Thursday, September 11, 2014

Insanity - The Day I Almost Quit

Monday started off as an amazing day.

I had just gotten back from a lovely trip to Ottawa with Corbin to visit some of my favourite people. In the morning, I took my measurements and Corbin shot new progress photos and I was super excited by what I saw!

In the two weeks since the last photos I could already see more changes in my body, especially in my waist, stomach and shoulders and was down inches as well! It was a testament to my hard work and seeing the changes in my body was really encouraging.

I got down to doing my Fit Test and KILLED IT. Increased in 7/8 exercises and saw huge change from where I started 5 weeks ago.

Then I pushed play on my first Month 2 workout, "Max Interval Circuit". As soon as I turned it on I knew there was going to be a problem, as the workout was an hour long. I had just worked my tail off over the last 25 minutes in the Fit Test, so another TOUGH 60 minutes seemed unbearable.

About 2 minutes into the warm up I started crying.And didn't stop.For the WHOLE workout.

In addition to crying for the duration of the workout, I was mentally beating myself up. Thoughts like "You'll never be able to finish this program", "Why did you ever think you could do this?", "You're better off just turning off the DVD", "You're so weak" and "Quit now" ran through my brain on a constant loop. I probably did three quarters of the workout because I was crying so much (which isn't really conducive to breathing), I had all these horrible, negative thoughts running through my head and it was really hard!!

I was really close to quitting SO. MANY. TIMES. It would have been so easy to just walk over and press STOP and forget the whole thing. A previous version of myself definitely would have. The one thing about working out at home is that it feels like it's really only you holding yourself accountable.

Except that's the reason I didn't quit. Because I have so many others holding me accountable to on this journey:

My Coach,
My accountability group.
My friends.
Those on the Internet who care to read my blog / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram.

I promised myself that I would finish Insanity this time around and so many people have been an incredible support network to help me do just that. I've been reminded that being this active on a regular basis is as much of a mental challenge as it is a physical one. It's up to me to schedule and do my workout each do. It's up to me to give it my all and push myself. It's up to me to support my efforts by nourishing my body and taking care of myself. If I quit now, I would feel like I was letting down a whole bunch of people, but really I would be letting myself down and I think that would be the toughest thing.

I said when I started this journey that I would be sharing my ups and downs, and I'm divulging this story because it's real. It's so easy when we see things on the internet to imagine someone having a perfect, little, easy existence without really knowing what's happening when the camera isn't on or the blog post is done.I could have just carried on with the week and acted like Month 2 of Insanity is a breeze. But in reality, it's not always pretty, it's certainly not easy and often there bumps in the road. It's about embracing the mental component in conjunction with the physical one, while being dedicated, motivated, determined and consistent. Your reasons for making a change or embarking on a journey like this one need to be strong and they will help you stay on track.


Looking back, I'm so glad that I pushed through and kept going, tears and all! Tuesday and Wednesday's workouts have been tough as well but I'm happy to report that there has been no crying (progress!!), just lots of sweating and the occasional swear at Shaun T. I have reminded myself of how great I felt on Monday morning seeing all the progress I've made and feel really proud of how far I've come already.

I know that the next four weeks aren't going to be easy, but I truly believe that it's going to be worth it to prove those limiting beliefs and negative thoughts worthless and to be able say that "I did it".

inspiration, motivation, Mark Twain

Friday, September 5, 2014

Toronto's Vegetarian Food Fair 2014 - My Top Picks

Since my first glimpse into veganism back in 2009, Toronto's Vegetarian Food Fair has been the standard way I spend the first weekend in September after Labour Day. I am sad to be missing the Food Fair this year as I will be heading to Ottawa for the weekend, but if you're in the city here are the things you should definitely see, do and EAT this weekend to celebrate the Fair's 30th anniversary!!

Learn a thing

There are some amazing speakers joining the lineup this year including Bryant Terry, Ricki Heller, Terry Hope Romero and my sweet friend, Meghan Telpner. There will be lots to learn from the politics of veganism, how to ferment things and previews of all sorts of yummy recipes. Be sure to pop inside or check out one of the stages to see what's happening.

See one of my favourite local bakers in action

It's no secret that I love Bunners, so I think it's awesome that Ashley Wittig will be sharing some baking secrets in her demo. (Also maybe, samples?!) And if you miss that, check out their cookbook - I'm slowly working my way through it and LOVING it!! Can't wait to post my review very soon!

Eat tasty treats

While I've noted the lack of vegetables in previous years at the Food Fair, I enjoyed a great dinner from Green Zebra last year (with kale!!) and there is certain to be no shortage of delicious treats for you to enjoy! Be sure to check out Sweets from the Earth, Bloomers and APiecalypseNow.

Cross something off your bucket list

While you're in Toronto, you might as well check out the rest of the city and some of the incredible vegan offerings our city has. My lovely friend Lisa has put together a sweet list of Toronto's Best Vegan Restaurant Dishes to help get you started! I've only tried 28 out of the 100 so far, but was stoked to cross Boreal Gelato's Vegan Salted Caramel gelato off the list last week. Holy yum!!

Boreal Gelato Toronto

The Food Fair begins tonight and runs until Sunday evening at the Harbourfront Centre, 235 Queen's Quay West. Happy Food Fair-ing!!!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Vegan Mofo 2014 - Vegan Eats for Fueling Your Body

Linz and I are super pumped to be participating in Vegan Mofo once again! After last year's hummazing extravaganza of hummus, we've decided to blog a month of Vegan Eats for Fueling Your Body.

Dancing Through Life, The Kitchen Operas

We bounced around ideas for themes for a little while, but came back to the fact that both of us are super focused on fitness right now, with my Insanity going strong and Linz training for a 10k on September 20. It also means a bit less hummus in the fridge and a little more variety, and that's really okay with me. (I think Corbin is the only one who is a bit upset as he LOVED being a hummus taste tester. Have no fear lovie! Delicious things are coming!)

We've broken down our theme into weeks, with this week's focus being breakfast. We've already blogged super tasty breakfast tacos and pumpkin cornbread waffles (in honour of #wafflewednesday) with more yumminess to come tomorrow and Friday. Week two will be lunches, week three will be dinners and the last week will be desserts and snacks. So much gluten free, vegan deliciousness!

gluten free vegan breakfast tacos, Vegan MoFo
It's also a great way to focus on my own eating and how I am truly fueling my body! I'm in 'Recovery Week' for Insanity and next week I start month 2. All the titles in month 2 involve the word 'MAX', so I'm a little scared. MoFo is also an amazing time to discover new blogs, awesome peeps and yummy recipes - which is all awesome!! I'm having fun using to browse through all sorts of different posts and following #veganmofo2014 on Twitter & Instagram. This all fits in nicely with my goals for September, which I posted to Instagram yesterday.

Vegan MoFo also gives Linz and I an 'excuse' to schedule cooking dates into our weeks, where we collaborate on yummy things. I'll be heading to her house after I finish this post so we can make a sweet fall-inspired breakfast for Friday's post and something tasty to kick off lunch week. Food + Friends = Fun

You can find all of our Vegan MoFo posts over on Lindsay's blog, The Kitchen Operas.

Do you participate in Vegan MoFo? Who are some of your favourite bloggers to follow during this yummy month?

Friday, August 29, 2014

Insanity Progress Photos - Round One

I am about to finish week four of Insanity which is absolute craziness! (You can read my thoughts about weeks one, two and three) I am looking forward to be heading into 'Recovery Week' next week but am mildly terrified for month 2 of the program which is bound to be even more INSANE.

On Monday I took some progress pictures and compared them to day one and was happily surprised by the results. In just 22 days you can absolutely see some changes in my body and that was incredibly motivating for me this week while I was doing my workouts!

I am proud to have been working through this program and now it's amazing to see that hard work paying off! Not only am I seeing progress, but I'm also feeling stronger which is really cool.

I've got Pure Cardio and Cardio Abs later today and one more go at my nemesis, Plyo tomorrow and then it's time for Recovery Week. I'm motivated to work even hard to see more progress over the next few weeks and FINISH Insanity this time around!! Thanks for your sweet comments and encouragement over on Instagram and for those of you who have been commenting here. It means so much to me!!

Happy long weekend, friends!!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Insanity - My 'Why'

I finished up week two of Insanity over the weekend and started with week three on Monday. Week three meant my second Fit Test and measurements. I'm happy to report that I saw an increase in all of the exercises in the Fit Test (woo!) and in two weeks I'm already down inches in my waist, hips, thighs and arms which is incredibly motivating!! As I finish tomorrow's workout, I will reach the furthest I've ever gone with Insanity and I'm pretty stoked to pass that mark. It hasn't been easy and the workouts have been tough, but I'm proud that I've stuck with it.

Even with all of this exciting progress and general good feelings as a result of working out regularly again, part of me keeps asking myself, why the heck am I doing this? (This usually happens right before I am going to do a workout or in the midst of Shaun T telling me to do something ridiculous)

Before starting this crazy journey, I had recently gotten to a place where I felt really good about my body. I'm happy with the way that I eat and feel comfortable with how I look and how my clothes fit. I feel good when I look in the mirror (win!) Things are looser than they have been in the last two years. A pair of jeans that didn't fit for a long time are now becoming too baggy for me to wear. The scale hasn't mattered for a long time and the nagging negative thoughts went away a long time ago. Also - Insanity it NOT EASY and it means finding the time to work out 6 days a week. So why bother?

  • It feels AMAZING to have a juicy goal and be taking measurable steps each day towards reaching it.
  • I almost always feel better after a workout than before I started. Love those feelings
  • I can feel myself getting stronger every day. Even seeing the progress over two weeks in the Fit Test was encouraging. 
  • And even for the exercises where I made small strides, I know that I'm doing them with better form than I did the first go round. 
  • I've been sleeping like a baby and find myself being extra conscious of my food choices (without obsessing over 'good' and 'bad' foods)
  • I would love to get back to my fittest and feel AWESOME there (and not be concerned about losing "the last five pounds" -- what was I thinking?!)
  • I mostly want to prove to myself that I CAN do this, FINISH it, see RESULTS and OWN it
Three weeks into this program and all of these reasons really resonate with me. I am excited to continue on this journey and keep adding reasons to the list. 

Even when it gets tough. 
Even when I feel like I 'don't have time'
Even when it's frustrating or hard. 
Even when I don't want to. 

As I said in week one, I am determined to finish Insanity this time around and my list of 'whys' are keeping me motivated to continue pushing through and reach my goal!!

dancing through life quote

What's your 'why'? What keeps you motivated to stick with working out / working towards your goals?