Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A Brief Glance Back at 2013

I am not usually someone who looks behind me. I prefer to rush headlong and enthusiastically to the next adventure… often somewhat naive but always eager.

But today is the last day of 2013 and I am feeling a bit nostaligic.  I have had a really wonderful year and I am going to prolong it a few hours longer.  I want to savor some of my favorite memories of 2013… like the 5 km run that The Captain and I did together to kick of the new year.

I started the year with a new part-time job as a meeting room receptionist with Weight Watchers.  I love greeting and weighing my members each week at the different locations I work and have come to enjoy great camaraderie with many of my co-workers. I love that the program is concentrating more and more on whole, natural foods, and encouraging exercise and good routines and habits. 

I also participated in my first Whole 30 Paleo Challenge in January and have fully embraced this way of eating.  The few times I have eaten rice with my sushi or gluten free bread since then, I have paid for it with bloating and stomach pain.  I know that it is not for everyone, but it IS for me.

The Captain and I have come to love our inner urban environment and the activities that it affords so much that we finally let the sloop that was our home for 11 years go to new owners… an oncologist and his lovely wife, getting read to retire, and whom we hope will love her as much as we did.

We have continued to enjoy walking to different local markets for groceries, growing flowers, herbs, strawberries and some veggies on our balcony garden, and have found living so close to the beach as good as being on the boat… especially in big storms!   Definitely do not miss wakeful nights on the hook worrying about the anchor giving way.

June 15 garden 001

Running took a bit of a back seat this year to other types of exercise.  I participated in two of Tina Reales’ Besty Body Boot Camps and loved them… and they gave me a hunger for more strength training.  I started reading and doing research and found Tom Venuto and his programs.  I managed to complete and whole 12 week lifting program, and have just started another based on his theories as well. 

In the early Spring I was lucky to win a Goodlife Fitness 30-day pass and thoroughly enjoyed my new exposure to group fitness classes… Flow Yoga, Spinning, and some Les Mills classes, too… Body Flow and my favorite… Body Pump.  I will never be a gym rat but I did love those classes.

My theme word for the year was KAIZEN - which is a Japanese word that roughly translates to DAILY IMPROVEMENT.  I think it fit quite well and I kept it in mind throughout the year.

I have found a wonderful immunologist who is working with me to get to the bottom of my health issues.  We have found that my body is making antibodies and that my immune system is much healthier than I had feared which was a big relief to me.   And now we are trying to find out why my body seems to be leaking protein through my gut.  I am convinced my Paleo lifestyle is helping with this because the amount of edema I have in my legs has decreased significantly.

I have added blue algae to my diet, too, in the way of ENERGYbits.  And I have become a brand ambassador because I believe in them so much.

Nov 8 Energy Bits

I have worked with some awesome corporate partners this year and have been honored to offer some fun and generous products to my readers via giveaways. 

So, as I ready myself to head out for my final run of the year, and then celebrate the start of 2014 later with The Captain over a lovely homecooked seafood-fest, I am remembering how blessed I am, and grateful for the wonderful year that 2013 has been for both of us.

I hope to see you next year!

What is your favorite memory of 2013?

Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Great Turkey Run-Off

Well, I can honestly say it likely wasn't the turkey... or the sweet potato, or even the bright green peas.  And it probably wasn't even the 84% dark chocolate, which I don't think I even really like.

It may have been the 4-olive martinis... or the Chardonnay, but I think it was probably the cookies, or the the candy cane... yeah, that darned little candy cane... made my tummy pretty upset this morning and feeling quite bloated and poochy.

The fix? Why getting the day off to a great start with a nice breakie and a 5 km run.

I checked my log and the last time I ran a whole 5 km was on September 17th.  Since then my runs have been in the 3-1/2 or 4 km range, and quite few and far between.  I was determined to get out there today and when The Captain said he would like to come along, I agreed, but admonished him that it was going to be VERY slow... and boy, was it!  39 minutes and every step of it was hard today.  But it's done; I have stretched and now had some lunch, and sitting here, in my fat jeans, making promises to myself about the clean eating I am going to do till the end of the year!  GROAN.

Are you in the same shape today?  Or were you smarter than me, and didn't over-indulge?

Happy Boxing Day to all  my Canadian and British friends... and Happy Day After Christmas to the rest!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

#onesmallchange … Breathe

This week as I link up to Marcia’s  final #onesmallchange post, I have gratitude and humility on my mind.


Yesterday, The Captain and I got bundled up against the cool wind and walked downtown.  We had several destinations in mind… a stop at our insurance broker to renew my car insurance, a bank deposit, a nice lunch in Chinatown, a visit to the Fairmont Empress Hotel to wander through the Christmas Tree display,  and where we also purchased a couple of new lighted ornaments for our own little tree.

Tree 2013

We have had this little tree since we first moved onto the sailboat in 2001 and have been collecting an ornament every year we have been together… it is so sweet and very meaningful to both of us.  We have lots more room now but still haven't been able to give up this little tree for a larger one.

We took several of our ‘cheer’ bags along and as we walked, we noticed even more people than usual, quietly sitting in doorways, or standing on the side of the street with caps out for donations.  We greeted them with a smile and a ‘Merry Christmas’ and made sure to make eye contact and connect as we passed each one a ‘cheer’ bag.  And I made sure to ask if I could give their dogs  their own ‘doggy cheer’ bags, too.  Every one of them thanked us and as we exchanged smiles and greetings, I felt blessed.  What really  bothers me most about homelessness and the street life is that it tends to makes people anonymous, and I wanted  each of these folks to know that we SAW them, and cared about them.

We came home realizing that we can keep this little project up through the rest of the Winter… it doesn’t have to be just about Christmas.

Over the past several weeks I have committed to these #onesmallchange challenges… and for the most part I am doing well.  The bedtime routine continues to plague me… and I have come to realize that it is likely not as important to me as I THINK it should be.  But I am getting to it more often so that is a positive change at least.
  1. no eats after 8 p.m.
  2. drink 64 ounces of water each day
  3. take my supplements
  4. uplift at least one woman each day
  5. be extra nice to a difficult woman each day
  6. have enough pre-workout fuel
  7. nutrient combination of 20% fat, 35% protein, 45% carbs
  8. pre-bedtime routine
  9. allow myself to be IMperfect
  10. one yoga session per week
  11. step back from social media
  12. patience

This week my #onesmallchange is to just BREATHE and ACCEPT.  Let it all flow.  I am so READY!

What about you?  Can you make #onesmallchange this last week of the year?

Friday, December 20, 2013

Friday… Finally.... Phew

This morning I completed my last workout in my 12-week strength training program and I am so EXCITED to have it done…

I cannot TELL you how happy I am to have it over with and finished.  

Not sure if it is because it means I get a break now for a short time, or if it means I am looking forward to something NEW or if I am just plain ole proud of myself for having stuck with it till the end.

Likely all of those things… yes,

HURRAY for me.

And here are some other things making me happy this week:

Dec 16 Promax Nutrition bars 001

The box of Promax Nutrition bars that arrived after I won them on a Twitter contest.  They have a whopping 28g of protein each.

Dec 17 Celestial Seasonings Teas 001

I was able to find my 2 favorite holiday teas on sale at a local market this week.  They are only available this time of year so I stock up.

Dec 20 key limes 001

The Captain picked up this bag of key limes for me – he knows I like to have a fresh lime squeezed into a glass of water every morning, to start my day, and these are so sweet and just the right size.

Our little ‘cheer’ bag project is bringing me lots of joy right now, too.  We have assembled some treats and goodies into zip lock ‘Snowman’ sacks to give out to people we encounter while out walking, who look they could use a smile or a handout.  We put some together for the doggies who live on our city streets as well.  So nice to share a smile and a moment with strangers.

What is rocking your world this week?

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

#onesmallchange Patience, Grasshopper

Can you name the tv show that line comes from?  Or the actor who played the part of Grasshopper?  One of my favorite old time television shows and I would gladly sit through all the eposodes again and again.

But PATIENCE has never been my strong suit.  I like to say my older sister got it all and there was none left for me.  But I keep trying and do sometimes even succeed in flexing my ‘patience muscle’ and so I feel like I am not a complete failure in this area.

Patience will be my challenge this week as I link up to Marcia’s #onesmallchange post again.  At this time of year I think it is even more important to remember to be patient… with other drivers, other shoppers, my co-workers, and even my darling husband!  I am sure he appreciates it, too.

photo (15) (1)

In past weeks, I have made these #onesmallchange commitments:
  1. no eats after 8 p.m.
  2. drink 64 ounces of water each day
  3. take my supplements
  4. uplift at least one woman each day
  5. be extra nice to a difficult woman each day
  6. have enough pre-workout fuel
  7. nutrient combination of 20% fat, 35% protein, 45% carbs
  8. pre-bedtime routine
  9. allow myself to be IMperfect
  10. one yoga session per week
  11. take a step back from social media regularly
How is your patience muscle… do you ever need to work on it?

Did you remember the tv show?  It is called KUNG FU, and the actor who was called Grasshopper was David Carradine, the star of the show.  One of his teachers called him Grasshopper as a child.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Coming into the Home Stretch

I am just about to begin Week 12 of my strength training program and I cannot believe it is actually, finally here.  I have been following a program that I found in one of Tom Venuto’s books,  The Body Fat Solution.

Sept 29 TV book 001

and every week I have been making small changes… increasing the weight, or adding more reps, or even sets. I have been getting stronger, more flexible and seeing some nice new muscle in my arms, shoulders, legs and stomach.

I have also been enjoying some practical benefits… I can wear my high heeled shoes for several hours now, without my calves complaining and cramping up!  I can hold yoga poses for longer and am able to do some that I never could before. My runner's quads and hamstrings are loosening up.   And I am feeling pretty good about it all.

When I first started this program, I didn’t really expect to finish the whole 12 weeks… I thought I might do 6, and then find something new. I do tend to get a little bored, doing the same workouts over and over.  This particular program has 2 different sets of exercises and alternates back and forth between the 2 of them.  And there are a couple of moves I really don’t care for so I was kind of looking forward to changing it… then I found a web site called Workout Nirvana, written by a trainer named Suzanne Digre.

Suzanne did a guest post for Lindsay Cotter who writes Cotter Crunch, about 5 Ways to Get Better Results From Strength Training.  It made a lot of sense to me and was quite timely.  It was the motivation  I needed to keep going and finish the 12 week of this current program.  Since reading Suzanne's blog on a regular basis, I have come to believe she is a mind reader!  Her blog posts often seem to be written for me.

Another example?  This past week I was thinking about what I might do for exercise after this 12 weeks are over.  I do plan to take some time off over the next couple of weeks and just do some fun activities during the holidays… and I thought that in January I might just start picking a few workouts from Pinterest and do something different every workout, for a while.  Change things up every workout.  Then I read Suzanne’s current blog post about Exercising vs Training and I realized that is just not the way to go to get the results I want.  Thanks for another informative and relevant blog post, Suzanne!

So, I am off to eat my ENERGYbits and then then get going on Workout A.

Do you follow a particular strength program or do you do random workouts?  Are you seeing the results you want?

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

#onesmallchange Taking a Step Back

I am linking up again this week to Marcia’s #onesmallchange challenge post.

photo (15) (1)

We are winding down the year in such a positive way… making a commitment each week to #onesmallchange that we can focus on to help that new behavior become a good habit.

This week I am Taking a Step Back… backing away from my computer.  A few weeks ago, The Captain and I spent a couple of days snuggled up in a hotel suite, completely unplugged, in order to celebrate an anniversary that is very special to us both.  It was lovely and I was reminded that I tend to spend a lot of time at my keyboard… both online and off… mostly out of habit and fear of missing out.

So, Taking a Step Back is really good for me in so many ways. It frees my time considerably and it frees my mind as well.  I have no set boundaries or rules about it… I think that would be defeating the purpose, somehow.  But I know when I need a break… and this week I am making sure to take it.  I am spending more time reading, cooking, decorating, sightseeing, and enjoying the leisure. 

Sometimes I think that Social Media is like a soap opera, or a reality tv show… you don’t want to miss out.  But, honestly, anything that you really need to see or hear will still be there when you start watching again.

In past weeks, I have made these #onesmallchange commitments:
  1. no eats after 8 p.m.
  2. drink 64 ounces of water each day
  3. take my supplements
  4. uplift at least one woman each day
  5. be extra nice to a difficult woman each day
  6. have enough pre-workout fuel
  7. nutrient combination of 20% fat, 35% protein, 45% carbs
  8. pre-bedtime routine
  9. allow myself to be IMperfect
  10. one yoga session per week
Do you Take  a Step Back occasionally, too?

Monday, December 9, 2013

Hanging My Head...

Why, yes, I am a wimp.

On Sunday morning, the sun was shining brightly and there was very little wind, so I decided to head out for a short-ish run... hadn't been for some time as I hate running in the rain when the weather turns cool and it has been raining here for the past several days. I just hate having wet feet and all of my running shoes seem to be some sort of mesh and not water resistant at all.

So, I checked the Weather Channel and learned it was -1 C, which is about 29 F, just a bit below freezing. I knew I needed a few layers.  As a base I put on a nice, quite snug, long sleeved Tommie Copper shirt (wishing it had a mock or turtle neck) and some knee-length compression socks. Then I put on some leggings and my Running Room nylon jacket. Last I put on my running shoes, then a fleece ear band, some light gloves and a fleece vest, just to make sure my back would stay warm.

Off I went.  I walked for about 3 minutes at a really brisk pace and then broke into a light run... and I was feeling quite cool... now, I know I should be cool when I start out because otherwise I will get OVERheated as the run progresses and I start to sweat.

But after about 12 or 13 minutes I was still feeling pretty darn cool, and not comfortable at all, so I cut it short and came in after logging only about 2.25 km... I realized I should have dressed a bit differently... something more on my head and probably warmer socks, too.

I am having a hard time admitting to myself that I have become such a wimp.

Years ago, before we bought the sailboat, we lived in the heart of our province and often faced Winter temps of -40 C which is the same as 40 below zero F.  And even though I never ran outside when it was quite that cold, I did run at -20 C which is 4 below zero F.  I never minded running in cold weather back in those days. What has changed?  Am I just too used to a warmer climate?

I think it has something to do with humidity.  That colder climate was extremely dry... and I could put on layers and feel warm. This climate I am in now is much moister being oceanside, and to me it feels colder, even at higher temperatures. Does that make sense?

I used to like to run on packed snow.  And I did that for several years...  I only gave in an bought a treadmill when I got tired of falling on icy roads in the Winter, and slogging my way through slush in the Spring.

Where I live now, we have very little real Winter. Last year we had only a couple of days of frost and no snow at all... so far this year we have had a couple of nights of frost, and a sprinkling of snow.  I sure am happy to see the forecast for the week showing warmer temperatures.

But I do accept that I have become a wimp... and will just have to adjust accordingly.

Do you run when it's cold?  And just what do you consider COLD?

Friday, December 6, 2013

Friday… Finish the Week with Some Fun

I have just completed my third strength workout this week… and so the 10th week of my current program. I am so happy that I have stuck with it as I am seeing good results and feeling great.  I will finish up the 12 weeks, and then I plan to take a rest over the holidays and start something new at the beginning of the new year.

I have some fun things to share…

These package arrived in my mail box this week, thanks to Marcia who writes Marcia’s Healthy Slice.  I am loving these yurbuds, and yes, I savored every morsel of that Almond Joy bar, too.  I have been a fan of Marcia’s blog since I first found it almost 3 years ago.  Thanks for sharing a couple of your favorite things with me, Marcia.

Dec 3 yurbuds from Marcia 002

I splurged a bit and picked up two new pairs of golf shoes for myself.  Normally I wear very traditional styles but both of these shoes just grabbed my wilder side, I guess.  And who can resist a bargain?  I paid less for both pair than I would normally spend on just one.  The grey shoes are so light and can be worn with either the white or the green laces… kinda cute.  And the pink pair are almost like a sneaker. 

Dec 6 Fun Stuff 001

I won a giveaway a while back from Erika who writes MCM Mama, and the prize was a box full of lunch goodies… Annie’s mac and white cheddar, some organic milk and juices, some Annies’ cheddar bunnies, and some Annie’s fruit gummy bunnies, with a great little canvas lunch bag… and lots of coupons, too.  I think The Captain actually appreciates all these things more than I do!   Funny cause I have been urging him to switch to Annie's for his mac and cheese fix and now that he has tried and loved it, I am sure he will.

Dec 6 Fun Stuff 002

I got my first VOX box from Influenster this week…. if you haven’t checked them out, you should!  This one was created for Canadians, the Maple Vox Box, and has a whole lot of cool things in it… some Skinny Cow treats, mascara, lip gloss, press-on gel nail decorations, a mud facial mask and some Ice Breakers crystal mints.  It’s a whole lotta fun stuff I would never have bought for myself… however, I have been looking for a new mascara and I do like this one a lot.

Dec 4 Maple Leaf Vox Box 001

And last but by no means, least, I won a $10 U.S. Starbuck’s card from Suz and Allan at Cows Lasers and Everything in Between.  Smart and savvy Suz sent me a Starbuck’s e-card and I was able to add it to my own Starbuck’s card and you can bet I will be be taking my sweetie on another coffee date very soon!

So, it is time to hit the shower and get some lunch going… 

What’s making you smile today?

How are you finishing up your week?

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

#onesmallchange Adding Yoga to My Week

I am linking up again this week to the #onesmallchange challenge at  Marcia’s Healthy Slice.

photo (15) (1)

This week I am committing to taking the time to do at least one yoga session each week.   Last week I fit in a 15-minute session first thing in the morning on both Tuesday and Thursday.  Both of those days turned out to be crazy busy, and I really felt that the yoga practice, even though short, helped me get those days off to a good start in a positive mindset. 

I don’t feel quite as flexible when I do yoga first thing in the morning, but that’s okay. I have learned not to push myself and am not disappointed when I cannot sit back into a full Willow for more than a couple of minutes, or get my feet flat on the floor during a Downward Facing  Dog. 
I have a CRUNCH Yoga-Pilates DVD that has a 40 minute routine on it… did that first thing on Sunday morning and got the week off to a great start.  Nothing wrong with a bit of extra core work either.

In past weeks, I have made these #onesmallchange commitments:
  1. no eats after 8 p.m.
  2. drink 64 ounces of water each day
  3. take my supplements
  4. uplift at least one woman each day
  5. be extra nice to a difficult woman each day
  6. have enough pre-workout fuel
  7. nutrient combination of 20% fat, 35% protein, 45% carbs
  8. pre-bedtime routine
  9. allow myself to be IMperfect
And I am doing well with most of these things… still have not MASTERED the pre-bedtime routine, but having it on my mind is making me do it more often, at least. I have found that if I get to it a bit earlier than JUST before bedtime, I am more likely to take care of it.

Do you practice yoga?  What is your favorite time of day for it?

What is #onesmallchange you can make this week? 

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Making Progress

I am so excited about the progress I am making with my strength training.  I have been following a program I found in one of Tom Venuto’s books and have just completed my 9th week. Amazing to me that I have stuck with it this long and even though I don’t love every move, I recognize the value of them all, and am getting stronger, more flexible, and best of all… seeing more muscle.

The program has 2 different workouts, A and B, and they are made up of supersets of 2 exercises and each workout covers muscles from all over the body, including core work.  I have added 3 sets of pushups to the end of both so they take me anywhere from 24 to 32 minutes to complete, depending on how long I rest between sets, and then I do a nice all over stretch after I am done.

Every week I change some element to make them more difficult… more weight or more reps or even an additional set occasionally. It is all progess and I enjoy the challenge.

I don’t enjoy planks, however.  I find my lower back gets a bit achy when I hold for more than 30 seconds, so I make sure to fold back into a Child Pose after each plank.  

I plan to finish up the 12th week and then change the program.  I may tackle the program in Tom’s new book Burn the Fat Feed the Muscle… did you see my review?  Or, I may change it up completely and go back to bootcamp after the new  year. Not sure yet.

So my week was good… 3 X strength training on Monday, Wednesday and Friday…. all three days followed by golf practice in the late morning/early afternoon.

On Tuesday and Thursday mornings I began the day with a 15-minute yoga session, designed to get the day off to an energetic start.  Loved it.  Just the right length before a busy day.

And on Saturday, I had an official REST DAY where The Captain and I walked to a local elementary school to support their craft fair and then on to our favorite Starbuck’s for an indulgent holiday treat… Toffee Mocha for him… Salted Caramel Mocha for me.  Mmmmm.

Salted Caramel Mocha

And one more thing... I joined a challenge for the month of November to complete 100 squats, 100 sit ups and 100 pushups every day of the month. Well, I did the squats and situps most days, but I never cranked out more than 44 pushups on a single day.  But this kind of challenge gets me TRYING at least!

Did you have a good week, fitness-wise?  How do you treat  yourself?