Saturday, February 28, 2015

Write your own page, follow your own path

I had a rough night last night up with my sickie big kid, and spent the later hours browsing the internet looking at health and fitness pages.  I was looking at training plans for races, strength building plans and nutrition. I found myself feeling overwhelmed and questioning my own training and habits (mind you I was tired).  But here's the thing, I've been experimenting and learning what works for me over the last 5 years and there are certain things I have figured out.  Yes, I am always learning and tweaking but there are certain things that just work for me right now.  

We know our bodies best, and what is going to work for our lifestyles.  This is what I know for sure, that works for "me": 

  • running three days a week, anymore and my knee and my foot get sore.  When training for a race that's one LSD, one "work" run tempo/speed/hills and one other run at maybe an easy/moderate run or another technical one.  
  • When running Full Body Strength Training sessions works best, as I only have room for 2, maybe 3 days of strength training.  When training for a race bodyweight, TRX, and "lighter" weights 8-10 rep range (ie. DOMS can't effect the run).  I've also learned that I am pretty quad dominant and need to work hard training my hamstrings and glutes.  
  • I know that the more time I give to working on hip mobility and yoga type restorative exercise the better I feel.  I also really suck at making this a priority.  
  • I do better when I am enjoying what I do and my favourite type of "strength" workout is a circuit style workout with lots of intensity.  
  • but I also enjoy a heavy, slow, big rests in between type of lifting's almost relaxing.  This really only works when I am not training for a race though.  
  • I need to mix it up every now and again and add some fun classes in to recharge my fun meter
  • I need to be able to modify my running plan based on my family life, and how my body feels
  • posting my workouts on Daily Mile and sharing them, motivates me, because I am blessed with amazing cheerleaders, so thankful for them.
  • wine is important, and I will have a fluffy wine belly :) no visible abs here! but they are there and strong! 
  • I'm a cheerleader at heart, and want to fill other's with that feeling of awesomeness too. I will cheer you on, and always want to help build you up and not tear you down. 
  • Even if our paths our different I can cheer you on yours :) 
  • lastly this body was built for LIVING and that's what I plan on doing! 

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Food...Food...and More Food: What I am loving right now

I've mentioned that I have been reading the book Body Peace and I want to share one of the pages that really has had an impact on me.  An AHA moment if you will.

seriously read it again, let it soak in, what does it mean for you?
I think this quote will mean many things to different people.  But for me it was a way of letting go of "diet" thinking, calorie counting, tracking of food and instead focusing on eating wholesome, energy giving, delicious, filling, comforting, food.  It was a shift in thinking and a powerful one.  

Funny enough, it wasn't much of change in what I eat.  I've been eating in a "whole food" kind of way for a long time, but I've also been entering it diligently into My Fitness Pal and thinking about the calorie content and balancing the macros thinking that all this attention to the numbers would help me maintain or at times lose weight.  I want more then that, I want to not think about this stuff anymore.  

This quote has somehow helped me change my way of thinking.  If wholesome, nutritious, energy giving food is going in my body, I don't need to stress over all the other stuff.  As I let go of the mental energy that the "diet thinking" takes, I find myself better able to listen to my body.  AM I HUNGRY? AM I FULL? DO I WANT SOME CHOC for comfort? YES? OK :) 

I actually feel lighter, and more content.  I am also satisfied and well fuelled and feeling strong! 

Now the danger to this kind of thinking is taking it to the other extreme, and only eating "wholesome" or "clean eats" (I hate that word! so if I eat jubes I'm dirty?).  Again, going back to finding a place of balance I would say that 75-80% of what I eat is "whole foods" and well the other is WINE, and Choc Chips, and FANCY CHEESE and other yummies.  There is a good healthy balance of indulgence there.  The more I follow this, what I am now going to call "eating in the light" the less I BINGE eat the indulgences because they are no longer a forbidden food.  My "weekend" food behaviours swing less wildly and my weekday food habits are less restrictive and that magical place of balance is in sight! 

I"ve gone through this before, this idea of letting go of the all or nothing, black and white thinking in regards to food.  But truthfully, it seems to sneak back in. I'm really working hard this year to finally let go this and find my Body Peace. I want my girls to grow up learning these balanced behaviours and not the "diet like" ones.  

OK now on to the fun stuff, FOOD!!! 

I'm lucky that as a stay at home mom I have more time to grocery shop, prep and cook meals.  But even then I often fall into a "I'm too tired to cook" mode and well dinner becomes take in, going out, or pretty boring eats at home.  I love the pics of FOOD PREP that people share on Instagram and FB where they prep a week's worth of healthy food to make things easier for them.  But the idea of eating  mostly the same thing each night bores me.  I've been doing something a little new of late that is working really well and wanted to share it.  Who knows maybe you will get a few ideas that will work for you.  

So Monday is my kitchen day and I love it! I work out in the am and then hit the grocery store armed with my meal plan and groc list.  I also down a shake after my workout because there is no way I will make it through the grocery store with out stopping to eat cereal out of box in hunger.   Once home I eat lunch while the oven heats up and then I start prepping!  

Typically I will make a batch of hummus, bake some chicken, roast various veggies, make freekeh and some kind of a soup.  If the kids are lucky I might make some muffins or cookies. Kayleigh is still peed at the one time I made choc chip cookies with beans in them! All of this turns into easy meals.  

I am in love with these, I call them Nourish Bowls.  They are so easy to change up each week based on what I feel like roasting veggie wise.  Hummus is always a must in them! 

Even Ryan loves these and the kids will eat components of them  with other stuff I make for them.
A hearty comforting bowl (ok usually two bowls) of soup for a dinner and a lunch or two each week is something I really enjoy.  

The kids don't really love my soup :( So I usually make them a grilled cheese and tomato soup for dinner,  when we have soup.  Or if  it's a Mexican tortilla soup like this I will make them sweet potato nachos and cheese with avocado and salsa. I try to make a "similar" dinner for them.  Yes I am guilty of making more then one dinner, I want what I want and I don't want the drama of making them eat stuff they hate, and it works for us. 

Monday and Tuesday are easy and I am going strong, and then I start to lose steam.  Tonight I was tired and thought about making breakfast for dinner and then found this amazing and easy recipe for Pizza Crust with chickpea flour! It was so easy to make, and really savoury and filling as well.  The toppings were a cinch as I still had left over chicken and sautéed onions, garlic and bok choy from my prep on Monday.  

Easy Peasy and Voila!

pssst. I doubled the recipe and it made 4 crusts...I ate TWO! 
Prepping on Monday doesn't get me through the whole week but it's a good start and my fridge is full of bit and bops (is that a thing?) for snacking and getting creative.  

The other thing I am LOVING right now is making my own treats!  Whether it be energy balls, choc cups or NUT BUTTER! 

Salted Tahini and date cups 

Almond and Coconut Butter Choc Cups

and OMG the best NUT BUTTER EVER! 

walnuts, almonds, pecans, dates and coconut oil! 
These treats are so filling and satisfying and leave me feeling CONTENT.  

I know I spend a lot of time posting pics of food and sharing recipes on FB/Instgram and I wanted to share why with you.  This stuff makes me happy, makes my belly happy and my soul happy.  I love getting new ideas and seeing like minded people finding their own way as well.  So hopefully, you find a little treat in here you might like making too.  

Oh and don't forget this stuff as well :) 


Monday, February 23, 2015

Coming back JOYFUL

I had almost 2.5 hours of fighting, I mean running in the snow yesterday to think about running.  Despite the ankle deep snow, sometimes knee deep snow, the wet heavy snow, and that one really high snow bank I actually enjoyed my run yesterday.  The weather was warm, my face was uncovered and I could easily breath in the fresh air.  My mind felt free and light, not being tethered down to a dreadmill.  I was happy.

It is winter and I am running and I am happy.

Last year, this was far from the case.  I hid inside the gym on the dreadmill, last winter training for my spring half.  I ran once in the snow and hated it.  Every run was a chore.  I was chasing a new PB.  I was burnt out after two winters of training.  I had a rough year last year.  I did try some new things in an attempt to shake off the burnout that was quickly chasing my heels.  I got my road bike and loved learning to ride.  I had moments that felt childlike again and full of weeee.  My favourite race last year was the Olympic Duathlon, I was really really proud of it.  But I didn't allow myself to just enjoy something new and be playful.  I drove hard to strive for bigger and better and I burned myself out.  I am a slow learner at times, it takes me awhile to finally listen.  But I did eventually, and I canceled doing the iron duathalon.  It felt awful to do so but once done I instantly felt like an elephant had been lifted off of me.  I started to exercise based on what I wanted to do and not what a training plan had me doing.  I joined a new gym and started doing fun classes again.  I started focusing on weight training again.  I didn't run much.  I gave myself permission to not run.  I gave myself permission to have fun. I gave myself permission to rest when needed and to not feel like I had to be "hardcore" all the time.  I gave myself permission to take the time I needed.

It wasn't easy, the pull to sign up for races and to make a race goal would come up when listening to other peoples training goals.  But I would tell myself that these were their goals and not mine.  There was a time when I felt like I had to keep up with all the races that everyone was doing, I didn't want to miss out.  There was a time when I felt like I needed to have a full race calendar and be striving towards some kind of race goal to be worthy? WORTHY? Worthy of what? I put all my self worth in this "running persona."  It's not a new game, I have done it before, put all my worth into some sort of external basket, at one time it was scrapbooking.  No wonder it's so easy to burn yourself out and when that basket is empty you feel lost.

I let myself take the time to just be.  I took a break from running.  I admit that when I saw people out running I would get that little green jealous feeling (come on runners you know what I'm taking about ).  When my friends started talking about races they wanted to do the following year, I told myself I wasn't allowed to even think about it till December.  I knew I still needed time to just be.  Slowly, I started running again.  I went out with out my garmin for a few runs, and just ran.  I ran without a planned distance or goal pace.  I paid attention to how my body felt and more importantly my spirit.  I felt happy and light after each run.  I started to rediscover that JOY I first had when I started running.  I ran for a few weeks like this just enjoying it without jumping on any race sites with my CC in hand. I truly let myself come to the decision of doing another Marathon because I WANTED to and not because I felt like I HAD to.

So it's winter and training is underway and it's not easy.  It's cold and the snow is a pain.  The treadmill is a mental soul sucking device.  I struggle to keep my strength training up and fit it all in while honouring rest days.  Yet despite all of this, I am happy! Yesterday's run was tough physically but I had a grin on my face for most of it.  I realized that this awful snow was actually a gift.  The snow forces me to slow down, to take my time, to watch the terrain, and take walk breaks when needed.  The snow helps me realize that just covering any distance out there is something to be proud of.  I forget my garmin, I forget the numbers, I actually stop caring about my pace.  I run because I like running.  I love how my body feels when I am running.  My spirit feels joyful when I run.  Yesterday, the snow helped me remember my goal this Marathon.  I want to run with JOY.  To celebrate this healthy body and mind that can do this crazy thing.  My WHY is evolving!

I read this awesome post on FB last week, about a lifter who's WHY has changed.  My why has changed.  I'm running now because I enjoy it and it's honestly my favourite way to sweat.  I don't feel like filling up my calendar with races.  I am so looking forward to my first summer in years, free of training!  I am going to camp and travel and enjoy my family without the pressure of training for a race.  I am going to bike and run and lift heavy things because I want to and how I want to.  Right now I am exercising because it is what makes me feel good physically and mentally. It helps me deal with my anxiety and it makes me feel good in my skin.  I'm not doing it for badges of bad ass honour,  or to burn calories like in the past.  I am doing this for me, and my true self not the crazy voice in my head (I totally just made myself sound bat ass crazy).

So my little moral of the post is this, take the time, grant yourself the time to recover from pushing pushing pushing, and rediscover where your joy is?  Find your WHY :)

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Body Peace: Content, Happy and Present

I made a new years resolution this year, not to lose weight, not to PR, not to get stronger but to find BODY PEACE within myself.  I have struggled with my body image since I was a wee girl on the swings in Kindgarden.  I have written about struggling with Bulimia most of my teen and young adult years, gaining weight and lots of it, losing 100 pounds and the struggle to maintain that.  I have been all over the Body Image Map but have never settled into a place of peace.  It's time.  I am tired of the fight and ready to let go of my insecurities and fears. I have spent much too much time, brain power, and soul fighting this body of mine.  I want and need to find this, what almost seems magical place.  I even bought this book:

They have a great FB group too! 
Through one of the journalling exercises in the book I came up with THREE WORDS that describe what Body Peace would mean/feel like for me.  I want to feel CONTENT  and HAPPY with my body and PRESENT in my life.  The funny thing is I do feel content and happy in my life, but when too focused on body stuff I don't feel present in my life, in the things that really matter and that needs to change.

So I have the book!  I went on vacation in Punta Cana and took a WHOLE WEEK OFF exercising (first time in almost 5 years!) and I ate and drank as I pleased.  I came home and instead of jumping onto a restrictive de-fluff regime like usual I just went back to my normal healthy routines.  I say I returned to my normal healthy lifestyle but not quite, as I have been less restrictive and enjoying foods I normally don't eat and generally being more relaxed.  I have moments of panic where I think OMG I need to cut back, I need to start "diet habits", I need to do this on MONDAY! I call this this Monday Syndrome, and sadly it was my way of mostly maintaining my weight loss for a long time.  I would be super restrictive and "clean eating" during the week and then go "off the rails" on the weekend.  Major training for endurance sports only made it worse as I would think "Hey I have burned 2000ish cals and need to eat those all back plus more".  This was not a balanced and healthy approach for my mind or body.  So here I am being more relaxed during the week and more balanced on the weekend. I am not getting on the scale everyday and trying to use pictures of myself as a way to "check in".  A number on the scale can send me into a funk but when I see a picture of myself I usually see a fit and healthy girl.  This is a much more body positive method for me.  

So here's the thing.  I have had the book for weeks and I am on like Chapter 3? Yep! Despite all my excitement and eagerness for the darn book I am avoiding it.  Instead, I am "relaxing" on food rules, and scale habits and coasting by.  I have moments of panic like I said when I think this is not for me and I need to go back to what "works" for me (TOTAL LIE).  I almost think that I am using the "body  peace" as an excuse to indulge and not really do the work.  I have spent the last two years or so stuck in this place.  I desire this "body peace" and I vacillate between being very "on point", restrictive and weight focused or being in this more relaxed and indulgent place that is filled with uneasiness.  It's a cycle.  Literally, I spent Sept till Dec very focused on getting leaner and with great results only to now feel burnt out. I now find myself on the other side wanting to say "EFF it" and eat all things and enjoy myself.  

If I really want to achieve this Body Peace, I need to do the work.  I need to get passed my fears and insecurities and get uncomfortable.  A friend told me today that she thinks I am "so close".  That really hit home for me.  I remember another friend Heather saying once, that when you feel like quitting you are so very close to achieving your goal.  The easy road out would be to stay in the cycle, but if I am brave and persevere I could find CONTENTMENT and HAPPINESS and find that wonderful feeling of being present in my life and all the blessings that I have been given.  Life is so very short and precious to be wasted on worrying about a number on the scale, or number on my garmin, or the size of my pants.  I have been gifted an incredible body that can do amazing things! I am going to run my 5th full marathon this year and so far I am doing so because I truly want to and enjoying each step.  This is a gift!

I had a Boudoir photo shoot done recently with the amazing Laura Carew Photography and what a gift it was.  It was a chance to see my body as beautiful, with both it's curves and softness and it's strength.  It truly did wonders for my sense of self and the pics were done post Holiday Indulgences!

I like the way pictures make me feel.  I find they are much more empowering then stepping on the scale.  So I am trying to do less and less of that and to use pictures to remind me that I am healthy, fit and happy.  

This morning I was feeling "fluffy", so during my workout I played around and had some fun and had my daughter take some pics.  Now instead of feeling "fluffy" I feel strong and happy.  

This past Friday I went on a date with my hubby and we enjoyed an incredible meal, wine, and music.  It was amazing, to just be present enjoying each other's company instead of worrying about what to eat.
I love getting girly, because usually I am just a yoga pant and sweaty hair girl
It was wonderfully refreshing to wake up Saturday morning and not feel guilty.  So maybe slowly but surely I am getting closer to this magical Body Peace place.

One thing is for sure, I am worth it!  My girls are wroth it! and I want to role model to them that there is freedom to be had!