Categories
Exercise

My Snowboard Adventure

When Blair bought me a snow board a couple years ago I’ll admit it caught me off guard. We had no trips planned or time off to go snowboarding but Blair knew that now when the time came we’d be prepared and we could just go.

I also didn’t think it would be two whole years until I actually got to use the damn thing but it seemed every time we planned a practice trip to small mountains in Winnipeg something happened where we would have to cancel.

When this amazing opportunity came up for us to stay at kicking horse mountain for free, thanks to some awesome friends we knew this would be our chance. I didn’t imagine my first time learning to snowboard would be on one of the hardest mountains/hills in Canada but I accepted the challenge and got mentally prepared for it.

I knew snowboarding wasn’t going to be easy but I also knew that the only thing that would hold me back would be fear. When kids learn to snow board or ski they’re at an age where they’re fearless and invincible so learning a new difficult skill like this is so much harder as an adult. It is true that it is such a mental sport.

I prepared my body for the challenge and created a workout program to work on the muscular endurance of my legs and lots of core work. I felt very physically prepared by the time we got out here. But I still knew there was only so much I could prepare myself for. I knew I would be falling a lot and accepted this fact so I tried to go in with zero expectations just to know that no matter how many times I fell I would have to get back up again.

The first time locking the boots onto my board was terrifying, I felt so uncomfortable and off balance. Then there was the chair lift… I will proudly admit I didn’t biff coming off that chair lift once even the first time haha. When I looked down at the mountain strapped onto this board that I never used before, feeling very unstable I felt the hairs on my entire body standing up. I was so scared but I reminded myself, the only thing that will hold me back is fear so let’s do some falling!

I was fortunate enough to go with a group that was very patient with me and waited for me along the way and were so encouraging so this helped a ton.

We did three runs the first day and I probably fell every 30 seconds if not more. I got up and fell, got up fell, got up fell. I did about two backwards somersaults in a row at one point, smoked my head where my teeth even smacked together, but I got up dusted the snow off and kept trying.

Eventually I figured out how to stop and snow plow but wasn’t even comfortable with that until about day two. After day two I could make it down the steep parts by “feathering” or basically going side to side while snow plowing down the whole way. I knew that snowboarding was way more than just that and that I needed to get away from feeling comfortable doing that and get onto the other edge of my board where again I was very wobbly and uncomfortable.

I’d also like to mention how much my leg muscles BURNED. No workout program would have prepared me for squatting for 20-30 minutes straight while twisting my core back and fourth. Very new muscle burns for me but of course I loved the exercise part of it.

On day three I came up with a great strategy because I now knew how to comfortably stop. I would get myself into a complete stop then force myself to turn my board towards the mountain and get on the dreaded toe edge of my board. I started falling again but I would get up and do it again.

When I found myself getting comfortable again feathering I would stop myself and literally talk myself through it. “Get on your toe edge” “Thats it” “I got this shit”. Hopefully too many people didn’t hear me and think I was crazy haha. By the end of day three I made it down the entire mountain without falling one time.

After practicing this strategy I just kept at it and if all else fails I’d go back to the basics and stop, then force myself out of my comfort zone onto my toe edge, then stop, then toe edge, stop, toe edge. By the end of day four instead of feathering down that last steep part I was carving! Not fast by any means I took it at my own pace but I was fricken carving and it felt so damn good!

Day five I got to soak in all I had learned and just enjoy trying new things, going through narrow parts, and even throwing little mini jumps in there when I was feeling it. We went to the highest part of the mountain which was twice as long down but I didn’t even question whether I was ready for that or not I just did it. I felt like I got it on day five and felt like a total bad ass! It was so rewarding knowing I pushed myself through all those uncomfortable moments. I think of how many times I fell day one and two and am grateful I went in so fearless.

This was such an empowering experience for me! I cannot wait for our next snow boarding trip and know it’ll be just that much easier to relearn again.

I’ll use this experience as a metaphor or learning lesson about life. When you push yourself outside your comfort zone and refuse to give up no matter how many times you stumble or fall, the reward will be just that much greater.

Frecklefit

Categories
Hard truths

Finding Balance

Beer versus lettuce

I’ve realized lately how important the concept of finding balance is in our everyday lives. Having the right amount of balance improves our mood therefore improving our thoughts generating more positivity. It helps us think more clearly. It helps our bodies feel good. It helps with our self confidence. It helps us feel our best.

Life is full of mini balancing acts. Not just in one area either. It’s one thing to find balance during the everyday grind but that’s just one balancing act. The other acts include, when you are on vacation. When a big life event happens. When you change up the everyday grind, maybe by getting a different job. When you have children. There are so many ways that life changes on you and each and every time you have to find a new way to balance. 

So what exactly do we have to balance? 

We have to balance our diet and nutrition by finding foods we really enjoy but that also make us feel good. We have to balance the quantity of food by eating the right amounts to feel our best physically. We have to balance the amount of movement we do, not exercise to exhaustion but getting in the right amount to feel the benefits from it. We have to balance how we spend our time, getting good quality time in learning and enhancing our brains before letting our brains get completely consumed in a TV show or movie. These are just examples but there are so many other things in life we can balance.

These are the kinds of things I’ve been working at balancing during my work weeks but I will admit this vacation that I am on took me a few days to get into a good balance. I find now that I have all these great habits that sometimes when I do go on vacation it is hard for me to loosen up and enjoy eating more calorie dense food that I’m used to without the guilt trips.

Sometimes when I do have a little bit too much to drink I completely tip to the other side of the scale of things and lose my inhibitions and rationale. This leads to big feelings of regret and shame the next day for me especially when I get hungover and feel like shit. It took me a while to adjust to what and how much to eat so I’m still in “vacation mode” but not overdoing it where I feel like absolute crap.

When I’m on vacation I just want to enjoy every second and feel full feelings of gratitude so spending my days hungover is just not something I would like to experience anymore. Call it age, call it maturity, call it whatever you want but when you know you just know. Life is too short to waste the day.

Usually when changing up my routine it takes me a few days to figure it out. I’ve come to realize that this is okay and it’s normal for it to take some time. Especially at the age I am at in life balancing takes a lot more time because it becomes more important. When I was younger I just wanted to party hard and eat like shit and be as lazy as possible and it never bothered me because I valued that wild side so much and never felt the amazing feelings that I do now of just being me, feeling great, sober, and embracing the little blessings life brings.

I value the work I’ve put into my health, my body, and my mindset too much now to just let it all go. But at the same time every once in a while it feels good to loosen up my self discipline a bit and truly vacation. 

I have found a great balance here on my trip. I mix my everyday values with a vacation style to treat myself everyday. I move and exercise every morning and have a healthy breakfast and lunch in order to feel great and deserving of chilling in the evening and having a few beverages. I’ll admit I had a night where I drank way too much but I quickly learned from it the next day and have found balance in this regard as well. I’m having a great time and staying true to myself and that’s what life is all about!

I hope you never feel ashamed of finding balance and know that it is something that you have to work at and sometimes it takes time, trial, and error to figure it out.

Heres to juggling life and enjoying it to the fullest!

Frecklefit

Categories
Life Hacks

Sleep and it’s Affects on Weight Loss

My actual sleep position… when Blair isn’t home lol

I’ve been hearing a lot lately about how effective sleep can aide with weight loss and improve your overall health. Of course my curious brain is wondering why and how? So I read a very informative book called Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker. Matthew has been researching and studying sleep for over twenty years. Although this book kind of gave me a little bit of anxiety about sleep, it deeply emphasized its importance and inspired this blog.

Before I get into why sleep is important for weight loss I will list a few very interesting points on how sleep can improve your overall general health. But first we have to address exactly how much sleep you actually need. According to this scientific book and all the reattach done the answer is eight to nine hours. Any less than that and you will not be able to perform, think, work, learn, or live at your ABSOLUTE best.

Yes there are times where eight hours is just not plausible due to our busy lives including high work demands or crazy schedules, kids, special events or conferences. Your best bet is to TRY your best at getting the eight hours that you need.

Another important thing to add is that there is no such thing as “catching up on sleep”. I know I know, I was upset to hear this fact too but according to the research it is just not a thing, because your body needs to go through all the stages of the different sleep cycles each night to be at maximal focus and productivity.

One big reason you need the different stages of sleep cycles is due to memory. Sleep plays a big role in memory and your ability to learn. Each specific cycle of sleep effects different types of your memory but mainly effects and enhances what you have recently be learning (short term memory).

Sleep also boosts your immune system preventing different sicknesses, ailments, diseases, and infections. Sleep increases and enhances your telomeres preventing different cancers. Sleep lowers your blood pressure and heart rate protecting your cardiovascular system from strokes or heart attacks. Sleep fine tunes your balance of insulin and circulating glucose preventing diabetes. Sleep increases your creativity. Sleep keeps you emotionally stable preventing mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression. Adequate sleep also increases your “sleep spindles” which further enhance athletic performance.

So now let’s talk weight loss. How does sleeping eight hours each night aide in weight loss?

When we don’t sleep enough our body becomes “stingy” about losing fat. In a weight loss study done, each group was monitored closely and provided food which caused them to be in a caloric deficit. One group was only allowed to have 5 1/2 hours or sleep and the other 8 hours. Each group did lose weight but the group with less sleep lost 70% of weight from lean body mass (muscle). The group with adequate sleep only lost 30% of weight from lean body mass. Therefore proving sleep can help maintain lean tissue (the weight you want to keep).

Contrary to what some people believe, if we stay awake longer we do NOT burn more calories as sleep is actually an intensely metabolic state for brain and body. In fact if were lacking sleep were likely to be more sedentary and less willing to exercise.

The more tired we are the more hungry we are as well. Lack of sleep actually makes our hunger hormones irregular (leptin and ghrelin). This makes us think we’re more hungry then we actually are. Throw in there also more time we have in the day to eat if we’re not sleeping.

Sleep enhances and maintains a flourishing microbiome within the gut which helps with proper bodily functions including the digestion process.

Lack of sleep also throws our emotions and rationale out of whack causing us to emotionally eat. You may have heard the term “hangry” before, probably coined from someone who was very tired combined with not eating in a while.

So here are all the factors lined out for you if you have not been getting adequate sleep, which can cause either your body to either resist weight loss or continue to gain weight:

-body is stingy about “fat” loss (can lose muscle rather than fat)

-tired, lazy, more sedentary which equals less calories burned

-increased caloric intakes due to time spent awake

-hunger hormones irregular causing increase in caloric intake

-emotionally labile causing a decrease in impulse control and making more rash food decisions

-decrease in food satisfaction as well causing a bad relationship with food

These are just the summarized key take aways from the book I read and if you wanted more detail on the research you can read the book for yourselves. So what does the book recommend for a better night sleep?

Here is a list of non-pharmalogical ideas to enhance or get a better nights sleep (book highly does NOT recommend sleep aides for a number of different reasons):

-Limit caffeine and alcohol consumption especially after a certain time of day (preferably after noon).

-Limit screen time (phones, computers, TVs, iPads) within an hour or two before bed.

-Dim lights in the evening and sleep in the dark (can utilize sleep mask).

-Have your room cold or cool at night.

-Avoid napping in the evening.

-Mentally decelerate before bed (spend time with loved ones, meditate, read).

-Avoid clock watching or turn clock away once settled into bed.

-If all else fails and sleep is becoming a huge ongoing problem for you consider trying cognitive behavioural therapy.

Happy Sleeping Everybody!

Frecklefit

Categories
Life Hacks

Create more Willpower

Let’s talk willpower. It is something that is learned over time and unfortunately does not happen overnight. It takes a lot of practice and of course the true desire to develop it. People who say they don’t have any willpower probably simultaneously have never tried to develop it or have no true intentions to start. You can complain about it all you want but it is not a force from your inner being that will magically appear, you have to work at it.

Will power is a lot like delaying gratification. Rather than giving yourself a short term reward you delay for a greater long term goal or feeling. Sometimes we often get mixed signals from our body. We start to feel hungry even though we just ate or see something delicious and immediately decide, I need this… like right now! Sometimes our mind takes over complete control rather than receiving and listening to signals from our body.

More and more I’ve come to understand that the majority of the time this is caused by some kind of psychological issue. How many people do you know who stress eat? You probably know a good handful of people if not more and I know personally I used to as well. Because food can be so comforting sometimes and it seems like such a quick fix to make yourself feel better instantly. 

How many people eat out of boredom? This used to be me to a T. And I’ll admit I still do sometimes. Eating is so social and can be an activity at times that fills your day. Sometimes when you just don’t know what to do next, we make a snack. 

So what happens when you get offered something and you feel that the other person may get offended if you don’t eat it? Or may judge you because they have insecurities themselves?

Believe me this situation has occurred in my life SO many times. Because I used to be a people pleaser I would eat it to make THEM feel better… Can anyone else relate?

The key here is to be selfish in this situation. Think about you and nobody else. They will forgive you if you don’t eat the cake they made just for you and life will move on. Quit trying to please other people in ways that don’t serve your own soul.

There are polite ways to refuse. I use my peanut allergy a lot, stating “sorry I have a severe allergy to peanuts and just don’t want to take any risks”. You can state you have any allergy out there or even an intolerance and people won’t push you to eat anything. Another excuse I use is “I just ate and I am really full but thanks for the offer”. If they give you a piece for later take it and give it to someone who would enjoy it.

So the key to developing will power is taking back the control. Control of your body and control of your mind. It all starts with becoming self and body aware. If your someone who wished they had more willpower this is exactly where you start. 

Our bodies can also be little tricksters as well with these mixed signals. Sometimes we cannot decipher hunger from thirst. So we think we’re hungry when really were actually a little dehydrated.

So where do we start?

There are three things I want you to do next time you’re faced with an unplanned food decision (food or snacks besides your regular meals for the day).

Number one is drinking a glass of water. Easy and simple as that. If you feel yourself getting hungry drink one nice big cup of water first then wait a few minutes to see how you feel. If someone offers you a sweet treat and you are torn with the decision to eat it or not, drink a nice big glass of water first.

Next, there are two questions I want you to ask yourself before you eat something. A great question I have used over the years to develop more willpower is “How is this going to make me feel?” Think of the short term feeling then think of the long. If you can think of a longer term better outcome from not having this item right away, it will help create just a little more awareness to guide your decision.

The last question is, “Is this food item going to benefit my performance today?” Good quality nutrition is important to stay productive, active, and mentally sharp. Overeating can cause you to feel sluggish, guilty, and sometimes shame. Especially if you are trying to reach a fitness goal.

If you have already got some proper nutrition in today and know you’re going to hit your protein intake goals for the day then you might be in a better position to have the treat. But if all you’ve eaten is junkie foods and not had any vegetables or protein rich foods, it might be a better decision to hold off and get more quality food in that day.

So whether you gave in and ate the snack or not after asking these questions, it is important to create awareness after the fact as well to assess your feelings on your decision. “How does my energy feel?” “How does my body feel?” and “How do I feel about myself now?”

It is important not to self shame at the same time. Doing these sorts of practices it’s easy to start thinking self deprecating thoughts. These thoughts are going to get you nowhere and may even cause a reverse willpower effect to get back at yourself. So be kind to yourself in the process. Remind yourself it’s not easy to say no or not now, especially when you’ve been accustomed to giving yourself whatever you desire in the moment for so long.

Remember it’s progress over perfection. You are NOT going to be able to just start saying no thanks and delaying gratification right away so get that idea out of your head. It’s all in the little baby steps. Be patient with yourself and give yourself some recognition when you do make a small step towards your goals.

xoxo

Frecklefit

Categories
Recipes

Basil Zucchini Linguine

Looking for a nice tasty hearty and healthy pasta dish? Well look no more. This dish is so incredibly easy. It is very tasty and very low calorie AND low carb as well. You will probably need some sides to go with it.

Options are a nice piece of crusty bread, Cesar salad, or you can toss with extra pasta if not looking to necessarily have a low carb meal. You could also go crazy and do all three.

The dish is quite guilt free!

Serves 4

Cals per serving 244

Carbs 15g

Fat 9g

Protein 26g

Ingredients:

1 package of ground turkey

3 Zucchini

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

100g baby tomatoes

3 cloves of garlic

1 can tomato paste

1 tbsp basil

Pinch of salt

Drizzle skillet pan with olive oil and brown turkey. Add baby tomatoes, cover and let simmer until tomatoes pop. While simmering, grate zucchini with carrot peeler. Once tomatoes soft mash them. Add tomato paste, minced garlic, basil, salt and pepper to taste. Toss in zucchini and combine well. Can add some parmesan cheese to top it all off!

Dig in!

Frecklefit