Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Last Run of the Year

Well, I am pretty darned sure it was anyway!

In Canada many people are still on holidays... government employees and school teachers for sure... because Christmas Day and Boxing Day are both stat holidays so many people get both Monday and Tuesday off work... so we decided to skip using our building's fitness room today to avoid the possibility of having to share it with anyone else, and The Captain suggested we go for a run instead of working out.

I was quite surprised as I cannot recall the last time he suggested we run... and I knew it had been ages since we have even been for a run. I had to check my Daily Mile account... November 27th was our last, and it was cut short due to rain.  Okay then... a run it would be.

I made us each a good breakfast, veggies and egg white scramble, with turkey bacon for me... and an egg, toast, hash browns, and turkey bacon for him... and waited the requisite one hour before we could head out.

I took a pre-run selfie while drinking some nuun and trying to decide what to wear.

The bottom layer was easy... Tommie Copper shirt, Tommie Copper capris, Tiux compression socks on the correct feet for a change... and after conferring with The Captain, and learning it was 5C and quite windy with a humidity level of about 95%,  I opted to overdress. I am such a wimp.  5C and damp is so much colder than 5C and dry.

I added another long sleeved technical fabric shirt, and a light hoodie topped by a fleece vest, an earband, light gloves and my Mizuno running shoes, with sunglasses to protect my eyes from the wind. Even with all those layers I was quite cool the first several minutes after going outside... but I had selected a new route through a nearby neighborhood with lots of large homes and trees which I hoped would serve as windbreaks. For the most part they did.

It is a quiet morning in my neighborhood. Eerily quiet actually.  We saw very little traffic and no other pedestrians.  

And the run?   Well, it was not pretty. It was very, very slow.  But we did run 3.31 km and then did a short walk before coming in to stretch and drink lots of water and also eat a banana.  I am all about the refuelling these days and being really careful with my electrolyte balance and hydration. Seems to really been working to ward off the dreaded evening leg cramps.

Oh, and it started to rain after we came inside. Thank GOODNESS we got it done before that happened!

So, yes, it was likely the last run of 2016.  And even though I have been running less this year and my runs have definitely gotten shorter, I am happy to be doing them at all.

How about you?  Have your done your last run of the year yet?

Friday, December 16, 2016


I first became a fan of ENERGYBITS when I won a giveaway and received a sample as my prize... I thought they were odd little tablets...  made of spirulina algae.  I chewed them. Yup. Yuk! But I started eating them on a fairly regular basis, and eventually I bought a couple of bags and registered as a program ambassador, mostly so I could purchase them for myself at a discount.

Now I know to just swallow them whole with water.  And I do. I take them when I need a little boost or when I need some nourishment when actually eating something is not an option.

Fast forward a few years later and I wonder now if there is anyone left who has not heard of ENERGYBITS or RECOVERYBITS and all of the health benefits of both spirulina and chorella algaes?

ENERGYBITS provide runners with energy and focus.

RECOVERYBITS speed muscle recovery.  

Both are 100% organic algae - the most nutrient-dense, plant-based, eco-friendly protein in the world and contain no chemicals, caffeine or sugar.



I could go on and on... but it is really not my intention to try to educate you here. Instead, I want to offer you a chance to try them out for yourself.  If you are interested, use the Rafflecopter form below to enter the giveaway.  The company will ship your prize directly to you... some samples of both ENERGYBITS and RECOVERYBITS along with some fun swag.

You must have a U.S. address for shipping purposes and there is one mandatory entry - You must leave a comment about how you would use BITS... and fill out the form... all other entries are optional.

I will contact the winner as well as announce the name on this post after the giveaway is over.

UPDATE... the giveaway has ended and the winner has been notified and verified.  Thanks for your entries!

If you want  more information about the health benefits of the various kinds of BITS, click on this holiday promo picture. You will be taken to the ENERGYBITS website.... and also given an opportunity to get in on this special holiday pricing if you want to purchase some for yourself or for gifts.  Buy 4 bags and get 1 bag free with the code JOY.

You are welcome!

Sunday, December 4, 2016

My First Week on the 21 Day Fix

I started the 21 Day Fix food plan on Sunday, November 27th and committed to following it for the week.  You can read about the how and why NOW here if you like.

Just a quick recap....

According to the formula suggested, I calculated my food allotment by colored container.

GREEN holds about 1 cup and is for vegetables. I am allowed 3 each day.
RED holds about 3/4 cup and is for protein. I am allowed 4 each day.
PURPLE holds about 1 cup and is for fruit. I am allowed 2 each day.
YELLOW holds about 1/2 cup and is for beans and grains and potatoes.  I am allowed 2 each day.
BLUE holds about 1/3 cup and is for cheese, avocado, nuts and hummus. I am allowed 1 per day.
ORANGE holds about 2 Tbs and is for seeds and olives and chopped nuts. I am allowed 1 per day.
I am also to have 2 tsp of healthy oils or nut butters.

I know myself and my limitations pretty well. I am going to allow myself all the leafy greens, ie. baby Spring mix and spinach, that I want without measuring or counting them.  The 3 GREEN servings of veggies will be for everything else, and if I am hungry, I will have more of them.

So, here is how it has been going so far. 

Sunday, November 27th

Breakfast at 9 a.m.
  • 1 egg and 2 slices of turkey bacon
  • 1/2 red grapefruit

After run snack at 10:30 a.m.
  • 1-1/2 scoops vegan protein powder
  • 10 ounces water
  • 1/2 small banana
  • 6 raspberries

Lunch at 12:00 p.m.
  • homemade Butternut Squash and Red Pepper soup
  • baby Spring mix, spinach
  • white kidney beans
  • cucumber, tomato, onion
  • avocado oil/apple cider vinegar dressing
2 GREEN, 1 YELLOW, 1 tsp oils

Snack at 3:00 p.m.
  • baby carrots
  • raw almonds

Dinner at 5:45 p.m.
  • shrimp
  • white rice
  • avocado
  • green onion, cucumber

Snack at 6:30 p.m.
  • 1 tsp peanut butter
1 tsp oils

Totals for the day:

3 RED, 2 PURPLE, 2 YELLOW, 1 BLUE, 1 ORANGE, 3-1/2 GREEN, 2 tsp oils

My Fitness Pal calculated 1062 calories and I was a bit concerned that this number is too low.  I was only at 82g of protein for the day which is not enough for  me. When I reviewed the day's menu, I realized I only had eaten 3 RED when I should have had 4 RED.  This will make a difference going forward... I am determined to get the hang of this thing!

For those Weight Watchers reading... this was only 20 Smart Points for the whole day.

I ate dinner somewhat earlier than normal after a smaller-than-usual afternoon snack, so I fully expected to be hungry during the evening.  But I was not.  I really only at the peanut butter because I had already recorded it. I did have a cup of coffee, and a few glasses of water throughout the evening, like I usually do, and went to bed at 10:30 p.m. feeling quite pleased with myself!

Using the containers to measure some lunch ingredients.

And eventually there was soup and salad for lunch.

White rice is not on the 21 Day Fix food list, but I had already planned this dinner and cooked the rice so went ahead and had it anyway. Love sushi bowls!

Monday, November 28th

I expected to wake up famished... I did not.  And I made up the day's menu while enjoying a cup of coffee.  I forgot to buy lemons on the weekend and so have not had my warm lemon water the past couple of days. Drat.

Pre-Workout Snack at 7:30 a.m.
  • 3/4 scoop chocolate whey protein
  • 8 ounces water
  • 1/2 banana

Breakfast at 9:45 a.m.
  • 1 egg and 2 slices of turkey bacon
  • shredded zucchini and white onion

Lunch at 12:00 p.m.
  • baby Spring mix, spinach
  • 1/2 cup white kidney beans
  • cucumber, tomato, onion
  • light feta cheese
  • avocado oil/apple cider vinegar dressing
GREEN, 1 YELLOW,  1/2 BLUE, 1 tsp oils

Snack at 3:45 p.m.
  • 1 mini Baby Bel cheese wedge
  • 2 low fat turkey pepperoni
1/2 BLUE, 1/2 RED

Dinner at 6:00 p.m.
  • barbecued chicken breast
  • steamed green beans and baby carrots
  • baked sweet potato

Snack at 7:30 p.m.
  • Greek yogurt
  • blueberries
  • hemp seeds
  • peanut butter
1 RED, 1 PURPLE, 1 ORANGE, 1 tsp oils

Totals for the day:

RED, 2 PURPLE, 2 YELLOW, 1 BLUE, 1 ORANGE, 3 GREEN, 2 tsp oils

My Fitness Pal calculated 1170 calories and I am more comfortable with that.  116g of protein is much better for me. It was 22 Weight Watchers Smart Points.   Confession...  I am kinda missing my PB2, and my raisins and dates, and handfuls of nuts, too.  But I am going to persevere and see if I can find a way to work some into the food plan.

I admit to being fairly hungry for my afternoon snack by the time 3:45 rolled around... I took myself out for a long afternoon walk at about 2:30 when I might normally have a snack, for diversion sake... and a couple of bottles of water along the way helped too.

Always love a warm breakfast after a workout.

Quite a substantial evening snack.

Tuesday, November 29th

 Again, I made up the day's menu while enjoying a cup of coffee. It took some juggling but I managed to work in a couple of my favorite food items that I have missed... PB2 and my High Protein Puck at breakfast.

Breakfast at 9:30 a.m.
  • High Protein Puck made with: 
    • 1-1/2 Tbs pumpkin seed protein powder
    • 3 Tbs egg whites
    • 2 Tbs sweet potato
  • 2 Tbs PB2
  • 1/2 banana
  • 2 slices turkey bacon

Snack at 11:00 a.m.
  • baby carrots and mini cucumbers


Lunch at 12:30 p.m.
  • apple
  • 2 Tbs dried cranberries
  • chopped pecans
  • feta cheese
  • fat free Poppyseed dressing 
  • barbecued chicken breast

Snack at 3:45 p.m.
  • grape tomatoes and cucmbers
  • 2 low fat turkey pepperoni
1 GREEN, 1/2 RED

Dinner at 6:00 p.m.
  • edemame pasta
  • olive oil
  • parmesan cheese shreds
  • green onions
  • green and red peppers
GREEN, 1/2 BLUE, 1 RED, 1 YELLOW, 1 tsp oils

Dessert Snack at 6:30 p.m.
  • Greek yogurt
  • peanut butter
1/2 RED,  1 tsp oils

Totals for the day:

RED, 2 PURPLE, 2 YELLOW, 1 BLUE, 1 ORANGE, 3 GREEN, 2 tsp oils

Entered into My Fitness Pal, it totalled 1226 calories with 106g of protein... 23 Weight Watchers Smart Points.  I was a bit fidgetty in the evening and would have loved to nibble on something around 9 o'clock but didn't give in. It is a slippery slope once I break the rules!

One of my favorite breakfasts.

I don't normally snack on veggies but really enjoyed nibbling on these baby carrots and cucumber slices while working at my desk.

I love love love this apple slaw, and adding the chicken made it a complete and filling meal.

 Each morning I use my colored pens and notebook to plan my day's menu, and then enter it into My Fitness Pal to track the macros.  Once the day is planned,there are fewer decisions to make and I am not food obsessed all day long wondering what I am going to eat.

Wednesday, November 30th

Finally picked up some lemons so I really enjoyed a lovely glass of warm lemon water after a great night's sleep.  Then I planned the day while having my coffee.

Pre-Workout Snack at 7:30 a.m.
  • 3/4 scoop chocolate whey protein
  • 8 ounces water
1/2 RED

Breakfast at 9:45 a.m.
  • 1 egg and 2 slices of turkey bacon
  • sauteed onion, red pepper
  • campari tomatoes

Snack at 11:15 a.m.

  • Greek yogurt
  • dark cherries

Lunch at 1:00 p.m.
  • baby Spring mix, spinach
  • albacore tuna
  • tomatoes, onion, capers
  • avocado
  • avocado oil/apple cider vinegar dressing
GREEN, 1 BLUE, 1 RED, 1 tsp oils

Snack at 3:45 p.m.
  • quinoa
  • blueberries
  • chopped walnuts

Dinner at 6:00 p.m.
  • pork loin chop
  • apple slices sauteed in butter and cinnamon
  • green beans, baby carrots
RED, 1 GREEN, 1/2 PURPLE, 1 tsp oils

Snack at 7:30 p.m.
  • Weight Watchers salt and vinegar chips


Totals for the day:

RED, 2 PURPLE, 2 YELLOW, 1 BLUE, 1 ORANGE, 3 GREEN, 2 tsp oils

All in all a good day.  Sometimes on the 4th day of a new food plan my resolve starts to slip a bit and I cheat.  Not this time. I am determined to see this through the week.  Today my calories totalled to 1222 with 109g of protein... satisfying and enough.

My huge lunch salad... delicous!

I wasn't sure about this snack of quinoa with berries and walnuts, but it was really tasty.

The apple slices sauteed in butter with a bit of stevia and cinnamon really added to this meal.

Thursday, December 1st

I sipped my warm lemon water while I planned the day.  Then I had some my coffee.

Breakfast at 8:30 a.m.
  • Cafe Latte Shakeology
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 banana

Lunch at 11:15 a.m.
  • homemade Roasted Butternut Squash and Red Pepper Soup
  • chopped broccoli salad:
    • broccoli, green onions, orange bell pepper
    • chopped pecans
    • crumbled low fat feta
    • dried cranberries
    • chicken breast
    • sugar free raspberry dressing
1-1/2 GREEN, 1 ORANGE, 1/2 BLUE, 1/2 YELLOW, 1 RED

Snack at 4:30 p.m.
  • Baby Bel cheese wedge
  • baby rice rusks
  • turkey pepperoni
1/2 BLUE, 1/2 RED

Dinner at 6:30 p.m.
  • wild Pacific salmon burger
  • baby Spring mix
  • tomatoes, cucumber, onion
  • avocado oil/balsamic vinegar
  • low fat fudgsicle
RED, 1 GREEN, 1 tsp oils, 1 YELLOW

Snack at 8:30 p.m.
  • Greek yogurt
  • chopped apple
  • peanut butter
1/2 RED, 1 PURPLE, 1 tsp oils

Totals for the day:

RED, 2 PURPLE, 2 YELLOW, 1 BLUE, 1 ORANGE, 3-1/2 GREEN, 2 tsp oils

I was quite surprised that my lunch, even though a large salad, kept me satisfied for the whole afternoon till snack time at 4:30.  And just a note... the baby rice rusks that I have occasionally with cheese for my afternoon snack only have 15 calories total, so although I do record them in My Fitness Pal, I am not counting them here.  So total calories for the day were 1220 with only 95g of protein. The Shakeology protein powder has only 16g of protein but is considered a whole RED serving.

Love the taste and I know it is a healthy start to my day.

My lunch salad was fabulous!

Friday, December 2nd

Again, I really enjoyed a tasty glass of warm lemon water while planning the day's meals.  Then I sipped my coffee.

Pre-Workout Snack at 7:30 a.m.
  • 3/4 scoop chocolate whey protein
  • 8 ounces water
1/2 RED

Breakfast at 9:45 a.m.
  • 1 egg
  • 2 slices of turkey bacon
  • 1/2 red grapefruit

Lunch at 12:00 p.m.
  • chicken breast
  • green peppers, onion, tomatoes
  • quinoa
  • avocado oil/ACV
  • homemade Roasted Butternut Squash and Red Pepper soup
REDGREEN, 1 BLUE1 YELLOW, 1 tsp oils

Snack at 2:30 p.m.
  • 1 apple
  • peanut butter
 1 PURPLE, 1 tsp oils 

Snack at 3:30 p.m.
  • 2 mini Baby Bel cheese wedges
  • 2 baby rice rusks
  • 1 BLUE, 1/4 YELLOW

Dinner at 6:00 p.m.
  • pork loin chop
  • green beans

Snack at 7:30 p.m.
  • Greek yogurt
  • PB2
  • raisins
  • pecans

Totals for the day:

RED, 2 PURPLE, 2 YELLOW, 1 BLUE, 1 ORANGE, 3 GREEN, 2 tsp oils

Yes, I counted the 2 packages of rice rusks today as they total 30 calories which I think is a bit more than I consider negligible... and they complemented the PB2 and raisins in my evening snack to make up a YELLOW container.    Today's calorie count came out a bit higher at 1302 with 114g Protein.

The addition of the quinoa to my lunch salad was a real change for me.

Saturday, December 3rd

On Saturdays mornings I like to attend a local Weight Watchers meeting... to catch up with some friends there and also get weighed.  So, I did not do my planning while I drank my lemon water and then coffee.

 knew that I was going to add some extra YELLOW foods to my menu and also enjoy a gluten free beer with my late afternoon snack.  I did record my eats, though, and it worked out to just over 1600 calories on My Fitness Pal... about 120g protein.

And my weigh in results on Saturday morning?  Well, all of this effort rewarded me with a .8 lb loss on the scale.  Now I know that doesn't sound like much, but it was over 6 days and honestly, even though I was a bit disappointed in the amount, I was happy for a loss.

Lunch was zoodles sauteed with onion and green pepper and chicken.   Mmmm.

And some parting thoughts...

  • I know that planning my menu for the day first thing in the morning is a good idea for me.  It helps me make all of the food decisions at once.  After that, it is a matter of timing.  That has helped release me from the what am I going to eat obsession.
  • The macro numbers I recorded this week are very close to the numbers I was aiming for before starting it... yes, the carbs are lower somewhat, but the protein and fats are almost right on.  
  • I think that ignoring the leafy greens in my colored container count is the right way for me to go.  I do not want to feel too deprived or get too hungry.
  • I have learned to make little deals with myself, trading one food for another, or putting it off till tomorrow even. It works for me.
  • The colored containers are a good way to measure for portion control.
  • The program itself leads one to a variety of food group selections, and appropriate amounts of protein, carbohydrates and fats. It allows limited/reasonable amounts of cheese and nuts and healthy oils/fats.
  • It is not a crazy, unhealthy fast weight loss diet and it is liveable.
  • And yes, I am going to continue with another week... I have already planned Sunday's menu.
Thanks for hanging in with me this week. 

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Could the 21 Day Fix be the Fix For Me?

Mini confession here... I have to admit to being somewhat food and nutrition obsessed.

For the past few weeks I have been making an attempt to work with IIFYM - If It Fits Your Macros - to come up with a food plan that I can follow and use to knock off a couple of pounds of fluff.  I have been strength training 3 times per week and also walking a lot.  

I have not had a great deal of success... I have had a few mini losses and a few mini gains and what I find is that all I think about is food, to make sure I am hitting my numbers. I think it is not really mentally healthy. 

So, I have decided to change gears.  

I bought the 21 Day Fix when it was first released a couple of years ago, and although I do like some of the workouts, I never really gave the colored-container food plan an honest trial. I read it through, decided it was too restrictive and put the colored containers away in my cupboard.

This past week I saw that my BeachBody Coach is running a Holiday Challenge group and I jumped right in. I have been assembling the tools and information I need to follow the 21 Day Fix food plan and I am ready... mentally ready too.

Yes, I know that nuts and seeds and healthy oils and nut butters are limited.  Yes, I know that I cannot have cheese and avocado on the same day.  Insert sad face here... but on the positive side... I no longer drink wine so that will make it much easier.  I know that if I am hungry I can fill up on raw veggies... going over my GREEN container count for the day is not a serious infraction and will be my back up plan.

Colored containers?  

Yes, there is a set of cute colored containers with lids, and each color represents and different food group and they are all different sizes.  According to the formula suggested, I calculated my food allotment by container.

GREEN holds about 1 cup and is for vegetables. I am allowed 3 each day.
RED holds about 3/4 cup and is for protein. I am allowed 4 each day.
PURPLE holds about 1 cup and is for fruit. I am allowed 2 each day.
YELLOW holds about 1/2 cup and is for beans and grains and potatoes.  I am allowed 2 each day.
BLUE holds about 1/3 cup and is for cheese, avocado, nuts and hummus. I am allowed 1 per day.
ORANGE holds about 2 Tbs and is for seeds and olives and chopped nuts. I am allowed 1 per day.
I am also to have 2 tsp of healthy oils or nut butters.

All totalled, it is supposed to come to between 1200 and 1499 calories per day... which certainly is in the range of where I was with IIFYM and with Weight Watchers too.

But looking at it, it doesn't seem like very much food to a girl who can put away 3 cups of spinach and greens at lunch in a salad!  And who can toss back a handful of almonds in a flash.  Which is probably why I am struggling with those few pounds in the first place, right?

But I am committed, and I am going to do it.  Here is what I am planning for the week:
  • each morning I am going to write myself a food plan for the day according to my schedule of activities for the day.  
  • I am going to up my workout game this week and do 4 strength workouts M, W, Th, F using the 21 Day Fix DVDs and my Reebok Kettlebell workouts.
  • I plan to run today.
  • I am going to track my food intake on my colored charts as well as in My Fitness Pal to see what I am actually consuming.
  • If I am truly hungry, I will eat veggies/fruit to get me through to the next planned meal.  And being somewhat rebellious, I am not going to use the GREEN containers to count my leafy greens... baby Spring mix or spinach, only the other veggies that I eat.
And I intend to report back my progress... what was planned vs. what actually happened.

Here goes... wish me well!

Do you follow a particular food plan?

Do you have any experience with the 21 Day Fix?

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Rechargeable Knuckle Lights Review

This product is something I have been wishing for... Rechargeable Knuckle Lights.  I eagerly read the press release that arrived in my email and then contacted them right away.  I am so happy that they sent me a pair of the new rechargeable lights to try out and review.  Honestly, I really love them!

I first became familiar with Knuckle Lights about 3 years ago, and published a review of them at that time. You can read my review about the original product here, if you like.

I have been faithfully using those Knuckle Lights every time I venture outside in the dark... whether to walk or to run... no matter how far I have to go.  We live in an urban area and sometimes the traffic seems to pay little attention to people on foot.  And the first rule of safety, I am sure, is to SEE and BE SEEN.  Knucke Lights certainly take care of me that way!

And with the new, improved version... they look after me even better.

Rechargeable Knucke Lights

These new Rechargeable Knucke Lights shine much brighter than the originals.  And, they have an extra wide beam that moves with your hands so it illuminates the entire area in front of you as you move.

When you first take them out of the package, they need to be plugged into the battery charging station and fully charged before first use.  This dock has both a wall unit and a USB unit for charging.

There are indicators on the dock that glow RED when the light unit is not fully charged.

Rechargeable Knucke Lights

And then the indicator turns GREEN when the light unit is ready to use.

Rechargeable Knucke Lights

The dock has built in overcharge protection.  This means that the light units can be stored on the dock and plugged in at all times. There is not danger of overcharging and damaging the batteries.  Very convenient. And it means they will be ready to go whenever you want to use them.

Along with walking and running in the dark, these handy light units can be used in other ways.  The Captain has discovered that one works very nicely when he is out on our deck using the barbecue. And when he is finished with it, he places it back on the dock.

Rechargeable Knucke Lights

And a short time later is is completely recharged and ready to use again.

The light units are made to be worn on the front of your hands and they have adjustable silicone straps which means you can wear them over gloves and mittens.

Rechargeable Knucke Lights

And they are fully waterproof... the unit is completely sealed... which is a real bonus for me because where I live it pretty much rains all Winter!

The lights have 3 different settings.  You can easily cycle through them with a press of your thumb on that button on the top of the unit.  There is a very bright beam, and a low beam and also a blinker. Just hold the button down for a couple of seconds to turn the light off altogether.  

I will warn you now not to look into the light when you turn it on!  That bright beam is VERY bright.

And the lights are long lasting.  The battery charge is good for 4 hours on bright, 8 hours on low and 14 hours on blink.  Lots of charge there for long runs and walks.

I should also tell you that this is an American made product. The company is based in Oregon and was founded by Dan Hopkins who is a runner himself.

I hope you will have a look at the Knuckle Lights Facebook page  https://www.facebook.com/KnuckleLights/  because they have a sale on right now. But you have to act fast.  There is a code on today's post to use as at checkout in order to receive a 10%  discount on a pair of Rechargeable Knuckle Lights.

How do you stay safe when outside in the dark?

Has the time change affected your routine?

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Wrapping up October

It is the end of October... the month has flown by!  I have lots of  fun things to share with you today so am going to jump right in.

First on the fitness front...

We finished up 12 weeks of Metabolic Prime workouts in the middle of the month and I have been looking for a new program to take us to the end of the year.  Not wanting to lose the gains I have made on in both muscle definition and strength I have been using a variety of methods to maintain.

Normally my strength workouts have been on Monday, Wednesday and Friday so I have been keeping to those days.

The first week I did a very short tabata style workout.  I started out with a good warmup and then did 10 squats followed by 10 pushups... repeated those moves 5 times... and then did a good stretch.  Not a lot but tough enough.  And of course I walked several miles each day.

This past week I got out some old workout DVDs and used them on M, W, and F.  And there was a lot more walking, and a run. There are some tough elements to a few of these older routines and it was fun to revisit them.

And new in my kitchen...

I am a huge fan of vegan protein powders but some of the recipes I have developed in my kitchen seem to work better with a whey powder.  I spent quite a bit of time looking for a new one that I could purchase locally and came up with a Canadian brand called LeanFit. It tastes good, and has a nutritional profile that I am fairly happy with.  I bought a tub of the vanilla and of the chocolate.

I found this recipe for Mint Avocado Protein Mousse on their web site this week and found it intriguing enough to try.  I made it for my afternoon snack and because it makes 2 servings, shared it with The Captain. We both loved it!  I would never had thought to put peppermint and avocado together myself but it works. I am going to be making it again and will try it with chocolate next time.

Another fresh product find...

A few weeks ago I mentioned that I received a box of coconut oil products to sample from a company called Skinny & Co.

There are several different products here... all coconut oil based... and they serve a great variety of applications. Along with all of the health benefits of eating coconut oil, there are a zillion ways it can be used topically...  skin cleansing and moisturizing, makeup removal, hair conditioning, shaving cream, after sun care, just to name a few.

One of these jars contains a brown sugar scrub... it is a terrific exfoliator and they claim that it can also be added to coffee or tea as a sweetener!  Nope, I haven't tried it yet, but I am going to!

There is also a peppermint flavored oil for pulling.... now I have been oil pulling several times a week for a couple of months now and am a huge proponent of this practice. I swear my teeth have gotten considerably whiter and less stained since I first started. It makes my teeth feel smooth and really clean.  I found this peppermint flavor in the oil a bit off-putting at first but I am getting used to it.  It is a good way for newcomers to the practice to enjoy it, I think.

And my food plan...

For a long time, I used carb cycling and intermittent fasting to work on staying lean.  But I am always looking to try new things and lately I have been using IIFYM - If It Fits Your Macros.  It took me a few iterations to come up with a set of macro numbers - grams of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats - that I can live with comfortably. Yes, it is a lot of work.  Yes, I am a numbers geek and like to do the math.  But I am happy with the results I am seeing on the scale and in the way my clothes fit. I feel like I work hard in the gym and pounding the pavement so I might just as well support that with good fuel.  And yes, I can make room for treats!

When I carb cycled, I couldn't eat a lot of my favorite dishes because you aren't supposed to eat carbs and fats on the same day so I was beginning to feel a bit deprived, which is never good. With IIFYM I can have whatever I want as long as the numbers work. I really like that aspect.

And coming up...

I have also signed up for a 21 Day Holiday Countdown Challenge with Lauren from The Bikini Experiment.  I did one of her challenges a while back and found it helped me stay on track so I eagerly joined this one when she announced it... it starts October 31st so if you are interested, you can check it out for yourself.

So, how did October go for you?  Anything new on your plate or in your workout bag?

Friday, October 14, 2016

Changes and Celebrations

I am in celebration mode today.

Why, you ask?

I have just completed the final workout in my 12 week Metabolic Prime series... These workouts are so much harder than the first one put out by Jade Teta called Metabolic Aftershock.  And I am celebrating because they are finished!  and that I did them ALL... faithfully every Monday, Wednesday and Friday for the past 12 weeks.  And now it is time to take a break for a week and look for something different or new to start on the following week.  Hurray!

And... last night I worked my last meeting for Weight Watchers Canada.  Although I really enjoyed welcoming and weighing my meeting members each week, and I am totally behind the program, it was just time for me to leave and return to being a member myself.  Yes, I still will follow the program in conjunction with IIFYM and look forward to any changes that they roll out at the end of the year... the traditional time to tweak the current program or introduce a new one.

How am I celebrating?

Well, after lunch today, The Captain and I are heading to my favorite Starbucks and I am going to thoroughly enjoy a ginormous, whipcream-covered spicy latte of some sort.  Will fill you in on those deets after it happens.


Enjoying my Grande Skinny Pumpkin Spice Latte... extra shot of espresso, no whip!


Hope you are having a wonderful Friday wherever you are... anything special coming up this weekend?

Any ideas as to a good strength training program for me to consider?

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Welcoming October

October!  How did that happen already?

I have been letting myself get pulled in way too many directions lately and fell like I am barely keeping up.

Running has taken a bit of a back seat.  Sundays have become more about catching up than running.   I intend to fix that this month... so much to tell you about... let's get started.

First, I have decided to leave my part time work with Weight Watchers. I have been a meeting room receptionist and have loved greeting members at the scale a few times each week, for about 4 years now.  And I have also been doing 24/7 chat sessions with members online a few hours each week, for over a years.  It is time to wind it all down and retire completely.  I have enjoyed the work but actually find it quite emotionally draining to be honest.  By mid-October I will be happily unemployed.

We are going to be volunteering later this week at the GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon expo, handing out race shirts to entrants.  This will be our 5th year volunteering, and our 4th in this capacity. It is a relatively small expo compared to larger races but I love the atmosphere.  And we get a good quality shirt in exchange... win win.

I have been wearing a new Tommie Copper elbow sleeve quite a bit lately.  It is a great comfort after we play tennis.  I wish I had it when I was golfing 4 times a week!  Watch for a real review coming up.

I have also been testing some products that I received from Skinny & Co.  There is a peppermint flavored pulling oil, a brown sugar scrub, and some other coconut oil skin care products.  I will do a more comprehensive review after I have been using all of these products for a few weeks.

On the workout front, I have been faithfully doing following the Metabolic Prime timetable for the past 10 weeks... 2 weeks to go and I will be glad to see it done. Early morning workouts on Monday, Wednesday and Friday have been really good and good for me, I know... I have built some leg muscle that is showing quite nicely and also some upper body muscle... delts and shoulders... but I am getting kinda bored and after 12 weeks will look for something new to tackle with my strength/resistance workouts.

As for my food plan, I am still following the Weight Watchers Smart Points guidelines... but I have also started using IIFYM (If it Fits Your Macros) along with that. I admit to being a numbers geek and all of this detail appeals to me.  I love the journalling and have purchased some lovely colored felt-tipped pens to help with that aspect.  I have given up carb cycling for now as it has kept me from eating some of my favorite meals and I don't think deprivation or the feeling of deprivation does anyone very much good!

I have been cooking up a storm. Made a huge batch of chili and and also a batch of a roasted kabocha squash and red pepper soup.. lots in the freezer for quick meals. Gotta love that.

So... another week coming up and I have lots on the calendar... The Captain is currently painting a couple of feature walls in our living and dining area, and then we are heading out for walk. It is a lovely Fall day and I want to enjoy it.

How about you?  What is on your agenda for October?

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Why Support Systems are Important and How to Create Your Own

I think it really important to have a good support system when you are making lifestyle changes... that includes all kinds of changes... losing weight, eating healthier, quitting smoking... giving up gluten... to name only a few.  Some things are just easier, not to mention more enjoyable, when you have help and can discuss your situation with others who are on the same wavelength as you are, who are facing the same challenges, and interested in making the same changes.

So how do you create a support system?  What does that even mean?

Creating a support system has been a learning process for me. I have always hated to ask for help.  I think I somehow saw it as a sign of weakness.  I like to think I am tough, and my tendancy is definitely to go-it-alone, especially when attempting something new.   I keep it to myself... I  mean, who wants everyone to know that they are trying something new... just in case they fail at it?   Not me.

For example, when I first started running, many, many years ago, I ran alone.  I built up my mileage over time to where I was running 10 miles every Saturday morning, alone.  My husband used to come with me on the occasional 5 mile run, but hour after hour, week after week, I ran alone, and I rarely even talked about it with anyone because no one else I knew was a runner. It never occurred to me to seek out other runners or a running group.

I did join Weight Watchers and lost the weight with the help of the program, but rarely stayed for meetings in those days. The leader was not very good, in my opinion. She only wanted to talk about her daughter's Highland Dancing and her own love of red wine. I couldn't relate to the other members at all when I did stay to meetings and although I did go regularly for my weigh ins, I lost my weight and maintained it, alone.

Or so I thought... I came to realize that my greatest and constant support is my husband.  He champions me through my athletic endeavors, my nutrition changes, my food experiments, and remains patient and steadfast, and positive.  He is a rock and I am extremely lucky to have him.

But not everyone has someone like that in their lives. So what do you do if you are alone, or if you are solitary in wanting to start a new habit? 

It really depends on what kind of support you want to have.

Do you want real, live companions?  Or do you want more distant, perhaps even virtual relationships?

If it is the former, you might want to test the waters with a local group... find a running shoe store that offers running groups, or try fitness studios, community centres, a local weight loss group.  Sign up for courses at colleges, or even start a group where you work. Check your newspaper or search for community bulletin boards online.

Even though I am a Weight Watchers member and more recently an employee, and do attend occasional meetings, I have found that virtual online groups work really well for me as well. Many years ago I joined a group on the Weight Watchers web site that has now moved to become a private Facebook group.  We have been communicating almonst daily for about 10 years.  And I have found many other groups on Facebook over the past few years.

I  have joined many various challenge groups led by different Facebook friends.  I find reading the daily posts from the different members motivating and often very inspiring.  I can relate to the struggles and offer my own opinions... I can ask questions and even vent if I need to.  These groups are made up of people whom I would never likely meet in real life, who are on the same path as me for a given period of time.  We come together in the forum, we meet and help each other, we disband and go our separate ways. These groups fill a real need for a limited span of time.

I am also currently involved in several ongoing Facebook groups... one for my current workout Metabolic Prime, a couple for Intermittent Fasting, one for a food plan I am interested in.  I am also a member of a few different bloggers groups.

So, even if you have a support system of only one... one workout buddy or the support of a larger group, it can make all of the difference in your success and your commitment.  Whether the other people are flesh and blood members or virtual members... Why is that?

Why is a support system important?
  1. You have someone else who understands what you are trying to accomplish... what you are struggling with, what your temptations are.  They get the jargon.  They get YOU. You have a safe place to share information and your experiences. 
  2. You have someone to pat you on the back, to say 'way to go', or even 'good try, you will do better tomorrow'.  Or they can kick you in the butt. The feedback is rewarding and relevant and very motivating.
  3. You have someone else to be accountable to. This is a very important part of the picture for me. I have stayed a member of Weight Watchers all these years because I know that I am going to have someone else weigh me once a month. 
  4. You have someone who cares if you show up.  If you blow off a solitary run, no one notices and no one cares, but if you are part of a group, you will be disappointing someone by not being there. If it is an online group, they will miss you if you don't post.
  5. You have someone who also needs you.  You become part of someone else's support group and that brings something more to your journey as well.  It is synergy and very positive.
I do think it is a good idea to assess/review occasionally to see if you are getting what you need out of the group. I have joined and quit a few... others I check in with less frequently.  I think group dynamics change, and certainly our needs change.  But there are always new ways to connect with people and find new means of support if we search for them.

So, what do you think about support systems? Do you think they are important?

Thursday, August 25, 2016

PlantFusion Vegan Protein Review and Giveaway

I am always happy to share helpful information and great product finds... PlantFusion Vegan Protein certainly fits here!

I first became familiar with PlantFusion vegan protein powder a couple of years ago when I won a giveaway and eagerly chose a tub of Cookies N' Creme as my prize. Until then I had been only using whey powders, and this lucky introduction to a vegan powder opened my mind about protein powders completely.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago, when I received a parcel with a few different PlantFusion samples inside... and now I am happy to be able to share them with you.  PlantFusion is offering to give one lucky reader her/his choice of one of the 3 products they sent me.

Disclosure:  I did not pay for the samples and the opinions expressed are my own.

Let me tell you about them to pique your interest.


First, I have to tell you that this Vanilla Bean flavor is, honestly, the best vanilla protein powder that I have ever tasted!  In my opinion, the truest test of the taste is to mix the powder with either plain water or a neutral unsweetened almond milk... this Vanilla Bean passed the taste test with flying colors and as sure as I am that it would be good with fruit or veggies blended into it too... I have not done that. I love it just the way it is!  Why mess with perfection after all?

PlantFusion is free of all the major food allergens such as eggs, milk, fish, crustacean shelfish, wheat, soy and tree nuts.  Whew!  It also contains no GMO ingredients.  It is made from a blend of pea protein isolate, artichoke protein, organic sprouted amaranth powder, and organic sprouted quinoa powder, providing 4,500 mg BCAAs, and a proprietary blend of enzymes.

This is my choice for a pre-workout or pre-run shake.  Delcious, filling and nutritious... a whopping 21 g of protein in only 120 calories per serving.   The Complete Protein samples come in individual packets.   Read all about it and available flavors here.

PlantFusion PHOOD

Of course because it is PlantFusion, it is made from 100% plant sources and it has none of the common allergens... no soy, no gluten, no dairy, no animal products, and no GMOs. And Phood is more than a protein powder... it is a complete meal because of 8 key essentials: plant based proteins, cruciferous vegetables, high fiber, digestive enzymes, organic whole food vitamins, probiotics, healthy omega fats, and energy-boosting superfoods.

The Phood samples come in individual packets.  I love this Chocolate Carmel !  It is truly delicious... I use it mixed with almond milk or coconut milk when I want a meal in a hurry and I also like to use it a little more creatively... recently we had  Chocolate Carmel Cherry Nice Cream for breakfast.  Oh yes we did!

I blended a frozen banana with a cup of frozen cherries and a packet of Phood along with 2 tablepsoons of almond milk in my food processor, just till smooth... and then divided it into 2 bowls and topped them with...

chocolate chips, shredded coconut and whole cherries for him...

chocolate chips, pecans, and whole cherries for me.

If you don't have someone you want to share this with, put the second serving into the freezer and enjoy later. Honestly, this is fabulous!  I think next time I will blend everything but the cherries and then add them and puls a bit... that way there will be pieces of cherry throughout.

Because Phood is a complete meal, it has a higher calorie count...more carbs,and a bit more fat than the protein powders have, and 18g of protein. Learn more about PHOOD and available flavors here.


The flavor I received is called Vanilla Chai and although I do like it just as is, I have been blending it with fruit on days I want more carbs in  my shake. Bluberries are great, as are bananas and mixed berries... the fruit compliments the flavor quite nicely and I really enjoy it.  The 'chai' offers a dash of spiciness.

Again, this powder has none of the common allergens... no gluten, no dairy, no soy, no animal products, no GMOs.

It is made from a blend of organic pea protein, organic sprouted amaranth, organic sprouted quinoa and organic flax seed.  It also contains fermented sprouted millet, lentil, flax and chia, along with a proprietary enzyme blend.

I also like to make what I call cookie dough with this particular powder.  Basically I mix a scoop of the Organic Plant Protein with 3-4 Tbs of almond or coconut milk till it is crumbly like a lumpy drop cookie dough, and then I go crazy with added toppings... nuts, nut butters, chocolate chips, coconut shreds, raisins, hemp seeds, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, and sometimes a bit more of the milk...

This has become a favorite breakfast or even afternoon snack.  There is 20g of protein in each serving and only 120 calories. The Organic Plant Protein sample comes in a tub.   You can read more about this product and available flavors here.

Now, let's talk about the giveaway...

UPDATE... this giveaway has ended and the winner has been notified and has contacted me.  Thanks for your entries!

PlantFusion will give a single winner, her/his choice of one of the thress samples that they sent to me... the winner chooses the flavor.

This giveaway is for U.S. residents only and the sample pack, as described above, will be shipped directly to the winner from PlantFusion.  I will collect shipping information from the winner and pass along to my contact at PlantFusion for arrangement of delivery.

All entries must be via the Rafflecopter form below.

There is only 1 mandatory entry. You must leave a comment on this post and indicate that you have done so in the Rafflecopter form. 

The winner will be contacted by email afer the giveaway ends and will have 48 hours after I send the email to respond and claim the prize.If that person has not given an email address for contact, or does not email me back within the 48 hour time frame, I will have to choose a different winner.  Make sure I can contact you if you want to win.  

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!

Now, if you like,  you can order a $10 sample kit from the PlantFusion web site.  And you can also enter to win 2 tubs of the new PlantFusion LEAN + a big prize pack at  https://plantfusion.leadpages.co/pf-lean-contest/