Thursday, 31 January 2013

Goal 9. Eat Indian Food

This week we finally tried Indian food!

(Please ignore the awful photography as we were having camera issues.) 

I know, I know, it seems crazy that we have never done this before. I agree with you! We tried to go on my birthday (right before Christmas) but Snow-pocalypse got in the way and we ended up in a small cafĂ© in Wetaskiwin. So this week I decided to go for Birthday Round 2 and we went ice skating and out for Indian food. 

It was a super fun, ridiculously hilarious good night with my friends. The food was great, and I LOVE indian spices. They are so good, and nothing was too hot for me. It was an adventure into a previously unknown food culture, and hopefully one we will keep making! 

Have you explored a new-to-you food recently?

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Goal 66. Workout 3x/week: A start

So as you guys know my latest goal that I am tackling is working out 3x/week. Which is actually a huge goal in its own right, and hopefully will help me get on track to my other goal of losing 20 lbs. Last week I started off with a great start, successfully working out 3 times and feeling pretty great. However, for this week, this morning's workout was my first. Which means I can only hope to manage two. Disappointing.

Here are some of my barriers to working out and how I am learning to manage them. Hopefully you will find something similar that you experience and perhaps you can give me some suggestions!

1. Physical fatigue & soreness - I honestly haven't worked out at all in the 6 months prior to last week. This is mostly due to a new job that has involved as lot more physical labour and subsequent injuries. Before I started my workout I went to my family doctor, a physiotherapist, had massage therapy, and saw an exercise therapist. This means two things for me:
       1. I am sure that I am as healthy as I can be.
       2. I have no excuse not to exercise, as it is the only thing that can help now.
I have also been talking to some ladies at work who has lost a significant amount of weight in the last year and one of them was really honest and just said "when I first started, I took a lot of advil." For me at lot is 200mg (2 tabs), which I take in the mornings when needed, about 2 times per week. More than that, and I would probably have an injury and need to take some rest.

2. What to do? - I am no personal trainer. But honestly, there is no lack of information available. Internet, television and good 'ol books are chock full of exercise information. So its no longer about just finding the information, its about filtering the information so that you are doing what your body needs more, and at an appropriate level. Here is where I am glad I got to go to the exercise therapist. She gave me a list of stretches to do, based on my body and how I was feeling. Since I told her that I had a treadmill she gave me instructions for how to actually use it (what? after not working out for 6 months I can leap right into high intensity hills for 45 minutes? shocker!). She also gave me a resistance band and I have added large soup cans as weights. This is all that I have, and therefore all I can use. Well except for different height tables, walls and chairs. You can do a lot with these things.

3. Ok, so is the stretches and walking enough? - Actually I have added some strength exercises, which I found on the internet. I simply focus on one body part (arms, core, back, legs) after my walking. I am starting slow, with exercises I have done in the past (trainers at gyms, workout routines I have done before, my old gym teacher). If something doesn't feel right, or I can't get myself into the right position I do the best I can. Sometimes I can't get as deep into the move as I would like so I look for ways to mimic the exercise (such as resting my foot on a table during a quad stretch vs. holding my foot with my hand). Or I just skip the exercise for now. Pushing myself too hard can result in injury.

4. So how do I know this little amount is working? - Because I can feel it. I have the worst feeling while I am exercising. I feel like I am ripping my body apart and I am never going to recover, but let me tell you, last week when I was exercising 3 times I actually felt great. I had more energy, and actually wanted to do stuff. This week? Well I didn't not exercise on Monday or Tuesday because I had too much energy.

I hope that I'll be able to keep those good feelings up as I keep going this month, and try to keep on exercising. My secret weapon = good tv shows while doing it! It really helps to motivate me and keep me distracted from staring at the clock. And of course good music always helps everything.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Goal 79. Eat vegetarian for one week

Last week the challenge was to go 100% percent vegetarian for a whole week. No meat at all for 7 days!

And we did it. Well, except for a few slip-ups. One was realizing that we still had tons of leftover sandwich meat and the other was a piece of ham on an eggs benedict. The whole point of this challenge was to be more aware of and careful with what we eat, so I wasn't about to throw these things out, and I had pretty much forgotten that ham came on an eggs benedict until I had eaten half of it. Haha!

There was one night where I really, really didn't want to have salad for dinner. But since my husband had prepped everything we had it anyways..... And I was wrong. It was good, and equally as filling and satisfying as meat. In fact, it was probably more satisfying because I didn't feel like I had eaten a brick afterwards. Other than that one night we didn't have any problems missing meat. And since we were relying on more veggies we actually were getting our fair share! Normally we lack a little on eating our veggies, so this was a good change.

If you're wondering what we did eat, here's a quick break-down:

Hard-boiled eggs and pumpkin muffins for each breakfast
Black bean quesadillas and sour cream
Megadarra with Naan bread and tzatsiki
Vegetarian Chef's Salad (it had chickpeas!)
Marinara Spaghetti & Caesar Salad
and a Layered Greek Dip (for dinner!)

We obviously weren't starving. And as a final nod to vegetables we topped the week off with a delicious carrot cake!

Have you ever tried a week without something you normally include in your diet?

Friday, 4 January 2013

Goal 14. Read 20 books

Hello internet! You know that feeling when you know you should call someone, and you don't, and then you feel like you've left it too long, and then you are scared to phone? That's how I feel about my blog right now. It is hard to get back into the groove of writing. But I am excited because I have completed a big goal, and have a big goal challenge coming up! So lots of things are happening.

Before I get too far ahead of myself, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year everyone! I hope that you had a good time, and even if it wasn't perfect, it was perfectly acceptable to you. Yesterday we finished packing up and tidying out house (pine needles were EVERYWHERE and we had a fake tree!!), and began getting back to our routine. My house feels a little empty and spartan right now, but I am sure in time it will get cluttered back up!

So the goal that I have accomplished most recently is to finish reading 20 books! Instead of reviewing each one individually I am just going to do a few favourites. A lot of these books were just re-reads from my library. So here are all the books I have read for the last 28 months:

  1. Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling
  2. Septimus Heap: Magyk by Angie Sage
  3. Septimus Heap: Flyte by Angie Sage
  4. Septimus Heap: Physik by Angie Sage
  5. Simplify Your Life by Elaine St. James
  6. The Indwelling by Jenkins/Lahaye
  7. The Mark by Jenkins/Lahaye
  8. Organized Simplicity by Tsh Oxenreider
  9. Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder
  10. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon
  11. Getting Things Done by David Allen
  12. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  13. Mocking Jay by Suzanne Collins
  14. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
  15. The Behavior Gap by Carl Richards
  16. One Year to an Organized Financial Life by Regina Leeds
  17. The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande
  18. The Eat Clean Rules by Tosca Reno
  19. By the Shores of Silver Lake by Laura Ingalls Wilder
  20. The Simarillion by JRR Tolkien
Septimus Heap series: This was a series that I picked up at my parents house, and then discovered it belonged to my sister. It is a children's book about the same level as Harry Potter, and also involves a young wizard. However the rules of this magical world are totally different. It was certainly not a challenging book to read, but it provided enough entertainment to enjoy reading through this first trilogy and I would be happy to read the rest of the books. 

Organized Simplicity: Written by Tsh of Simple Mom (which is a blog I love, even though I am not the primary audience), this book is basically a primer on becoming more minimalist and walks step-by-step through the home giving tips and ideas to declutter your life and then clean using green methods. If the book was followed correctly your house would be ship-shape, perfectly tidy and you would have a bunch of stuff ready for a garage sale. I used it as inspiration rather than actually following the plan. I also got it from the library, which worked well since I think much of this information is very straight forward and probably doesn't require re-reading. 

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time: This book is very interesting as it is written in the voice of a boy with autism. There has been some criticism that it is not a very accurate account of living with autism, but as someone with no experience dealing with this disorder, it is a interesting look into the different ways that people can process the world. It is definetly something I would re-read in a few years and liked the change from the some of the mainstream books on my list. 

Getting Things Done: This book was actually read on my laptop, because I somehow found this entire book on an open source and downloaded it. This book is a productivity treatise written from a business perspective and geared towards managers and executives who focus on projects and clients. It is basically a very complete, efficient paper system, which when used allow the person to ensure that they have received and process all forms of information directed at them. Then by following a "next action" list then can ensure that they are following-up on this information appropriately. I think it is a great read for everyone, as the basic premise of organizing all the information you receive into useable chunks is useful for everyone, in any setting. However this book goes into a lot of detail and describe very specific processes, which may not work in a non-business setting. The internet is full of people who have adapted this program to their own setting, so it is easy to find ideas for how to make this work for you. If this is an area that interests you then this is a book which you should definitely read, as so many other books and programs are based on it. I very much enjoyed this book and still use many of the ideas from it. 

The Silmarillion: Instead of picking up The Hobbit to read before the movie came out, I, for some reason, decided to try reading the Simarillion. Having never read the Hobbit, and just barely finishing the Lord of the Rings Trilogies in middle school, my "Middle Earth" is remembered as Peter Jackson made it, instead of the true Tolkien creation. So for me to even attempt to read this book, which is widely known to be very hard to get through, seemed a bit crazy. But from the moment I started reading, and found the most beautiful description of a creation story that I have ever heard, I knew that I was going to finish this book. This book contains an enormous number of characters whose stories intertwine and who often change names or have several names, so it is incredibly easy to get confused. My copy had a glossary in the back including characters and locations which I flipped to very often. This book has so many beautiful stories, and rich characters, that even though it takes a long time to read it is a book you can easily keep coming back to. For this book you NEED a bookmark. And I would have to say this book was easily my favourite from the list. 

Next Goal
For the next 4 weeks I am going to be attempting to work out 3 times a week!! My plan is to do 2 sessions of walking/easy jogging and then 1 session of a body weight routine or yoga. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. I am going to do more time, but less intense workouts as I haven't been working out at all recently, and really don't want any kind of injury getting in my way. So check in next week to meet my accountability friend and find out how we are doing!

Have you read any good books lately?