Saturday, January 31, 2015

Blogger Book Club & My January Pick

I love reading.

Ever since I was little I would devour books and the past two years I’ve kept track of the books I’ve read through my Pinterest boards. Yes, we’ll say I’m keeping track and not even slightly showing off what I’m reading.

I worked at a library for a few months last year in the marketing department and was constantly reading about the different book clubs and books they were reading. I always wanted to join one but never felt like there was one that fit me. Until now.

Sarah of created a book club for 2015 and wrote a post asking if there were any bloggers that wanted to join. Uh, yes please! I immediately joined. What I love about this book club is that Sarah chooses the theme each month, but every blogger gets to chose their own book. Different themes each month also mean that I’m going to open myself up to titles and subjects that I usually don’t read. Not only is my personal library going to become more diverse as I add a book each month, I’ll get to read so many reviews of others books I might not have previously exposed myself to.

Sarah has chose “MOTIVATION” for the theme of January’s book. Motivation is definitely fitting for the first month of the New Year and where resolutions are born. Although I pride myself on being an avid reader with a love of language, I had to confirm the difference between inspiration and motivation. I’ve read many inspiring books but none that I think were truly motivating or with a call-to-action.

I read “Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office” by Lois P. Frankel and I loved it. It covers 101 mistakes that women make in their careers that prevent them from moving up. She suggests to do the quiz at the beginning of the book to determine where you might fall, read the applicable mistakes, read the rest of them, and then choose a few to work on.

I read the 101 mistakes in order and chose a few that I could definitely work on:

  • Needing to be liked
  • Apologizing
  • Not answering the question
  • Grooming in public

Frankel lays out these 101 mistakes with real-life examples she’s encountered with clients, and also lays out how to fix the issue. For example, my issue with “not answering the question” is as simple as just making a choice. I don’t need to lay out both sides of the coin because my boss already knows them… what she’s looking for is for me to be decisive. Also, if I’m going to put my hair in a ponytail or bun I need to do that in the bathroom, not in front of a co-worker. This also includes putting on lip balm. Oops.

I loved this book. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I picked it up but even those issues that I don’t need to work out really opened my eyes as to how they can be surprisingly detrimental to your career.

I highly suggest this book for anyone with any inkling of career aspirations… including something as simple as keeping  your job in the face of lay-offs.


    An InLinkz Link-up

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Choosing to Eat Meat Again

I've been a vegetarian for two and a half years and have loved so much of this journey. I originally became a vegetarian for health reasons. I struggled a lot with digestive issues a few years ago and cutting meat out seemed to really help. However, I still struggle with digestive issues frequently, but not to the same level.

My problem as a vegetarian is that I struggle to get enough protein. I can get enough to fulfill a regular day, but as soon as I add running into the mix I can't fuel myself with the amount that I need.

I eat lots of beans and soy, fortified foods, protein powders and bars, and I still am not hitting the mark. Starting to train for a half marathon again I'm starting to feel a huge difference in my health... a decline. Considering I have a full marathon in the second half of this year I know it's only going to get worse.

I don't take this decision lightly. I may have started to become a vegetarian for health reasons but the moral reasons are definitely sticking with me. I know what goes on in factory farming. I know the environmental impact. I know exactly what they put in animals to have huge cuts of meat. I swear, I know. And I know there are tons of athletes out there that can sustain themselves on not only a vegetarian diet, but a vegan one, but I'm just not ready to be one of them.

It's unlikely I'm going to eat meat at every meals or even everyday. I definitely believe that our society relies too much and consumes too much meat. However, a couple of days each week I'm going to be adding fish and potentially poultry into my diet and see how that feels.

If I feel better, I know I'll have to eat meat for a while. If I don't feel a change and my stomach issues get worse, I'll have to revisit my plan of action.

Question: what decisions have you struggled with lately?

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Is it Possible to be Pizza'd Out?

I think my boyfriend and I are pizza'd out for a while. We had pizza twice this weekend and both times definitely overate. Ugh. Needless to say we felt super bloated last night and not even remotely hungry for a real meal. Instead we felt super lazy and went to the grocery store for pre-cut veggies and fruit, and spent the night in bed watching Parks and Recreation.

Besides our bad pizza-making decisions we went to a huge outdoor outlet mall just west of Toronto. I'm trying not to spend too much money but the Nike outlet drew me in and I left with a new shirt and sports bra. I also finally found arm-warmers I liked at the Asics store, and couldn't leave Kate Spade without a couple of small purchases (I have a serious addiction). Oh, and I might have wandered into the Lindt store to try all the different flavours of Lindor balls I can't find elsewhere. Whoops!

I'm feeling a little off today. My throat is feeling a little sore so I only left my house to run a couple of small errands, including picking up a pre-made smoothie because I am seriously that lazy. I also picked up some groceries and did my usual Sunday night meal prep. I don't need a lot of change from week-to-week so I'm sticking with almost the same meal plan from last week:

Breakfast: eggs and toast
Lunch: Chickpea salad and a pear (I'm subbing out my usual apple only because I get PC points this week for pears)
Dinner: roasted vegetables and beans
Snacks: Grapefruit, carrots and celery, nuts and dried fruit, individual sized almond milk.

I also decided on my goals for this week:
- 72 oz of water each day
- one hot yoga session
- three weights sessions

I'm back into training mode and hoping to have some PRs in 2015 so I know I'm about to become obsessed with my goals and daily/weekly routines soon.

Question: Do you prefer short-term or long-term goals? Is it possible to eat too much pizza?

Friday, January 23, 2015

Rewarding My Own Good Behaviour

Just earlier this week I commented on Canadian Girl Runs' blog post about nutrition, stating that I don't believe food should be used as a reward.

Guess who broke her own rule. Yup, that would be me.

But I swear it was for a totally good reason! (Do you believe me? I didn't think so.)

This morning I somehow managed to get up before work and fit in an hour long workout a the gym. I have set my alarm every damn day this week and, although I fit in a workout most days, I ended up only going to the gym in the evening and only fitting in one early yoga session at home. 

Maybe I was motivated after the annoying sales session last night. 

Either way, somehow I went to the gym, worked out for an hour, showered, went home to get myself and stuff ready for work, and have time to spare. To treat myself for being so awesome I stopped by Starbucks for a latte and a muffin. 

Whatever. Treat yo' self. 

Also, isn't it incredible what a blow-dryer and some mascara can do? 

How do you reward yourself/treat yo' self? 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Mandatory Fitness Assessment or Selling Personal Training?

This has been a surprisingly productive week for me. It's sad, but I think I owe it all to finally having my own car. With an extra 40 minutes before work and an extra 30 minutes after working, adding over an hour of my day has been amazing.

On Sunday I went grocery shopping and prepped most of my meals for the week. They were delicious and I ate so well!

Love me some chopped chickpea salads!

And broccoli, too!

On Monday I was able to eat around 6 and digest my food in time to get to my first hot yoga session in over two years.

On Tuesday I fit in some speed training and cycling on my way home from work. 

On Wednesday I had a long yoga session in my living room.

Unfortunately today felt like the longest day in existence. I had originally planned to go to an early spin class this morning, but after not falling asleep until after midnight, getting up at 5am for a sweat session and knowing I had a long day ahead of me did not sit well. Instead I slept in until 7am and fit in some more yoga before I got ready for work. After working my eight-hour day I attended a staff meeting that ran longer than expected. It ended at 6:30, and somehow I made to my "Mandatory Fitness Assessment" for 7. 

Now this makes me really annoyed. I switched gyms recently for 1) a change of pace, 2) the membership is cheaper than my last one, and 3) it's still cheaper even with an unlimited hot yoga upgrade. After I signed up they told me I needed to attend this assessment session. I asked if I really had to and they said yes. I begrudgingly booked my appointment and it was just what I thought it would be -- an attempt to force me into a personal training package. 

I'm not against personal training, but it's not for me, especially with my current budget. I think they were annoyed because I had no fitness goals besides wanting to run faster (I guess I could have given them my yoga goals), when they asked me about my "problem areas" and if I wanted a "flat tummy" I informed them I was happy with my roundness, and when they asked about my diet I happily told them about my three main meals, snacks of fruit and veggies, and my 2-3 liters of water each day. 

I will admit I was almost sucked into it. They make everything sound so great and you can lose X weight in X weeks, and all your dreams will come true. Honestly, I think the money factor is the only thing that stopped me from signing on the spot. When I was driving home I snapped back to reality and realized that this isn't for me. I'm happy with my weight, especially since I lost 15-20 pounds on my own and it's still coming off, and I've reached a point in my life where I know my weight doesn't define me or my abilities. I also knew everything they told me (should add weights to my running, could get some more protein in my vegetarian diet, etc). 

Also, they lost me as soon as they took me for my appointment 15 minutes late, I was stressed arriving on-time because I'm a perpetually early person. I also hated the fact that they tried to hide what the session truly was. I think honesty is important in weight loss and achieving goals, and that includes the people that you are working with/are coaching you along the way. 

Anyways, after having to run a final errand to the bank I came home and angrily ate some dried mango while I stewed about the events of the evening. 

I hope you had a better day than me but an equally productive week.

Question: What helps get your motivated or more productive? What could you be lost without? 

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Happy Belated Birthday to Me!

Yesterday was my 24th birthday and it was wonderful. My birthday is my favourite day of the year and I love to remind everyone for three weeks leading up to it that it is coming. 

In the last year I feel as if I have grown up so much, and on this birthday I continued to grow as I picked up my first car!

I'm so happy with my decision. After laying out my budget and figuring out what I could comfortably spend, I got approved for a loan on my own and was able to pick up my new baby on my birthday. I'm really looking forward to the freedom this will give me because public transportation is pretty bad where I live and I'm so tired of relying on everyone around me for rides everywhere.

Before I went to pick up my car I convinced my boyfriend to take me to breakfast. He's wonderful and woke up early to drive a city over to the closest Cora's where I devoured eggs benedict, a mountain of fruit, and a latte.

After making a couple of stops to show off my car we curled up on the couch where I ate peppermint patties and peanut butter M&Ms, and watched some Parks and Recreation. Despite loving my birthday I prefer to spent it low-key.

For dinner we went out to my favourite pizza place, Pie, and I stuffed my face with a pizza called Some Fun Guy, made with a cheese sauce, cheese, sautéed spinach, and mushrooms, cooked in a wood-burning oven. 

My mom got me a nice camera for my birthday so I'm hoping to get a tripod and take more photos of me cooking, doing yoga, and other blog-related things. It'll be nice to move beyond iPhone quality for some situations.

Do you make your birthday a big deal? How do you like to celebrate?

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

What I Ate Wednesday

I've tried to make a WIAW post for weeks now, but I always forget to snap a picture of all my meals. Well, guess what? I finally succeed! Here is a run-down of my boring and pretty routine daily meals:

7:30am: Egg white scramble with spinach, on Ezekiel bread with a triangle of laughing cow spread. My morning tea -- today was Glitter and Gold from David's tea.

11:00am: Before I ate a container of pre-sectioned grapefruit I drank a (not pictured) thermos  of hot water with lemon, honey, and fresh grated ginger.

12:30pm: spinach salad with sliced almonds, dried cranberry, raw pumpkin seeds, apple chunks, and goat cheese with maple balsamic dressing. The rest of the apple.

3:30pm: carrot and celery sticks. By this time of the day I need something really crunchy to snack on. I'm sure it annoys my co-worker that I share an office with, so I try to wait until she's gone for the day.

6:30pm: after commuting home I'm starving and devour a homemade lentil burger and roasted vegetables (sweet potato, broccoli, carrot, cauliflower and green beans) topped with a hot sauce. Roasted vegetables are my favourite and I'm loving the recipe I found for the burger.

7:00pm: I like my night-time snack a little later, but my boyfriend is coming by to take me shopping for my birthday. I have some peanut butter filled M&Ms and savour each one of them, and run out the door before I can reach for more.

I didn't exercise at all today or else my appetite would have been much larger. 

Do you have meals you stick with to keep a routine? What are your go-to meals?

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy 2015 & the Resolution Run

Happy New Year! I can't believe it's already 2015. 2014 was a year of growth for me in so many ways and I cannot wait to see what this year brings.

I'm not a big drinker so I stayed sober and drove my friends and family around. But before the night began I got off work a few hours early so my boyfriend and I went to grab a late lunch and I had a small glass of champaign.

Despite not drinking last night I woke up feeling hungover. I think it was finally falling asleep around 3am and not drinking enough water while we were out that made me feel so exhausted this morning.

After a small breakfast my mom, sister and I got dressed and left for the 5K Resolution Run hosted by the Running Room. My sister was a little disheveled but coherent until we got to the location... Then she decided she needed to find somewhere to throw up. 

My mom and I ran the Resolution Run together and finished in about 32 minutes. Not bad considering we were both extremely tired and the second half of the run was a wind tunnel.

Now I'm on the couch, under my heated blanket, Starbucks in hand and watching the 2015 Winter Classic until I leave for dinner at my grandparents. I'm running over my goals for 2015 in my mind and I'm getting really excited for the upcoming year. 

I hope everyone had a great New Years Eve, has a wonderful New Years Day, and many fantastic moments in 2015.