Getting back on track!

I know I promised to not take forever to post an update, but life got extremely busy. We had a few stressful moments (thankfully everyone is okay!) and some wonderful ones! To sum everything up, I’ve started running again – in my vibrams! I can’t believe I’ve been living by the seawall for so long and haven’t been running on it! My goal is to be able to run 10km like it’s no big deal. I currently run ~7km twice a week and run on the treadmill on other days. I last about 20 minutes on the treadmill as it’s probably one of the most boring experiences ever! Running outside is everything!

It’s also come to my attention that sitting on my butt for 8 hours a day is not good for leaning out – not even when you are doubling up your workouts! So, I’ve started walking to and from work AND going on walks at lunch. My feet were super sore the first couple of days and I think I’ll have to take the walks a little easier as my knees aren’t used to walking so much. I’ve also been in a workout funk, so I increased the amount of times I see my trainer to prevent a total “eat-everything-I-see” meltdown. I. Hate. Chicken. Seriously. There are days where I would literally KILL for a pizza and suffer after as I’m lactose intolerant. Ugh.

Anyways, I used my love for creating spreadsheets and lists to set new goals for myself for the month of June. This is also my birthday month, so this will be very difficult but I will do my best to not beat myself up for slipping a little.

Goals:

– One cheat MEAL a week (not an eat-everything-you-see day) AND be consistent in logging meals
– Weight train 4 times a week – hopefully my new resistance bands for assisted pull-ups will help motivate me!
– Run every morning. Even if it’s for 20 minutes.
– Run outside at least once a week.
– Drink water. Like, actually drink it.
– Mix up my meals a little. No more plain chicken with veggies. I will be more creative in the kitchen even if it hinders my gains by a little. I’d rather enjoy my meals than go nuts!
– If you know you’re going to be tempted to eat badly, bring your own food and ignore the haters. I can’t even count the number of times people have told me I’m “too skinny” or “too strict” because I take care of myself. Since when is it okay to tell someone to eat really badly? I know I’m not fat, but I also know that I work really hard to be fit.
– Give your husband $20 every time you skip a workout, eat an unplanned cheat meal or forget to prep meals for the day (unless you have a really good excuse).

My new resistance bands <3

My new resistance bands ❤

Hope you guys are having a good week!

Aliya.

PS – Today is my dear cousin-sister’s birthday and I wish I was in Calgary with her to celebrate! Happy Birthday Feefs!

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Water Retention & Supplement Change

Guess what? It seems like my body doesn’t like to retain water. Either that or the fat measuring machine thingy at the gym is broken. I tried to google how to retain water and it seems like everyone wants to lose their water weight to reduce their bloat. Hmm…

This is Tanita, my mortal enemy

Here are my options:

  1. Find some crazy supplement to help me retain water for my hard earned muscle (Creatine, anyone?)
  2. Keep doing exactly what I’m doing
  3. Change something up (maybe I’m not eating enough salt or something in my diet is off)
  4. Go to McDonalds and binge on some fries and complain about how much my life sucks.

Okay, so the last one was a little dramatic. I’ve decided to go with options 2 & 3 (technically, option 3, but you know what I mean). I think that a week of drinking enough water is probably not enough time for my body to adjust, so I’m going to continue drinking lots of water. For me, the easiest way to get all of my water in is to drink a glass of water after each meal. So, if I eat 5-6 meals a day, that’s 5-6 glasses of water. If the glasses I’m using are 12 oz that’s 7.5 – 9 cups a day! This does not include the water in my green smoothies or protein shakes or what I drink while working out.

The change I’m going to make is by changing my protein powder. I usually use whey protein powder in my protein shakes. Not the natural stevia sweetened kind which is probably better for you, but the Mocha Cappuccino sucrose flavored kind – YUM! Obviously, since 2-3 of my meals are shakes , it might be a better idea to switch to something more natural. After reading about it in many blogs, I’ve decided on trying Sun Warrior Raw Protein Powder. It’s a GMO-free  plant-based protein powder with healthy ingredients and it contains all of the essential amino acids! Check out the link to see all of its benefits. It tastes pretty good (better than most protein powders I’ve tried), mixes well and makes you feel full.  Since I’m lactose intolerant, it should reduce any gas (gross!) or bloating I have – I guess we’ll have to wait and see how it works out!

My new protein powder in Vanilla

Thursday night, I sliced the bottom of my foot on a plastic stick thing that was on the floor at home. Everything was all over the place as we’ve had construction going on in our building and apartment over the last FIVE weeks – UGH!  As a result, I haven’t been able to do much cardio, but I’m trying to keep up on my weight training.Tonight,  I plan on doing some high-rep lower body exercises today at home using my 20 & 30 lb kettle bells and TRX suspension trainer. Heck, I might even throw in some unassisted chin-ups and try to do a pull-up 🙂 We’ll see how I feel.

Hope you guys enjoy the rest of your weekend!

A.

Green Smoothies & Quick Workout

A couple of months ago, I started freaking out about my skin. For some reason, I felt like I needed an expensive cream or “solution” to prevent my skin from ageing or looking “blah”. My husband, being the more reasonable of the two of us, told me to take a few days to think about spending a couple of hundred dollars (I know!) on a cream. I had spoken to my running/spinning/workout buddy, Christie, previously, about juicing and getting all of our greens in and, at her baby shower, another friend told me about the Glowing Green Smoothie – This must be fate! After doing some research, I figured that saving up for a good blender or juicer would be a better long-term investment than having to rely on a really expensive face cream.

As I said in a previous post, we recently purchased a Vitamix so that we could have green smoothies every day – or any type of delicious smoothie that makes eating a bunch of vegetables more palatable. After a week or two of having one to two glasses a day, my husband started thinking that I wore makeup to bed because my skin looked different. A couple of weeks later, other people noticed. It is so healthy and my dark circles are not as dark as before. Moreover, no more monthly breakouts! Funny how getting your fruits & veggies makes your skin and body look and feel amazing. It’s funny how logical this is, but how I’d never tried this before!

Seriously, eat your veggies and you won’t need crazy expensive creams to look and feel great!

Anyways, here’s the recipe we use for Kimberly Snyder’s “Glowing Green Smoothie”  (Makes about 3 magic bullet containers)

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– 1 1/2 – 2 cups water
– 1 romaine lettuce heart chopped
– 2 handfuls of spinach
– 3-4 celery stalks (sticks) chopped
– 1 organic apple cored and chopped
– 1 organic pear cored and chopped
– 1/3 bunch of cilantro*
– 1/3 bunch of parsley*
– 1 organic banana
– juice of half a lemon (or a few squeezes of lemon juice)

* optional

Step 1: Add water, romaine and spinach and blend
Step 2: Add celery, apple and pear and blend
Step 3: Add cilantro and parsley and blend
Step 4: Add banana and lemon and blend

Just a note: I’ve tried it without the herbs and it didn’t taste as good (IMO) and I’ve tried it without the romaine and it wasn’t as good. However, feel free to play around with the recipe and let me know what creations you’ve come up with! Oh, and beware: if you add berries, the drink turns into an interesting color – still tastes good though!

We’ve been super busy over the last couple of weeks with my grandfather in the hospital (he should be fine and home Saturday!!!), so it’s been even more difficult to get my workouts in and eat healthy. I came up with this shorter workout based on a set my trainer had me do. You don’t really need anything for this, but I used a 5lb medicine ball as I forgot to bring a kettlebell. If done indoors, a treadmill is preferred (or anything that can be used to get your heart rate up) . This workout took about 40 minutes and I burned about 10 calories a minute.

Quick Workout:

Warm up – 5 mins @ 5.5 mph on treadmill (jogging pace)

1 min sprint @ 7.0 – 8.0 mph
walking lunges one way (substitute with split squats right leg forward x 8-10)  – sometimes I added pulses or weights
10 jump squats or regular squats
walking lunges back (substitute with split squats left leg forward  x 8-10)
Repeat x 7

10 mins – walk on treadmill @ 3.5 mph on 6-9 incline

Cool down/stretch

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Pre-cool down – not bad!

It’s finally starting to feel like spring. In hopes of the weather genies keeping it this way, here’s a pic of me enjoying the Hawaiian sun during our honeymoon in September. I wish I could jump into this picture and be in Maui right now… *sigh*

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Hope you’re having a great week!

A.

Goals

Every weekend I have a weigh-in with my trainer to see my body fat percentage. I’m focusing n being more lean so the percentage is more important than what the scale says. It’s been a bummer because I feel like I work out all of the time, eat really well and still seem to have the same fat percentage. I’m getting stronger and my cardio is awesome, but it’s like I’m missing something. I was pretty bummed about it all weekend. I somehow managed to make my husband feel like he called me fat – yep, I took him down with me. I totally apologized soon after. He’s way too much of a sweetheart to do anything like that. Anyways, I’ve decided to stop comparing myself to girls in other blogs or magazines and take it one day at a time. I’m also going to stop feeling like I have to eat what’s available when we go out for social gatherings – I’m going to be the person who brings her own food everywhere! I’m going to enjoy my cheat meal of the week and I’m going to work my hardest at sticking to my goals. If this is how my body is, then I’m not going to go to the extreme to make it something it’s not.

Here are some of my goals for the next 2 months:

1) Drink more water – at least 8 glasses a day
2) No snacking at all!!!
3) Focus on how far I’ve come – I’ve lost 30 lbs in about 1.5 years and gone from 35% to 28% body fat
4) Eat clean all week long and enjoy one indulgent cheat meal
5) 5 days of weight training and sprints a week (MAYBE one low-intensity cardio session)
6) Prepare all meals in advance

Speaking of meals, I’ve decided to prepare meals 1 (breakfast), 3 (lunch) and 5 (dinner) in advance. Meals 2 and 4 are protein and green smoothies (recipe to come). I’ve made my meals very simple to try and figure out what’s wrong with my current diet.

Here are my meals:

Meal #1: Breakfast: Pancakes (egg whites, non-fat greek yogurt, cinnamon, oat flour)

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Meals 3 & 5: Lunch & Dinner (they are the same right now because I am super lazy): chicken breast, veggies and slices of yam (there are some carrots in there too, it’s not all yams – I swear!)
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I’m surprised at how satisfying chicken with yams has been. I’m not a big fan of chicken, but when mixed with veggies and yams, it’s been quite delicious! I might change dinner to have some egg white veggie muffins that Little B’s Healthy Habits just posted. Be sure to check out her site – she’s got great recipes and information!

This weekend, I got my nails did and my cheat meal was a delightful breakfast sandwich from Café Bica located near Granville Island. So, obviously, I’m going to post pictures of that:

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Notice the awesome coffee art (is that what it’s called ?)

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And here’s my husband playing with salt & pepper before he caught me taking a picture 🙂

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So pretty and pink! I still can’t stop admiring them

Have you ever had troubles reaching your goals? What are your go-to simple clean meals?

I know it’s been awhile ….

Oh my goodness – it’s been almost FOUR months since my last blog post. Seriously. I’m so sorry! I get so antsy when blogs I follow don’t update very often and here I am not paying any attention to mine. ..

So, I have A LOT of recipes that need to be added and I’ve continued to workout consistently and eat clean. I probably eat clean 85-90% of the time (I mean, when a coworker brings chocolate covered macadamia nuts, they don’t count, right?).  The most difficult thing for me to do is drink water. It’s like I’d rather starve myself than drink water. It’s horrible. I think that’s what’s definitely holding me back from my goals. I just want to keep getting stronger, leaner and fitter. I don’t want to be a skinny girl, I want to be able to do unassisted pull-ups and more than 2 chin-ups at a time.

Lately, I’ve been finding it more and more difficult to feel rested and stay focused. It’s not easy being so used to eating a certain way that, when you eat a cheat meal, you feel like crap. It’s also not easy realizing that maybe you have to tone down on those weekly “treats”. I think that keeping up with this blog will help me realize that I am getting stronger and that the road to fitness is a long and beautiful journey filled with many ups and downs.

Since I’ve been working out so much, I’ve decided to invest in a few goodies to help motivate me to stay on track!

Some of my new loot:

1) Polar FT4M heart rate monitor watch. This is amazing. I was contemplating getting the FT40 which let’s you see your calories burned and workout time on the same screen, but couldn’t justify the extra $50-70 for just that. This definitely keeps me working harder to keep my heart rate up and my workouts intense. And, let’s face it, it’s orange – I love the color orange!

2) New balance tank. For those of you who know me well, you know that I NEVER wear tank tops or anything that shows my arms. My arms get bulky very easily and, if I’m not taking care of myself, I get very self conscious about them. I’m now trying to get over my fear and this tank is AMAZING. It doesn’t cling onto you and covers part of your butt. What else could you ask for in a workout top? Oh, and it’s sooo pretty that I might get it in white/red too 😉

3) Vitamix!!! I’m very excited about my Vitamix 🙂  It’s pretty pricey (Canadians, you’re looking at spending around $500 at Costco), but it’s an amazing blender and it’s great for every day use. We use it to make our daily green smoothies (I’ll need an entire post to describe my love for green smoothies) and some cooking needs. I use it at least once a day. It’s also super easy to clean, so the husband doesn’t mind helping me out with that part 😉

And now I’m off to enjoy the first of many cloudy days in Vancouver. At least the weekends have been beautiful! Hope you guys are enjoying your Thursday and I promise to not be so distant.

Aliya.

Creepy Gym People & Clean Eating Chicken Curry

Hi all! Hope you had an amazing weekend. It’s been a mix of rain and wet snow in Vancouver, but it’s made for a good weekend of staying in and watching movies!

With our gym memberships, we’re able to go to a bunch of different gyms, so we decided to try a new one today. It’s on two levels with the cardio & women’s area upstairs and the co-ed weight room downstairs. We were doing back & biceps today, so we went down to the weight room which is located on the  ground-level and has a lot of windows, but has some pretty bad lighting. My husband refers to this gym as the “rape” gym. As in, it seems really creepy and he’d want me to take some self defense classes before attempting to go by myself – more on his paranoia another time. Anyways, as I was doing my first set, I noticed an older man standing outside the gym staring at me and another woman doing dead-lifts. It was so obvious that he was creeping on us that all of the other people in the weight room started to notice and feel a little uncomfortable. What a weirdo! She handled it pretty well though. I just made my husband workout with me the rest of the time 🙂

After the gym, I started cooking for the week. I cook everything in bulk over the weekend, so I don’t have to worry about it during the week. It’s tough and creates a lot of mess – which stresses me out – in our uber small kitchen, but totally worth it. Definitely keeps us on track and doesn’t hurt our pockets either! I tried a recipe from Mrs. Nimji’s cookbook “A Spicy Touch Volume 1”. It’s a great Indian recipe cookbook created my cousins’ grandmother. Here’s the recipe for Chicken Curry with a few modifications.

Chicken Curry

  • Extra virgin olive oil for cooking
  • 1 medium white onion chopped or sliced
  • 2.5 lbs boneless, skinless and non-medicated chicken breast cubed – can substitute any other meat or tofu
  • 1 tsp crushed ginger
  • 1/2 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1/2 tsp crushed hot pepper
  • 1/2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 medium tomato chopped (I used one of those vine tomatoes)
  • 2 tsp tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 yams cut into cubes (I left the skin on, but you don’t have to)
  • 1 cup hot water (you can add more if you want the curry to be more watery)
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tbsp coriander leaves (I didn’t use these 🙂 )

Add oil, onions to pot and cook until golden brown

DSC00694Add chicken and, after a few minutes, add the tomato paste, tomato and all spices except garam masala

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Once the chicken is 1/2 way cooked, add the yam

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After a few minutes, add the hot water

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Cook until yams and chicken are cooked and then add the garam masala & coriander leaves – I forgot this part, so mine won’t taste as good as yours!

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I packed mine with 1/3 cup of quinoa for lunch! YUM!

Until next time,

A.

Mmmmm Clean Eating Indian Food!

Over the last few months, I’d been struggling with my cravings for oily/savory foods such as pizza (YUM!), french fries (double YUM), etc – the list goes on! It was to the point where I would overly indulge over the weekend – think 2 slices of pizza one night and then a carb-loaded day with an additional cheat meal. Not good for the body or trying to lean out. Great for my taste buds and self-pity though. However, since I’m all about holding myself accountable for eating junk resulting in losing lean muscle mass and gaining fat, it was about time I started learning how to make more flavorful dishes.

My dear husband reminded me about how lots of Indian dishes aren’t bad for you as they are filled super healthy ingredients such as turmeric, ginger, garlic and tomatoes.  However, I was pretty apprehensive about cooking anything Indian as it seemed like only something my mothers or grandmothers could do. But, I figured I’d give it a try and, after a few failed attempts and upset stomachs, I finally got the hang of it (by “it”, I mean a couple of dishes)! So, here’s my first successful Indian dish, which, coincidentally, is also the husband’s favorite dish: Karahi Chicken.

Karahi chicken is, essentially, chicken cooked with tomatoes and spices. This recipe makes the sauce pretty spicy, so you can remove the ground red chilies (mirchi) and reduce the amount of whole green chilies added. You can get the pastes, mirchi, and garam masala (and any Indian spices you’d need) from most grocery stores, however, I recommend going to an Indian grocery store as it will be A LOT – I mean A LOT – cheaper. The great part is that they last awhile 🙂

Ingredients:

  • Extra virgin olive oil for cooking
  • 3-4 tomatoes skinned and chopped (I chopped them into quarters and didn’t skin them because I’m lazy like that!)
  • 1.5 lbs boneless and skinless chicken breast (free range, non-medicated) cubed
  • 1 tsp garlic paste
  • 1/2 tsp ginger paste (I just used 2 tsp of a garlic and ginger paste mix)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 3-4 green chilies (make it 1 or 2 if you don’t like spicy food)
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • *1 tsp ground mirchi (ground red chilies) – optional

Makes 4 servings

**Note: if you decide to double the recipe, don’t double the tomatoes! It’ll be really watery. Just add 1 or 2 more and some water, if it’s still too dry! Actually, you might not want to double the green chilies either. Just add 1 or two more of those as well. 

I put everything except the chicken into a big pot over the stove and let it heat on high for a minute or two. Next, I added the chicken and turned the heat down to medium and just let it all cook together.

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Basically, you let it cook until the chicken is cooked and the water from the tomatoes turns into a sauce.

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If you find it to be too dry, add a little bit of water; if it’s too wet, put it on low and let it simmer – this will let the water evaporate and thicken the sauce into a paste without overcooking the chicken.

I ate it on top of kale for one of my meals at work. SO. DELICIOUS!

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