Whole60 Prep

I have made up my mind and on April 1, I am going to start the Whole30 challenge with the intention to stretch it 60 days! That’s 60 days of clean eating – no sugar, grains, dairy, legumes, processed foods, booze or chemicals.

It was two years ago exactly that I started my first sugar-free month challenge and I remember well how much that challenge changed my body and life for the better. For most of 2013 I broke up with sugar. However during 2014 the evil drug found its way back into my life and it’s time to cut it out again – cold turkey.

In April, May, August, September, and November of 2013 and February 2014, I went processed sugar-free and it made a huge difference to my body and my mood. I lost weight, my skin was clearer and brighter and mentally I felt better than ever! This time around the Whole30 plan, calls for cutting ALL grains, refined sugar, dairy, legumes and basically anything processed. It seems like an ambitious challenge, but I know I’ve done this before and it really wasn’t that hard. I have made up my mindI WILL succeed.

There are a lot more temptations in my present life than there were back in 2013. I am living with my brother, who eats like a “normal person” and calls my challenges “extreme” and “nuts” – yet will eat the delicious clean healthy meals I cook, not even knowing how good they are for him! I am living in the most obese province in Canada where most people I encounter on a daily basis have no idea of what CLEAN EATING is – let alone the benefits.

Learning how to overcome the situational and environmental challenges once and for all will be the backbone to my success this time around. I HATE it when people tell me my challenges to cut sugar are extreme and unnecessary and suggest I just try moderation. How about a little support instead?!?

New Books!

I have been mulling this over for a couple weeks. I purchased a couple new books and am part-way through, “It Starts With Food” . I also purchased a julienne peeler to make some new fun veggie “pasta” substitute meals. Today I picked up groceries and stocked up on lots of veggies, meat, fruits and nuts. I joined a Facebook Whole30 support group and I even made myself a calendar to check off the days – a little visual motivation of my progress . I got dis!

Here’s a pic of a recent paleo meal I made to try out my new julienne peeler and get my creative juices flowing!

Paleo Chicken "Pasta"

Paleo Chicken “Pasta”

Food Obsessed

Since moving back to Newfoundland last spring I’ve had a difficult time with food. Maybe it was the stress, maybe it’s because it is normal in this province to eat like crap, maybe it had something to do with less healthy choices around me and more junk food. Whatever excuse I am going with today doesn’t really matter. Since arriving home in May 2014 I’ve attempted The Wild Rose Cleanse several times and failed each time. I have done a couple sugar free months but in the days following I was right back to eating sugar and processed foods.

My struggles over the last year have caused me to become food obsessed. I have felt anxious, stressed and apathetic towards my diet. A couple weeks ago I said to a friend, “I’ve been eating like a normal person”. That statement was a huge awakening. Why do I see the masses of people who eat poorly as normal? Is that a flaw in me or in society? Is it just a Newfoundland epidemic? I honestly do feel like it was more common, at least in my social circle in Calgary, to eat healthier. But again, I can’t place blame anywhere except my own choices.

Over the years I have educated myself on nutrition, on a basic level. I know that eating sugar and processed foods is not good for me and sends me on a blood sugar roller coaster all day long – causing me to over-eat. I know healthy fat doesn’t make you fat – its the former food category. I know my body needs lots of protein and veggies to preform and feel its best. I even know how to cook and bake delicious meals! So what gives? The problem must lie at an emotional level.

This past fall and winter food has been a reward for arduous study sessions and long days on my feet at the restaurant where I work. Food was comfort when I felt stressed or worried. Food was a way to fit in with the people around me. Food was bonding with my brother and family. Food was pleasure when I was bored and let down by an abysmal social scene. And it’s not even like these statements are epiphanies. I guess I’ve been pretty apathetic towards nutrition and this is the saddest realization I have made.

Last night I was reading about Whole30. Its a 30-day whole food eating plan which aims to reset your relationship with food and help you start a clean eating lifestyle. I am seriously considering giving it a try during the month of April to help me get back on track. Due to the blood sugar roller coaster that I experience when I eat sweets and processed carbs, I really suck at moderation. Last winter I would start my days with healthy oatmeal and it lead me to overeat all day long. Drug addicts call it “chasing the dragon” and that’s exactly how it feels for me. This is why I have a better time going cold turkey on junk food versus attempting moderation as my game plan.

Last week I quit counting calories and deleted the My Fitness Pal app from my iPhone. I will stop obsessing and feeling guilty about the junk food I ate this past winter. It’s not like I’ve let my health and fitness go, I’ve just indulged a few too many times and let it bother me too much. It’s in the past now, today is a new day and 2015 is still a fresh new year. It’s time to focus on fitness and putting healthy foods into my body and stop stressing about everything else.

Goodbye apathetic winter, hello motivated spring!

Spring Motivation and a 21K Whim

I could barely remember my WordPress login information this time. Haha

I was recently reminiscing about my first marathon training days when I started this blog and felt like looking it up and reading some old posts. They made me smile. I’m so glad I picked up running when I did – it truly changed my life forever.

Yesterday I ran the longest run I’ve done since my last marathon in October 2012. I just randomly decided the day before and for no other reason then the runner’s high and to soak up some vitamin D I tagged along with a friend who is training for his first marathon. I felt amazing during the run and the buzz has lasted into today as well. For the last couple years I’ve been sticking to shorter runs; usually 8-10k a couple times a week and a couple 10 mile races. My focus has been on building strength – something I always lacked. I was motivated to do more strength training after hitting the wall at 35k during both of my marathons and the second time I just decided to shelve the marathons for a while and get stronger. That and I started taking university classes part-time. One big life goal at a time!

This last year was a difficult transition for me. I went from a professional career and lifestyle to being a student in a classroom with kids who are ten years younger than me and working in a restaurant as a server again! I moved across the country (for the 6th time) and went from a young, fun, big city to a small city with very few friends. As tough as it was I’m so glad I took the plunge and went for this. I just can’t believe I put it off for so long! I realize now that this has been what’s missing all of these years. It fills me with joy to be in an academic environment and challenge my brain. I have even decided that I will move on from this degree to pursue a masters. Its already been about seven years of post-secondary for me but I feel like I’m just scratching the surface.

It makes sense that I put long distance running on the back burner and it’s not like I’ve totally abandoned it. I don’t even think becoming a student again would have been possible if not for the confidence that I gained from running. I think back to where I was last year at this time, and then the year before (late February is when I like to break up with my boyfriends apparently). I knew I needed to do this for a few years but was afraid to go for it. Spring always makes me feel restless and this spring I have no one to dump! I actually just recently celebrated my one year of singledom anniversary. All of my dating experiences in the last year have been completely terrible! I’m so used to lily padding from one serious relationship to another and as strange as it may seem, I think I needed a year of dating disasters to put somethings into perspective and truly appreciate being alone. I had a boyfriend for 12 of the last 15 years and honestly cannot fathom being in a relationship right now.

But back to running. Yesterday’s run motivated me soooo much and the fact that I randomly decided to go run a half marathon on a whim, with no real training and completed it in 1:56 with zero soreness makes me feel kind of incredible. All of the strength training this year has paid off and I was in the mood to write about it again. I have missed this blog – it really motivated me stay focused on a healthy lifestyle. I’ll post again soon!

Reinspired?

I just spent the last hour re-reading the first few months of posts in this blog and reminiscing on some really great and some really tough times. I was truly moved by my memories and even shed a few tears. I also realized that I used to eat like shit and think it was healthy! I cringe at the amount of sugar, processed food, gluten and dairy I once ate!

So much has changed since my last post. I decided to leave Calgary and move home to Newfoundland to pursue educational goals and I am currently a full-time University student. It was time to get my credentials caught up to my ambition and stop complaining about crappy career opportunities and being under employed. I am also single for the first time in what feels like a million years and I’m taking this time to concentrate on me and what I really want in life. I FINALLY broke through some serious health and fitness barriers in the last year. I cut out 95% of the dairy and sugar and gluten that I used to eat. I lost 10lbs  and changing my diet helped me get fitter and faster than any amount of junk runs ever did.

Quitting sugar for a few months last year was the very best thing I ever did for myself. I always failed at moderation. What’s that anyway? Cold turkey was the only thing that worked for me. Even after a sugarless month I might indulge a little for a day or two, but as I cycled through five or six sugar free months last year I eventually changed my relationship with sugar. I think overall I overcame a serious addiction. I am lighter, fitter, and my skin is healthier than ever.

I am now training for my favorite 10 mile race again. This year will be my five year anniversary of my first Tely Ten. Last year I finally broke 80 minutes and finished at 79:23 – a long-time goal of mine. I am nervous that I won’t PR again this year. Training has been ok, but it hasn’t been stellar. I have three weeks left and I have to be ok with the possibility of being slower than last year. It might be a lesson in self-love and acceptance. Running has taken a back seat to school and settling into a new (old) city and new job and lifestyle.

Summer is here, the days are hot and sunny, runs are sweaty and giving me the best runner’s high. I am reacquainted with my old friends Signal Hill and Quidi Vidi Lake. Life is good!

Two of My Fave Oatmeal Recipes

I am always on the hunt for an easy and healthy breakfast that I can pack and go. I usually make my breakfast at home, in the 30 minutes total I give myself to get up and out the door. Anything I can do to cut down on time to get ready means more time for sleep. And boy do I like to sleep. So here are two awesome tasty recipes for a fast, delicious and nutritious breakfast.

Blueberry Bliss Oatmeal

  • 3/4 cup of oats
  • 1 tbsp flax meal
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1tsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 3-4 drops pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3 tsp stevia

Awesome Chocolate Almond Oats

  • 3/4 cup oats
  • 1 tsp raw cacao powder
  • 1 tbsp sugar free almond butter (I like Blue Menu Just Almonds)
  • dash of cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp sliced almonds
  • half a banana (sliced)
  • 1/3 tsp stevia

I mix all the ingredients listed in my smallest stow and go glass container and when I get to work I add boiling water, stir and let it sit for a minute before I scarf them down. I don’t really measure so the amounts are just estimates. Coconut oil and almond butter really make these so rich and creamy and I’m sure its the extra healthy fat that keeps me full until lunch time. Enjoy!!

I’m Back – Here’s my Eight Month Recap

It’s been 8 months since my last post (which was about quitting sugar). If anyone was reading my posts they may have wondered if I fell off the wagon and spiraled back into a sugary rut. I’m back to report just the opposite! Quitting sugars in April was not only a huge challenge for me it’s probably the best thing I ever did for myself. I kept it up through May and upped the intensity, ditching the faux sugar training wheels as well.

The major changes I made to my diet this year allowed me to lose almost 15lbs since January 2013. April and May were sugar free months and in June and July I practiced moderation. But  but by the time  August rolled around I felt like I had indulged too much and ditched the evil white powder again. Then in October I did the 12 day Wild Rose cleanse and stayed away from sugar again with the exception of a piece of  pie at a dinner party hosted by my new boyfriends parents (not so cool to be a snob in those situations). Moderation has never really been my strong suit and cold turkey worked great for me with a definite start and end date. I had a few binges here and there during non sugar free months and during November I ran every day of the month, but I ate birthday cake every weekend. Overall I cut down on sugar BIG TIME this year. Through the monthly challenges I proved to myself that yes, I do have will power, and yes, cutting out sugar will make an enormous difference. Everyone knows sugar is awful, it’s in everything, it’s hard to commit to cutting it out, but it’s possible and it will make an enormous difference to your health. Once you kick it the benefits are enormous; my skin is clearer, I have less fine lines, more energy and I’m less moody – and that’s in addition to weight loss.

I rocked my annual 10 mile race in July and FINALLY nailed it in under 80 minutes with a time of 79:23. I mainly contribute my increased speed to being lighter but also to training smarter – less long steady junk miles and more short speed workouts and hills. I did a lot more strength training in 2013 and started off every session with a mile on the treadmill as fast as I could – between 8 – 9 mph. The 10 miler was my only race of the year however. I felt like I needed to take it easy this year and not be all about work / school / running which has been my sad little life for the last few years. All work and no play lead to too much pressure and it was making me crazy. I played a lot more in 2013 and I feel it has benefited my overall health more-so than the intense training plans and strict schedules. This past summer I spent lots of warm nights out on the town, living it up and making new friends. I let go of some heavy things that were no longer making me feel alive.

2013 is over and looking back, it was a great year. There was a new challenge almost every month, whether diet or running related. I shook myself out of bad habits, challenged myself to break free of (some of) my stubborn ways and I lightened my load of emotional baggage. I wanted to devote the year I turned 30 to becoming a better version of myself and I really feel like I took it up a notch, or two. I’m still 30 for another 8 weeks though, so I’m devoted to going out with a bang before I welcome 31. It will be 8 weeks of sugar free, minimal gluten, booze free,  clean eating. I’ve also added ice skating at lunchtime, more frequent strength training at the gym and I’m still running outside in the beautiful (at times frigid) Calgary winter weather.

So what’s my excuse for temporarily abandoning this blog? I guess this year I was going through a lot of personal changes. I went on an inward journey and didn’t really feel like blogging about most of it. I wasn’t ultra-focused on running and hey, I’m no Olympian – just a normal 30 year old recreational runner. I face the same challenges in life that everyone faces. But I’m back and I’ve added some new categories and refreshed the look of my site. There’s more to life than chasing a Boston qualifying marathon time or striving for peak fitness. Here’s a photo recap of the last 8 months, enjoy!

IMG_20130628_180725IMG_20130629_102229IMG_20130706_191921me05    IMG_20130721_213458 IMG_20130722_212538 IMG_20130723_131731 IMG_20130723_200131 IMG_20130723_200717  IMG_20130729_090413 IMG_20130729_204938 IMG_20131031_211342IMG_20131027_151051IMG_20130802_141156 IMG_20131027_150800    IMG_20131228_005947

The Sugar Strike Continues

Hello runners and readers :)

Although I wasn’t very dedicated on updating about April’s challenge, I stayed dedicated to cutting sugars and I would like to report that it was a huge success!

2013 is all about monthly challenges for me and cutting sugar last month seemed pretty tough but I did it and looking back it wasn’t even that difficult. I didn’t have any chocolate, muffins, cookies, cake or sweets for a full month! Here and there I ingested small amounts of honey or cane sugar but even that was very limited. My cheats were a couple glasses of diet soda and some sugar free ice cream. I know faux sugar, ie. aspartame and all those artificial sweeteners are probably worse than regular sugar but my main focus was cutting out sugary sweets and the horrible high fructose corn syrup laden crap. I cut out ketchup, sauces and juices. I ignored all the office treats and I passed on the free chocolate bar I won at the grocery store.

Just as February and March’s running challenge taught me that it can be easy to start a new habit, cutting sugars in April made me realize that it can be just as easy to break some bad ones too. I am SUPER motivated to keep up and even take a step up with the clean eating trend I started for myself. I am confident enough right now to take this up a level. One month challenges are awesome!! I am excited to see what else I can challenge myself to improve on this year :)

May’s challenge is also a diet challenge. I am going to continue to avoid sugar and up my game to include cutting the artificial ones as well. Its not like I ate a lot of them last month, just a tiny bit, but those artificial sweeteners are awful. If I can go this far, I might as well try and take it that one small step further. Also on the cutting block are trans fats. So, that means no chips – no deep fried anything!

Today I bought some spirulina powder to make smoothies with. Every morning going forward I’ll start my day with a super-food, green smoothie. I just had one made with a teaspoon of spirulina powder, half a banana,  fresh pineapple, frozen berries, a little apple juice and some almond milk. DELICIOUS!! Check out the blueish green goodness below :) I’ll update on the spirulina and let you know my full review in a couple weeks. I am interested to see if I will notice any benefits.

Green Smoothie

This week I also started putting Vega Sport Pre-Workout Energizer in my first glass of water in the morning. So far I am noticing the extra energy throughout the day but I didn’t notice any real effect on my 10k run I did yesterday and it may or may not have contributed to the stomach craps and gastrointestinal distress that had me sprinting for the washroom on my last mile. :) It contains rhodiola rosea and that stuff is the bomb! It is amazing for increasing mental energy and lowering stress. I have been taking it for a couple months and it really helped me through a hectic couple months at work and during final exams!

vega pre workout energizer

So that’s my update on April’s challenge and my plan for May! I’ll try to be a better blogger and get back into writing more often. Life has been hectic to say the least!

Health and happiness fellow runners!!