Stress and Motivation

These past few months I have been slowly adapting to my new life style of part time yoga teaching, part time personal training, part time government work and full time school.  Oh goodness when it is all written up like that it seems a little overwhelming, and at times it feels that completely overwhelming. During this change in my life and my routine I have been struggling with finding a balance and finding a way to commit to my workouts and my yoga practices.

20140427-161649.jpgLuckily (sometimes I think not so luckily) two of my jobs are personal training and teaching yoga so making time to get to the gym or get on my mat is not only good for my personal well being it is good for business so to speak.   But when there is such an easy overlap sometimes it can take away from my “me time” that which is normally what my gym/yoga time is.

So all of this being said how do you keep motivated at reaching/ surpassing your personal goals, while lowering or maintaining stress levels? Unfortunately, I don’t have any 100% works all the time fix but the following tips have helped me out more than once, and to be honest are helping me out right now (I have slipped and have been a little less productive with my goals than I would like, but that is part of the journey).

motivateHow to keep Motivated when you are Stressed out:

1. Consider taking a break.   Now I don’t recommend this often, but if your stress levels are through the roof working out and physically stressing your body out can actually put you in a worse off position.  The best way to explain this is that we all have a bucket and this bucket collects “stress”.  It doesn’t care if it is emotional, physical, mental or environmental the bucket just collects it all.   If you are on the brink of having a full bucket have a big project due, are putting over time at work and have a heavy lifting session followed by some cardio it is quite possible that your bucket will overflow.   So maybe instead of hitting the gym as hard as you normally would consider taking a restorative yoga class, reading a book in a nice bubble bath, go on a walk with a friend, get out in nature.   Don’t write the day off do something just listen to your body and take it down a notch if you need to.

2. Focus on what you are putting in your mouth.  This one has been extremely challenging for me lately.  We all have different responses to stress, some of us might want to run miles, stuff food in our faces or maybe sleeping all day long and avoiding the problem is more your jam.   I am a mix between wanting to run for miles and stuffing my face, and unfortunately for my waist line I have been nursing a running injury so face stuffing has been front and centre.  I understand that I am going to trip up every now and then and that is just part of life, I also know that taking the care to put food in your body that has been lovingly grown and prepared will do me better than any bag of chips ever will.  Although I have had a bit of a hiccup it is important to get yourself back on track and move forward.  Cooking with a friend and pre-making your food for the week is a splendid way to remove excuses and fill your fridge with easy, healthy and loving food.

3. Schedule it.  I am sure we have all heard this at some point in our goals building a healthy life style, but it is so important especially in times of stress.   We tend to make room in our lives for our work, our homework, cleaning, friends and family but it is just as important to make time for ourselves and our well-being.  So schedule in your workout, schedule in your yoga practice, bring your runners to work and head out at lunch, encourage your family to come with you, do what you need to so that your health and fitness is just as important (if not more) than all the other items on your to do list.  Also having it scheduled will help to remove the “how am I ever going to fit this in stress” because you have already thought of that and it is planned out all you have to do is get there.

4. Timed Goals.  This might sound like a bad idea but it helps me out every time.  I love running but when I have a reason to run, like a race, I am more likely to lace up when I really don’t want to.  Setting well structured and time limited goals are great motivators to get your revved up and excited to take care of your physical and mental body.   When I am having a particularly rough time I try and set weekly goals so I can feel that satisfaction of accomplishing something no matter how chaotic my life feels at the time.

I hope these tips help you get back on track if you have also taking a bit of a detour. 

Happy Tuesday everyone!

It’s More than just Physical

Throughout my life I have struggled with accepting my own accomplishment and have even found it difficult at times to graciously accept a complement. Over the past few years this has been something I have really worked on about myself. Through my regular yoga practice, my running and my lifting I have found small and some not so small portions of my life that I was able to find tangible accomplishments as a way of practicing my gratitude.

Being able to assign a number, measurement or flexibility range to “progress” made it easier for me to physically observe and enjoy my accomplishments. Yet over time of doing this type if physical life based accomplishment/reward system I began to notice I was  obsessively tracking and I was missing out on all that my accomplishments could be.

20140420-100840.jpgI think for me when I began to go deeper into my yoga practice I started peeling off the superficial layers of my accomplishments and my view of them started to shift.  Sure it feels great to do a yoga pose I have always found challenging and adding another 20-50 pounds to a lift doesn’t feel so shabby either, but I began to realize it was more than just the physical. Yes, of course all my yoga practice is making my shoulders look great and those dead lifts are providing some perkiness to my butt, but this whole journey/ adventure has become so much more.

Over the past two years I have done detox diets, juice cleanses, insane workouts, yoga teacher training, etc. etc. But what really came out of all of this has been an incredible sense of self and confidence, something I had believed to be lost not too long ago.

20140716-080300-28980516.jpgIt has been through my exploration of my physical changes that I have learnt how to stop and take it all in and to at times turn inwards.  Sometimes these little journeys inward aren’t always the most fun thing in the world and this is likely why it has taken me so long to open up to the idea of self exploration in more than just a physical sense.

I think as humans it is easy for us to sit there looking at our external appearances and to judge (ourselves and others). I believe it takes some time to feel comfortable and confidence enough to stop and look at our person not as someone with a long yoga body or a six pack or a perfectly balanced macro diet, but as the sum of that and our nature, love and humanness.

Although my realization of this has not make the struggle to acknowledge this in myself much easier, it does provide me with the comfort of knowing there is much more than just my physical accomplishments.

20140427-161810.jpg

All of this to say it is important for all of us where ever we are in our lives to take a second  to honour who we are, what we have accomplished and all the good that we can do for others. Although our physical accomplishments demonstrate amazing resolve and determination they are not the sum of all of your parts.

Happy Tuesday Everyone!

Juice Cleanse – What I have Learnt

As some of you may know this past weekend with the support of my husband and a good friend and running buddy of mine I decided to give a three day juice cleanse a go.

I did my research, looked in my school books, on the all reliable Internet and read testimonial after ridiculous testimonial and figured I would toss my own experience into the ring.IMG_0632.JPGSo first I will explain why I thought this would be a good idea. There are two reasons really the first being that it is supposed to make you feel better and more energized so why the heck no. The second being I am studying to become a holistic nutritionist and I figured if I may one day recommend someone do this I should have an idea of what they will be experiencing.

Once I had it in my mind that I would be doing this I started looking up smart ways to go about it. I am still training for a half and practice yoga regularly so I wanted to make sure that I would be absorbing benefits not hindering my progress in any area. So the first thing I did for the cleanse was to take a step back from too much activity, no biking or rollerblading and I stuck to Yin/ Restorative yoga.

IMG_0630.JPGThen it was all about figuring out what to drink. I decided after my research that aiming for 4-6 juices a day and more if I was still hungry would be a good amount. I wanted to be sure to get my protein in and seeing how I am allergic to nuts I used a vegan protein powder instead of the recommended cashew nut “juice”. Then I went grocery shopping and stocked up on organic produce from both my grocery store and local farmers market. Then came the easy part of drinking the fruits of my labour.

IMG_0640.JPGDay 1:

The first day of the juice cleanse wasn’t so bad. Still all pumped up with motivation and determination the first two juices were no big deal. I am pretty used to starting my day with a protein shake or something of the sort it wasn’t such a huge change from my norm.  However, by the third and fourth juice I was pretty much ready to sink my teeth into something.

It wasn’t that I was hungry per say but I was definitely feeling unfulfilled from not being able to actually chew my food. On top of the insatiable urge to chew something I had been nursing a ridiculous headache for most of the day, which was most likely a symptom of detox or due to lack of calories could be either or.

After I drank down my protein shake and put a different program on the TV so I wouldn’t have to watch others eat, I soon decided it was time for bed so I wouldn’t have to be awake and thinking about all the food I would much prefer to drink than to eat.

Day 2:

I woke up in the morning pretty jazzed up, my headache was gone and I was feeling pretty energized after having slept about 11 hours (which is completely unlike me).  It was farmer’s market day (which is always a good time) and I had one day under my belt so I was feeling pretty confident.

Everything I had read said that day 2 would be the most challenging, that when stuff starts to move through your body, you really feel the detox and it is when the hunger really hits.  Well to keep this polite things didn’t start to “move for me” which is quite unnatural for me, My hunger and desire to chew wasn’t worse than it was on day 1 and my headache had left me so I kind of felt like I was ahead of the game.

However, by the time juice 3 rolled around my body wasn’t havin’ none of it! I started to feel a little nauseous, light head and all around disgusting. I texted my girlfriend and husband who kindly reminded me that it was my idea to do this and to keep powering through.   Their love and support worked until my body completely rejected that last juice.

IMG_0660.JPGAfter losing my lunch (literally) I decided that I had put in a valiant effort and there was no shame or embarrassment in having to break the fast. I emailed my husband a grocery list of items to pick up from the store so we could eat solids (and yes meat was on this list), and then laid myself down on the couch to relax, drink some water and love my body.

Now through my research it was also strongly recommended not to eat meat or dairy for at least three days after such a cleanse because your body might have a hard time processing it. So sure I was a little weary of chowing down on some red meat, but when it came down to it, but this wasn’t the case for me and my body.

Day 3:

I had already broken the cleanse and eaten food, however when I woke up on what would have been day 3 of the cleanse I was actually craving a juice.  My body welcomed the delicious strawberry, beet and carrot beverage.   The rest of my day was spent normally having solid meals, lots of veggies and fruits and being all around satisfied with my meals.

What I learn:

I learnt that juice cleanses are bananas.  I mean I was coming from a place of curiosity and wanting to do good for my body and I honestly think I did.  Although I didn’t finish my cleanse I did come out of it with a renewed sense of mindfulness when it comes to what I put into my body.

I will continue to include homemade veggie juices in my life and was grateful to have the opportunity to find out what it would be like, however I don’t think I would ever attempt a 100% juice all day every day cleanse again it didn’t work so great for me any my personal body make up.

Have you ever tried a juice cleanse or something of the sort?  How did it pan out for you?

 

Getting Ready for Success

This summer has turned into a bit of a write off.  Yoga challenge and half marathon training aside I have allowed myself to indulge maybe a bit too much.

photo 1 (6)

I normally fluctuate a couple of pounds depending on the time of month, the time of day, how much water I have had, etc.  But this summer one too many pizzas or BBQ style foods has made its way into my body.

photo 2 (7)

Seeing how my foot is out of commission and I recently did a number on my wrist I am limited in what I can do physically right now.  So in order to get myself back on track I have contacted some friends that are also fans of fitness for some tips and tricks on how to stay active and I have piggy backed on my girlfriend’s 3 day juice cleanse.

photo 4 (1)

After doing some research I am actually starting to get excited about this little nutrition restart and cleanse.  So this week I have started to charge up my diet with my veggies and salads in order to get my digestive system ready for 3 days worth of liquid nutrients.

I hope to share my juicing recipes with you after the fact to be sure that they are not only nutritious but also tasty.

So here’s to leaving the past behind me and moving forward and getting back on track when it comes to health and fitness. Sometimes it takes step backs like this to remind yourself of your priorities and your goals. So instead of sitting here and dwelling on what I have done wrong I have decided to start taking the appropriate steps to move forward and get back to a more positive healthy place.

Happy Wednesday everyone.

Top 10 – Running Thoughts

Yesterday I went on a LSD run as a part of my half marathon training.  These runs average from an hour and a half to two and a half hours so I end up spending a lot of time with my thoughts.  While on my run yesterday there were several reoccurring thoughts that came to mind so I figured it would make for a fun light hearted post.   Perhaps you are a runner and you can relate.

20140415-091529.jpgTop 10 – Running Thoughts:

  1. I am so fast like the wind! I could keep the pace up forever!
  2. Why in the world didn’t I pace myself at the beginning I knew I had 22 km to run right?
  3. Look at that guy/gal running so fast! Whatever they are probably only out for 5k
  4. Finally someone waved back!
  5. This song is my JAM! wait I am singing out loud, how many people have I run by?
  6. Why am I doing this again?
  7. It doesn’t matter if you want to you already paid to.
  8. Everything hurts, if a cab comes by you better believe I am hailing it!
  9. You are half way just 12 more kilometers
  10. Thank god it’s over!

What are some thoughts that cross your mind when you are running?

Summer Time!

This summer seems like it is really trying to wrap itself up. I am definitely not ready for the warm weather and sun to be over though so hopefully time starts to slow down a little bit, so I can add in some more relaxing and outdoor time.   In the mean time this summer has been a super exciting one for me. I have wrapped up a handful of challenges and started new ones.

My goal this summer was to start getting myself out there and working a bit more to achieving my goals of teaching yoga in an established yoga studio.  I have been class time from a local studio since I received my yoga teacher certification but there is something comforting and encouraging about having the opportunity to be apart of a yoga studio and the yoga community in your hometown.

I am proud to say that this past month has brought with it many successes, one of which is having the opportunity to sub at a studio in our Byward Market here in Ottawa and another one happened this morning.  I had the opportunity today to be on a live news broadcast to tell everyone who was awake and tuned in this morning about my Rock n’ Roll yoga class.   It is something that I came up with before even heading off to Costa Rica for YTT and I am so happy I have the opportunity to share what it is all about with people through a new medium.

RRY

A huge thank you to CTV Morning News Live and to Studio X Ottawa for giving me this fantastic opportunity to talk about something I love, and love to share with others. If you want to see the whole little segment click on the link (News Clip)

I also have one more surprise, but I am waiting for it to be announced officially before I share it with everyone here on my blog.  So stay tuned to find out what my other big adventure/opportunity is!

blissI am so excited and feeling so blessed and lucky for all these positive and awesome things that are seemingly happening all at once. Thank you for all the support from you my readers and from my friends and family.

Hope you are all having a glorious Tuesday!

 

Food Fridays Have Returned!

Food Fridays are finally back because I finally have some time to get in the kitchen and play with foods again and I couldn’t not possibly be more excited about that.  I really truly love cooking and not having the time to be creative in the kitchen on a regular basis bums me out so I am excited that I am able to share with you again.

So this week’s recipe is a ravioli.  I originally started to think about making something pasty like because I have about a million beets hanging out in my fridge, so I figured I would make myself some beet ravioli, then when it all came down to it all I could think was “I don’t feel like having red hands right now” so I put a full stop on the idea of beets and went into the fridge to see what I had to work with.  What happened was incredibly delicious and I am so happy I wrote down the recipe.

Kale, Mushroom and Sun-dried Tomato Ravioli

Serving: 4-5 ravioli pieces.

20140717-081731-29851195.jpg3/4 cup diced Onion
1 cup diced Kale
2 cup diced Mushroom
5-6 chopped Sun-dried Tomatoes
2 tsp fresh chopped Rosemary
1/2 cup light Ricotta Cheese
2 tbsp Goat Cheese (optional)
4 tbsp grated Parmesan Cheese
1 pkg Won-Ton Wrappers 1 tbsp Butter or Coconut Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

20140717-081731-29851657.jpg1. Heat a large frying pan to medium/low, and add half of the butter/oil.  Once warm add in onions and cook until they soften and start turning clear, approximately 2-3 minutes. Add sun dried tomatoes and kale and cook for another 3 minutes, then add in mushrooms.  Cook until everything is soft approximately 5 minutes.

2. Once everything is cooked remove from heat and allow to cool.

3. While vegetable mixture is cooling mix together ricotta, goat and Parmesan cheeses with fresh rosemary in a large bowl. I added coarsely ground black pepper at this stage to be sure there was a nice peppery flavour.

4. Once vegetable mixture is cooled mix it together with the cheese mix, blend well making sure everything is mixed together.

5. To make a ravioli fill a small bowl with water for your fingers.  Take one won-ton wrapper and wet all the way around the edge of the paper.  Place 1-2 tsp of the filling in the center, fold the wrapper in half making a triangle and press the sides together.  The water makes the wrapper stick together without it the seams won’t stay closed.

6. Place the remaining 1 tsp of butter/oil into a pan, flavor with a couple pinches of fresh rosemary and bring to medium heat.  Place the ravioli in and cook.  Should take about 3-5 minutes per side.

Note: to cook the ravioli you can also place them in boiling water for approximately 5 minutes, or dry fry them without any oil or butter.   All three methods work it just depends on the type of flavour you are going for.  In the future I would probably omit the butter and just dry fry, the additional fat didn’t add to the flavour much so I don’t feel that it is necessary.

20140717-081732-29852033.jpgServe and enjoy.   We didn’t put any sauce on ours and found that you really don’t need anything the flavours really speak for themselves.