Date Night?

When we think of “Date Night” we probably think of… well, night, and we likely imagine a decadent dinner out with our significant other, or an evening at the movie theatre, including a large popcorn and a soda. Now, don’t get me wrong, I enjoy both of those things. (Not the soda. That stuff is REALLY not good for you.) But dating can also involve activities that not only allow us to spend time with our loved ones, but are also good for our overall well-being.

First of all, we can agree that Date Night doesn’t have to take place at night. Right? It can happen at any time of day. My husband and I enjoy working out together. To make sure that, that workout gets done, we take an early (as in 6 a.m.) class. Shout out to Studio IPF: Inner Pursuit Fitness! Here’s a picture after our circuit workout this morning. If we weren’t fully awake when we arrived, we certainly were at the end of class!

Don’t we look happy (and sweaty).

Other ideas…

  • go dancing
  • take a cooking class or cook dinner at home
  • go for a walk or a bike ride
  • get a couples massage or give each other a massage
  • play a board game

I’m sure that you can come up with some great ideas of your own. I’d love to hear them!

Canada’s New Food Guide

If you are familiar with my website, it will come as no surprise that I love Canada’s new food guide. Why?

  • It’s focused on unprocessed foods – low in sodium, sugar and saturated fats.
  • It includes more fruits and vegetables.
  • It encourages us to make water our beverage of choice.
  • It is simple to follow: no need to measure or count.
  • It suggests cooking at home, and provides recipes to get us started.
  • It promotes eating mindfully: taking time to eat, and noticing when we are hungry and full.
  • It is backed by good science.

In addition, the site offers tips for things like healthy eating on a budget and meal planning. Check it out!

Start Small and Do It Your Way

I have chronic neck and shoulder pain. This has certainly been exasperated by poor posture (hunching over my computer keyboard). I have worked to resolve this by using a standing desk. I have also been including strength training (working on my back, shoulder and abdominal muscles) to help with my posture. One thing I have not been doing frequently enough, even though I know it is important, is stretching. I am VERY inflexible. I have wanted to include yoga to help with this, but even beginners’ classes have been challenging and have often left me feeling worse than when I started. Is there such a thing as a pre-beginners’ class? It turns out there is, sort of….

During a recent search on Youtube (my main source for free exercise videos), I came across chair yoga. I have begun incorporating it into my routine, and I am really enjoying it.

I love that I am able to do a modified downward dog (first picture) to open my chest and shoulders. I have trouble with the regular dog, often leading to more neck and shoulder pain, rather than less. Eventually, I may graduate to beginners’ yoga, but right now I am “starting small and doing it my own way”.

If you’d like to give chair yoga a try, I highly recommend this video. It was developed by the therapists in the Chronic Pain Service at Toronto Rehab, Rumsey Centre. It takes only 25 minutes, and remember, moving everyday is one of the best ways to manage (or prevent) pain!

Take Baby Steps

One reason people fail to keep their New Year’s resolutions is that they try to change too much at once and quickly become frustrated and overwhelmed. I have certainly been guilty of this. In addition to losing a few hibernation pounds before heading off on vacation, a quick glance at my vision board will show that this year I am hoping to add strength training, meditate, do yoga, take up running, declutter, work on my finances, manage stress, eat healthier, get more sleep…. Whew! Even thinking about trying to do all of these at once is so intimidating that I might give up before I even start. Instead, I have learned to break my goals down into manageable, baby steps.

This is a simple and effective strategy. The success I feel when I achieve one, small goal gives me the motivation to add another. I already shared how making your bed every morning may lead you to tidy out your sock drawer. Replacing one can of soda a day with a glass of water may lead to other steps to reduce sugar in your diet. Give it a go, and if you find you need help to break your goals down, please contact me.

Eat More Fish

This week, I have been focusing on decluttering my pantry. Who knew that I had so many packages of rice noodles? I have been inspired to use up my pantry ingredients, along with what I find in the fridge and freezer, in an effort not only to declutter, but also to save some money on my ever increasing grocery bill. All I needed to pick up for this delicious Weeknight Red Curry from Bon Appetit was a pound of firm white fish. I chose cod. I will definitely be adding this to my monthly menu!

Tonight, I will be making another Asian inspired fish dish that we have enjoyed before: Spicy Miso Ramen with Chili Roasted Salmon from feasting at home. You guessed it. I have salmon in the freezer and ramen in the cupboard.

There are many health benefits to including more fish in your diet:

  • It is high in important nutrients
  • It may lower your risk for heart attacks and strokes.
  • It may help with depression.
  • It’s a good dietary source of vitamin D.
  • It’s delicious, as you will soon discover when you try the recipes I have shared.

Enjoy!

Hydrate

One of my goals this year is to drink more water. During a busy day, I often forget. I even take a huge water bottle with me to work, but I might as well use it to do bicep curls because I rarely remember to sip from it. At least that way it would still be contributing to my health.

There are SO many benefits to making sure you are hydrated. I’ve included just a few.

  1. Weight Loss. Did you know that clinical studies have found that people confuse thirst for hunger about 35% of the time? The next time you feel like reaching for a snack, have a glass of water first.
  2. Glowing Skin. Drinking enough water helps with skin elasticity and prevents dryness and dullness. Who doesn’t want a smoother, more youthful complexion?
  3. More Energy. Dehydration causes fatigue, so that afternoon slump that leads you to the vending machine or coffee pot could be alleviated with a glass of water.
  4. Better Brain Function. Staying hydrated will improve your mood, concentration and memory.
  5. Improved Digestion. Water helps your gastrointestinal tract break down food properly and promotes regular bowel movements.

Now, having a water bottle with you is actually a great tip for improving hydration. It just hasn’t worked for me… yet. What has helped is using an app to track my intake. There are many free apps available. I am using My Water Balance: Daily Drink Tracker & Reminder. The free version allows me to track water, coffee and tea. The optional upgrade would allow me to track other beverages.  I asked for reminders, and at first, I have to admit, that I found them a little too frequent and slightly annoying. However, using the app has really improved my water intake. Who knows? Maybe I’ll soon be emptying that water bottle.    

 

 

 

One Big Domino

I have just come across the One Big Domino theory, and it makes a lot of sense to me. It suggests that we identify the one big thing we can do, or big change that we can make, that will make everything else easier. By knocking down this Big Domino first, you will open up possibilities in 2019 that will amaze you!

A Big Domino could be reducing your sugar intake. The many benefits you would receive from making this change could include…

 

  • less inflammation and joint pain
  • less bloating and gas
  • weight loss
  • reduced cravings
  • decreased appetite
  • high and stable energy
  • improved mood (more focus, less depression)
  • removal of stubborn belly fat
  • clearer skin and less wrinkles
  • decreased risk of diabetes, stroke and heart attack

What could your Big Domino be?