Friday, October 31, 2014

Faves and Raves Hallowe’en Edition

Are you planning a fun Hallowe’en? 

Happy Halloween

No costumes for us this year… but we are expecting one special little Trick or Treater so The Captain made sure to pick up some candy for her... his favorites! I have not been tempted at all, thankfully.  I am keeping my nose to the low carb grindstone and quite happy with it all.

I am very happy ecstatic that today is our last Metabolic Aftershock workout in the series.  In a few minutes I will be getting out the mats and starting up the final video in the program. It is a toughie and we will be celebrating its conclusion.

Next week we can do some walks, some runs, and some strength work with weights before heading off on Sunday for a week in Sin City….  I am looking forward to the hustle and bustle!  then we can start a new program when we return.

But I do have one little hurdle to get over first… on Monday I am going to spend the morning in the hospital having a colonoscopy.  My GI doc is helping me get to the bottom of my disgestive disorder and we are going to find out what is causing it, if it takes years!  I am also going to be having a small bowel CT scan at some point.  So an altered food plan for me for a few days and I just have to suck it up and endure.  No nuts or seeds for 4 days prior, and that is hard!  Good thing I have PB2 so I can at least have some peanut butter that way.

On a brighter note, I am in love with my new Android phone and getting better at using its camera and other features… it’s all a bit scary but I can see why people spend so much time on them now.  The Captain, who isn’t the least bit interested in social media, remains true to his Blackberry… he doesn’t even want to know what he’s missing.

I found some very interesting posts this week… here are a few of them:

  • Letting Go of Goals at Life as a Running Mom
    • Sometimes you have to look at the bigger picture.

And finally, a video today… even though I am not a huge fan of vlogs… this one is pretty good:
  • How to Count Macros at FitFluential -  Dr. Mike Roussell
    • A very basic explanation for those who don’t know.

What’s your favorite Hallowe’en candy?

Are you dressing up this year?

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Still Smiling in October

This month my focus has been on optimism and for the most part I have taken my own advice and using the 5 way to practise optimism to keep a smile on my face and look towards good results for my efforts.  So far so good… I am pleased.

I have been working out like crazy this month… The Captain and I are almost at the end of the 9th and final week in our Metabolic Aftershock workouts. This last phase has been especially hard and l have not been running at all between workout sessions.  The phase 3 MA workouts are very leg-intensive and other than walking on ‘off’ days, I thought it best to preserve our leg muscles for the workouts themselves.  I am not sorry the program will reach its natural conculsion at the end of the week. I have enjoyed it and found it very good for building up my should strength, as well as firming me through the middle along with my butt and thighs. 

And I have been doing very well in the eats department lately too.  I have finally ditched the Sugar Monster am enjoying some lower carb days again.  It really does suit me better – no cravings whatsoever, and I can even enjoy an occasional glass of red wine as long as I am having a protein/fat snack with it.  YAY!

I am not following any program in particular, although I have been reading a lot this week…

Oct 28 low carb books 001

Right now I am just watching my macros, keeping net carbs (carbs – fibre) to about  50g per day.  It is working very well for me and I feel great, have a ton of energy and am sleeping like a baby.

Low carb isn’t scary… or difficult. It just takes some planning. I am eating lots of leafy greens, spinach, cucumbers, tomatoes, zukes, etc… and somewhat limiting fruit, squashes, sweet potates, beats, peas, and carrots.  And of course I am getting lots of protein and ample healthy fat… that is the key to staying satisfied, for me.

I have been going through my own food blog We can begin to feed… looking for some of my favorite low carb recipes to make, too.  I thought I would share a couple of my staples with you here today.

The first is a lovely little Low Carb Flatbread… made from eggs and cooked cauliflower.  No, you cannot taste the cauliflower!  And these flatbreads freeze and thaw very nicely.  I always have some in my freezer and use them for quick sandwiches. You can use them open-faced or fold-over style too.  Love them.

Low-Carb Flatbread

And this next one if a special treat. It is my High Protein Angel Food Cake.  It is perfect for when you want a nice dessert or even just a ‘sweet’ with a cup of tea. The ‘sweet’ comes from the taste of vanilla protein powder in it… or you can add a bit of stevia if you use it and want a sweeter taste.  I made one up last night and we enjoyed  some of it with some whipped cream and a few berries.   I have also eaten it with some melted peanut butter drizzled over the top. Truly delicious.

High Protein Angel Food Cake

I plant to keep it up because I feel so good, and then once we get back from Vegas, delve more deeply into it… as well as start on a new exercise program.  Perhaps get back to some lifting… and running, of course.

Do you have a favorite low carb dish?  I would love to hear about it.

Friday, October 24, 2014

What a Week… Faves and Raves

It has been a fly-by week… where do the hours go?  The days?

I finally made a commitment to a new phone on Wednesday and walked downtown to pick it up and upgrade my phone plan after lunch and a doctor's appointment.  I came home quite elated and pleased with my purchase, although I didn’t play with it too much as I wanted to make sure to let the battery charge up fully.

Thursday I worked 2 shifts and then spent some time at home in the evening with my feet up, sipping a glass of wine, and watching some favorite tv shows on the HDPVR.

I must have been tired because I didn’t wake up till almost 8:30 on Friday morning… made a promise to The Captain to do our 3rd Metabolic Aftershock workout with him on Saturday morning if we could spend Friday running errands and shopping… which we did. And they took all day with just a quick stop for a bite to eat at noon.


I had no idea that setting up my new smartphone would take as much time as setting up a new computer. But I love it. I can see now why people are married to their phones… I can keep all of my email accounts open at once and alternate between them with a flick of my fingers… instead of opening and closing each one like I do on the pc… and that holds for Twitter and Google as well. 

Lots of other excitement around here this week too… to tell you just a couple of things…

This box arrived from Temple Scott Associates… the PR firm for CLIF bar in Canada. I love it when they send me goodies and this was no exception… CLIF bar is introducing 2 new seasonal flavors in Canada this year and they shared one of each with me.  Lovely!

Oct 21 CLIF pkg 001

Oct 21 CLIF pkg 002

Pecan Pie and Spiced Pumpkin Pie… I could have devoured them both immediately, but I am waiting for an occasion to share them….  have you tried them yet?

I purchased a couple of new carry-on bags for us to take to Vegas and they arrived while I was at work on Thursday. They actually measure a bit larger than the tag on them reads.  We are going to take them to the airport and see if they fit into the airlines luggage holder… if they don’t, and we would have to check them instead of being allowed to carry them on, I will take a larger bag.. why skimp on pretty dressy clothes and shoes if I don’t have to, right?

A local market had Celestial Seasonings teas on sale.. BOGO so I got a few boxes of this delicious Rooibos blend. Love the flavor and it is naturallly caffeine-free so nice for The Captain in the evenings.

Oct 22 Rooibos tea 002

A few favorite blog posts this week:

  • Why Cross Train? at Go Believe Conquer
      • some benefits of cross training and ideas for workouts.

  • Avoiding FOMO at Beast Mode
    • it is contagious… have you been struck with FOMO?

Anything fun happen at your house this week?

Would you need more than a carryon holds for a week in Las Vegas?

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

5 Reasons to Take a Break From Your Exercise Program

The Captain and I have been working our way through a second round of the Metabolic Aftershock workouts.  For those of you not familiar with the program, I will share a bit about it.  I bought the program and downloaded the workouts, in video format, led by the creator and performed by 3 different 'trainers', each one doing an easy, normal,  or harder version of the exercises.

It is a series of bodyweight exercises and each session takes 15 minutes to get through. There is a warm up provided, then the workout.  And you are instructed to do your own cool/stretch session and then go for walk.  Our stretch and cool down takes about 4 or 5 minutes and then we put on dry clothing and head out for a brisk half hour walk… we love these workouts, and the way they leave us energized for the day… but that is another post.

The program is broken down into three 3-week phases.  Each phase has 3 workouts… A, B, and C which are to be performed on non-consecutive days of the week.  For example, during weeks 1 through 3 we did phase 1 A on Mondays, phase 1 B on Wednesdays and phase 1 C on Fridays… then weeks 4 through 6 we did phase 2 workouts and weeks 7 through 9 we are getting through phase 3 workouts… the 9 weeks will end nicely just before we head to Las Vegas for a week… and that got me to thinking about the the subject of this post.

For me, there have been lots of different reasons, or perhaps excuses, to take a break from my current exercise program.  Some of them pretty lame, when I think back over the years… but for the most part, once I start something, I tend to see it through. But there are times and circumstances that give way to legitimate reasons to take a break.  Let’s look at my top 5.

5 reasons

1.  You are injured or become ill.

This is probably the most important reason, in my opinion, to take a break.  You need time to let the injury heal properly and completely... or to recover from your flu or chest cold, whatever it may be, before you can resume your workouts.  Sometimes you can change to a different exercise but sometimes you just genuinely need to stop and  rest.  And if you see a doctor, make sure you discuss your concerns with them and follow their instructions.

2.  The program has come to its natural/planned conclusion.

The Metabolic Aftershock program I am following right now is 9 weeks long.  In the past I have done strength training programs that are 12 weeks long. I have done bootcamp sessions that are 3 months long. Perhaps you have been training for a half marathon and the race is run and done.  When the program is over,  it is a great time to take a few days off and then start something new.

3. You are not enjoying it anymore.

Not every type of exercise is for everyone.  I love to try every new workout and exercise style that comes along… well most of them… but sometimes I get myself into something that I just don’t care for… and I eventually get bored or decide really hate it and quit.  I did #plankaday for weeks but really started to feel like it was just annoying. It’s okay.  Find something different and move on.

4.  You are mentally burned out.

Our lives get hectic… busy… stressful.  And very often, regular exercise is just what the doctor ordered to help ease our tension and give us an endorphin lift.  But if the diffucult schedule, or the cost of coach or trainer or classes, or the rigors of it all are just adding to the stress in your life, it may be time to take a break till things settle down.  Or, it just might be that you have hit a stalemate and cannot face another day of burpees in your bootcamp, or one more uphill mile in your 10k training… you’ll know.  Do yourself a huge favor and take a rest.

5.  You are  not making any progress.

Sometimes our progress just stalls.  We can’t lift any more weight. We can't do any more reps. We can’t shave any more seconds off our 5k runs.  It  just might be time to give the body a rest… then get back to it with fresh muscles or a new plan of attack.

Have you ever taken a break from your exercise program?  How did it help or hinder your performance or your attitude?

Friday, October 17, 2014

This Week… Faves and Raves

It has been a really good week of eats and workouts… and some other fun things.  Here are some of the highlights…

The Captain and I both volunteered at the GoodLife Fitness Marathon expo last Friday afternoon/evening, passing out shirts to the race entrants. It is always such a fun experience as everyone is excited about their upcoming race and full of energy. 

We got nice volunteer shirts this year… I have actually worn mine already… they are roomy and a very soft technical fabric.  This is front and back.

Oct 11 stuff 002

My Sweat Pink swag arrived… and I immediately laced up my indoor workout shoes.  And, I have already been passing along pink shoelaces to friends and acquaintances.

Oct 11 stuff 001

I tried the Vanilla Chai nutritional shake mix from Vega One that I purchased last week… it’s an odd color but I loved the taste. And it really kept me satisfied for several hours. I  will definitely be packing some of these in my suitcase when we head to Vegas in a couple of of weeks.  Now to try the Chocolate….

Oct 10 Vega 001

I picked up some new frozen yogurt bars this week… Chapman’s is a Canadian company so I was pleased to find them locally.  They are delicous… and just the right size when you want just a wee bit of creamy sweetness…. they also come in Strawberry and Tiger Paw as well as chocolate-dipped.  Yes, please!

Oct 12 Chapman's icecream bars 001

Oct 12 Chapman's icecream bars 002

It was Thanksgiving in Canada on Monday so of course we went for a nice long walk before sitting down to a lovely turkey dinner… with a stop at Starbuck’s for a Pumpkin Spice Latte, non-fat no whip.  Such a beautiful day.  We wore our rain jackets to start out but ended up in just shirt sleeves for the walk home.  Funny, it seems lately when  go out prepared for rain it doesn't happen!

Happy Thanksgiving

The terrible quality of that picture has prompted me to finally make a decision about new cell phones and service providers and plans so getting on that, probably Monday.  YAY!  Instagram here I come…

I have been reading some very good blog posts and articles… here are my recommendations this week:

  • Ways to Measure Body Fat at Running Rachel
    • Rache had her body fat measured 3 different ways and talks about the experience. Interesting and informative.

What’s your favorite frozen treat?

Do you take most of your pictures with your phone or a camera?

Android or iphone or Windows 8.1?  Which model?

Sunday, October 12, 2014

A Penchant for Pilates

I discovered Pilates in the Fall of 2001 and practised it faithfully 2 or 3 times per week during the Winter months. Even though I had room on the sailboat to perform the Pilates mat exercises, I didn't feel inclined to do them during the Summer when we were sailing and hiking every day.

By the Fall of 2006 I had developed an inflammation in my head that wreaked havoc with my balance and caused terrible dizziness when I would move from a prone position to sitting or standing.  I had to give up Pilates and yoga altogether, until a couple of years ago, when I learned, through trial and error, that my inflammation was caused by eating gluten.  Once I gave up the gluten, the inflammation and it’s unpleasant side effects disappeared and I am happy to say that I can now practise both Pilates and yoga whenever I like.

I have never been to a Pilates class with a live instructor.  I became familiar with the moves by using a couple of different DVDs that were aimed at a beginner audience.   I still use them even though I have tried others.

I love the flow of the movements. I love the way I feel after I complete a Pilates mat workout…. sleeker, longer… and I am very aware of how I carry myself for the rest of the day. My posture is much improved because I am paying attention to it.

Elle Childs Pose

For me, Pilates is the most enjoyable way to strengthen and tone my core, my back, my thighs, and my butt.  It is a lovely compliment to running and body weight workouts.  It builds stamina and endurance and aids in concentration because it makes you focus on the present... it is a wonderful sleep aid and stress reducer, too.

When Lynda Lippin offered to let me try out a couple of her Pilates routines, available in audio format, I readily agreed. 

Lynda Lippin is currently a Master Pilates Specialist at Real Pilates in Tribeca and also maintains a small, exclusive, private client practice. Lynda worked overseas for several years at Parrot Cay (an exclusive, A-List, private island resort and spa), and currently recruits Pilates teachers as needed for overseas positions in A-list spas.

Lynda is the recipient of numerous awards in her field, including 2003 Best of Philly® Pilates Studio and the 2011 SpaFinder Magazine Reader's Choice Award for Best Pilates in the World. She is a Master Reiki practitioner and holds certifications in TRX as well as Kettlebells.

I tried 2 of Linda’s workouts – Pilates for Lower Back Pain, and the Basic Mat Class.  And I have done each of them several times now.

Linda’s voice is very pleasant to listen to and her instructions are clear, well-timed and easy to understand. Her words are well-chosen.

She tells you exactly how to move and where to concentrate your focus, and how the movements should feel. I think this is really important. In Pilates, the movements are often small, but precise and you need to know what parts of your body should remain still while others move.

I played the audio files on my laptop computer during the workouts. They both take between 30 to 40 minutes to perform and offer a tough but refreshing workout.

You can find/purchase Linda’s audio files at

Other places on to find Lynda are:

Are you a Pilates fan too?

Friday, October 10, 2014

Bits and Pieces… Faves and Raves

Some things to share in no particular order...

October is breast cancer awareness month so I guess it is fitting that I got this reminder card in the mail recently… our provincial health care plan pays for women in a certain age group to have free mammograms every year… and they send out reminders to have them done.


I will get to it, soon, but honestly it’s never my favorite appointment.

We have been enjoying a couple of new teas lately…  the Mulled Apple is particularly nice in the evening after dinner, and takes the place of dessert quite nicely.  The Captain doesn't have caffeine after dinner time, so I share a pot of herbal tea with him and then have a cup of coffee before I go to bed.

Oct 6 new teas 001

On Tuesday I shared a DRIP DROP packet with The Captain before we set out for a 20 minute walk to the tennis court mid-morning.  We played 60 minutes of sweaty, hard, fast-paced singles, then changed into dry shirts and socks before walking the 20 minutes home.  We drank about 1/2 of a litre of water each during that time and I am thrilled to report that my legs felt great all day.. no tingling or cramping at all.

Last week we shared a packet of DRIP DROP after we got home from our tennis match when my legs were already feeling quite tired and my toes were cramping from salt depletion… and about 20 minutes later I was feeling good again. I am sold on the benefits of this medical grade electrolyte drink, and I am so thankful that they took me on as am ambassador and sent me some product because I cannot purchase it in Canada… if you are interested and live in the U.S. or are close enough to cross-border shop, it is available at Walgreens and CSV.

Sept 5 Drip Drop 001 

This is Goodlife Fitnness marathon weekend in Victoria… and we are volunteering at the race expo again this year… we will be giving out shirts to the race entrants tonight and I am quite excited about it.  It is always fun to see how excited and eager everyone is. Lots of positive energy and buzz.  And I understand our volunteer’s shirts are really nice this year, too… can’t wait!

I just received an order from Vega… they are offering their nutritional shake single serving packets at a really good price right now because they are clearing out of them.  I like to have single serving packets to take along when we travel so decided to try Vega. I have never had it but I know lots of you like it… so decided to give them a try. Actually, I bought 4 boxes of Vanilla Chai and 4 of Chocolate so I hope they are good!  I think I will have one this afternoon before I head out to my shift at the marathon expo.

Oct 10 Vega 001

Here are some of the great posts I found this week:

Are you a Vega fan?

Do you have mammograms?

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Starting October on a Positive Note

And we are well into October already… where does the time go?

I am doing well with my food and fitness plans… eating whole, real foods and only having the odd indulgence… why yes, that grande Pumpkin Spice Skinny Frap at Starbuck’s on Saturday morning was one of them… and it was mighty tasty.

I have had some nice surprises in the mail over the past several days… let me share a few of them with you.

Sept 30 blog stuff 002

A box of goodies from the Canadian PR firm for CLIF bars. I do love Builder’s bars and CLIF SHOT BLOKS, and am looking forward to trying the CLIF SHOT gel. That will be new for me. The Captain claimed the cap and will also get the CLIF bar. The lip balm is chocolate mint.  Awesome.

Sept 30 Pro Compression 002

A pair of Pro Compression Marathon socks. I like these socks and really wanted a black on black pair so I could hide them under my black tights some days at work.  I know they will be good for runs and recovery even if I can't wear them to work... perhaps hide them under slacks?

Oct 3 Tommie Copper 001

And a pair of pink compression capris from my beloved Tommie Copper.  I won them in a giveaway hosted by Carrie who blogs at Family, Fitness, Food last Spring, and due to a variety of errors on the company’s part, I am just now getting them. And I am thrilled!  The rep I work with there is so good at customer service and worked diligently to make sure I was happy.  YAY!

It would be hard to not be upbeat and optimisitc after all of that! 

I started the week on Sunday with a morning run in the sunshine along the waterfront. That always puts me in a great frame of mind. There were lots of boats on the Strait and lots of doggies playing in the off leash area that flanks part of my running path.  I love seeing them run and chase each other.

My motivation to eat properly is always high at the beginning of a new week and I am feeling confidant and hopeful because I am doing more meal planning instead of winging it… I made a huge batch of a new Fall soup and will also be making some low carb flatbread, too. If I have good choices readily available, and put the nuts away in a cupboard where they are not, I will be fine.

And we just booked a week’s getaway in November so I have something a little extra to look forward to keeping me on the right track… we are headed to Las Vegas… I have never been before, and I want to be looking and feeling sleek and slinky in the new dresses I plan to take along.

I just found out that the Rock ‘N’ Roll Marathon/Half Marathon is being run the day we leave Vegas to come home so I am going to check out the 5 k race… the half of the half is already sold out, I see.  At least we can enjoy the expo and get in on some of the fun whether or not we sign up for the 5k.

Have you ever been to Las Vegas?  Have you run a R’N’R race there?

What are you smiling about these days?

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

5 Ways to Practise Optimism

5 Ways to Practise Optimism

In keeping with my theme of selecting a new focus for every month this year, in October, I have decided to continue on with my new found positive mindset… and focus on optimism.  I have been thinking a lot about this word and what it means to me. I finally looked it up in the Merriam–Webster online dictionary and found this:


noun \ˈäp-tə-ˌmi-zəm\
: a feeling or belief that good things will happen in the future : a feeling or belief that what you hope for will happen

Examples of OPTIMISM

  1. Both of them expressed optimism about the future of the town.
  2. The early sales reports are cause for optimism.
  3. There is growing optimism that the problem can be corrected.
  4. He maintains a sense of optimism, despite all that has happened.
I think I am not a natural optimist… I have to really work at it sometimes.  Not because I am hoping or expecting things to turn out badly, really, but rather that I like to be prepared for when they do.

And I know that I go a bit overboard with it sometimes.  When we are sailing, I am a fiend for weather reports, current and tidal charts, and such.   If the wind is supposed to rise to 30 knots at 4 p.m. by 3 o'clock I want to be reefing the mainsail so we don’t have to attempt it in a gale.   The Captain, on the other hand, although mostly practical, very safety conscious and level-headed, is always looking for things to go right and just expects that they will.

Another example comes easily to mind… he and I almost never choose to travel the same route when we are driving to any particular destination. When I am at the wheel I will go out of my way to avoid making a left hand turn at an uncontrolled and somewhat busy intersection. And I will drive automatically to the far end of a parking lot to make sure I find an empty spot… whereas he almost never has to wait more than a few seconds to make that same left hand turn, and he usually lucks into an empty parking spot right outside the mall door… see what I mean? He expects those things to just fall into place for him, and they normally do.

He is an optimist.  I like to think I am a work in progress. But I am making progress and there are a few things I am practising to make that happen more often.

Here are my 5 Ways to Practise Optimism:

Realize that the past does not equal the future
  • Just because I didn’t find that parking space in front of the store the last 10 times I looked for one, doesn’t mean there won’t be one there the next time. 
Put yourself out there, and be hopeful
  • Stop worrying about what might happen and take some  risks.  Understand that life involves uncertainties and not everything will go well, but some will.  Hmmm… another confession… I am a control freak so this is really hard for me.
Life is short
  • Worrying and indecision are a waste of time.  No one has enough time to dilly dally.  Do it. 
Strive for balance
  • I know am not going to do a 180 with this .  It is all right for me to still prepare for the worst but hope for the best.  It isn’t black or white. I am never going to throw caution completely to the wind and that is okay. 
Understand that engergy attracts like energy
  • I used to work with a woman that always expected something bad to happen… and she was never disappointed. It seemed like she wore it as a badge of honor. She was always right about things in her life going wrong and she was such a downer to be around.  Happy, energetic, positive people attract others of the same mindset.  I want to be with positive energetic people.  Who doesn’t?

Are you an optimist?  Do you prepare for the worst?