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October 25, 2013
Friday. Don’t you always love it when Friday rolls around? I sure do – even though I love my job and try not to “live for the weekend,” I am always happy when the work week is over.
How has your week been? If I could choose one word to describe my week, it would be scattered. In the sense that some evenings were normal at home, others were out, some days were low energy, others were high, some days were tough to get through and in others I learned a lot and was engaged with people and ideas. So… scattered. One word for your week? Do share.
A few highlights of the week included:
- a great Thursday workout. I switched things up from my usual KB challenge (which I’m continuing until the end of October) and did another great GPP workout called “Beller.” I loved it and eeked out 5 rounds (technically my 30 minutes was up just before my last set of sprints, but I ran to the treadmill and got those 2 minutes of 400 m running in right after the 30 minute AMRAP was done!).
- solving a mystery! Remember how I mentioned that I was sick over the weekend? Well, although I only had one really rough night, I was still feeling “off” and just not myself most of the week. I started to wonder if it was any part of the Holiday Hustle I was doing and did a bit of research. Turns out that one of the ingredients in one of the supplements I was taking is known to had side effects very similar to how I was feeling. Once I put two and two together, I stopped taking the morning shake (I might reintroduce it but I wasn’t sure if it could have been that too) and the Thermoplus supplement and am feeling MUCH better. I’ve never taken anything “extra” like this besides the basics that I know are safe (Vitamin D, calcium, etc) so that alone was new to me. Experiencing some light headedness, dizziness, shakiness and “cloudy head” feelings were not fun.
I’m not huge on taking additional pills to supplement your health/weight loss/maintenance/fitness goals in the first place, but it was good to try for myself so I can share about my experience and know for my own body. Every body is different, so, just like I did with intermittent fasting, I try things before I endorse or oppose anything!
- a great reminder. I learned so much this last week at our small group (Fat Tuesday!) this week from our discussion and the text in 2 Corinthians 9. It is so clear in God’s Word that if we are generous in our giving, God will bless us.
It can be a tough truth to learn when you’re not making much money, living off 1.5 incomes with a husband in grad school and have debts always in the back of your mind, but after reading words like verses 6-8:
“The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.”
I am compelled to a.) GIVE! Generously! and b.) not worry. For several months I had forgotten my check book at home and hadn’t tithed from my income to the church. I knew after our discussion that my action step was to be faithful and go home, write the check and mail it, even though we are waiting to be reimbursed for many things we’ve paid for and are lower than usual in our account. Well, I went home, wrote the check and put it in the mail 2 days ago. Yesterday when I got home, Mikey told me he won a photo contest he’d entered and the prize was almost the exact amount I had written in the check! Then we received an early Christmas gift from Mikey’s parents – more to go into, not out of, our bank account.
What a blessing! This was a huge boost to my faith and I am reminded of how faithful God is when we obey him. There is no need for God to “reward” us, but giving DOES come back to bless us! Paul says in 2 Corinthians 9:9: “You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God.” Isn’t that true? Generous giving does produce a thankfulness to God, and that is the feeling that is overwhelming me right now.
- friendship is so valuable. I don’t see and connect with my friend Anna very much (Texas and Alberta, while similar in someways, aren’t geographically close!) but she remembered me on my FAVORITE holiday of the year and sent a Halloween card!
I am not always the most thoughtful friend and struggle with staying connected over long distances, but her card made my day yesterday! On another Halloween note, my challenge ends on October 30th and I WILL be having candy on Halloween! hahaha!
Lots going on this weekend…will check in with a full report later! Have a great rest of your Friday and let me know some Friday thoughts from YOUR last week! Live well & be well,
October 20, 2013
(source) …challenge accepted and underway!
Well, here we are, at the start of another Monday, and a bit over half way through the 24 days of the Holiday Hustle! I realized this weekend that I’ve stuck with this challenge (almost!) fully through some good challenges and thought it’d be a good time to reflect! So…here we go!
The first half of the challenge is a “cleanse phase,” where generally your body is cleaning itself out and getting ready to receive max nutritional benefits (which happens in the second phase). For me, this change wasn’t too drastic because the week before I had started eating more on track and being mindful. I didn’t want to go crazy the few days before and use the challenge as an excuse to indulge but instead started right away. I think this mindfulness helped make the first half of the challenge not seem too drastic and when it began I was simply following a plan.
The cleanse phase is 10 days long and consists of a fiber drink for some of the mornings, a probiotic and some herbal cleanse tablets in the evenings that help prep your body for cleansing in the morning. The main idea of it is to rid your body of toxins and waste and help improve digestion (you can read more info here). Although I did see this happen, it wasn’t necessarily after I took the fiber drink in the morning or the probiotics but just after my morning Spark, which promotes mental focus and increased energy. Spark is supposed to replace coffee or other caffeinated beverages and can be taken in the morning and once in the afternoon if needed. Finally, the Omegaplex is a blend of fatty acids that help with heart, nerve, muscle, skin, bone, and immune health.
I liked this phase because there isn’t anything else besides the morning fiber drink and a few supplements that you take – I didn’t find it complicated or confusing but got into the habit of the new routine fairly quickly. It helped reinforce my healthy eating and sense of discipline when it came to foods and my eating became very mindful. I was aware of how much protein I was getting versus carbs and fat as I tracked everything online (as best as I could) in My Fitness Pal.
I am currently a few days into the Max phase over days 11-24 with the goal of giving your body the best tools to achieve your goals. The max phase consists of a four-part supplement regimen:
The first is the MNS vitamin pack which comes in three versions–max C (appetite control), max E (added energy), or max 3 (C and E combined along with overall wellness). I choose Max C because appetite control, weight management and core nutrition sounded about right to me!
The second is the meal replacement shake. it comes in several flavors, but only one of those flavors is plant-based. I chose the dairy-free dark chocolate shake and that is consumed for breakfast every morning on this phase.
Thirdly, the Spark is continued throughout the max phase as well as the fourth element, the Omegaplex.
Because this was a gift from my mom (we were going to split it but then she offered to pay for it all!), I didn’t want to purchase everything, especially because Advocare does not ship to Canada and I had to have it shipped to her place before shipping it north. Extra money to ship meant I didn’t choose all three of the optional companion products but did go with the Thermoplus. From their website, this product:
I’ve overcome a few (potential) obstacles during the past 3 weeks that I didn’t think about or anticipate. First of all, the challenge went over Canadian Thanksgiving. I think I am the only Canadian (well, permanent resident, at least!) to do this challenge with the rest of the Holiday Hustle group because, as I stated earlier, Advocare doesn’t ship to Canada. The point of the Holiday Hustle was to complete the challenge BEFORE the holidays so we weren’t worried about getting healthy again AFTERwards but before! But Thanksgiving up north is in early October. Whoops!
This meant surviving an 11 hour road trip (one way) with family – a time I typically indulge in candy and coffee stops! – for Thanksgiving in Manitoba. As I blogged about earlier, this weekend consisted of several meals out as we came together for Mikey’s grandma’s memorial service and for Thanksgiving and meant several times of saying “No thanks” or choosing other options.
Hot lemon water instead of coffee?! Yep! I did it all weekend and haven’t had a sip of coffee since the challenge began, believe it or not! I haven’t missed it thanks to my morning Spark, which I brought with me over the long weekend away, as well as my supplement regimen. I stood strong in the face of homemade Saskatoon Berry and apple pies, homemade cinnamon buns (my mother-in-law’s are the BEST!), late night chips and dip and little stops for candy while we filled up with gas on the road or ice cream at the drive-through.
Another obstacle I’ve overcome is being sick – that was this past weekend. I’m really not sure if it was food poisoning from something I ate (all home-cooked though!…?) or something else like the flu that’s been going around at work, but after a long week of clients I came home Friday and felt a bit off. I started getting a headache towards the evening which got worse and worse and I decided to go to bed early. Head pounding, sweaty body (when I’m normally cold in bed), watery mouth…something was up. I ended up losing my dinner and sleeping horribly, sick that night and in PJs all ay Saturday. It was a boring, blah day during which I had to cancel so many fun fall plans with friends and just rest, but it was probably good in the end. Although I didn’t go off my plan by having the 2 things that sounded good (ice cream and cereal), I didn’t eat much all day. Toast with almond butter and sugar free raspberry jam, popcorn, peppermint tea and 2 bowls of frozen blueberries. I tried to get my shake down and couldn’t but still took my supplements and Spark, so I did the best I could with feeling off. Didn’t expect this sickness to crop up, but then again, you never do!
My view…ALL day yesterday…blech.
At any rate, it’s been a good challenge for me so far, I’m feeling good about my progress (a few pounds down but mainly happy with my discipline and lifestyle change!) and happy because I needed this kickstart. More on the final few days and a final recap to come, but hopefully this sheds some light on what the challenge is like and the different elements of it so far. Keeping up with my workouts, although I haven’t amped them up any – just been staying consistent and not trying to overdo it to see incredible results or anything. Riding that consistency and patience wave pretty well lately.
On an unrelated but even more important note, I wanted to wish my mom a HAPPY 56th birthday!
Guess what she did to celebrate? Her second burpee mile! AMAZING! Check out the video from her event here:
M – muscular! …I had to.
A – able, active, amazing!
R – reliable. If you say you’ll do something, you do!
I – introspective. Mom, you are always trying to improve yourself, learn more about your relationship with Jesus and grow.
L – loving and loyal; a real sense of family (on both sides of the border!).
Y – young! Really! Look at how she looks and lives! You can keep up with anyone, mom!
N – needed, necessary. More and more I realize how much I love you, I need you, I appreciate you, mom – and so many others do too, for their fitness/health, friendship and support!
You are such a good friend and mentor, confidant and encourager to me, mom. I love you so much! Can’t wait to celebrate more days with you when we visit soon. Thank you for teaching me the fun and value of Halloween, of flowers in a house and good atmosphere with candles and music, of teaching me about living well and being fit and for showing me what a respectful wife and woman looks like. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!
Anyone else been down and out for the count with sickness yet? Celebrate any birthdays yourself or with others? And would you ever do a challenge like this? Curious to know! Share with me in the comments below and have a great week, friends!
Live well & be well,
October 17, 2013
‘If anything matters, then everything matters.’ William P. Young
I’ve blogged about it before: consistency. To be consistent means “always acting or behaving in the same way; of the same quality; continuing to happen or develop in the same way” (source). In a world where the next iPhone comes out moments after the previous one, where technology changes happen in the blink of an eye, where commitment to jobs and families varies, consistency is something we don’t always see modeled.
I’m so grateful for my parents and the consistency with which they raised my brother and I. They were fair, never (appearing, anyway) playing favorites and disciplining us when we needed it and being quick to praise as well.
We had consistent family times, eating dinner every night together at the table. My dad called our neighorhood friends, Morgan and Jordan, “the sharks” because they would ride their bikes in circles in the street outside our front window, watching us eat and waiting for us to be done so we could go back outside and play again. But that meal was important. The discipline was important. The encouragement was important. And above all, it was consistent in our lives and family.
As I’m currently sticking to the Holiday Hustle with Advocare and Janetha, I’m reminded (again!) of the value of consistency. It feels good to stick with something and see the positive results of not growing tired of discipline. I’m feeling fitter, leaner and getting on track with my eating in a way that is sustainable and steady.
This week at our small group we talked about some pretty big issues. Issues like egotistical leaders, poverty and spiritual emptiness. Big things that happen around the world like sex trafficking and persecution. As a Christian, these issues and those affected by them have always been on my radar (and they very likely are for you too, regardless of your religious beliefs), but I’ve often felt paralyzed by how to respond to such global problems. Even if I give, I don’t have much money; if I visit another country on a mission trip I can only help so much; how can I make a dent in anything?
Have you ever felt the same way? Whether about such world issues or your health? Like the task, the problem, the journey ahead is too great that you’re paralyzed to even get started?
I was reminded by my wise friends that sometimes we put things into BIG and little categories when, really, we should approach every action we take as valuable. In the context of our conversation, we were saying that it’s just as valuable to take care of your sick child at home as it is to take care of sick kids on the streets of India on a trip. It’s just as valuable to God that you are loving those around you as well as those in other countries, that you are leading your small team of co-workers well at work as well as being a leader in your church. Those little steps, being faithful with the small things, matter!
In the same vein, staying consistent with your daily choices matters just as much as losing 40 lbs. Choosing a healthier, less sugar-laden lunch one day matters just as much as working out hard for a week. Every action you take brings you closer or further from your goals and contributes to or takes away from a healthier lifestyle.
So if you’re not seeing change as quickly as you’d like, don’t get discouraged; stick with it. Each change matters and we need to be faithful to our bodies in the moment just as we’re being faithful over the long haul to keep fit and live well. Does that mean an occasional ice cream or sleeping in instead of working out? Yes! Life needs to be balanced. But I’m talking about that consistency that brings change that STICKS here…so keep it up! More than that, YOU matter. I’m rooting for you and truckin’ right alongside you as well.
Live well & be well!
On another note, check out our video from last week’s Train the Team! It was a great event that raised a lot of money and awareness for the village we support in Ethiopia. Cheers to a good weekend, all!
October 7, 2013
Hey guys! I hope your weekend was wonderful…ours was good up north in Calgary! Friday evening Mikey had a film session to kick off a fall series at Wellspring about storytelling. It was great! 12 people, including myself, turned out and we enjoyed our time together watching all 6 webisodes of Valleys and chatting about some of the themes with those who came. I’m doing a blogging course to contribute to the storytelling series and am looking forward to that near the end of October.
We rented “Olympus Has Fallen” after that and watched it at home on our screen using the projector and then slept in Saturday morning – sometimes those low-key Saturdays are the best! A few errands and 13 minutes of burpees later, we were both getting ready to celebrate friends and divided and conquored by going to two separate parties. We both had a blast enjoying good company with friends and I loved going to dinner at The Coop – a must-visit restaurant if you’re in Calgary!
(coffee [the last one in 24 days!] in a mug en route to run errands in a comfy Saturday hoodie — mid-action burpees — the funfetti cake filled with candy and frosted like a rainbow that I had none of (willpower!) —- prepping for my upcoming challenge…)
Church on Sunday was extra fun because we drove in right behind Mikey’s parents and surprised them there (we don’t normally make it in time for the 9 am service, lol!). We sat with them and then attended the church brunch and had a great time visiting with them and a friend at the table.
And that brings me to the present hour: prep for the week ahead! Whether it’s prepping workouts (researching, logging), meals (mainly grocery shopping and filling the fridge with good options) or clothes (laundry!), I try to use some time over the weekends to prepare for the coming week.
Today that means reading over materials for the Holiday Hustle Advocare 24 Day Challenge that begins TOMORROW!
I first heard about this challenge from Janetha – that girl LOVES a good challenge. She’s also great at following them through and being determined to stick with something, which is why she often gets GREAT results (and wins challenges too!). If you want to know more about WHAT this challenge is, check out this link – there is plenty of information online about it so I won’t spend time with too many details but I wanted to share about the WHY.
Why am I doing this challenge?
As you know, I’ve been trying (half-heartedly) to lose a few pounds. Since I started working at the gym I’m at now a year and a half ago, I’ve gained about 9 lbs. No, not 9 lbs of muscle – my body fat has gone up and my muscle has gone – so it’s 9 lbs of fat. This last week I started not eating mindlessly late at night and watching my portions and I’m already down a few pounds! I’m hoping this challenge helps with that extra weight that I didn’t need – for my health OR appearances (only 5’2″ so the “extra” shows!). I want to clean back up and lose those extra pounds that have shown in my tight jeans and discomfort in my body!
Furthermore, I want to become disciplined in my eating habits again. I’ve just said “yes” to everything for so long and it’s time I changed that not because I feel the need to be super strict but because it’s important that I know how to eat within some boundaries. Twizzlers, handfuls of food in the kitchen when I’m cooking, popcorn (the tasty, not-as-healthy-as-home-popped kind) at the gym office, extra scoops of peanut butter…It’s been too much. And one week of being conscious in I’m feeling better – leaner, more in control of my choices and empowered.
There are prizes at stake! …and I hope by staying consistent I win one or two. Extra motivation like that helps – I just don’t think it will be worth it to slip up. I give myself grace and am pretty good at not beating myself up over little things but I want to stick with something and follow it through to the end for once. Excited to finish this thing!
All that to say, I’ve been prepping today and enjoying it! Made some chicken with salsa and veggies in the crock pot (to be shredded soon!), a variation of shepherd’s pie with sweet potatoes, made sure I had eggs on hand and fruit like berries and grapes to munch on, steamed some green beans and bought, for the first time, some flavored tuna (Mexican chipotle and lemon dill – with pretty good nutritional stats!) for high-protein snacks. I’m IN this, baby!
Mikey and I ended the night with some baby pumpkin carving, pumpkin seed roasting and Downton Abbey watching – not a bad way to close out a weekend!
I will be sharing my before pictures early this week (I’ll take them fresh on day 1 tomorrow morning) and hope to see my measurements change, if even just a little bit! Stay tuned for updates along the way…bring on the next 24 days!
How was your weekend?
Got any challenges going on right now?
Live well & be well, friends! Have a fantastic start to the week!
October 2, 2013
Well, it’s been a while since I’ve posted any reviews, mainly because I haven’t had much to post about specifically, but I wanted to share about my new favorite socks today! As someone who once loved being barefoot but then a.) moved to a cold land (so north! ) and b.) spends most of her days in a gym, I’ve conceded to the fact that my days in California Rainbow sandals are few and far between and a good pair of socks makes all the difference.
Enter: AFX Toe Socks. I received these as a free giveaway for their twitter followers and received them in the mail about 3 weeks ago. Since then, I’ve pretty much been wearing them non-stop. While I got them for free without agreeing to a review, I wanted to share about them simply because I’m loving them! Here’s why:
What are they?
AFX Performance Toe Socks are perfect for sport or casual wear. Designed for athletes and others who suffer from chronic athletes foot, the powerful, renewable Permara anti-microbial eliminates 99.99% of bacteria and fungi.
Pretty cool, right? Because I wear socks to workout in, teach class in and train in and don’t always remember to bring a second clean pair every day between sweat sessions, these are awesome! I have worn 1 pair for 3 days straight and didn’t notice them smelling at all, which is much better than my no-name sport socks, and wearing them with my Vibrams also makes my feet not sweat and smell. Perfect-o.
How are they different?
Well, besides the individual toe pockets, they come in 2 sizes: No-Show and Quarter Length (not affiliate links). I love the no-shows for my Vibrams (as pictured above) and even with Toms as the weather’s getting cooler (they’re the perfect length!). The quarter length pair is good for my regular running shoes and comes up above most of mine a good 2 inches or so.
I also love that they feature shout-outs on the main page of their website. I even found my above photo re-posted from Instagram:
Just wanted to share a fun option for socks that I love! Here’s a great review that also explains the likes and dislikes of the socks. Do be warned that the care is a little more intense: although I haven’t done this yet, you have to bleach the socks when you wash them to restore the technology (we don’t have any bleach).
Another fitness-related item I wanted to share is a new challenge I’m doing with my friend, Jaime. She emailed me about joining in with a 10,000 KB Swing challenge (you read that right!) from Testosterone Nation.
I did day 1 on Monday but yesterday had 8 clients/classes back to back and didn’t want to go in early to workout (I workout with my classes so I still moved, just not my challenge workout) so instead of taking today as my rest day, it’s my day 2! There’s a sample of how to do it at the bottom of the page I linked to above, but it’s basically a LOT of swings mixed in with other strength movements: overhead presses, dips, goblet squats and chin-ups. In 20 workouts, I’ll have done 10,000 swings! So cool, and a great challenge.
It’s TOUGH but doesn’t take too long so, as you can see in the video (via my Instagram) above, I added some double unders in too to keep practicing those. Practice makes progress!
Feel free to join in if you like! I need something to keep me accountable, I love swings, I’m working on cleaning up my diet (just not eating mindlessly and having tea instead of snacks “just because” at night – and it’s working!) and conditioning, so this is a great workout series for me to try. I want to see it through to the end and see how my glutes strengthen, my core tightens and my grip gets better – that was the hardest part for me!
Got any fitness-related items to share with me? Continue to find balance and keep those priorities right in life, guys – we are here for so much more than the “rat race.” Live well & be well!
PS – Happy October, my FAVORITE month of the year!