that we’re home. My mom is jealous – muhahaha. Still have him on his new exercise regimen. Took him for a nice walk after dinner :)

Well that’s all from me tonight! Tomorrow, I’m heading back to my apartment with a convoy to pick up the bigger items. Then I’m officially out of the place. On to my new adventure!

 

Question of the Day: What’s your favourite homecooked meal? The roast chicken is one of my newer favourites since I was a vegetarian for so long. But my mom’s chili and lasagna is always in high demand!!

Tips For Staying Healthy in College

You guys. I feel so much closer to you all now. You love waffles as much as I do!!! <—click for a chance to win a free waffle maker ;)

I also have to thank everyone for the congratulatory comments about my becoming a certified personal trainer. I swear I woke up feeling different today! John asked if I’d be like Jillian (Michaels, for those of you who aren’t on a first-name basis with her like John and I). I joked back that I’m more of a Bob (Harper). But really, I can’t wait to be ME! Hopefully I can bring all my personal experiences, attributes and knowledge to the table and create a training experience that’s unique.

Heidi asked if I have any idea where I’d like to work. Answer: not a clue. Honestly, at this point, I will take whatever I can get in Toronto. Yes, there are more jobs there, but there’s also more competition. So far I’ve been applying to jobs in my various fields – writing, communications, barista, fitness. My dream job is of course to be the columnist that appears after Tosca (Reno) in Oxygen. But realistically, I think I really want to give this training thing a shot! Even just doing it on the side for some extra $$. Preferably at a chain where the clients are provided for me. At least until I get some more experience and confidence to try other things. So that’s where I’m at!

Lunch.

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I am all over the fruity/salmon combo. Salmon lends itself well to sweet flavours to begin with, and this is becoming a favourite!

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I microwaved the remnants of a bag of frozen berries with some maple syrup.

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And put it on top of smoked salmon and english muffin. It was missing the usual laughing cow, but beyond that was stellar. If you’re a salmon fan I urge you to try it!

I spent the morning taking out the TWELVE bags of garbage to the curb, and loading up some of my car. Then it started to rain. Then I really wanted to go to the gym, I didn’t yesterday. So I said “screw it” to packing and cleaning and hit the iron. I think this is the first time I felt guilty for actually going to the gym! :P

It was a momentous gym visit too – my first one as a personal trainer. (I’ll stop this, eventually). Even more fun is that I ran into a girl I did my PT classes with and we squealed over passing. Good times :) Oh right! My workout!

Warm-up: 15 minutes on elliptical, increasing resistance

Superset x3
Lat pulldown (mid-back)
Barbell Sumo squat (quads, glutes)

Superset x3
Barbell bench press (pecs, front delts, triceps)
Barbell split squat (quads, glutes, adductors, soleus)

Superset x3
Arnold press (deltoids, traps, triceps)
Stiff leg deadlift (hamstrings, glutes, lower back)

Superset x3
Cable pushdown (triceps)
Cable bicep curl (biceps)

Superset x3
Cable horizontal woodchop (obliques)
Hanging leg raises (lower abs)

And then some stretching. Totally worth putting off packing for. I felt SO much better after. I just hope I’m not paying for it when I’m trying to move boxes tomorrow.

Came home and refuelled with some beer a smoothie.

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The healthiest drink to be in a Molson draught glass I’m sure – soy milk, Vega smoothie infusion, a banana, ice, and 1/2 tsp each of guar and xanthan gum.

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For my girl JB!! (soontobeJG) Even worse than posting a smoothie stache photo post workout, is going into the Bulk Barn a sweaty mess after in my workout leggings. Classy. This is what I’ve become in my unemployment.

The rest of the afternoon was spent tearing around town tying up loose ends before I blow this joint tomorrow. Stopped by the old office where they gave me a card that almost brought me to tears. My old officemate was my “victim” yesterday for my practical. I couldn’t have asked for a better person to share these past four months with!!

Anyways, I did eventually pull it together. Picked up my new antibiotics for my legs *unenthusiastic yayyyy*

I’m down to the very last pieces of fresh food in my fridge/freezer.

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A turkey breast sliced up and coated in egg whites, panko bread crumbs, Kirkland no-salt seasoning.

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And roasted sweet potato slices.

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Aka cheetahs because they have spots! Check out the salt on those suckers too – love coarse sea salt :)

And while we’re talking about food – I added a recipe page for my Homemade Maple Cinnamon Oat Bran Protein Bars.

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I’m eating one right now!

Tips for Staying Healthy in College

Now on to an e-mail that I just had to share.

I’m studying journalism at University and since beginning a little over eight months ago, have gained nearly five kilos!  I think you use pounds, so that is like i guess 12 pounds?  I know that you went through something similar when you started at College, and I was wondering if you had any tips or exercises that you found useful?  It is hard with the whole drinking, hamburger eating, nights out in the pub culture.
Thanks so much.
Vanessa.

 

Now before I even delve into this, I feel like I should say, I’m no expert on staying healthy in college. I made a lot of mistakes and some bad choices, but in the end did find a few things that worked for ME.

1. Use the campus gym. Most universities have free gym access that hardly any students (besides those on teams) use. I did a lot of my weight lifting workouts during a 90 minute break between classes Mon-Wed-Fri. Remember, even going to the gym for 20 minutes is better than not going at all – it adds up!

2. Walk to class. I gained the bulk of my weight when I bought a car and stopped walking everywhere. If it’s less than 20 minutes away, walk there!

3. Join a sports team. If there’s one thing I would have changed about my university experience, I would have joined the cross country team. Joining a team isn’t just a great way to socialize and meet friends, but it’s also a great way to get exercise and stay active on top of school work.

4. Drink smart and drink slow. Don’t go to the pubs and guzzle back 6 beer on $2 draught night. Find a “light” drink that works for you. Mine is whisky and water. A single has 60-70 calories, and is strong enough that I can’t chug it back. Other great ones are vodka and club soda (NOT tonic, it’s sweetened!!), rum and diet coke, light beer. Or you can just order a diet pop and skip the booze altogether.

5. Find light options at all the late-night hangouts. When I first started losing weight, I googled the nutritional value of foods at many of the local eateries. I wrote down some lighter options for each one and kept it in my wallet. That way, if I ever found myself out with friends who had to eat at this one spot, I wasn’t thrown off guard and had an idea of what to order. If you know the 2am visit to the pizza joint is inevitable, find something on the menu other than a big slice that you can have without breaking the calorie bank.

6. Use working out as a method of procrastination. This worked fabulously for me ;) Going to the gym and sweating for an hour always sounded more appealing than reading about the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms for an hour.

7. Be honest. I experienced a lot of peer pressure in university, it just comes with the environment. You’d be surprised by how many people will stop bugging you when you tell them avoiding the freshman 15 is more important to you than spaghetti night at the cafeteria.

8. Don’t be too strict. University is meant to be enjoyed (well, in between all the stressful parts). Don’t ever, ever skip out on a social function because you’re scared of the food or drinking. I did this, and I regret it. I got smarter toward the end. I realized that being able to go out and have a beer with my friends was more important to me than being my dream size. I’ll take a few good belly laughs over a size 2 any day. Just like I never regret a workout, I never regret hanging out with my friends :)

 

Hopefully that helps Vanessa!

 

Question of the Day: Any tips you want to add to the list? As Holly would say, “sharing is caring!”

Reflections, Flashbacks, and Lessons Learned

Four months ago, on January 4th, I started a brand new job. People start new jobs all the time, but I like to think I’ve become a bit of an expert in my 24 years.

My first job was as a cashier at Zellers when I was in grade 11. I lasted the month of December, then politely left the second the holidays were over.

My second job came the summer after grade 11, when I was 17. I was hired on as a barista at a Starbucks in a book store because I used words like “youthful” and “bright” to describe the taste of coffee.

My first day there was probably one of the most nerve wracking experiences of my life. But that job pulled me out of my teenage shell. I’d gone from agoraphobic to a Chatty Cathy in a green apron in just one year. The last day on that job was more bitter than sweet. But high school was over and I was on to, erm, “other” things.

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By other things, I mean another Starbucks in a city 90 minutes away.

I stayed at that Starbucks for two years before I quit to focus on school. Those two years were just as good, if not better, than my previous year as a barista. I met my best friends at that store, had a blast, and made some pretty good drinks!

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I ended up returning to that store when I started to miss the money, and social aspect. However, I ended up leaving after another year, when I scored a job as a radio reporter and broadcaster.


I read the weekend news, working a few extra coffee shop jobs on the side. I became a full-time reporter there once I finished university. I was at the radio station for two years all together, and again learned more about myself than I could have ever predicted. I thought I was doing the right thing by forcing myself even more out of my shell everyday as a reporter. But I guess I have my limits. And this was it.

I was not reporter material, but I will always look back on my days in the radio biz with fondness. There is a certain old romance about radio that you just don’t get with any other medium. I’ll hold on to this old mike sock forever.

I’d started back at Starbucks before I even left my radio gig in December. I’d taken up the role of supervisor to get me through the in-between period of getting my personal training certification and figuring out what the hell I wanted to do with my life.

Then I got an e-mail.

A shot in the dark. An old professor of mine e-mailed me on my old student account three days before Christmas. I got a pull to check that neglected account before leaving for home for the holidays. This professor also happens to be the communications director of my alma matter. A job in the department opened up and he thought of me. Days after leaving what should have been the perfect job, a new one fell into my lap.

And I loved it.

The university campus is beautiful, the people are wonderful, the work is fun and challenging in all the right ways. I was filling in for someone due back in May. So the short-term position worked perfectly in my “what the hell am I going to do with my life?” plan.

Today, four months after starting, I said goodbye to my first ever desk.

In four short months, I learned even more at that job. Not that I had to force myself out of my shell, or put on a veil, or be a certain someone. But rather, I learned to just be. I learned to be myself, to be honest, to be open. I learned happiness is possible no matter where or what I’m doing. Happiness can be where I least expect it, so I better not push it away before I have the chance to experience it. I learned it’s possible to look forward to a job everyday, and feel comfortable in your work environment.

I also learned just how very important note taking is. And how impossibly disorganized I really am.

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I walked out today with pieces that I wrote, contributed to and helped design over the months. A lot of hard work on one little piece of paper.

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They will be placed in the shoebox with my mike sock and green apron. Maybe I’ll pull some of them out again one day, but I fully expect to keep adding to that box as the years go on…

For the first time since I was 17, I do not have another job lined up. I don’t have a plan. It is strange beyond explanation. I feel like a stranger in my own life. But I am excited to finally be taking this jump. Because this month, I learned happiness is possible anywhere. Even though everything from here on out is completely unknown, I’m confident I can be happy wherever I end up.

“The time has come,” the Walrus said,
“To talk of many things:
Of shoes—and ships—and sealing-wax—
Of cabbages—and kings—
And why the sea is boiling hot—
And whether pigs have wings.”

- Lewis Carrol, Through the Looking-Glass, “The Walrus and the Carpenter”

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