Monday, December 29, 2014

And there it went...

And so, 2014 is almost over.

I can safely say that I did not get all the things done :)

But that's OK though. I have a feeling 2015 is going to be, like, the best year ever. I will be leaving my office job in 2015 and try to figure out what I really want to do with my life. I will be continuing to build my business, as well as improving on my current levels of health and fitness. Which, admittedly, are pretty low at the moment. Not sure what happened - although I have been working out this year, I never got into a real routine and had a really hard time staying motivated. So, right now, I am not feeling my best and I'm not crazy about the way I look either.

I'm not complaining about size or weight here. I love my body at any size, it has served me well over the years. But right now, it is not loving me back! I am experiencing quite a bit of bloating, heaviness, fatigue, inflammation and pain, and it's frustrating because I know that I can change those things dramatically through better food and more exercise. It just hasn't been happening, especially not lately.

But oh, well! You can ALWAYS start over, and that is what I intend to do.

There are a few things I need to stop consuming, among them wheat, sugar, and dairy.
There are a few things I need to eat more of, for example, fresh fruit and vegetables.
I am getting back into PiYo, but in order to not give in to "workout ADD", I will be throwing in workouts from some other programs that I like, such as T25 and TurboFire. I have to mix things up - but I will complete PiYo. I want that t-shirt!

I will be better at documenting my progress too - if you read this blog (all three of you!), you can expect more posts in the not too distant future!

If you want to join me on this adventure, shoot me an email at majawithaj75@gmail.com and we can discuss your personal goals and your plan for the coming year. Let's do it together!

Love,
Maja With a J

PiYo DEFINE YOURSELF

Friday, October 10, 2014

The Mindful Eating Project v 2.0

A few years ago, I saw this show on TV called "I Can Make You Thin". The title, I thought, was bogus, but it was what they had to use in order to get people to watch the show, I guess. People just wanna be thin, right?

The host of the show was a British guy by the name of Paul McKenna, author and hypnotherapist, and he had these guidelines that would help you control your eating and lose weight. You can read more about Paul McKenna here. His guidelines were quite simple. They said to eat when hungry, eat what you really want, enjoy every mouthful, and stop when you are full. I tried it. I think I even ordered some CD's that had relaxation audio to listen to at bedtime to "re-program your brain". It sounds silly, but the fact is, it works. Shortly thereafter, I found a book called Intutitive Eating. It has a very similar approach to weight loss as ICMYT, but goes much deeper into developing a healthy relationship with food and stop dieting, once and for all. I am embarking on a new Mindful Eating project of my own right now - lately, I have been eating quite mindlessly and I feel it - and it shows as well. I haven't been feeling comfortable. Through Mindful Eating in the past, I did discover several foods that I am sensitive to and should avoid eating (wheat and dairy for example), but I do seem to have a hard time staying away from those things. I have decided to reset my mind and go back to the basics for now. I am keeping a food diary - sometimes, when eating this way, you really feel like you do nothing bu eat all day long, but if you write everything down, you'll realize at the end of the day that your food intake was quite normal, and probably less than you usually eat. It can be quite the eye-opener. I need one of those right now!

Monday, September 15, 2014

A Misadventure, Indeed.

I fell.

And I couldn't get up.

Earlier this week, we had a blizzard - I would say it was unexpected, but it IS Calgary after all, I suppose no weather condition is entirely unexpected here. It snowed for two days, heavy, wet snow, that caused falling tree branches and power outages, and all sorts of traffic stupidity.

I had been doing so well. I was in my second month of PiYo and really starting to see and feel results. Getting more flexible, seeing muscle tone in my arms and legs. It's my soulmate workout. I love it.

Tuesday morning, I brought the dogs outside to do their business at about 5:15. It was pretty cold at that time, snow wasn't sticking to the roads, but it was icy, and plenty of snow on the lawns. Hard, frozen snow.

A word about my furchildren: I have Juno, who is a 3-year-old Husky/ Shepherd mix, a feisty, stubborn and goofy girl who kind of doesn't give a hoot what you think. Then there is Zeke, who is 1.5, a lab/ collie/ shepherd mix - a loving sweetheart with separation anxiety who just loves to be near us, and chews on everything. They both like people, they're both awesome with kids, but they're NOT always great with other dogs. They don't like other dogs walking down our street (wild barking ensues) and while out for walks, they sometimes lunge at other dogs and Juno has gotten into some fights at the dog park.

Anyway, it was 5:15 in the morning, we were outside, I was in my robe and slip-on shoes as I always take the dogs out right after I have my shower. Lately, this woman has been walking by the house with her little dog around this time, and I usually keep an eye out for her, and if I see her coming, I distract my dogs so there won't be any early-morning barking that wakes up the entire neighbourhood.

Well, this morning, I didn't see her. I leashed the dogs, opened the gate, and there she was with her dog, right across the street - I didn't have time to brace myself and both Juno and Zeke lunged. I slid after them, tried to grab onto my car for support (didn't work), fell down on my knees and slid on my knees on the icy asphalt, then they pulled again and I fell forward and was dragged a couple of feet on my chest. Jeez. They sort of stopped when they noticed I had fallen down, but of course now the woman and her dog had stopped to make sure I was OK. I was sitting on the ground trying to collect my dogs, and she asked if I was OK. Juno and Zeke kept barking at her, although they had stopped pulling at that point. "I would come and help you", she said, "but I don't know if I can bring my dog over". I told her I was OK and that I wouldn't have come out had I seen her coming. She apologized and then she just stood there. I sat on the ground. She stood there and kept saying she was sorry. I finally had to tell her, "it's not your fault, but can you please keep walking so they will calm down?". She finally moved on and I was able to bring my two jerks inside the house to survey the damage.

I scraped my left knee pretty badly, as well as my right hand. My arm is bruised and I feel generally banged up. I haven't been able to work out all week and I FEEL it. Once I am able to use this knee again, I will probably have to go back a couple of weeks in my workout schedule to get myself back on track again!

While I'm sure this might have been hilariosu to watch (seriously, I'm just thankful my robe didn't open!), I was slightly embarrassed at the time. And very few things embarrass me!

In other news, I need obedience classes for my dogs! :)


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Sunday Stuff - A Weekly Roundup

I only need one word to describe this past week: HOT.

Temperatures were hovering around +30 C all week and if you know me at all, you know that nothing slows me down quite like hot weather. I just don't want to do much of anything, really, unless it involved floating in cool water, and there was none of that.

However, the week was quite productive. Monday night, I had a Music Team meeting with the awesome leaders in the chorus that I direct. We made plans for the upcoming months, including the introduction of two new songs and an exciting membership drive. I've only been the director of this chorus for a few months but I am so glad I took the plunge. It's challenging, but it's so much fun and I'm really loving it. Our rehearsal is on Tuesday nights, and man, was it ever hot in that rehearsal hall! But, the girls soldiered on and we had a great practice, working on new music, working on some older music, played some games...it was fun! But I was absolutely drenched at times.

I got going with PiYo this week and I am really liking it so far. I am already noticing more strength, I can already do a bit more than I was able to the first couple of days - although I am still grunting like a baby sloth and wobbling all over the place. I am not a thing of grace...yet. I always wanted to do Yoga, but I was never good at being still and holding poses - in PiYo, you do focus on good form and posture, but you keep moving, and I love that. I took my before pictures, should be interested to see how I look in a few weeks. This is how excited I was when my DVD kit finally came in the mail:

My husband was away with his band last weekend, and usually when he's gone, I make vegan meals for myself. This week's experiment:

Vegan Mac & "cheese" with crispy buffalo tofu bites. Delightful, if I do say so myself.

I never really tried making my own skincare products other than deodorant (which I had to stop using because the baking soda was irritating my poor pits, went back to Tom's for now). But this week, I found a recipe for homemade lotion and decided to try it. Shea butter and coconut oil. I think I probably didn't whip it long enough because it's more of a very solid butter and I have to really work it into my skin but once it absorbs...it's fabulous, as long as you don't mind a little bit of greasy richness. It won't stain your clothes or anything but it definitely takes a minutes to sink in. I will make it again though, I love the smell of shea, and it's really helping with my annoying KP.

All in all, a pretty decent week, I'd say!

On Wednesday, I get to travel to Tulsa, OK, for an exciting music seminar, and I am trying to figure out a way to bring my workouts with me - I don't have a laptop or portable DVD player, but I think I've figured out away. I'll keep you posted.

Enjoy the rest of your Sunday and the great weather. Until next time!

Maja

Try PiYo:

PiYo DEFINE YOURSELF

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Unrelated Things: "When I Become a Rich Woman".

When I become a rich woman, I'm gonna do all the things people do when they become rich, like paying off debt, build a house, buy a new car, take some trips, get some nice clothes...etc...etc.

I am, obviously, not going to work an office job any more. I'll give plenty of notice and stick around until they find someone else, but before too long, I will walk out of these doors, never to come back, because I don't have to.

When I have my house and some of the material things I have been lusting after (like a Vitamix blender, or an enormous, yet non-puffy, dog hair repelling couch...and a swimming pool), I am going to help.

I will help my friends and family if and when they need it. I will treat them to trips and things, because what is the point of being able to do whatever you want if you can't have the people you love join you?

I'm going to help people I don't even know that have fallen on hard times and need a hand getting up.

I am going to help children who need parents.

I am going to help dogs who need homes.

***

I am going to get up at a decent hour every day but have a nap in the afternoon whenever I need it.

I am not going to build a huge closet or storage areas, because I don't want to go through life accumulating a bunch of stuff.

I will be able to do whatever I want, whenever I want. There will be no stress in my life.

That's it.

:)

Friday, June 20, 2014

PiYo is here!

Never thought I'd be so excited about a workout program! PiYo is the latest program from Chalene Johnson who created my current favourite, TurboFire. She has taken the best moves from Yoga and Pilates but sped them up to add cardio as well. The workout promises to build strength, burn calories and increase flexibility, and it's all low impact - in other words, NO JUMPING. There is also the option of modifying every move, so even if you're a beginner, you can do this workout!

The reason for this post is just to let you know that the PiYo Challenge Pack is currently on sale, for a limited time, for only $140!

PiYo DEFINE YOURSELF

What is a Challenge Pack? A Challenge Pack includes everything you need to get yourself on the road to better health and fitness. A Beachbody Challenge Pack includes your workout program of choice (often with a bonus workout DVD), a nutrition plan, a tape measure and a chart to track your progress, as well as a one months supply of Shakeology - Your Daily Dose of Dense Nutrition.

The PiYo base pack (DVD's only) is $60.

I am going to be doing this workout myself and I would love for you join my challenge group!

Maja

Monday, May 26, 2014

I Think It's Age.

The quest to get in better shape seems more important lately, and also harder.

I will be 39 in August, and I've never really been a person who "feels old" or complains about not being 20 anymore...because seriously, who wants to be 20 anymore? Not me.

But lately, I must admit that I am noticing some telltale signs that my youth is fading. (So dramatic).

* I think I mentioned this before, but my body just doesn't "bounce back" after eating something bad like it used to. Every time I have a slip up and eat something to which I am sensitive, it seems it takes longer and longer for my body to recover. My stomach stays bloated, my skin stays dull, I feel tired and sluggish for longer, etc. I am really getting to the point where I can no longer eat what I want and not care about the consequences, because the consequences are basically "feeling like sh*t for weeks".

* Aches and pains! For the last few days, it's been my feet. Especially my right foot. I thought I might have hurt myself working out but it's not that kind of pain, it's like...bone pain. And I'm STIFF when I wake up in the morning. In fact, getting up at all is annoying. Good lord. Take me out to pasture already.

* Can't sleep. I've certainly had trouble sleeping before but it usually catches up with me after a few days and I sleep from exhaustion. Not this time. Sleeping in front of TV? NO PROBLEM. Sleeping at bedtime. Nope. Not happening.

* My skin. I have good skin days, and EXTREMELY BAD skin days. I don't mind fine lines and wrinkles, they are bound to happen and I don't feel as though I need to go get Juvedermed or Botoxed just yet. But I've been breaking out lately. I never really suffered from acne in my teens, so I guess my face is making up for it now. It's all in the chin/ jaw area too which apparently is a sure sign that it's hormonal.
And the age spots. Oh, God, the age spots.

Sorry about my hair. I washed it this morning and it is just too clean to do anything with right now. And also, my blowdryer broke. 

It's like a bunch of freckles decided to gang up on me.

I think tonight, a gentle workout is in order. I think I might do Stretch 40 from Turbofire. It's like a simplified Yoga routine that warms you up and stretches everything so you feel relaxed and energized afterwards.





Seems like a good choice for this cranky grandma.


Sunday, May 18, 2014

The Cookies That Changed Everything.

I have a massive sweet tooth.
I don't feel like any meal is complete until I have had dessert.

The problem is, I am no longer a Spring Chicken. I am not old, nor do I feel or look particularly ancient - however, my stomach simply isn't with it anymore. It is aging. And it no longer tolerates things it used to, such as wheat, dairy, too much meat or fat.

I know, I know, they recently came out with a study that basically said that unless you have Celiac Disease, there is no way you could possibly be sensitive to gluten. I know about this study, because several of my friends have gleefully posted it on Facebook, to make sure everybody knows that Science Has Done It Again.

So maybe I'm just imagining the bloating, the joint pain, the sore gums, the fatigue and the nasal congestion that all go away when I avoid things that have gluten in them.

Anyway. The problem with avoiding gluten is, of course, that you have to stay away from the baked goods that always brought you such joy. A lot of gluten free products in the grocery store simply aren't very tasty, and gluten free baking at home is a freaking science experiment.

Until I discovered these cookies.
They are from my favourite recipe site, The Detoxinista. I make a lot of things from there, because it's all really easy.

They are grain free. They are paleo-friendly. They are vegan. They are naturally sweetened.

And somehow, they are DELICIOUS. Even my husband loves them, and he doesn't eat anything vegan on principle alone.

You will need:

2 cups of almond flour
1/4 cup coconut oil, softened. You can also use butter if you so desire. I do not.
3 Tbsp pure maple syrup
1/4 tsp sea salt (I use kosher salt like I do for everything)
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup dark chocolate chip

First, you preheat your oven to 350F, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Mix the dry ingredients together - that means almond flour, salt and baking soda. For almond flour, I usually buy bags of sliced almonds at Costco and make my own in the NutriBullet. Takes seconds, and is so much cheaper than the storebought stuff. If you are using store bought, I highly recommend this brand:


It's way fluffier than the Bob's Red Mill brand.

Then, you add the coconut oil, maple syrup and vanilla extract and mix it all together - then fold in the chocolate chips.
I used this kind (I really just want to post pictures):


I didn't mean to buy bittersweet but it actually turned out very tasty.

Then it's time to plop the cookie dough onto the cookie sheet. I use a small ice cream scoop - look at this picture!


See? It even looks like regular cookie dough. Doesn't quite taste like it though. Trust me, I've tried once or twice.

After this, you have to form the balls into cookies. You do this with wet hands (very important step - your hands MUST be wet. Don't ask questions), picking the dough balls up one by one and flatten them into cookies. They will not spread or melt in the oven like normal cookies do.

Bake for 9-13 minutes depending on your cookie preference. In my oven, 11 minutes is the magic number. They are slightly browned on the outside, still gooey on the inside.

Why yes, I do have a picture of the finished cookies!


This plate will be gone before the night is over, and my husband isn't even home! Maybe I should save him a couple.
I might.
Maybe.

This recipe was how I realised that it is possible to bake tasty sweet things that are a bit healthier for you, and it doesn't have to be hard or take forever. These cookies are a staple in our household. I don't know how long they keep for because we always finish them within 24 hours.

And they do NOT give me that sexy "6 months pregnant" look that regular cookies do. Winning!

(Sorry, I know people don't actually say "winning!" anymore).


Friday, May 16, 2014