Thursday, February 26, 2015

Blogger Book Club -- The Rosie Effect

This month I was so thankful for the Blogger Book Club. It was such a crazy month at work, and I was spending the majority of my free time focused on half-marathon training, and any other free time was spent being absolutely lazy with Netflix. Between a tired mind and a tired body I didn’t want to do much, but I did find some time to read a book. Mostly because I like to read on the bikes at the gym.

Fitting for February the theme for the month was romance and I ended up settling on The Rosie Effect. I had read the first book, The Rosie Project, and fell more in love with it than I thought I would. I was a little wary to pick up the sequel because I didn’t want to meet an author that ruined a good thing.

Luckily I wasn’t disappointed. I really liked it because it didn’t give you a new love story; it gave you a relationship that had already been established in the previous book, and it focused on the trials and tribulations of a relationship. Do you remember that scene in Friends With Benefits when Mila Kunis wants to know what happens to the love story after the movie ends? This book is kind of like that.

It focuses on a Sheldon Cooper-esque character, Don, and his life with his more spontaneous wife, Rosie, and their struggle as a newly married couple through pregnancy. Not only do you see the love through Don’s eyes, but you see the dynamics of love and relationships in his friends’ lives.

Although this book is a typical mushy love story, or even a novelized chick-flick, I think it really captures the complexity and constant evolution of relationships.

If you haven’t read The Rosie Project I highly suggest you read that, and then after it melts your heart you need to immediately dive into The Rosie Effect.

Make sure to check out the other awesome reviews by all the Book Club bloggers!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Positive Thoughts for a Better Week

Happy Monday Morning!

I’m determined to have a better week than last week in regards to everything: work, getting my protein and workouts in early, and getting enough sleep.

With this in my mind I’m trying to focus on all the wonderful things I love right now.

Such as the two loaves of bread I made yesterday afternoon. I made savoury zucchini and my go-to banana chocolate chip. I swear I don’t mean to neglect my produce past its prime, but making bread is the best way to not waste it.

Somehow I’m only just listening/falling in love with the album High Noon by Arkells. I heard Leather Jacket on the radio for the first time a couple of weeks ago, became immediately obsessed and sang the chorus completely off-key to my boyfriend for an entire weekend, and finally sat down to listen to the entire album. I don’t usually love every song on an album but this is a huge winner. On repeat forever.

Oranges are so in season and this makes me incredibly happy. I think I’m temporarily giving up my daily grapefruit in favour of a daily orange.

Baseball season is right around the corner and I’m getting anxious. I really wanted tickets to the Jay’s Opening Day game but they sold out in an hour while I was busy at work. I’ll just have to see them a dozen other times this summer.  I also am developing this goal to see a baseball game in every single major league stadium in the United States. Is this crazy or brilliant? I’m going with the latter. Also, for two years in a row the players’ shirts I bought for games were traded. I should be sad about them leaving but I’m going to be an optimist and see this as an excuse to buy another shirt.

Question: what’s making you happy lately? 

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Chunky Chicken Guac and Lazy Saturdays

As I mentioned work has me feeling crazy stressed right now so Saturday was a write-off. I only left my house to straighten out some issues at the bank and to grab Starbucks with the boyfriend. I had been raving about this breakfast sandwich I had purchased two Fridays in a row since eating meat again (Bacon and Gouda) so he insisted we go get some. It didn’t take a whole lot of convincing.

We went out early-ish and made it home before 10:30AM. Thank goodness because it snowed all day and the roads were apparently pretty slick. I spent my lazy day binge watching movies on Netflix and, for once, not doing anything did not drive me completely insane. I must really have needed a lazy day.

We had cold-weather warnings all week and I was craving a taste of summer, aka guacamole. By the time I got around to making it yesterday I changed my mind and opted for a chunky guacamole-like salad stuffed into whole wheat tortillas for lunch.

I used half of an avocado, half of a tomato, half of a small onion, and half of a chicken breast, and aggressively mixed/mashed it all together in a bowl. I wanted to maintain a chucky texture instead of a smooth, dip-like texture. I also added a splash of lime juice but didn’t have any cilantro on hand. Yup, I’m pro-cilantro in my guac.

I definitely overfilled the tortillas so I had trouble keeping them closed.

Later in the afternoon the boyfriend and I also shared a healthy snack plate.

 I’m fruit-obsessed but lately I’m also loving snap peas so they were obviously included.

This guy was also on board with our lazy day. 

Question: Are you pro- or anti-cilantro in your guacamole? I’ve heard that it tastes like soap for people that don’t like it… is that true? 

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Lessons Learned Lately

After a crazy week filled with overeating and work-related stress-dreams I am so happy to be sitting on the couch, binging on Netflix and watermelon. The snow is falling for the dozenth time this month  but I've got my heated blanket on and I finally feel relaxed.  

Despite the craziness of this week I've learned three lessons: 

1) I need more protein earlier in the day. Before I started eating meat again I was eating eggs in the morning and beans, lentils, or nut in my lunch. This week I've had protein-less smoothies and salads, and by 4PM I've been ravenous. I had some chicken in my lunch on Friday and it seemed to make a huge difference in my late afternoon appetite. 

2) Lack of sleep is a no-go for exercise. Anything under six hours and I'm barely functioning (ideally I like to get a full eight hours). I haven't been sleeping well this week and when I do my dreams are really stressful. By the time my alarm goes off in the morning I've been too tired to get to the gym. If I want to get a morning workout in I need to find ways to help me sleep better.

3) I need to drink more water. Between stress and missing the gym I've been seriously neglecting my water intake (if I go to the gym early I usually can drink a litre of water by 7AM). Besides being stressed I've been bloated and cranky, and I think being properly hydrated would help. My goal for the next week is to guzzle water like crazy. 

It's funny how a crazy week can be a great for learning about what you really need. 

Question: In what situations do you learn the most about yourself and your needs? 

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

What I Ate Wednesday -- II

Happy Wednesday! Today is an exciting What I Ate Wednesday because I actually planned some different meals this week. No scrambled egg-whites anywhere! But seriously, other than that it’s still pretty boring.  

I drank a green smoothie on the way to work (almond milk, banana, mango, spinach, and hemp hearts).   

The usual grapefruit for my first snack AND a cherry Greek yogurt. I’m back in training and desperately need to up my intake.

For lunch I stuck with a spinach salad with chopped veggies, feta, some dressing, and half of a leftover candy apple I split with my sister.

Snack two: a full apple, without caramel and white sugar. Not pictured.

I’m currently obsessed with snap peas. It’s snap pea season somewhere because they were so crispy and fresh.

Followed up with a handful (or two) of my favourite trail mix.

Dinner was spaghetti squash, roasted veggies, tilapia, and a homemade tomato sauce. I think I ate too much trail mix earlier because I couldn’t finish my dinner. Not pictured.

…but I still hand room for a few Hershey’s Kisses. 

What's your favourite indulgence?

Sunday, February 15, 2015

When Healthy Habits Become Unhealthy

Good morning and happy Sunday! I hope everyone had a wonderful Valentine's Day. I bought some fresh bagels and chocolate covered strawberries for my family, and then my boyfriend and I hung out in bed all day with our dog watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Probably the best Valentine's Day ever.

I'm currently hanging out under the covers trying to convince myself to get ready for my day. I've already had breakfast and am working on a mug of hot water and lemon (because my mother broke my heart and finished all the honey), but it's hard to get motivated to move when it's currently -26 outside but feeling like -41. That's just ridiculous.

I do need to get in a 12K treadmill run and pick up some groceries... but the cold! Ugh.

This week was kind of weird. I'm realizing how much my mental state plays into the fitness and healthy lifestyle I've been trying to create for myself. Sometimes it's great and I'm so motivated to workout and eat right despite feeling stressed or tired because of work. Other times I realize how mentally unhealthy I can be when something goes wrong and I instantly feel guilty and criticize myself for my actions (or lack thereof).

For example, on Wednesday I was so hungry. I'm not exaggerating. I haven't felt so truly hungry in a long time, and it seemed no amount of food or liquids could stop it. Basically I ate everything I had planned and prepared for the day, and then I started moving on to other food that was hanging around in my fridge. And I felt so guilty! I know it's because my training is picking up again, and I've also added HIITs and weight circuits to my routine, so I really just need more calories in my diet, but part of me was so racked with guilt and angry at myself that I couldn't control my hunger. I wasn't even digging into junk food; I was being careful with my choices. Even if I didn't need the extra food, I think the guilt I fell into is worse to have than satisfying a little extra hunger.

The following day I had a scheduled massage appointment and had planned to get my workout done in the morning so I could relax between work and my appointment. Instead when I woke up at 5AM to let the dogs out and get ready for the gym, I felt awful. I knew I needed more sleep so I crawled back into bed until I had to get ready for work. I had also skipped my workout the day before because unexpected things had arisen. I felt so guilty on my way to work and I knew I really didn't need to be. So I skipped two workouts... I'm running or at the gym six days a week most weeks, will an off week make a difference? No, not really. In an ironic turn of events I got a call later in the day that my RMT had called in sick and I was able to make up my morning workout anyways.

The thing is, as much as I'm racked with feelings of guilt in situations like these, I'm also strongly aware of how ridiculous and mentally unhealthy it is to feel so guilty. I love working out and I love to enjoy food, but if I continue to obsess over every missed workout or unplanned meal I need to strongly re-evaluate my reasons for trying to live this lifestyle.

I might want to have a strong, healthy body, but more importantly as someone that struggles with depression, having a strong, healthy mind needs to come first.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Learning to be Proud of Myself

Lately I’ve come to realize that I try to make myself small. I have so many things in my life I should be proud of but when I talk about them I shrug it off like it’s unimportant.

The two biggest things I shrug off are my job and my running.

I have a tendency to say, “Oh, I’m only an administrative assistant.” OK, I know I’m likely saying this because it’s not my chosen field, but I should be proud and happy that while so many people are struggling to find work that I have a permanent, full-time position WITH benefits. So I might not be some super savvy public relations expert yet, but I’m working on it.

My reaction to running is even worse.

“Wow, a half-marathon, how far is that?”
“Oh, it was only 21 kilometers.”

“A half-marathon? That’s so far.”
“Yeah, but I’m a slow runner.”

“I did my long-run today.”
“So how far did you go?”
“Only 10K.”
"You only went 10K?" (Literally had this conversation with my mom yesterday and her sarcasm made me realize what I've been saying).

Why do I do this to myself? Why can’t I be proud of my accomplishments? Why do I have to belittle myself?

I have so many fitness goals, but I think I need to make a mental/personality goal. I need to accept compliments and enjoy incredulous comments. I need to be proud of myself and encourage a conversation. I don’t need to show off or be smug to be proud, but I should be proud nevertheless.

Do you shrug off your accomplishments or do you wear them proudly?

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Early Mornings

I'm not one for sleeping in, but getting up early to exercise has been difficult for me to do. I've been trying so hard to make morning exercise a part of my daily routine but it's taken me a long time to finally get into it.

Lately I seem to be falling into a groove and about half of my workouts are getting accomplished in the morning. From yoga at home to weights sessions in the gym, it's slowly getting easier for me to crawl out of bed and start my day a little earlier.

Things I'm loving about becoming an early exerciser:

1) It makes me feel super productive. After fitting in an hour at the gym and then getting ready for work I end up with an extra 30 minutes of time for catching up on emails and blogs. If I don't get up to workout I end up leaving myself with just the right amount of time to be ready before work.

2) It gives me more time in the evening. I can run errands, eat dinner, do half an hour of stretching and foam rolling, read, write a blog post, snuggle my dog, and not feel rushed before going to bed.

3) The gym is so quiet and I have access to anything I want. I don't have to fight for a treadmill and I can do a full circuit with weights and machines completely uninterrupted. Also, almost none of the personal trainers are in the gym that early trying to intimidate me into paying for sessions. I even took a mirror selfie because no one was around to make me feel judged.

4) Improvement in sleep. By 6AM I'm already at the gym, dressed, and have eaten a small breakfast, by 7:30AM I'm home and showered, and by 9:30AM I'm at work. 12 hours later I'm curled up in bed and although I'm not completely exhausted, I do feel like I need to sleep. Also, my endorphin rush is long gone so I'm not tossing and turning, struggling to fall asleep.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

What I Ate Wednesday

So after complaining about my bad two days yesterday it took me two hours to get to work this morning. It usually takes me 20 minutes. Needless to say I'm still grumpy today.

Anyways, this is what a messy, hormonal day of eating looks like in my world:

8:00am: Egg white scramble with toast, chives, and cheese. I've had this most mornings for probably three weeks.

10:30am: grapefruit. Always grapefruit. (Not pictured)

12:00pm: it was a co-worker's birthday so I said yes to some cake. It was a light, moist, vanilla and strawberry custard, and I are it all before I remembered to take a picture.

1:00pm: burrito salad. Beans, brown rice, corn, tomato, avocado, lettuce, salsa. My signature sliced apple.

4:00pm: carrots and snap peas! I was getting sick of celery and they looked so plump and green.

7:30pm: after picking up my wallet I was so tired and wanting something different... not my pre-cooked salmon and roasted veggies. So I opted for a sandwich. And some cottage cheese.

Yes, I know. That "sandwich" looks plain and disgusting but it 100% hit the spot.

Question: What are your go-to meals?

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Feeling Like a Grump

Blame it on my hormones or my bad luck (or idiocy), but I'm feeling pretty grumpy. I 100% meant to post about my headstand transformation this evening but venting feels more appropriate.

It started yesterday. After waking up and shoveling the driveway I decided to skip a workout, catch up on some blogs, and hit hot yoga in the evening after I renewed my passport picture. Well, hot yoga never came because I started breaking out into a rash throughout the day and I didn't want to make it worse.

Unfortunately I still had to get my passport photo taken so here's to the next 10 years of an awful photo.

After my photo I went to fill my car with gas and was struggling with the pump. I always go to this gas station so I don't know if the weather was making it act up but I had to use both hands to position the nozzle and hose just so. This means I put down my wallet on my car, filled up, and then drove away. Without my wallet. What's even worse is that I didn't notice until this morning.

I called the gas station and they didn't have it. After a brief freak-out I called to cancel my credit and debit cards while making a list of everything else I had to replace or cancel. Things I am going to do: take my SIN card out of my wallet. Bad move, Courtney, very bad move.

Yes, my Starbucks card is important.

My super wonderful boyfriend had gone to check out the lot of the gas station to see if he could find it at a pump or in the snow with no luck so I was definitely surprised to get a call from the gas station at the end of the day. They found it! They went to so much trouble to try and find my number, including calling a bunch of numbers in their call-log from the morning.

Note to self: put an ID contact card in my wallet.
Double note to self: don't lose your wallet.

Despite the happy resolution I just feel drained. I was so stressed all day that I instead of going to the gym I decided to come home from work and crawl into bed and catch up on my blog reading. Now I'm behind in hot yoga and speed training for the week. Part of me wants to blow off the rest of my week, part of me is eager to try and catch up with it all, and part of me, the more realistic part, is thinking about calling it an early night, hoping tomorrow is a bright, beautiful, new day, and will continue with my plans for the rest of the week. I think this rational part of me is winning out. Is this what it means to mature?

Question: Forget my negativity, what wonderful things have happened to you this week?