Thinking Out Loud Thursday #105!

Happy Thursday! Is it me or is this week crawling by at a glacial pace? I have determined that having a work cubicle that is near a window just emphasizes how mood-affected I am by the weather. It was grey and overcast all day yesterday and I was tired and sluggish and really unmotivated all day. On sunny days I am just bouncing with energy. YEG, bring back the sun please. Time for some Thinking Out Loud Thursday with Amanda at Running with Spoons!

  • Last night I taught a TWO HOUR spin class. It’s the longest amount of time I’ve ever taught in one bout. I’ve done two back to back one-hour classes with a bit of a break (15-30 minutes) in between but never for two hours straight. It was the final class for my 90-minute spin class and my participants requested a two hour class to “celebrate.” Yep, these people are crazy.

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  • I have a few songs that I’m in love with right now and I just have to share them. I haven’t done a “Tuesday Tunes” in a while so I haven’t mentioned the songs I have stuck in my head. Currently I have “Hurricane” by Luke Combs (a country song) stuck in my head, but here are my latest workout tracks:

Yeah, I know these songs aren’t exactly ‘new,’ I’m just a little slow when it comes to adopting new music. I DID listen to the new Drake album this week though which I thought was pretty impressive… though I wasn’t impressed with the actual album. Sorry, Drake.

  • My birthday is exactly one week away. I will excuse you for the next 43 seconds while you add this as a reminder to your phone, scribble it on your calendar, and jot it in your day planner. I have a fun weekend planned in Calgary which means I’m taking the day after my birthday off. I’m also ditching work early on my birthday to go to a massage and get my hair done. My coworkers asked if it was an important birthday and I said, “Nope, I just don’t want to work on my birthday.” #treatyoself

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  • I have a new favourite leg move that caused my glutes to be sore for two days after Sunday’s workout – CURTSY LUNGES. My friend recommended them and I tried them out and couldn’t believe how tough they were. I use the smith machine to do them and usually only add 25lb or 35lb plates. DO IT.

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  • Do you watch fitness YouTubers? I go through phases where I enjoy watching fitness YouTubers and really like hearing them talk about their lifestyles and learning new moves to add to my routines at the gym and then I’ll get frustrated with the amount of processed shit they eat and think about how I could be enjoying my life rather than watching someone else’s and I’ll stop watching for a while.

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  • Like the other 3.5 billion women on the planet, I have an unhealthy obsession with Brock O’Hurn. Famous for his body and man bun, this man is a treat for the eyes. He is shirtless in most of his Instagram stories by the way. I heard. From a friend. I don’t virtually stalk him or anything.

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*wipes drool off keyboard*

I think that’s all for me! I talked so much about food yesterday that I feel like I shouldn’t add too much else about what’s on my plate, even though I could talk about that melting brie forever. It just snowed for 15 minutes as I was writing this and I wanted to cry – that’s Edmonton weather for you! Have a wonderful Thursday!

Who is your current celebrity crush?

Do you watch any YouTubers regularily?

Current favourite workout song?

The Sugar-Free Chronicles Part 4: Eating THIS, not THAT.

Today’s edition of the Sugar-Free Chronicles is all about the FOOD. I thought I’d talk about some of the switch-ups I’ve made for this challenge to reduce my added sugar intake, as well as what a day in the life of my food is right now!

You’ll be so proud of my willpower – I didn’t even eat my own birthday cake to stick to this challenge. No no no, it’s not my birthday YET (you’ll be fully aware when it is) but we have monthly work birthday celebrations and our March birthday party was last week. There was one other girl who has a birthday in March so her and I blew out the candles on the cake and as giant slices of Costco chocolate cake were being passed around I politely declined. No matter how polite you say it, people will pressure you to no end to eat cake. If it were homemade brownies or peanut butter cheesecake I would have been a whole lot closer to caving, but I stayed strong. Peer pressure averted – the challenge is still going strong!

It’s easy to set your self up for success. When I have delicious, colourful, homemade meals awaiting me every day it is so easy to not even crave sugar. It’s the instances when I fail to plan and I’m starving walking passed the many bakeries in the buildings around my office that my willpower starts to take a dive. If you’re looking to simply reduce the amount of sugar you eat or are simply curious about the changes I’ve made to what I eat, let’s do a little “eating this, not that.”

I’m eating Lara bars, not Quest bars. I used to have a huge crush on everything Quest. They are “sugar-free” but not sugar-alcohol free, and tasted great when I first started eating them but now when I have one, I feel like garbage. Enter Lara bars. Made with dates and nuts, these bars are unreal. My favourites are the coconut cream and the cocoa coconut ones but I honestly haven’t tasted one I didn’t love.

I’m eating olive oil and balsamic vinegar, not salad dressing. I don’t know that you can find a store-bought salad dressing that doesn’t have some form of sugar or honey in it to sweeten it, but as balsamic vinegar and olive oil has zero, I have been sticking with that for my daily lunch salads. I find that the tablespoon of olive oil also gives my salads some extra staying power with those healthy fats.

I’m eating corn tortillas, not flour ones. Corn tortillas, if you buy the right brands, have so few ingredients and because they are made from corn are naturally sweeter than flour ones. Flour tortillas, though fancied up with lots of “high fiber” and “a full serving of vegetables” marketing, are pretty processed and usually contain sugar.

I’m eating plain greek yogurt, not flavoured yogurt. I naturally love plain greek yogurt and it’s sour taste, but I typically add things like sliced banana, apple, walnuts, dried unsweetened coconut, or peanut butter to my yogurt. It’s nice to dress it up how you want it, without the added processed sugar.

I’m eating Silver Hills Squirrelly bread, not others. I think this is the only store-bought bread I’ve found that has no added sugar. It uses raisins to sweeten it and aside from homemade bread, it’s the one brand I can count on for full seedy/nutty/flavourful bread without added nonsense.

I’m drinking 2% lattes, not soy. I don’t drink lattes too often, usually enjoying regular coffee or a solid Americano, but I enjoy the sweetness that comes with soy, almond, or coconut milk when I do. I think it’s because I can trick myself into thinking it’s healthier even though those milks (specifically the variety that are used in coffee shops) are full of sugar and very processed. I am loving 2% milk in my lattes, even 3%. I find that I prefer a ‘short’ or ‘small’ latte made with richer milk, rather than a larger drink with skim.

Enough talking about food – let’s see it! Here is a snapshot of a day in the life of my food for this March challenge. Breakfast was yogurt with banana slices, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, and chopped pecans and walnuts. I had a side of coffee with milk and some berries. For me, this is such a filling meal as it has lots of protein in the plain greek yogurt, fats from the nuts and seeds, and carbs from the fruit. Plus caffeine because, caffeine.

For a snack I made green tea at work. I tend to get super cold at work when I’m sitting at my desk all day and my two favourite solutions are to take the stairs to my floor (19 floors) or make tea. Someone brought a shit ton of grapes and left them in our staff kitchen… so I stole some.

Lunch was a delicious salad with ALL of the veggies, whole wheat couscous, feta, blood orange, and a couple of strips of grilled tofu, topped with olive oil and vinegar. For dessert I had a coconut cream Lara bar and it tasted like the bottom of a Nanaimo bar, like the homemade ones that my mom makes, so it was amazingly delicious, but also made me want to have it covered in chocolate.

Dinner pre-spin class was quinoa sushi (filled with tofu, avocado, red pepper, and sweet potato). Guys, it’s a good thing I was eating alone because this sushi was SO MESSY. Quinoa doesn’t stay together as well as rice, but definitely makes for more flavourful and filling vegetarian sushi.

After spin class I had some egg whites and brie on a slice of toast with a side of grapefruit. YUM. I also drank about 5L of water during the day… I have a problem of insatiable thirst and a small bladder.

There you have it! A few of the food choices I’ve swapped and selected for this month of no-sugar-added foods and a day in the life of my diet. Tell me know, what have YOU been eating lately? Have you made any food swaps in your diet?

Respect the recovery time.

IT’S SPRING! Hurrah, hurrah! I tried to take advantage of the nice weather this weekend as much as possible, and it has finally started to feel like spring! The insane amount of windshield washer fluid needed, the wet feet, the muddy trails – that feels like spring to me! I had a wonderfully relaxing weekend and an insane leg workout yesterday so I’m beginning spring immobile.

On Friday night I got home from work, laced up an old pair of running shoes, and hit the slushy streets to run a couple miles and run stairs. I am so fortunate to live close to the River Valley in Edmonton where there are literally 50 sets of stairs along the river for anyone to enjoy. There are about 5 sets within a kilometer of my house. I headed to one set of stairs and ran them 8 or 9 times (I lost count). I did a bit of a jog at the top to help my legs recover and then hit the stairs again. I think each set is about 150 stairs. I was BEAT after 25 minutes on the stairs and another 20 minutes of running.

I was so enthusiastic about going for a long run on Saturday morning because Saturday was close to 10C! Despite my best attempt at waiting all morning, doing a bit of an upper body strength work out, and trying to convince myself that my legs weren’t sore from stairs – I couldn’t muster up any more than a 5K! My legs were dead from the stair workout Friday evening and I knew I wasn’t in it for the long haul. I enjoyed fresh air and sunshine for a bit before heading home with the humble lesson learned of respecting the recovery time.

Sunday’s workout was awesome. Another workout with my mom and friend at the gym where we did over an hour of legs, including walking a full lap of the track doing walking lunges. My legs were officially jello by the end and we went for a 5 mile walk in the gorgeous sunshine to complete the day of activity. Sunshine just makes me want to wander outside for hours – if it weren’t for the freezing wind I think we might have! I went over to my parents house and discovered that my dad’s latest obsession with baking bread is in full swing and I wasn’t mad about it. What would a weekend be without casually stopping by my parents’ for a meal?

Don’t knock a grilled cheese made with cinnamon raisin bread until you’ve tried it!

I will certainly not be attempting any workouts this morning as my legs are sure to need an extra bit of time to recover. It’s one thing to have the motivation, time, and energy to workout, but sometimes your body has other plans. It was probably super entertaining to see my running attempt on Saturday morning, so much heart but really struggling to even put one foot in front of the other. Those stair workouts, I tell ya.

What did you get up to this weekend?

What is the weirdest food combination you like?