Category Archives: Challenges
Hey bloggie friends!! Well, I was watching Food Inc online. But I apparently maxed out my streaming time, so I thought I’d take a little break to blog :)
Thanks for all the wonderful feedback on my Oatmeal & Beauty for Dummies post! First, I should add my mom commented that the typical oat-to-liquid ratio is 1:2, which is true. I do 1:3 because I cook them slowly and like them suuuuper creamy.
Secondly, all you straight hair pros out there gave my Chi straightener a thumbs up! Yay!! :D Some of you asked what my hair is like naturally, here’s an au naturelle pic I tracked down – naturally styled and my natural colour.
Please excuse the mega awkward look in this photo. I’m an awkward person in real life, and it apparently translates onto film. I also cut my friend/bandmate/co-host out of this picture because I didn’t know if he is ready for his blog debut yet. Soon though, right Billy? :P
Okay, so if I had blogged yesterday, I would have said my whole-body weight workout was a little lacklustre. But the great thing about typing it up the next day is that I can tell you I’m sore! So I must have done somethin’ right!
|Minutes||Speed – MPH||Incline|
|Barbell deadlift||50 lbs||10||3|
|Exercise – Alternating||Weight||Reps||Sets|
|Assisted pull-up||75 lbs||8||3|
|Chest fly||15 lbs each||10||3|
|Exercise – Alternating||Weight||Reps||Sets|
|Good morning||40 lbs||12||3|
|Barbell upright row||20 lbs||12||3|
|Exercise – Alternating||Weight||Reps||Sets|
|Single leg romanian deadlift||15 lbs each||10||3|
|Seated cable row||55 lbs||10||3|
|Exercise – Alternating||Weight||Reps||Sets|
|Medicine ball squat||11 lbs||15||3|
|Russian twist||11 lbs||30||3|
|Lying medicine ball throw||11 lbs||15||3|
|Pullover to ball crunch||11 lbs||15||3|
Yeah. Looking back I can see why I’m hobbling today. I would also like to add that I could have sworn I saw some shoulder rippling during those upright rows. Yesss! That’s why I’m a strong advocate of wearing shorts and a tank-top to the gym. They allow you to see all your muscles, instead of hiding them up in sweats and baggy tees. Wearing nice workout clothes can be a huge confidence booster!
I had another decent cold breakfast at work after…
- 1/2 cup cottage cheese
- 1/2 cup yogurt
- 2 tbsp Grape Nuts cereal
- 1 tbsp almond butter
- 1/2 scoop vanilla protein powder
- 1 tbsp blueberry jam
The tiny bit of Grape Nuts left to soak overnight made for a wonderful texture!
Also wonderful, this week’s Apple Cinnamon protein bar.
Let’s see… I also stunk up my office again with boiled eggs.
Let’s skip everything else and get to today, shall we?
Good thing I went to bed at a decent time last night, because my body clock still kicked in this morning. Left me lots of time to make a beautiful breakfast before step class. PB&J Oatmeal Sandwich.
- 1/2 cup rolled oats
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1/2 cup egg whites (whisked into pot)
- cinnamon, stevia
- blueberry jam
- peanut butter
To “sandwich” it, I pour half the oatmeal in the bowl, top it with half of the PB and jam, then layer the rest on top. Makes for a little PB&J “pocket” in the centre ;)
Unfortunately, it was an “off: day for me at BodyStep. It started badly after the first song when I noticed I had a wobbly step. I had to swap it out for another one, but it left me a little off my game for the rest of class. We did a lot of new songs with moves I’ve never done, which means more time spent fumbling instead of pushing myself. Lastly, I’m sore!! Did I mention that already? :P My shoulders and hamstrings are beat.
Treated myself to a hot lunch, one of the great things about weekends.
I had a banana I wanted to use up, so instead of making protein bars for this coming week, I made Low Carb Banana Bread.
- 1 cup ground flaxseed
- 1 cup wheat-bran
1/4-1/2 cup pure pumpkin (depending how moist you like your bread- I like mine really moist so I used 1/2 cup)1 mushed banana
- 1 cup liquid egg substitute
- 1/2 cup hot water
- 1 tbsp each baking powder and cinnamon
2 tsp pure stevia extract4 packets of stevia
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a loaf pan with nonstick baking spray.
- Combine all ingredients.
- Pour into baking pan, bake for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Of course, my hot lunch then had me craving a cold supper.
Fatty February Wrap-Up & Then Some
Seeing as tomorrow is the last day of the month, I wanted to combine all my thoughts about my Fatty February challenge. For about four weeks, I’ve been consciously increasing the amount of healthy fats in my diet, with hopes improving my hair, skin and hormonal levels.
It occurred to me today that my results with Fatty February may be a little skewed. You see, I also went off the birth control pill at the end of January, and I’m realizing that what could have been a side-effect of increasing my dietary fat, could also be a side-effect of going off the pill.
For example, one thing I noticed is that my belly pouf shrank. Apparently water-bloat can disappear when you go off the pill, so who knows if it’s related.
As for satiety, I think increasing my fats may have improved it. I did a lot less munching this past month, especially at night. Perhaps it’s because I felt more satisfied with the food I was eating?
I haven’t noticed a huge difference in my skin. My face is still the same, my arms are still pretty dry, and the rash on my legs is only slightly better. Again, it’s hard to judge my skin now that I’m not taking a daily dose of hormones!
Finally, my nails grew at lightning speed. This was probably the thing I noticed most. I could barely keep up with them!
I can say for certainty, that I will be continuing a diet high in fat. Shooting for a 30-30-30 carb-protein-fat ratio worked really well for me this month, and I would like to keep doing it. Every body is different in terms of macronutrients, so perhaps this is just the one that works for me :) I’ll be sure to do more check-ins as I notice things.
As a side note, Caitlin wrote a wonderful post today on the “Big Birth Control Question” that I encourage you women and men to check out. Some interesting conversation in the comments of that post. I can tell you I was on the pill for four years and felt myself starting to drag towards the end. I hope going off it will get my hormones back to where they’re supposed to be, and I’m looking forward to being back to my body’s natural cycle. To be perfectly honest though, I’m a little weary about what will (or won’t) happen!
Okay, that’s enough getting personal for one evening. Hope you’re all enjoying your weekend! I’m off to finish Food Inc now…
As I mentioned yesterday, it is one of my goals for this month to get more fat in my diet. You would think that the amount of nut butter I eat would be enough. But it’s not. In fact, some days, I get around only 20g, which in my opinion is too low.
Part of this is because I buy a lot of low-calorie foods, which in turn are low-fat. Dairy and lean meats are good examples of this. Another reason is that I just gravitate towards foods that aren’t fatty. Lunch everyday for me is typically a tuna or turkey pita with a side of raw veggies or fruit. It’s what I usually crave, and the thought of a high-fat meals don’t really appeal to me.
Most importantly though, the number one reason why I don’t eat a lot of fat is because I have a digestive intolerance to it. Foods like avocadoes, olive oil and butter make my stomach literally churn. Guacamole will have me keeled over for hours in pain. The idea of an oil fondue is like pure torture to me.
As a result of this, my skin, fingernails and hair are in awful shape. My nails are brittle, grow slowly, and often chip and peel apart. My skin is actually cause for concern. It is not only dry and flaky, but my shins and forearms now have rashes and scabs from scratching it unconsciously. It’s gotten to the point where I’m embarrassed to wear shorts to the gym, and will probably have to see a dermatologist.
As we all know by now, fat is actually good for you. Studies are now showing that even the uproar over saturated fat may have been a bit premature. Trans fat is really the only thing I do not eat. Ever. There’s also monounsaturated and polyunsaturated, and the coveted omega 3’s, with the frowned upon omega 6’s. At this point, I don’t really care what monopolyomega fat it is, I just need any fat I can get!
When I started increasing my protein intake waybackwhen, I did it by making sure I got a protein in every single meal and snack. If I missed one, then I would make sure I made up for it the next time I ate. This frame of thinking got me from eating 70g of protein a day to 130g of protein a day, and now I don’t even have to think about it, it’s second nature. It’s this line of thinking that I’m going to apply to fats as well. With each meal and snack I’m going to ask myself “where is the fat in this meal?”
So, what will I be using as fats?
Oh, sorry, this is a food blog, right.
Better? :P I love salmon, why I don’t eat more of it, I don’t know.
In the same vein, I’ll also be eating more sardines.
This is the one that scares me the most as my tummy pains are often directly linked to olive oil. But like butter, I’m going to experiment with using just small amounts of olive oil, as well as sesame oil, canola oil, safflower oil, walnut oil, coconut oil, etc. Well, okay, maybe just one or two of those. Cooking oils are expensive!!
I can pretty much throw a tablespoon of flax in anything and not even know it’s there! Helloooo omega 3.
I’m a volume eater, so a small handful of nuts never sounds as good as a big bag of fresh veggies to me. But, while dense, nuts are also incredibly filling and an easy grab-and-go snack for work. I’d also like to include more nuts in my dishes, like adding some roasted pecans to my veggies, or topping salads with sliced almonds.
This is the most obvious, and my current main source of fat. It’s that big dollop of nut butter on my oatmeal that keeps me going all morning!
Yolks are your friend :) Also, Vitamin D is very important this time of year!
Did you know tofu is high in fat? It’s a new discovery for me – and a good one! Bonus: this is high in calcium too ;)
Not that low-fat crap. But the real, full-flavoured good stuff. I’m licking my lips at the thought of the above brie.
Another ingredient that I can add to things to enhance flavour. I’m already sticking them in all my salads!
Maybe. This is another food that is directly linked to digestive issues for me. But I can eat the small amounts in sushi, so maybe a slice here and there won’t hurt.
So how did I do with my fat intake today??
Well first I had to work up the appetite! :P
Hit up the gym for a treadmill and weight lifting sesh.
|Minutes||Speed – MPH||Incline|
|Romanian deadlift to row||50 lbs||8-12||3|
|Reverse lunge with forward reach||15 lbs ea||8-12||2|
|Dumbbell shoulder press||15 lbs ea||8-12||2|
|Wide-grip lat pulldown||55 lbs||8-12||3|
|Bulgarian split squat||15 lbs||8-12||2|
|YTWL||7.5 lbs ea||5 ea letter||2|
|Barbell 21’s||20 lbs||21||3|
|Cable Pushdown||30 lbs||8-12||3|
Another awesome weight workout! I kinda made this one up as I went along too. I gotta thank Janetha for the Barbell 21’s. It reminded me a lot of what we do in Body Pump. Curls kill my forearms and wrist though.
Then it was off to work where I enjoyed a fatty breakfast ;)
My fatty lunch featured a smoked salmon sandwich.
With laughing cow, mustard, capers, sprouts and romaine. Baby carrots and sugar snap peas for extra munchables on the side.
Dinner came in two courses, because I was starving! While I waited for the main course to bake, I threw together a garden salad with balsamic vinaigrette.
Those are pickles on top btw ;) Normally I come home starving and that’s when a lot of the major munching damage is done. But having a small salad while dinner cooks curbs that immediate hunger and gets some veggies in me :)
Oooh, and the main course was worth waiting for!
Mollie Katzen’s Spinach Ricotta Pie from the Moosewood Cookbook. Except I skipped the crust and de-vegetarianized it by adding ham.
After dinner I did something I haven’t in a while – I went to yoga! Specifically, Body Flow at my gym. The times they offer it aren’t always the best for my sometimes wacky work schedule. But it was well worth the trip tonight. This release has some good tunes, and the twisting song is full of my favourite mix of warriors :)
After yoga, I decided to continue the relaxation with Deb’s hot chocolate smoothie.
This time I added 1/4 tsp each guar and xanthan gum as well a 1 1/2 cups hot water, 1 scoop chocolate protein powder, 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder, 1 tbsp splenda. The extra gums made it so much thicker! Check out this consistency!
It was amazing.
Total fat for the day: 67g! Heck yes!
Now that we have the appetizing food out of the way, I’m going to share some “before” pics of my awful, awful skin. If anyone out there can diagnose it for me, please feel free! I’m prone to stress-induced eczema, so I’m hoping this is related to it and can easily be fixed. Here’s the worst part, my legs:
And my hands:
You can see my lifting calluses under my fingers! I forgot to take a picture of my nails, but they’re really embarrassing too. Being a guitar and piano player, I’ve always kept them short and ignored.
Hopefully increasing my fat intake will help some of my skin issues among many other things. Fat is also quite satiating for me, so I’m interested to see how it affects my hunger levels!
Question of the Day: Will you be participating in Fatty February with Emily and I? What are some of your favourite ways to incorporate fat into your diet?
Erm, Happy Monday? Or Tuesday, if that’s when you’re reading this. Then I’m sorry, because Tuesdays suck more than Mondays. Is it Waffle Wednesday yet??
So I’m not 100% better today. My body is still producing snot at a high rate. But the rest of me feels okay, so I got up in the minus million celsius weather to go to spin class this morning. Not gonna lie, it was hard to do with a cold! There were a few other people blowing their noses and hacking up gross stuff along with me. I kinda felt like we had a secret hardcore bond, and felt each other’s pain after each brutal hill climb. I also burned 499 calories in 60 minutes. What’s up with that?
Showered at the gym and went straight to work. Got there at 7:50 am!! I kinda like the quiet hours before everyone arrives. I get to enjoy a quiet breakfast and take my time preparing for the day ahead.
Breakfast was another go at overnight oats. Well, kinda.
- 200g plain yogurt (3/4 cup?)
- 1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
- lots and lots of cinnamon
- 1/2 tbsp shredded coconut
- 1 tbsp sliced almonds
- 1/3 cup coconut chia granola
The applesauce helped and made the consistency much better! Still didn’t keep me full though.
Luckily, I had a PB&J homemade granola bar to keep me going till lunch.
These are TAS-TEE. But the consistency is off. The jam added more moisture than I anticipated so they’re a little on the gooey side.
Lunch was as boring as boring gets.
Tuna salad (with capers) in a pita and a naval orange. Snore.
I was hungry again soon after and dug into my next snack early.
Yoplait Source muesli yogurt cup and a Kashi blackberry cereal bar.
And a touch of snobbery.
Although, I guess the classiness is brought down by the fact that I drank it out of a can.
This snack powered me through the next four hours! Not bad eh? I couldn’t help it, I got lost in the aisles of the grocery store after work. Happens every time. Came home to a quick dinner featuring this:
Turned into this…
My evening snack was another bar (I try to limit myself to one a day), but I just had to try this new flavour!
Okay, the Kashi Dark Mocha Almond chewy granola bar is a “new to me” flavour.
I really liked it! I could smell the coffee flavour as soon as I opened the package (which is saying a lot, as I’m really stuffed up). It was still kinda bland like all the chewy bars are, but hey, you can never go wrong with chocolate and coffee. Except when there’s chocolate chips on top. They always fall off and melt in the most unfortunate of places.
I also just realized that of the six meals I ate today, only two of them didn’t contain oats. At least I’m getting lots of grains?
Goals For February
So this is something I used to do every month, but took January off. My goal for January was just to start my new job and “survive” the month. Besides a few close calls, I’d say I did that :) So what’s in store for February you ask??
1. Work out no more than 6 hours a week. You see, I have a bad habit of doing long ass workouts every single day. Then I get run down and sick and have to take a whole weekend off doing nothing to recover (ahemlastweekend). So my goal for this month is to find a balance between reaching my fitness goals and accidentally overtraining.
2. Say yes more. I’m awful for making up lame excuses to get out of doing things. This month, I’m going to say yes more when people ask me to do something. Hopefully I’ll get some new wonderful experiences out of it!
3. Make more leftovers. I have a tendency to make a lot of single-serving meals. Now that I have a microwave at work, it would be pretty sweet to just grab leftovers instead of making a big lunch every night.
4. Eat more fat. This is a big one and I’m going to dedicate a whole post to it tomorrow. A lot of people mentioned in my last post that they too need more fat in their diets. Well Emily and I have decided to initiate a little challenge to make it a Fatty February ;) Our hair and skin will all be shining by the end of it!
There ya go. Not really ground breaking goals compared to some of my old ones. But I know I can accomplish every single one of these. And they’re all important in making the next month not only run more seamlessly, but be more fun!!
Question of the Day: What are your goals for the month? Big or small, write them down. I’ll be checking in every Sunday!