Back to the Grind

Can someone please reassure me that it is hard to stick with this whole healthy lifestyle thing some days? Because lord almighty, most days I just feel like I need a nap.

Part of the problem, if I’m being honest, is that my diet has been less than great for the past couple weeks. Certainly not as bad as in the past, but I could do with a bit less vodka on the weekends. And maybe no fries (except what is the point in even living if you can’t have french fries). My performance and resolve to work hard take a huge hit when I’m not on my game nutritionally. I know it’s super obvious that if you’re eating crap, you’ll feel like crap, but man… that cheese, it gets me every time.

Basically a perfect meal, in my opinion

Basically a perfect meal, in my opinion

Nutrition is a tough one. There are so, so many different opinions on what you should/should not be doing. Keeping in mind that I’m not a doctor, personal trainer, dietitian or prophet sent to distill some sort of miraculous truth to you here.What has worked for me? Figuring out my macros. I will tell anyone and everyone that, at least initially, you need to have some idea of what you should be and are currently taking in from a nutrient perspective.

Keeping in mind that I’m absolutely not an expert in any way and you should probably talk to a doctor about this stuff… the basic idea behind macro-nutrient ratios is pretty simple. All foods are composed of three macro-nutrients: carbohydrates, fats (or lipids), and protein. Not all foods will have all three, but to be a source of energy for your body, it’s going to have at least one. (A good source of information, if you’re looking for the science behind this, is a free course from Coursera. I took it and it’s definitely cool to understand exactly how your body uses these sources of energy.) These all do different things for your body, so it’s important to get some of all three, but not necessarily in equal amounts.

This is where you and your body are important. The official recommendations for macro-nutrient consumption are very carbohydrate focused. What I found works best for me to is to focus on getting at least 1 gram of protein for every pound of lean body mass (muscles+skeleton+organs). For me personally, this means hitting over 100 grams of protein every day, within a certain calorie range. I use the calculator at IIFYM.com (linked above) to figure out what range of calories I need to be in, then just take it from there.

The best way to make sure you’re on track to hit your targets is to track your food intake, at least initially. MyFitnessPal is a great resource for this, as there’s a giant database with fairly accurate macro and calorie counts. As a quick note, when you’re setting up your account, enter in your macro split from IIFYM – don’t use the default settings. I have found that if I remember to track my food for a couple days in a row, I can generally guess at what kind of calories and macros I’m taking in without logging for all of eternity. I do go back every now and then and track for a few days if I feel like I’m going off the rails.

I’ve noticed that when I focus on protein first, fresh vegetables and fruits second, and whatever else I feel like third, I tend to eat a healthful diet. And I feel a hell of a lot better on top of all that. Best of all, I have the energy to get in a solid workout, day after day, and I put on muscle like you wouldn’t believe. I lift heavy, and no, I don’t look bulky. I have definition in my arms, shoulders and legs – I never had that before. It’s still a work in progress, and yes, I need to be vigilant about it sometimes, but nothing worth having is ever going to be easy.

Advertisements

Days like this

I have been having an awful lot of days where I just feel blah.  Fat.  Lumpy.  Gross.  Uncomfortable.  Unattractive. And just generally awful.

I know all of this is completely in my head.  No doubt, I could stand to be more fit (huffing and puffing while trying to talk on the phone and walk is a bad sign, yo), but honestly, there’s nothing wrong with my body.  It does amazing things for me on a regular basis and I couldn’t be more thankful for that.  I’ve never had to deal with a major illness or injury, and everything works the way it should when I ask it to.

So, because I’ve been sippin’ on the haterade just a little too much lately, here’s what I think is fabulous about my body:


My legs.  They’re strong enough to get me through an entire soccer match on the field.  They might not always move as fast as I want them to, and they may not be as slim as I wish, but damn, they carry me everywhere, every day.

My boobs.  Trust me, I go back and forth about these all the time.  They’re huge… but I like that about them.  Granted, it would be nice if they were detachable for those times when I’d like to go to soccer without wearing a Ta-Ta Tamer AND a tight tank with a built in bra, just so I don’t get a black eye, but really, they bring the boys to the yard.  And, more importantly than that, they’re good for balancing out everything else.

My arms. I joke that I have chicken arms all the time, but they do have muscle.  I think.  They’re the easiest part of my body to tone up, and they look fabulous in a tank top.  And they help me to beat eggs, flip pancakes, hug my family and friends, carry groceries, and a myriad of other things.

My feet. Oh, feet.  I’ve put you through a lot of torture over the years, and I’m sorry to say this won’t be stopping any time soon.  They’re temperamental: they blister, bruise, swell and ache constantly. But you know what?  Without them, I couldn’t walk, run, skate, ski… I would not be the same person.  And I would have a whole lot of useless shoes in my room.

My head.  It’s home to my brain (which is so big, it makes my neck hurt… Oh Natalie Portman in No Strings Attached, I love you), and a lot of other really important thing.  I can see, hear, taste and smell.  And I can do all of those things without assistance or issue.  And you know what?  I think it looks nice.  My hair isn’t always perfect, nor is my skin.  But they’re beautiful in their own right.

My stomach.  Both the outer manifestation, and the actual organ.  Although I can’t remember the last time I had flat abs, it doesn’t matter.  It would be nice, yes, but I think I look pretty good most days.  My stomach is a bit bitchy, but it reminds me that I should be eating things that are tasty and good for me.  And you, other than some lactose issues, it pretty much does its job without complaint.  Which is  awesome.

So there you have it.  I’m sure I’ll need to look back at this sometime in the not so distant future, but for now, I’m feeling pretty good!

Bing, Bang, Boom.

Guess who’s officially joining the adult world?

Guess who’s also terrified that this means no more afternoon naps?

 

Oh, oh yes. This lady.  I actually found a job that will pay me real money for managing to finish my degree without having a mental break.  And I am really excited about it (with the exception of no time for afternoon naps.  That’s a big fat bummer.) My first day is March 5 and I have been using this as the excuse of a lifetime to go shopping for things I never knew I needed.  Like a blue pencil skirt.  Did you know that a blue pencil skirt is a surprisingly versatile item? It goes with my navy blazer, which has been a beyotch to try to match.  Navy is worse than black; no two shades are the same.  Even in the same bloody store.

But I digress. Other than the job, which doesn’t start for another two weeks, it’s business as usual around here. I went for a run…

Just hanging out with Belushi. Pretty sure he would be purple after running too...

Which was actually a lot more like a slow trot, but hey, I left the house and came back looking like that.  Which means I was doing something, right?

I also ate some veggies:

My salad may have been more feta than veggies, but it still counts!

And hung out with some monkeys.

I love my mini-me. And she looooves the camera.

Please note that this is not actually my child, but my cousin.  It’s bad enough that she looks like me, I don’t need people thinking that the reason I’ve been so quiet lately is because I’ve been birthing children in the off-season.

And a few more, just for kicks:

In Edworthy Park, Calgary

Oh this man, he makes my heart race...

Hot, hot bath + red wine + magazines = bliss

And finally, a new haircut. Lost about 3 inches!

 

That’s it for now!  Maybe one day I’ll get off the couch and do some baking? Motivation to cook has been absent lately!

The wonders of Pinterest

If you haven’t discovered Pinterest yet, you really need to (and then you should follow me here).  It’s basically just a giant inspiration board, so you can add different things that you see while you’re wasting time online shopping, reading blogs, etc. You can also follow others (like Glamour), and be followed, so it’s a bit like Twitter meets a bulletin board.  But so, so much better than that.

Anyway, the reason that I’m getting all jazzed about it is the Fitness category.  It can be a bit hit and miss; some of the people pinning on there seem far more concerned with being see-your-ribs-skinny than creating a healthy lifestyle.  But overall, there seems to be some great resources available.  Today though, it seemed like the resolutioners (like me!) are out in full force, because there was some fantastic stuff pinned.

Most notably, I discovered Tone It Up!, a lovely pair of ladies who are, essentially, fitness moguls.  How I haven’t seen them yet is a bit beyond me, but I guess that just goes to show that I have a lot to learn when it comes to a healthy lifestyle! Their site has some great information and plans available, so if you’re like me and looking to make 2012 your year, hit it up.  Another good one, if you’re looking for a less corporate approach, is The Fitnessista.  She’s a total pro, and from what I’ve seen, her workouts will kick your ass.  I plan on trying out her bikini bod workouts in a few weeks, once I’ve got some momentum going.

As far as those resolutions I mentioned the other day, so far, not bad. Had a giant bowl of strawberries and yogurt for breakfast, but lunch was a bit of a bust.  I’ll just keep trying to make it a bit better.  I think once I get home to Calgary and can do my own shopping, it will get a bit better.  I’m working on compiling a menu for the week I get back, but I need to see what we still have in the freezer and pantry before we hit up the Farmers’ Market and Costco (which is simultaneously the best and worst place known to humanity).  I’m excited to work some new recipes into my repertoire and eat some fresh veg!   Still no job, but that’s not as much within my control.  And I went for a walk outside yesterday!  It was freezing, but still, it’s nice to get out.

That’s all I’ve got today.  Oh, other than this:

All sexy, all the time for me, I tell ya… At least he looks good!

New Year, New Resolutions

I know that more often than not, making up resolutions is totally useless.  But it can’t hurt to try, right?

The past four months have kicked the crap out of me.  I was taking six courses (more than a full course load), working close to full time, and trying to maintain some semblance of sanity has led down a very slippery slope of carbs, coffee and more fried food than I care to recall right now.  It’s honestly been one of the least healthy times in my life in terms of activity level and healthy eating habits.  I was so, so burnt out.

Thankfully, that’s all behind me now.  I’ve finished all but one class, which should be over with soon (fingers crossed, it’s the project report that just won’t quit), and I’m unemployed for the time being, so I have nothing but time. I stayed in last night to ring in the new year in peace and quiet, and let me say, waking up without a hangover has been ah.may.zing. I feel ready to take on 2012.  In the spirit of a fresh calendar, I wanted to share my goals for the year ahead.

(Random kitty picture for good measure)

 

Overall, what I’m looking for is a healthy and balanced life.  I want to feel peaceful this year! My life has been way crazy for a very long time and I can’t wait to feel normal and not rushed for a bit.

1. Eat fruits and veggies at every meal.  This is not as hard as I have been making it out to be!  Part of getting out of the habit of eating crap is to retrain your body to crave good things again, and I think this is the way to do it.  I’m going to try to plan out at least dinners for the week so that I can make sure to include enough of the good stuff every day.  Obviously, some days will be easier than others, but I think that overall this is a very attainable goal, and it will make a huge difference.

2. Get moving! This is what I’ve really noticed is missing in my life.  Again, this is not difficult.  My goal is to get outside every day for at least a walk around the ‘hood, and ideally get in a few other key workouts a week.  I know that working out six days a week is not a realistic goal for me.  I’m laaaazy. I like my sleep and I like my TV time.  And that’s ok!  But I do need to make exercise a bigger part of my lifestyle.  I also think that I may try swimming with the Boyfriend (one of the few types of physical activity he’s allowed with his back the way it is), and work in some more interval training and weights.  Maybe 2012 will finally be the year I learn to love running?  (Clearly it was not in the cards for 2011)

3. Make friends and family more of a priority.  I love the people I have in my life.  Sadly, finishing up my degree made me so busy that I haven’t had the time to see everyone, or even talk to them as much as I would have liked.  For this year, I’m really striving for a good balance of friends, family and Boyfriend time.  I really, truly think this will be the best part of my year.

4. Get my career started.  Assuming I’ve passed everything – which is pretty much guaranteed – I am officially in possession of a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Calgary.  While this is a good first step, I want to get into a position that I can grow and learn from, ideally with a company that I can spend the next few years with.  This is probably the most pressing resolution, as without it, I’m still unemployed… No es bueno, amigos. I’m working on this one actively, and have been for a few weeks now, so I’m very hopeful that this will get checked off very soon.

So there you have it!  As you can tell, I’m feeling good about this year.  I’ve completed a lot of life goals lately, and I’m looking to keep that momentum going and really hit some high notes this year.

Please tell me what you’ve got planned!