Sunday, December 29, 2013

the challenge continues..

well 2o13 is about over, and perhaps from the outside, not much appears to have changed. i'm more or less the same weight, slightly less actually.. and i still have health challenges to overcome. the biggest difference has come within. a  change that is necessary to alter one's habits and lifestyle and overall health. it started with my state of mind.

before i started this blog i had it lodged in my brain that i am unhealthy, i have always been unhealthy and chances are pretty good that i always will be. at the beginning of the year i decided that that was the first thing that needed to change; my attitude about my own health. i tried a bunch of different things to improve my level of fitness like running and lifting, and made a few changes to my diet. ultimately, i still felt discouraged. i've had issues with my weight since i was diagnosed with hashimoto's when i was ten years old. it didn't matter that i lived a relatively active lifestyle.. the amount of effort that it would take to lose even two or three pounds would bring me to tears. nothing was helping.. i had to find out why.

this year along with the subtle changes in my routine, i have done a lot of research. it's hard to fix a problem when you have no idea why it exists. so where to start? with the dis-ease. why do i have such a problem? where did it come from? how do i fix it? i remember asking these questions to my doctor and the only answer i would get is because of my genes. my mother had thyroid disease, and so did her mother. really? that's all i get? so why did they have thyroid disease? what is the problem...

well, i'd be willing to take a shot in the dark to guess that our lifestyle along with the food we intake and the stresses we put ourselves under had a lot to do with it. yea so i'm genetically predisposed to having a wonky thyroid, so what do i do about it? how do i strengthen my immune system so that it can do what it needs to do to protect me? how do i get my body to heal itself like i know it can naturally? the answer i found no matter where i read or who i talked to came back to this one seemingly simple answer: eat whole foods.

damn. that is a simple answer isn't it. or is it?

i think the biggest problem isn't that we don't know what to do to be healthy, i think it's that we just don't do it. our culture, the economy that we live in and the governing system that we are a part of have a lot to do with that. here in north america, it's 'normal' to go shopping for food and pick up things that come in boxes, cartons, cans and bottles. we overlook foods that come in no other packaging but it's own skin, or they make up a small percentage [less than half] of what we buy to eat. i prefer to grow my own when i can, but not everyone has the opportunity to do so, and if so it's usually seasonal.

so the challenge continues. now that i know what's up [as if i didn't know before] i can make better decisions on what i put in my body. i may have known that nutrition is important, but now i'm further educated on what types of foods i need and what kinds of things to avoid.

wheat flour is a big one. and it's probably one of the worst foods to try and avoid, especially if you really love a warm, fresh slice of bread with real butter on top. omnom. but that blasted wheat... it feels like a wrecking ball slamming in to my guts all night after. why? well, that it could be that stuff we use to make just about everything 'foodlike' stick together, delicious, horrible, gluten. i don't remember where i read it but i remember someone saying that the wheat we eat today isn't the same as it was centuries ago when people didn't seem to be allergic. but like everything else it's been bred out and genetically tinkered with to be more resilient, and easier to process. this tinkering has also made it impossible for our bodies to properly digest, and therefore it is no longer food. i also read in various different articles that hashimoto's is a common symptom of gluten sensitivity. go figure, the disease itself is a symptom.

anyhoo.. i could ramble on for hours about all of the things that we [or i specifically] shouldn't eat, but the list of what i should eat would likely be much shorter. anything without a list of ingredients seems to be a good start.

eating a truly healthy diet is probably the biggest challenge i have ever set for myself. i've beaten addiction to drugs, i got myself off the streets, and recently i even quit smoking [finally!]. if i can do all that, then i must have the strength and willpower it will take to perform an all out lifestyle transformation [again!]. but its hard for one to change their whole lives at once and expect to succeed, which is why i started with baby steps, building one healthy habit at a time as i go along.

i started with the most important meal of the day; breakfast. and sadly enough, it's usually the meal that people substitute with nothing but a coffee, or sugary highly processed breakfast cereal, or some other concoction that actually isn't food. i was guilty of this.. i'd opt for a large tea with sugar, and something along the line of waffles or a muffin. sugar, caffeine, gluten. oh ya. i have for the most part switched out my horrible breakfast choices with things like fruit smoothies with chia, or homemade oat-only pancakes topped with berries [no syrup].

now i'm working on lunch. instead of grabbing something from the cafeteria [a horrible habit i picked up working in retail] i do my best to make sure i pack leftovers from the dinner before. which means that i must make enough dinner to save leftovers, and encourages me to make a more healthy meal choice. i also eat light at dinner time, which means i have more for earlier in the next day. i have managed to almost completely eliminate pasta. if i feel the need for a noodle of sorts i'll try pasta made from other grains, but mostly i've come to enjoy a variety of different kinds of rice. also an easy way to cram a bunch of vegetables into a delicious meal is to make homemade soup from fresh ingredients. i hadn't been doing this as often as i would have liked, so this is something i am trying to make a routine out of; preparing lots of fresh healthy food ahead of time so i don't opt for fast snacks.

something else that i find helps to keep me satisfied through the day is fresh juice from the juicer. juicing is a lot of work but with proper preparations [and making large batches] juicing can be made into a much simpler task. i make sure i set myself up first, cutting everything i need and lining the juicer collection bin with a plastic bag so it's easier to clean. i run everything through, have empty mason jars ready, and portion a few days worth to be stored in the fridge. i clean each piece of the juicer as i take it apart, and store it so that it's easy to access for next time. preparing a few days worth at once helps save time and keeps me motivated to maintain the flow of goodness into my digestive system.

so far, so good. though i hadn't lost much weight through the year i am just starting to see it now. it took me this long to build up some good habits, and change my attitude to care more about my body, and now i can really apply all that i've learned. a lot of things like the gluten sensitivity i found through trial and error, elimination diets and such. there isn't one particular health regime that works for every person because of course we're all unique, so it has really taken some deep self-observation to find out what was really bothering me both physically and psychologically. stress and negative thoughts had just as much of a hold on me as any other addiction and it's taken a lot of effort to turn these things around. my guts feel better, my joints don't hurt as much, and i'm getting my energy back. thyroid issues tend to rob you of all energy and leave your mind and body sluggish. i'll continue to do all that i can to support my body so that it can heal itself.

i think i'm about done rambling for today, i'm not sure how many people actually read this thing, but it's more for me anyway. maybe someday my journey will help motivate someone else to find their healthy self within.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

life in the garden

the garden is a good place for me to be. there's nothing better on this planet to eat than anything fresh off the plant, or out of the soil. to live off the earth is to thrive.. that's the way i see it anyways. it's been a challenge in itself to adapt to a more stationary lifestyle, it's always been a part of my program not to settle, to be always on the move.

but staying in one place has certainly paid off. foraging is a healthy habit, but nothing can beat growing your own food, and i wanted to have a place i call home where i do it. urban farming, right here in the city. just as i learned a lot from this past year of self observation, i learned what to do to adapt my gardening habits to my semi-vagabondish tendencies. my travel habit had some ill effects on the garden this year, but this prepares me for how to avoid such issues next season. the state of the garden and that of my health go hand in hand.

a healthful bounty. i am learning to grow. and with the wisdom of each attempted garden plot i move forward next season with many dreams and ideas. ones that shall grow into fruition. the colours of the bounty are inspiration enough, but the taste is worth living for. over the winter i shall continue to design, the garden and my life, so that when the sun returns i am ready to receive it.

Friday, October 11, 2013


i suppose when i started this blog i had this idea in my head that if i kept tabs on myself here, it'd motivate me more than ever to find my health. i wasn't wrong, i guess i just thought it would happen faster. at least it's happening.. i've only lost a few pounds this year, i think weight loss was the expectation that makes me feel like i haven't gotten anywhere. truly though, i have. as if to apply permaculture principles to my own health, i had to take the time to observe, to truly see myself and what it is i do that keeps me in a state of dis-ease. genetic predisposition is only a small part of it. it is completely possible to live a healthy life, it just requires a little more care than for those un-predisposed.

stress does some incredible things to the body. it can show in countless physical symptoms, it can keep you fat [or make you lose weight], it can make you sick [even so far as to create ulcers], and it can most certainly mess up your sleep cycle. after this long, fully encompassing observation period, i have come to realize that the stresses i have put myself under in my everyday life most likely has a lot to do with why i have a hard time staying healthy.

now that doesn't mean i'm going to stop doing everything i'm doing because it all creates stress, it simply means that i have to find ways of alleviating that stress, or not experience a stress response to my daily life in the first place. attitude is key. now that i am aware of the unnecessary emotional hells i have put myself through due to situations in or beyond my control, i can stop myself before i let things affect me negatively. instead of getting upset about something right away i remember to breathe. the trick is that usually after three deep, calm breaths the stress response will start to dissipate quickly. getting angry, upset or stressed out is never a good way for me to deal with things.

i feel like i'm finally beginning to get all of my ducks into a row. i know what helps and doesn't help, what i can handle and what i can't, and how to push myself. i had all year to see what works for me, and a chance to work through accepting what does not. i have collected all of the tools that i need to have a better diet, and have been slowly introducing them forming habits and rituals. this is key to building a healthier lifestyle. trends are bad, they fade.. but habits, even healthy ones are hard to break. and rituals... now that is just sacred. life is sacred. i'll do my best to make a ritual of everything.

Sunday, September 22, 2013


routines and rituals are very important to me. i should try and make a ritual of writing, maybe i'd do it more often.. anyways, i've been living a domesticated lifestyle this year more so than probably any year of my life, and i had thought that building a routine would be easy. i guess it's not as easy as i thought it'd be.. any major interruption and i'm screwed.

 along with living a domesticated lifestyle, i've also been doing more traveling than i'm used to, and each time i leave for any decent amount of time, my routine goes straight out the window. i was doing so well for so long, and then arkansas happened. after recovering from that insane week of barely eating, not sleeping and riding four airplanes, i pulled myself for long enough to regain my healthy habits just in time to get on a bus for the east coast.

the journey east may have done more good for me than i give it credit for, it was a true awakening. i got to remember all of the healthy habits that came naturally living out there like taking better care when preparing meals.. taking my time. the journey did encourage me to bring my juicer back out of storage, and reminded me of the importance of bringing my own food to work instead of trying to find something suitable to purchase. that being said, this particular journey wasn't all bad for my health, except for of course spending a total of four days straight on a bus. that can be rough on the digestive system no matter who you are.

the most recent attack on my daily routine has been flipping to the midnight shift. i was just starting to pull myself together again from all that bussing when i was asked to destroy all that was left of the routine that i had to prepare my store for inventory. yuck.. overnights. talk about torture on my guts.. two more weeks to go until i can begin to recover once again, though i am doing all that i can to keep up with it. at least i have more time to work out on this schedule, one more routine piece i can take back to days with me and add to what i have been building on.

one more attack on my routine in a few weeks, i fly out to the dominican for a week to shoot a wedding. all of my meals are included, so here's hoping the resort has a decent vegetarian selection. what i should be doing is building a strategy on how to deal with interruptions to my routine, so that will be my focus for next year's lineup of traveling. this year i've had the opportunity to make a lot of observation. of my self, my environment and lifestyle, and also do some independent research.

good health is something you have to truly want to achieve. once you want it bad enough, doing what needs to be done to achieve that health becomes a part of your nature. it's not an easy transition but with the right support, it can be done. i'm thankful that i have friends to keep pushing me in the right direction, no matter how many times i fall. i've started to get impossible digestion issues under control, and get my energy back that an autoimmune disorder has been stealing from me all my life. now that i'm closer to having a good balance than i ever have been, i can begin to take it to the next level. really push myself.. lose some real weight, build some real muscle, and wake up. i've been too tired for far too long.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

finding strength.

i never gave up so to speak.. but i have been discouraged. the weight that i lost in the beginning of the year ended up mostly coming back, though i must be patient because i am building muscle as i work out. it's hard to forget about the numbers sometimes, especially when they've been so high for so long.

there's no scale in my house anymore, but i do check when i go to the local health food store. they have a selection of digital scales available for customer use. i stepped on and said 'yes! 193!'. the manager did a double take and asked 'how much?!' apparently she was in disbelief that i weighed that much. 'well you carry it very, very well dear' she says. i'm sure i'd be 20 pounds lighter if i wasn't endowed with so much weight on my chest.

i've managed to stay on top of my morning routine of blending up a booster smoothie first thing to get me going, and taking the natural supplements designed to support my sluggish thyroid. that finicky little gland is partially responsible for this mess, even when i eat right and get exercise it's terribly hard to keep the weight off. the fact that my weight has gone down a few pounds this year instead of up several is a miracle, and also a motivation. i have gained on average 7 pounds a year since high school, no matter what i did to fight it. well now i'm taking it to the next level, and slowly changing my entire lifestyle to reflect the good health i wish to experience. health isn't something you make time for occasionally, it is your daily life.

it's been rough keeping up with working out, monitoring everything i eat, and managing to get done in a day everything i need to do. having a bunk thyroid zaps the energy right out of you and once inertia sets in it's hard to get back on track and into motion. i just have to find the strength to get back on my feet even when i'd rather take a nap, and push myself to keep moving. finally, it's starting to pay off.

there's only four months left to this year, and honestly i thought i would have made more progress by now. i'm not disappointed though, because there's only four months left to this year, and even though i haven't made the progress i thought i might, i'm still trying. one day at a time..

Sunday, July 21, 2013

building healthy habits.

so i haven't posted all month, but i have managed to build a pretty solid morning routine. ever since i got my brand new NutriBullet i have made it a habit to make myself a 'fast food breakfast'. i use Salba chia as a boost, sometimes some hemp protein. i have to get more into adding greens though, at least i have the motion down pat.

another thing i am working on is trying to re-eliminate meat from my diet. i was doing so well and i started eating meat again when i got back to traveling. i'm so bad for that.. i have to learn to maintain healthy habits when i travel, or some up with alternatives and plan ahead.

i have found some inspiration in the world of reads that has challenged me to look deeper into what i eat, at the same time thinking of the big picture. if you want some motivation to truly change your diet [and your life!] i highly reccomend the book Whole by T. Colin Campbell. he is very blunt, and a veteran in nutritional science. besides longing for the health of my youth, this has been a driving force for me to succeed in this challenge.

i have found comfort in things like mushrooms and potatoes, and my boosts like chia and hemp. i also do my best to always have water on hand, i use a brita filter water bottle instead of drinking straight from the tap or wasting plastic drinking bottled water. i don't even enjoy the taste of bottled water, all i taste is the plastic it's packaged in.

that's it for now, otherwise i've been pretty occupied with the Permaculture style food garden, especially since being slammed with a pretty intense storm. lots of work needed to be done to get the garden back up off of the ground, and there's still more yet to do. i must be conscious of the heat though, and staying hydrated during the annual heat wave.

Monday, July 1, 2013

fast food breakfast

now when i say fast food, i don't mean a mcmuffin and a coffee.. i mean real, fast, food! as long as i have had a home/kitchen i have had a magic bullet in it, i swear by this little blender for providing fast liquid meals. my brand new toy, the NutriBullet is the same idea with twice the power!
in just a couple of minutes you can peel a banana, add a handful of fresh or frozen berries, and a 'boost'.. i tend to use Salba brand chia seeds, or some hemp protein powder, or both. for a green start, begin with a handful of kale pulled away from the spine, and blend with half a cup of juice or water to create a green 'base' to add the rest of your ingredients to. it's important to have enough liquid for your blender to work properly, so i try to use something delicious and healthy like coconut water, almond milk or pure orange juice.
there are a bazillion and a half smoothie recipes out there, for all kinds of tastes and diets and meals. for a more filling smoothie today i let some oats soak in some almond milk for half an hour before blending it in to the smoothie. this made for a super thick smoothie with added grains that will keep me full half of the day. the point is, smoothies are fast, and can be both healthy and delicious, and are a much wiser choice to start the day than waffles or a bowl of sugar cereal. i'm doing my best to incorporate a nice smooth meal once or twice a day to get all the nutrients and energy i need to keep up with the gardening and exercise, so far so good!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

off the wagon

so i fell off it, that week i went away to Arkansas.. as i wrote in my last post, i had a hard time keeping up with my healthy habits and supplements. i threw off my routine all together, and now i'm starting over from scratch. not entirely i suppose, at least i have the tools i need to help me, i just need the willpower to get myself back on track.

i think i may have found help.. i have been hired to shoot a wedding in the Dominican sometime in October.. and i'm gonna want to look good. it's almost exactly 4 months away, so this is plenty of time to get in shape, if i can stick with it. at least i haven't neglected the garden...

at least something is thriving! i got back on my equalizer bars for the first time today in a couple weeks. i can feel the burn.. like i started over. being away meant that i didn't have as many fresh options, and i got too used to packaged snacks and not preparing my own meals. i was spoiled! but i can certainly feel that too. my guts are still recovering from eating too much processed food. i will have to remember this for the next time i travel, sticking with the routine no matter where i am is important! how did i stay in such great shape when i spent months on the road?! ahh... i'm getting older.

well i think it's just about time to bust out the juicer, or maybe the blender.. haven't decided yet. so many good things, farmer's market freshness.. i'm happy to be home <3

Saturday, June 15, 2013

a week away...

and a week of recovery. i just spent a week down in the southern states attending the annual international Walmart Shareholders meeting.. what an experience. it was like traveling the world in one week, meeting people from twenty seven countries, and learning about culture and industry all over the world. anyways, while i was gone i managed to sleep 11.5 hours over the span of six days, and i know i didn't get nearly enough nutrition as i skipped some meals and otherwise ate whatever was provided.

another thing i neglected was my Mannatech! i brought it with me, i even had just enough of each supplement for the amount of days i was there, but i just forgot to take them. i was switching bags so often and forgetting them in my room that i totally fell out of my routine. i must have been high on adrenaline and lack of sleep and the excitement of being there, because i have no idea how i was still standing at the airport when i landed back home.

it literally took me a week to get myself together. i'm finally feeling better today, it's 6:30pm and i'm not ready for bed as i have been all week. i got home last saturday, went on the Walmart Walk for Miracles the sunday, and then started with my work week at 7am that monday morning. i have been so exhausted that i've overslept, and hadn't spent nearly any time in the garden. chores were neglected too, but mostly because our attention had to be diverted to a wet basement... we got a lot of rain this week.

well now that i have my energy back and there's still some sunlight, i really must get back to the garden.  i have so much work to do here at the home base and out there in the world, i'm one busy little hippy!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

gardening for health

wow... slacking on this blog or what?! ahh well, i'm not usually one to get nailed down to a computer for too long, but i'm trying. this month has been mainly focused on getting our new yard ready to grow some food. not only is eating fresh picked food incredibly good for your overall health, but the very act of gardening is good for you also.

just like any workout, or anything in life really, you get out of it what you put into it. if you are lazy about digging the ground, there won't be room for root growth, and your garden will not be strong. digging uses all sorts of muscles, and after a day of building a new garden plot, i can certainly feel it.

after the initial dig, there's still plenty of gentle exercise in store when caring for a garden. not only that, but it's a meditative stress reliever. there's apparently a bacteria in the soil itself that is a mood enhancer, and triggers the release of seratonin in the brain. for a really cool article on gardening and happiness, check this link. plus each time we bend to pull a weed or pluck some fresh produce, we stretch! mmmm garden yoga...

this next week will be focused mostly on the garden, which in turn makes me more conscious of my health. i find that when there is a garden in the equation, everyone around adopts healthier lifestyle habits. we are constantly looking for even more ways to repurpose things. we choose meals that involve more fresh ingredients. we walk to the farmer's market to meet other great people that grow and prepare fresh delicious food.

stay tuned for more garden freshness, and exercise.. and about making it fun to get in shape!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

oh hey!

yeahh... so i'm bad at keeping a blog. but it's because i'm keeping busy!! i probably mentioned some time back that we moved at the beginning of the month.. having our own place allows me a better chance to work out a routine. especially for sleeping... and sleep is mega important.

i have been back on the mannatech for a couple of months now, and i feel much better, more energetic. on slower days i'll work out indoors on my equalizers, but the past couple weeks have been full of yard work, gardening and adventuring.. hubby and i are hooked on GPSgaming, i'm all about the geocaching and munzees, and he found a new one called ingress. that one is a strictly virtual GPS adventure game along the lines of alien infiltration and world domination... but you actually have to go to the physical locations to tap the portals and build/destruct them. it's pretty cool, and Matt walks a lot faster than i do so i get my slow jog cardio.

one thing that i have been focusing on when we play is carrying nothing but myself. literally.. i walk everywhere so it's pretty usual for me to have a bag or a small backpack of some sort. i find that by carrying stuff like that around my mind focuses more on keeping that weight balanced and in place more so than my own self. i forget to check my posture and my breathing and all that.. i literally feel a sort of high when i walk not carrying anything.. so liberating. that's what i loved most about trail running... until my hips decided it was time to stop doing that. i must find a low impact method of getting my cardio without hurting my hips!! so anyhoo, i'll focus on keeping my back straight, my core tight and my shoulders back while we walk around the city hitting portals. and i get to get fresh air with my baby.. good things all around.

unfortunately about a week ago my bike was stolen from our friend's back yard. it's heart breaking because a] my mommy bought me that bike for my birthday, b] it was vintage! and c] i'm too broke to buy another one, and that was my favourite workout. in the meantime, i suppose it's a good thing there's lots of digging to be done.. it's certainly a workout! that and lugging carts of soil home from the market shop across the street.

well that's about it for now. oh and when we moved i left the scale behind. i think i've been more worried about the numbers than i really should be. my goal is not just to lose weight, but to be happy healthy and comfortable with myself. i'm getting there...

Sunday, May 12, 2013

losing weight... not just the fat kind.

it's been an interesting year so far for me. the journey to better health has been a struggle, but i refuse to give up. getting healthy, to me, is about more than just losing fat, it's about doing many things that make you feel better and generally improve the quality of life.

i decided that it's about time in my life where i should get rid of anything extra that i have been holding on to, not just the weight.. things i have been carrying around with me for far too long for fear of letting go. i think that subconscious fear of letting go had spread it's way from my environment into my mind and has made it difficult to let go of the stresses and the weight that comes with it.

having just moved, i had the opportunity to go through everything that i own and discard things that i no longer needed. even things that i had packed and moved a million times before... i finally found the strength to just let go of the past. i was at work the day after moving, and i realized there was one more thing that needed to be let go.. my dreadlocks.

i had been contemplating cutting off my dreads since sometime last year, but i just didn't have the nerve to do the deed. earlier this spring i did some thinning, i took out the locks that were looking weak and cut myself some bangs. this time it got serious. i went and bought some organic coconut shampoo and conditioner, some anti-frizz serum, hair cutting scissors and a nice brush, and went to town. i had finally made up my mind that i was finished carrying them around, and making the cut was one of the most liberating feelings i have felt in my life. almost makes me wonder why i kept myself locked up for so long...

ahhhh so free! fastest five pounds i ever lost.. and i have no regrets. i have been hesitant to cut them for so long.. for almost a decade straight dreadlocks have been, as i see it, a major part of my identity. they are/were a slowly evolving piece of my personal history, the part that held on to so many moments in the past, good or bad. i feel like my thoughts were locked up with them, and the time was well overdue to do something about it. i'm proud that i rocked them for ever so long, and i'm even more proud that i found the strength to let go of them, and not look back with regret.

i think the most interesting thing i have noticed in the past week since i cut them is how people notice me. in the past i would have complete strangers come up to me and tell me they loved my hair, ask me questions about how i did the dreadlocks and how to take care of them and whatnot... i was noticed for my dreads. now that they're gone, it's only the people who know me [or remember me] that complement  and comment on my hair. i went to Toronto yesterday to rally up with some people i have been friends with for a long time, but only see a couple times a year. it was funny watching people walk right past me not noticing i was there until i took off my shades, and they realized it was me.. and then watching them almost die of shock that i lost my locks! too funny.

anyways, i had almost forgotten how wonderful it feels to run a brush over my scalp. and y'know, wash my hair without carrying around water half the day, lay down without laying on my hair, get dressed without a mass of locks getting in the way... all that good stuff. i feel like a new person, and hopefully this mind state helps me with my journey.

forever forward...

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Equalizer workout, and tobacco free!

heyhey!! yea so i'm bad at this blogging thing. i've been keeping busy, and keeping up with my challenge.. and what a challenge it has been. i still hit up my runs, but not for as long as i had been. unfortunately the motion has taken it's toll on my hips. i wonder if maybe running will be easier on my body once i lose some more weight, which has been the biggest part of this challenge.

i have officially been cigarette free for one month today! i feel better. i'm kind of sensitive to the smoke now, as in if someone is smoking in a closed space with me it chokes me out.. but i'm fine standing in the smoke hole at work and not lighting one up. i am commended daily for my willpower, as most of my peers know how hard of a time i had last year trying to quit.

the diet portion of my challenge is going so-so, i have successfully added many healthy things to my daily routine such as NutriVerus by Mannatech, and white chia by Salba. the month that i went without my Mannatech was a horrible, sluggish month for me. i truly realized how much of an impact this product has had on my overall energy levels, as it helps to support thyroid function, something i have had issues with all my life. as for the chia, talk about keeping you regular! i also take fish oil, and another Mannatech product called Plus, which is an amino acid supplement.

that being said, it's not all supplements that i survive off of, although i love the looks i get at lunch when i'm mixing scoops of chia seeds into my applesauce. i have been doing my best to incorporate more whole foods and fresh fruit and vegetables during my work hours. i have no problem with this at home but i do spend a lot of time on the move, and it's hard not to reach for convenience food at times. now that i have quit cigarettes i know i have the willpower. i set a date and i did it. i think now i will set a date to phase out the few processed foods that i do still consume, with a few minor exceptions. perhaps i should make this my birthday gift to myself and set the date for tuesday! 28th birthday.

on that note i know i must be doing something right, i'm turning 28 and i still get carded any time i go into a bar [even though i don't drink!] i just look that young. i had to pull out ID to buy cigarettes too, but those days are long past :)

anyways, i found something incredibly awesome that makes working out actually enjoyable, and very challenging too. a friend at work recommended the Lebert Equalizer workout system and after hearing her stories of finding muscles she never knew she had, and then watching some of the videos, i knew this was exactly what i needed.

a Canadian born product, the Equalizer system is such a simple concept yet incredibly versatile. it is simply two bars, shaped sort of similar to hurdles, that you can use to assist you in a bazillion different exercises and stretches, and very effectively use your own body weight as resistance. the fact that they are easy to maneuver makes exercises that i would typically have a hard time with much easier to perform. like push ups and pull ups for instance.. when i was young i broke my wrists and i find it incredibly painful to hold them in certain positions like flat against the floor to push up, or straight across as to grip a bar for a pull up. i won't be making my own videos any time soon to demonstrate, but i do highly recommend checking out their website and YouTube videos for workout ideas, the possibilities are endless. and man are my muscles ever sore, i've never felt the burn like this before!

i placed my order for these badboys last saturday and they were shipped by tuesday. likely because they are only a few towns over, but either way, very fast service and an excellent product. even though i am certainly sore after a routine with these things, it is not discouraging. they are just so much fun to experiment with, theres a million different ways i can challenge myself and easily focus on specific muscle groups that i want to work on. i have made time for a workout three days out of the past four and i am excited to hit them again today. the challenge now is not to overdo it, quite the switch up from trying to make time. and i don't even mind working out with these things in front of the boyfriend, when before i wouldn't do workouts while he was home. they are a confidence builder as well as a muscle builder and resistance trainer! excellent! and highly recommended for anyone who finds standard workouts too challenging and discouraging. kudos Lebert!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

drink more water!

i used to drink water obsessively, but the past couple years i have been more on to tea, juice and the occasional coffee. water can be hard to drink a lot of, some people don't stomach it well.. and it can get kinda boring. that being said, it can be difficult to get our daily quota of water intake.

i know there's those flavour packets, but i can't stand artificial sweetner, and i always found them kind of counter productive anyways.. it's not really water anymore, it's sugar-free koolaid. i think the best idea i have ever come across to get me to drink more water is to add lemon.

i've been getting more creative with it lately, using a mason jar as a shaker cup i'd add ice, frozen berries, the juice of half a lemon [fresh is always better than bottled lemon juice] and water.

the bf discovered these fruit infusion water cups at walmart and picked a couple up.. they have a screw off lid, a built in straw that can be removed to clean, a basket to hold your fruit, and a soft rubber lid for the top of the basket. all pieces come apart for easy cleaning. the basket holds the fruit together so we can get more infusions out of a batch of fruit.

adding fruit to our water greatly increases our daily water intake, especially in colder weather when the urge to drink water decreases. it also cuts back on drinking too much fruit juice, and keeps Matt [the bf] out of the sugary pop.

opting for water over other beverages is a good healthy habit to maintain. i absolutely must get enough water when i'm jogging or working out especially.. i love to rehydrate with a big glass of lemon water. i do it mostly because i enjoy the taste, but there are some health benefits to drinking lemon water as well. it helps your body to cleanse, keeps your tummy happy and helps to hydrate you better among many other things. and it's yummy! i almost finished the cup in the time that it took me to write this post..

Friday, March 29, 2013

ten days smoke free

i think one of my greatest challenges so far was to quit smoking. i was a smoker many years ago and quit for a very long time. working the midnight shift 40 to 60 hours a week while renovating a store became stressful, and cigarettes became my friends. the reno was over but the habit continued two years later. i promised myself that this would be the year that i quit.

i smoked anywhere from a half pack to almost an entire pack each day. more when i was at work, it was a part of the routine to meet up in the smoke hole. we would all suck back as many as we could before venturing back inside for a couple hours. at first i had no desire to quit, i was a happy smoker.

sometime in the beginning of winter, i got really sick. i couldn't have a cigarette if i wanted to, i couldn't inhale the smoke without choking. i was sick for weeks, and at that point i knew the cigarettes were doing far more damage than good, my calm nerves aren't worth the pain in my chest.

from that point on i had cut back drastically, but i still wanted to smoke. at work we have something called 'MSP' [my sustainability plan] on a board where you can sign up to 'sponsor' one sustainable lifestyle or another, and one of the categories is to quit smoking. so, i signed up. i like the program because it's out in the open, so your peers can challenge you to stick with your MSP. i had written that i would be smoke free by the first day of spring, which gave me a couple months to work my way down to none.

in the first couple weeks i stopped smoking after work completely. i knew already that it was affecting my running, and by going for a run almost every day it both kept me occupied, and gave me a chance to really feel how much easier it is to run if i don't have a smoke. but then i'd get to work and by first break, i was dieing for one. or two or three... i was still smoking heavy on my breaks.

once i announced my plan to quit by the first day of spring, my peers started to hold me up to it, constantly ask how i was doing with the quitting. eventually i was down to one or two smokes a day, usually at lunch time.  i continued to venture out to the smoke hole with my friends at break to get some air and enjoy the social aspect, and make it feel as though my urge to smoke was satisfied even if i wasn't the one smoking.

then the big day came. i went out for lunch and my friend handed me his pack... and i handed it right back, no thanks! i did it... i finally don't want a cigarette. it's been ten days since i had my last smoke, and i'm starting to feel better already. i still go outside for breaks as being indoors for nine hours straight isn't my idea of a good time, but i don't feel the need to light one up.. besides maybe the first five seconds of someone else lighting one. it passes quickly, and i can enjoy the rest of my break with a bottle of water or iced tea.

well, i have noticed that my writing habits are about as sparse as other good habits, which is something that i'm still working on . i find setting a deadline helps me so that i have something to work towards, and this weekend was a big one for me. i will pig out this one last time on turkey dinner, then more or less cut out the meat. now that i have my finances in order, i can start my order for Mannatech's NutriVerus which helps me significantly to keep my energy levels up and support my thyroid function. it was helping before, but i ran out of money, and in the month i wasn't taking it, i noticed a huge decline in my 'feelgood'. while using the products i feel it's such a waste to consume anything that isn't 'real food' so it's huge encouragement to stay healthy and keep up with the program.

next i'll try to cover other healthy habits that i am encorporating into my lifestyle such as supplements and snacks, and different ways to stay fit and build muscle. stay tuned!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

adding in the good stuff...

kicking bad habits isn't the easiest thing in the world to do. a better method is to add in good habits, and eventually the less beneficial habits will fade. for instance, snacking on junk food. we crave those sugars because our bodies need energy.. and we instantly connect that craving with sweets.if we get what we need from the food that we eat then we are less likely to crave things that aren't very good for us.

my eating habits are not terrible, but there's things i would like to slowly eliminate or cut back hugely on like gluten filled products such as bread and pasta. those and my dairy laden favourites chocolate and cheese, are my ultimate weaknesses. it's really hard to skip on cheese.. but it can be done.

first of all, in order to not feel the urge to snack on things i shouldn't be eating, i must start my day with a filling delicious protein shake blended with some fruit et cetera.. i had decided to try ViSalus for a while, but it is a whey based product which over time started to bother my stomach, so i switched to a product that i had tried before in the past.. a plant based protein blend and nutrient boost called VegaOne. it's a great mix with lots of energy, but i found myself still feeling snacky as i burn a lot of energy at my job. so i found something to add to it to give it more substance, one of my favourite 'superfoods' called Salba. it's basically the same thing as chia seeds, only grown with nutrient density as priority to make a top of the line health food product.

i have a bit of a sweet tooth for chocolate [what chick doesn't?!] so i had been on the hunt for something chocolaty, without being a wrecking ball on my healthy 'diet'.. i found this delicious snack at Bulk Barn by a company called Enjoy Life, it's a double chocolate granola crunch. there's other flavours too, but i wanted to try this one of course. the product is made gluten-free, vegan friendly and free of most common food allergens like soy, milk products, wheat or egg. and to my surprise, it's actually pretty tasty. lots of vitamins, iron, fibre and even protein, and still a dab of sweetness.

anyhoo.. i've more or less cut out fruit juice as well, lots of sugar even if there is no sugar added so i try to drink them occasionally. my replacement is a big icy bottle of water with fresh squeezed lemon juice and a few slices of the lemon itself. in the summer i might add a bit of honey for sweetness, but i like it as is. my taste has changed over the years, i don't feel the need for sweet drinks as much anymore. i hope to change my taste on a few other things, like hopefully not find meat appealing at all.. i try not to eat it but sometimes i'm tempted, and i kick myself for it later. pork is the ultimate enemy. not sure i could ever ditch sushi though!

off to bed.. another long busy week ahead. and hopefully gather more delicious and nutritious additions to my simple better eating agenda. peace!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

speaking of..

making a routine... keeping up... still working on it. it's been hectic, but then when isn't it? i'm trying to teach myself to manage with what little time i have, and be resourceful to maintain a good diet and exercise whenever i can. as the warmer weather starts to roll in i tend to snap back into my rucksack totin' lifestyle... even if i have a home, i barely go to it in good weather. so i suppose it's safe to say, i have evolved into a seasonal vagabond...

that being said, i can't neglect my health and diet just because i'm constantly on the move. in the winter it was actually easier to find a routine because i went home right away after work each day. i'd run in the cold because it would keep me warm.. but now that it's warming up there's so much to be done, and it's far more effort to get in the extra runs and workouts that i need to keep up with the weight loss. the diet part too, if i'm not always going home it's hard to keep up with making shakes, so i'm working on what types of foods travel well and provide what i need in terms of energy and nutrients for the day.

speaking of shakes, the ViSalus was too hard on the guts after a while, i should have known... freakin whey! so it's back to the Vega. they've improved their recipe since last i used their products, and it appears that i shouldn't have to use as much, so the cost won't be too much higher. it is truly the best protein mix i've had, the most well rounded plant based protein mix out there. i also picked up a bag of cracked chia.. i remember liking it before, and my only regret is not replenishing my supply sooner.

and although i haven't been running every day, i've still managed to be on foot all over town.. i couldn't get a bus pass all week because their card machine was down, so i hoofed it to work most days, and then spent the afternoons on our first nice days geocaching and deploying munzees all over town.. so hooked on GPS treasure hunt games! of course in my wanders i've been scoping out different resources for a mobile yet healthy lifestyle. the one and only downside to working straight days is that i have been missing the farmer's market. i only make it once every week or two, when i used to go three times a week. so i've had to find other sources of fresh and/or local food. also living out of a backpack can be inconvenient at times to have something fresh and healthy on hand, but i'll get into my resources in another post.

for now, i'll share a collage from the alley downtown that i like to check out every time i go, it's ever changing and always bright. while the trails are busy thawing and being a soupy mess, i get in some urban hikes, utilizing pedestrian pathways, boardwalks and cut-throughs to navigate the concrete jungle.. gotta keep the adventure alive!

ps.. coming soon, a list of healthy power-ups, the ones i have, the ones i'm using, and the ones i plan to get.. and i will record when and how i incorporate each into my diet and lifestyle.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

routine machine

health and fitness aren't things to be acquired, they are a way of life.

this past week has been crazy hectic, and after doing so well for so long, i fell off the routine. too many things came up, meetings and gatherings and bad weather, and i skipped out on the workouts almost entirely. i think i squeezed in a run or two, the weather has been cold and icy and messy.. giving me the winter blues. i'm not the gym membership type, i rather enjoy running outside. i can't wait to bust out the rollerblades, my favourite!

anyways.. it's easy enough to make excuses, but it catches up. i have pretty well maintained with the shakes right through however, they've actually saved me during these busy days on worrying what to have for breakfast and lunch. i'm still enjoying them which surprises me to be honest. i usually get sick of those type of things fast.

my weight hasn't changed any in the past week, i'm still ten pounds lighter than i was at the beginning of the year. i'm happy i haven't gained any back, but i'd like to make further progress. finally my weekend tomorrow after an extended work week, time to kick it back into gear and come up with a routine for the work week that can fit my schedule, no excuses.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

shake it up..

it seems meal replacement shakes are the thing these days. i've used them in the past, and then i gave up my healthy lifestyle for a while when i was distracted with other things. now that i'm getting back on track, i've decided to try something new. meal replacements are hit or miss with me, so i wanted to try this one for a while before writing about it.

i heard about it from my roommate, my bus driver, by friend's aunt, and then my manager. it had gone viral in my mind, so i had to give it a try. a company called ViSalus makes a meal replacement protein shake called Vi-Shape. i started the recommended two shakes a day to help with weight loss about 10 days ago, which may have contributed to the 8 pound loss this past month.

i got my kit in the mail, and i was excited to try it. opened the bag and noticed it smells like cake mix.. oh man, this is gonna be dangerous! haha. i tried it based on it's plain milk instructions, and i wasn't a fan. it took the addition of some fruit to the blender, and switching out 1% for almond milk and coconut water, but now i can handle the taste. i can also handle the few extra calories the additional ingredients give, as without them i feel like i am starving. i do burn a lot of energy during the day at work so i need enough to keep me going.

i'm following the guidelines for the Body by Vi 90 Day Challenge, which replaces two meals a day with shakes and small healthy snacks to give you all the energy and nutrients you need, and i finish my day with a lean healthy meal. i augment the shakes with snacks like vegetables and dip, raw fruit or cheese and whole grain crackers, and keep my dinner portion small, making sure to drink lots of water throughout the day.

i started with my first shake on February 5th, and i set my goal for 15 pounds by the end of the ninety days. so i think it's fair to say my start weight was about 198 at that point. i lost my first four pounds before the shakes [in over 2 weeks] and the second four pounds in the 11 days i have been using the Vi-Shape. i will continue to try this product for the remainder of the 90 days, and if i see results i may continue. if not, i may switch back to a blend i've tried in the past by Vega. an amazing vegan protein product, not so hot on the taste. but something that good couldn't possibly taste like cake haha.

anyhoo.. now that i'm confident i can stand to ingest this stuff for the next few months, i decided it's a good time to mention. pros: breakfast just got a million times easier.. i get up super early in the morning for work, well before the sun, and sometimes i was missing breakfast for lack of time to prepare it. throwing a few things in the blender and hitting the go button is a guaranteed breakfast.. and lunch! cons: it still has a noticeable after taste [to me, i\m picky] which i'm hoping won't become intolerable over the next while, because other than that, i'm loving this product so far.

well that's all i got for now, i tried out a more intense resistance training workout today for half an hour, and i decided to take a break to post. i think i might finish off my day with some stretches and yoga.. and pray the sun comes out long enough to soak up a few rays. ta!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

winter workout

ahh i'm bad at keeping a blog.. but at least i've been keeping on the ball more or less with my challenge. the past week has been brutally cold, so i've only made it out once to run, and it wasn't a very long one. the path is still coated in a nice thick layer of ice that may be around for another week.

i've been keeping myself busy indoors with some resistance training, and some yoga/stretches. it's important to keep a good balance between cardio and resistance workouts to keep muscles strong and metabolism movin'. i've gone through various 'phases' of working out in my past, and each time i found a new set of movements that i like. yoga is amazing for stretching, flexibility and balance, there's some pilates i enjoy, some moves from those fitness dance things, and i recently stumbled upon ChaLean which is an awesome lean muscle building program that i'm looking at getting into.

my main focus with exercise and nutrition is my metabolism. i've had lifelong struggles with a thyroid that works off and on which makes controlling my weight next to impossible [when living an average north american lifestyle]. i'm a pretty active person both at work and in my leisure, but it's absolutely necessary to challenge myself and take it to the next level to become fit again. nutrition wise also, i have to be conscious of what i eat.

i never saw myself as a runner and found that it is one of my favourite things to do. i can't wait for warmer weather! this is an exciting year. so far my average weight is down eight pounds, which is amazing for me. i never thought i'd see the numbers drop again as i've tried in the past. i was too distracted with other things in my life to focus on my own health. well it's time, and i'm starting to see and feel results already. i started slow with my workouts and my runs, and i've noticed that i'm getting stronger and i can run a further distance more comfortably than when i started. i can push myself a little further each day.

i will say it over and over.. starting slow is key to success. push yourself little by little, challenging yourself a little more when you become comfortable with your distance or repetitions achieved. well, it's time to hit the mat, as i watch the snow fly sideways over the field outside my window. stay warm!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

chasing down the sun

man it's been a while since i have spent any quality time with the sun. i was lucky enough to get a ride home from work today instead of waiting for a bus, so i got home almost an hour earlier than usual.. i hit the trail as soon as i could to catch some rays. it seems every time i have a day off the weather decides to be miserable. i suppose that's what i get for deciding to start running in January.

the light reflecting off the snow and the pines was intensely bright, that living green colour you almost forget exists in winter. however the clear skies brought quite a chill, so i had to cut it back to 8K today. not bad i say.

i have been keeping track of my weight the past couple weeks, checking it daily, and watching my average slowly decrease. for over a year no matter what i tried i couldn't get my weight below 200 pounds. now mind you i'm heavy set and have decent muscle structure beneath my cushy layer, i do some intense physical labour type jobs and have done my fair share of long distance hiking.. so i don't look 200 pounds. no one ever believes me when i tell them [they think i weigh less, thanks guys! haha], and i don't think i ever took a photo for proof. well what i'm getting at is, i stepped on the scale at 192 today, had to double check it in disbelief. really?! cool! so my average right now is around 194. not bad, about six pounds in a few weeks. here's a pic from the celly i took a couple days ago:

no doubting those feet are mine, that's for sure! i wanted to capture my highest weight, but i missed it. i'm not too concerned, i wouldn't wanna gain it back for the shot haha. anyways, losing weight is a part of my goal, but numbers aren't important. it has become apparent that my weight is affecting some of my ability, and i simply want to regain the flexibility and endurance i had before, and improve on that a bit at a time. i mean i'd love to get down to 175 [this year], i haven't seen those numbers in a couple years. i wish to weigh no less than 160-165 ever, as i like knowing i can whoop an ass if need be haha.. just kidding. but really.. i don't wanna be "skinny". i just want to weigh a little less, and feel better.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

start somewhere..

i think the hardest part of becoming fit and healthy is the very beginning, that very first step. where to start? well, do something! jumping into a huge diet and/or workout program head on can be overwhelming, and discouraging. i find it's best both physically and mentally to start small.

traditionally, my idea of a good workout would be to strap on a pack and hop a trail somewhere or take off into the unknown. i never... EVER thought i would run. in fact, i could quote myself in the past on numerous occasions saying specifically that i don't run haha.. and here i am.

i'm not a fast runner, not even a little bit. i run slow on purpose. there's a word for that.. google.. oh hey! lookit that, an article that says what i just said, and focused on running.. it's called walk, slog, run; making your way to your first race. oh and the word i was looking for was slogging haha. i'm pretty sure it has some other meaning, but that about describes my pace. check that link though, it describes why it's important to ease into running and how to get started.

today i made it 14 kilometers in a little less that two hours. slow it may be, but the time doesn't much concern me. i like to challenge myself to go a further distance, and train myself to do so more comfortably. i'm pretty new to running if you can't tell, but i do have a good history of long distance trekking under my belt. my first 'run' a couple weeks ago was 7k, and i slowed to a walk pretty often.

each day i tacked on a bit of distance, and now i can go twice as far as when i started.. and, i can do more running [err, slogging?] and less walking. a lot less... and i'm kind of shocked by this. i remember thinking i couldn't run, i remember being unwilling to even try. i'm only just beginning, i wonder how much i can improve into the spring. apparently this is the way to do it, slowly ease into running, doing only what you can, and challenging yourself each run to do better.

i made it a couple bridges further along the canal than i did on my first run, so i snapped a pic of the bridge as i passed it on my way back. the weather was a part of why the run seemed so easy i'm sure, it was fifteen degrees [in January?!] when usually this time of year it's below zero. celsius that is. as if i wasn't already excited for spring.. it's supposed to go back to normal winter temperatures tomorrow. i'll still hit the trail, but i don't know if i'll make the same distance. the ice makes things difficult for running, especially in my shoes haha.

i started small on the diet side of things too. i don't eat a lot of junk to begin with, too broke for that! but being broke can be cause for a not-very-nutritious diet. to make sure i'm at least getting the goods i started using a nutritional supplement by Mannatech called NutriVerus . i have tried other vitamin and supplement products in the past which i will write about, but so far i'm liking this one. also i really cut back on things with gluten in them, and when i get a craving for fruit juice or something sweet i make a big icy bottle of lemon water, and it quenches my thirst without all that fruit sugar.

 that's it for today, later i'll blabber on some more about starting small, different ways to stay motivated, and other types of exercise. and of course how i'm doing with my little 'get healthy' venture, blah blah.. goodnight interwebs!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

in the long run..

the weather was beautiful this morning.. just long enough to push out an extra 3 kilometers on my run. what a good feeling. i can't wait until spring.. the northern stretch of the canal path reopens a week after my birthday. hopefully someday i will be able to run the whole thing. could you imagine, me? a marathon runner? phhh! HA! well i suppose anything is possible.

besides getting in my daily run, i had other motivations to get further along the trail.. i'm hooked on treasure hunt games! i've been a geocacher for a couple years, which is lots of fun.. but i do far less caching in the winter. i recently found a game that is similar but a lot easier to play in the snow as you are not looking for a hidden container [mostly], but a QR code that you 'capture' to collect points. it's called Munzee, and all you need to play is an andriod or iphone and the free app... and some treasure hunting/ninja skills.

when i checked the map i noticed there were some munzees hidden a little further down the path, and today was a perfect day to tread the extra distance. i had the day off, so running out of daylight wasn't an issue. i can't wait for spring when the sun is up longer than ten hours a day. anyways, i've ordered a bunch of game pieces myself as further motivation to push a little extra each day.

 i made it a little further than the museum, but i was sure to stop and climb the stairs and check the view from the platform. that and... find another game piece! haha.. yeah, hooked.

i loved this warning... bumps ahead. and they are to be expected on the road to better health.. no one said it was going to be easy. i haven't had a cigarette at all on my two days off. let's see if i can make it through my shift tomorrow without having a single one. going for a run makes me appreciate my lung capacity more, and i never have a craving when i'm up there on the trail. yet standing at the bus stop makes me want one! ahh well, i'm almost there. alright folks, time for a hemp protein fruit smoothie.. mmmmm.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

the broken toe.

many moons ago, i did what may have been the one and only thing i ever regret, i broke my big toe. and it's not the fact that i broke it that i regret so much as how.. i got angry. and instead of kicking the person i was angry at, i took it out on an inanimate object that had no give. silly move. not only that but i jammed it so hard that all of the joints were compressed, and for years after i had nothing but aches in the toe knuckles, and no feeling in the outer half of the toe itself.

a lover of barefoot living, i was disappointed that i had to wear shoes more often to protect the toe with no feeling. i would hit it off of things or get it caught when i trip around town. when hiking i would wear shoes or sandals with hard toe caps [keens], but that still had flexible soles. it wasn't until Vibram came up with the fantastical idea of 'toe shoes' as i call them, or Fivefingers as they were so appropriately named, that i found my happy medium. these are now my everyday footwear besides at work [must wear steel toes, yuck!] or in the deep chill of winter.

...but! i have discovered that with the addition of toe socks, i can wear them out in the cold, as long as i keep a good pace, my feet stay toasty warm. and thanks to my awesome parents who decided to get me a pair of froggy toe socks as 'tradition' every year since before i can remember, i have lots to choose from.

anyhoo.. what i was getting to with the toe and the shoes... i have been wearing them for a couple years now, and slowly, 3 years after the injury, i started to get feeling back in my toe. pain, lots of pain at first, but feeling no less. i think that returning to the natural motion of walking sans shoes, it has allowed my toes to fully bend like they're supposed to, and i regained some flexibility in the joint. if ever i go wearing boots all day for weeks at a time [winter], my foot becomes stiff and the joint aches more than it would usually. it doesn't ache constantly anymore which is nice. i hope that if i keep the joints flexible by continuing to run 'barefoot', i will prolong my ability to walk without intense pain in my foot.

it was another cold one today, the canal was finally frozen over. i could definitely feel the cold under my feet up on the path. i'm finding now that i can run for longer periods at a time without losing my breath. the [mostly] quitting smoking is paying off. i still have a butt every once in a while, but it's certainly no pack a day. i can focus more on making distance and enjoying the view instead of catching my breath every few minutes. speaking of view..'s kinda strange to see ice on the canal anymore. it wasn't quite cold enough last winter, and it was a sight to behold when i noticed that rocks had been thrown upon the ice without smashing through. wow, a real winter, sorta! well i'm glad i started running just in time to enjoy it:)

Sunday, January 20, 2013

a creative path.

walking, running, cycling and generally being active is food for thought. literally. i noticed this at work long ago when sitting in meetings would cause me to draw a blank.. i'd come up with some of my best ideas for my job when i'm out there doing all the physically demanding parts, working up a sweat.

so i'd work hard all day, and come home and try to write or brainstorm for the coming planting season, and i'd just blank out. when i dropped everything and decided i will start running, i noticed some changes in me immediately.

first of all, for the most part the entire time i am running, i have a bit of a smile on my face. it makes me happy to be out there on the canal path, in the fresh air and the sun. it makes me happy that i finally found the strength to fight for my health.

secondly, i have more energy. i don't know if that makes any sense... i'd go to work all day which is like a workout in itself most days, and then come home exhausted, too tired to be social or clean around the house. when i started running after work, i felt like i had more energy when i got home. my muscles hurt a little more at the end of the day, which makes rest time more worthwhile.

that brings me to point three.. better rest. whether it's the fresh air or burning off those extra calories, it makes me sleep better at night. a deeper sleep that is.. i don't wake up at the drop of a pin after a good run and a soothing shower... where i mull over all the good ideas i had on my run.

so yeah, that creativity.. while i'm up there running, moving to a rhythm, i come up with some pretty good ideas. i got thinking on how to rearrange my space to make better use of it. and not only do i have these great ideas, but i have time to think through how i will execute them, and then the energy to actually make it happen! oh yes this is great. anyways.. it's a new day, and it's about time i get something else accomplished. ta for now..

Saturday, January 19, 2013

good health starts at home.

it's absolutely true that a healthy environment is important for a healthy body and mind. last night instead of going for a run, i decided to use all that energy to start rearranging my homespace. this involved moving every piece of furniture in my room, and thus was a workout in itself.

i've always been a fan of community living, from hostels and communes to rooming houses, and cramming as many people as can comfortably fit into a given dwelling. or maybe i just can't help it, no matter where i go a crowd ends up coming with me. anyhoo, living in a group has it's challenges socially and spacially, which can cause stress over time if not addressed.

there's five of us [and a little chihuahua] living in a 2 bedroom townhome. it's not as bad as it sounds.. my friend and i share the master bedroom, it's huge, half of the top floor. then there's a couple across the hall, and a dude in the basement. there is plenty of space for all to sleep and have company, but now that i'm inside more often [yay winter] i'm noticing that there is little space to just 'be' for me, which i was spoiled with at the previous house.

on my last run i was thinking about how we could better use the space we have so that i could create an indoor area to stretch and exercise. our room was set up more or less like a dorm room, a bed on either side, shelves against the wall and a row of furniture down the middle to divide the space. we decided to move pretty much everything to free up some space at one end of the room.

..and i already feel better. it will take a few days now to put things back together, but it feels good to organize and take inventory of my belongings. i have a bunch of useful things that i forget about simply because they were not easy to access. art supplies, sewing crafting and jewellery making stuff.. things i thought i lost a while ago haha.. yeah this is good. spring cleaning is here early at the townhouse.. hopefully the weather follows!

over the next few weeks, i will be focusing on transforming this room into somewhere not only just to sleep, but somewhere to relax [besides in bed], somewhere to stretch, to sit and read, to create, to meditate, somewhere we enjoy. this will help to relieve the stresses of the day and to be productive in the process. eliminating stress and proper rest are important for overall health. and expressing creativity makes me happy which also matters! ahh so obvious, and often overlooked. well, i've got lots to do so, that's all for now. yeay blog!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

my first run.

wow it's been years since i've run for the sake of running. when i think of what type of 'athlete' i am, i think of hiking. my idea of a good workout is strapping on a pack loaded with gear and hitting the trail for a few days. in fact, everywhere i go i'm carrying a pack. yesterday, for the first time in a very long time, i left the house with nothing but my house key and my ipod. what a liberating feeling.

it was pretty cold yesterday, windy too. luckily the sun was out to keep me motivated. as soon as i got home from work i suited up for the chill. a good few layers on top, my favourite shpants, and i even busted out the toesocks so i could wear my favourite footwear, the vibram fivefingers. maybe not very stylish, but definitely maximum comfort and flexibility. the temperature was just above freezing, so i had to make sure i kept a good pace to stay warm.

well i'm not the best runner in the world to begin with, and i sure am rusty. i started out mostly with a speedwalk, listening to k-os on my ipod to keep a rhythm. as soon as i was loose enough i'd speed up into a steady jog, and focus on the muscles i'm using to move me forward. as i become winded, i slow back down into a speed walk to cool off for the next dose of jogging. since the temperature is hovering around zero degrees, it's important not to let myself become soaked in sweat to avoid the dangers of hypothermia.

i feel blessed to live so close to such a beautiful path. the welland canal parkway is just a few minutes walk from my house, and most of it is open all year. it's about 52 kilometers long, and runs from port weller to port colborne. it comes with it's very own community of regulars. i've already noticed familiar faces as i usually hit the path about the same time of day.

since it's Canada in january the sun sets pretty early, which means by the time i get to the turn-around point, it's almost completely dark. i'm excited for the spring months, by the time april rolls around i should be in better shape and able to go further to enjoy more of the path in the light of day. but for now, here's the view where i stop to turn around..

it's a pretty cool spot just under the skyway. i stopped at the bench to stretch it out before heading back to the homebase. on my second run today i made better time. spent more time at an actual jog rather than just speedwalking most of the way. as i build my strength and regain my lung capacity i will be able to push it further. for now i only push myself just a little past my comfort zone before easing off. i already feel better about myself, and get a better nights rest. so far so good.

time to thrive.

time for change... time to thrive. i'm sick of just surviving, i can do better than that. my health has been declining for years. the past year put me under a lot of pressure and stress, which just added to the dis-ease. well, i'm finally sick of it; that is, sick enough to take action.

i'm especially sick of being 'overweight'. i've had problems with my thyroid since i was very young, which doesn't help. i have lost weight in the past, it fluctuates sometimes very quickly. i've always had food sensitivities as well, which i have been ignoring somewhat. partly because i'm broke and eat what is available, and partly because i lost interest in maintaining my health.

i'm a big fan of Brendan Brazier, athlete, nutrition consultant and creator of award-winning plant based nutrition products. he also created a program called thrive forward. his straight-forward lessons stress the importance of adding good things to your diet and lifestyle as opposed to subtracting the 'bad' things right away and expecting the good habits to stick. eventually once you add enough goodness you leave less room for unhealthy habits. i like his approach to good health and fitness, and will likely reference his lessons often as i apply them into my own lifestyle.

anyhoo, this is my online journal that i have created to keep track of my progress, and publicize my efforts. this will help [i hope] to keep me motivated and on track.


-lose weight
-gain stamina
-improve sleep
-feel better.

one thing i have now that i have never had before: confidence. i have always wanted to be healthier, but i never believed that i could do it. i never believed that i could overcome my unfortunate genetic flaws [thanks mom] and be healthy. out of my list of five goals, the last is most important.

i already have a jumpstart on the challenge.. i have pretty well quit smoking which is a big deal for me. when i worked the graveyard shift i picked up the habit for the second time. i was smoking almost a pack a day. over the course of 2012 i cut back to half a pack, and in the past few weeks i'm down to only a cigarette or two a day. i didn't go out for two smoke breaks today, and gave away the rest of my pack. tomorrow is a new day.