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?

Detoxing?

As a coach, I spend a lot of my free time researching. My exploring recently led me to the book LOSE WEIGHT BY EATING Detox Week by Audrey Johns. There’s a lot of debate around detoxing. I believe that our bodies (if we are in relatively good health) are designed to naturally take care of getting rid of unwanted materials. I don’t feel the need to spend money on, and consume, special supplements, teas, or shakes. I feel that I can help my body do its job by sticking to whole foods (prepared at home) most of the time: avoiding highly processed, additive filled foods. I am also NOT interested in deprivation. I love food. I love reading about it, shopping for it, preparing it, and sharing it. So I am not interested in spending a week or more on a liquid diet. Finally, I don’t support the idea of losing a lot of weight quickly: it is neither healthy nor permanent (in my opinion). So…. Why the book? I was drawn to the title: “Eating” and “Detox” together? I wanted to find out more.

Four detox plans are shared in the book. All begin with a Detox Week. Audrey Johns claims that you can lose an average of 10 pounds during the week. You already know what I think about that. The week also quickly becomes all about smoothies and salads, and you know how I feel about that, too. Having said that, I think that the Modified Detox Week (which includes a smoothie for breakfast, a salad for lunch, a meal for dinner, and two snacks) is a good approach. I like that Audrey Johns’ detox doesn’t require anything other than whole foods, and includes lots of fruits and vegetables. And, because I would never share anything with my clients that I haven’t tried myself, my husband and I have been following the Modified Detox plan for almost a week. We have enjoyed the recipes. There is some preparation required, but it’s worth it. We are feeling great, and have lost some weight.

I know that you are all about the recipes, so I would like to share one of our favourite breakfast smoothies with you. The recipe makes enough for two, so perfect to share. Previously my husband and I each made our own smoothies, cleaning the Vitamix out in between. That’s because he was not a fan of my green smoothies, but he really enjoys Audrey Johns’.

PB&J Green Smoothie (2 Servings)

  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 1/2 cup frozen dark cherries
  • 1 tablespoon all-natural peanut butter
  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk

Put it all in a blender and blend. Then enjoy!

I’ll close by sharing a link to Audrey Johns’ website. I’ve just checked it out, but suspect I will be visiting it often.

Take Care Of Your Self

What is self-care?

It is anything that we purposely do in order to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health. It is something that replenishes us… something we enjoy doing. It isn’t something we do just once. It is consistent use of many tiny self-care activities.

It is really easy to put ourselves at the bottom of our priority lists. We either feel selfish for wanting to take time for self-care, or we believe that there just aren’t enough minutes in the day. But it is important for us to take time to do the things we enjoy. It allows us to relax, refocus and recharge, so we can live our best lives and be our best for others.

While we can’t add hours to the day, we can re-evaluate our priorities and practice time management. For example, I used to visit the grocery store daily. Now I plan meals a few days in advance, shop once, and do some meal preparation on the weekend so that things come together quickly. This has not only saved me time, but also money.

Decide how you want to spend your “Me” time. Remember, it should be something you enjoy doing, not feel you should do. So while getting up early to fit in exercise is something that I love because it puts me in a great mood and gives me energy for the rest of my day, that might not be your choice.

Once you have created a self-care list for yourself, commit to spending at least 15 minutes a day on you. YOU are worth it!

The Importance of Self-Care

What is self-care?

It is anything that we purposely do in order to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health. It is something that replenishes us… something we enjoy doing. It isn’t something we do just once. It is consistent use of many tiny self-care activities.

It is really easy to put ourselves at the bottom of our priority lists. We either feel selfish for wanting to take time for self-care, or we believe that there just aren’t enough minutes in the day. But it is important for us to take time to do the things we enjoy. It allows us to relax, refocus and recharge, so we can live our best lives and be our best for others.

While we can’t add hours to the day, we can re-evaluate our priorities and practice time management. For example, I used to visit the grocery store daily. Now I plan meals a few days in advance, shop once, and do some meal preparation on the weekend so that things come together quickly. This has not only saved me time, but also money.

Decide how you want to spend your “Me” time. Remember, it should be something you enjoy doing, not feel you should do. So while getting up early to fit in exercise is something that I love because it puts me in a great mood and gives me energy for the rest of my day, that might not be your choice.

Once you have created a self-care list for yourself, commit to spending at least 15 minutes a day on you. YOU are worth it!

A Hallowe’en Workout

While you may already be getting some extra exercise this evening walking your little superhero, unicorn, or vampire around the neighbourhood, or running up and down the stairs to greet them at your door, I thought I’d share this fun, ten minute Hallowe’en themed cardio circuit from spark people.com with you. It will burn off a few extra calories, but don’t think that means you can freely sample all those treats both during and after the event. Two of those fun-sized Snickers bars (my personal weakness) would take about 45 minutes of strength training or an hour of hatha yoga to burn off, and three Kit Kat bars (a very close second) would mean 20 minutes of running or walking at a moderate pace for an hour.