FIT CHICKS FRIDAY – Meet Peddy!

In keeping with my FIT CHICKS FRIDAY theme, here’s Laura talking about one of her favourite things! 

So if you have ever taken any of my bootcamps, you will notice that I am always talking about "Peddy". Someone asked me one day, "Is Peddy your dog? You must really love her to take her everywhere?" I started laughing right away - do I really talk about Peddy with so much love and affection (well, I do think I love her as much as I would a pet!). Peddy is actually my super fabulous PEDOMETER!

SANY3619WHY WEAR A PEDOMETER?
Bootcamp training is amazing for building strength, getting a kick butt cardio workout and change the shape of your body but in order to be healthy on an ongoing basis, you HAVE to be moving everyday.  This is where a pedometer rocks my world (I tell all my chicks to wear them..I have been renamed the Pedometer Pusher!) It lets you know and keep track of how much you have moved everyday so you know you a reaching your required amount of steps.

HOW MUCH IS ENOUGH?
Experts recommend about 6,000 steps a day to reduce your risk of death, and up to 10,000 steps to help promote weight loss. Did you know that the average Canadian chick only logs in about 2000-3000 steps a day?! 

HOW FAR IS 10,000 STEPS?
2000 steps is about a mile...or 1.6 km. But don't worry, Chicks, you don't have to walk 5 miles, you just need to accumulate that much movement over the course of the day.

STARTING WITH A PEDOMETER
Set a goal of increasing your steps by 2000 a day. It can be a fun game, watching the numbers on the pedometer go up! You'll be more inspired to walk over to a colleague's desk instead of calling her, or take the stairs back up to the office after work. Work on increasing your steps each week until you are up to 10000 a day. 

WHERE TO GET A PEDOMETER
Sorry to say, Chicks, but the free ones in the cereal boxes are pretty useless. If you want to buy one, check out a sports store, department store or even your local drugstore (located in the pharmacy section).  I like the OMRON brand best as it has been the most accurate. Prices range from $15 - $50 bucks.  Frugal Chicks, you can rent one for free at the library and it even comes with a map of walking trails around Toronto - luv it!

Ashley’s Note: If you’re a Weight Watchers member, we sell the Weight Watchers pedometer in our meeting rooms which translates your steps into Activity Points for $28

TIPS ON HOW TO STEP IT UP

  • take the stairs whenever you can
  • get off the bus one stop sooner
  • park your car farther away
  • get up to change the channel (just like in the old days!)
  • walk wherever you can: to return a dvd, go to the library, to the grocery store....if it's walkable, then leave the car at home
    when having coffee with friends, take your drink for a walk around the city
  • go for a walk on your lunch break, it'll give you more energy for the afternoon too!

So if you can, go out and get a pedometer. We swear by them at FIT CHICKS and know you will love it too - so get to steppin'!

 

Weight Maintenance For the Long Haul – What Does It Take?

In August of 2006, I decided that I needed to lose weight. Europe There are probably people who have heard this story 1,000 times (and I’ve told versions of my beginnings on the blog before, here in pictures here with my fat vest and here with an old Myspace journal entry) but it was after seeing my EuroTrip 2006 pictures that I recognized that I needed to make a change in my life. I was feeling terrible about my body and realized that I had terrible eating habits with no sense of moderation. It was hard and I struggled, but ultimately I got to my goal weight and was awarded my Lifetime membership to Weight Watchers.

April 11, 2010 marked my three year anniversary of being at goal and a vow to myself that I would never go back to that weight or feeling that way.

In three years I’ve been able to maintain fairly successfully and I’ve always been under my “official” goal weight. When I got really sick, I lost more weight, but some of it back on and then maintained around there for a long time. In the last few months my weight has fluctuated a bit and I’ve been working to get back into my sweet spot, but for the last three years I’ve been where I want to be. It’s been work, but I’ve done it.

A few weeks ago I received an email from one of my members with a link to an article on a recent poll regarding weight loss and maintenance. The poll showed that more than 2/3 of Canadians had tried to loss weight over the last five years and of that number less than 25% had been able to maintain a weight loss over a five year period.

Added to this, in class on Monday we were discussing obesity. Now I had always known that once you have gained weight, it’s easier for your body to gain it back, but I didn’t know that it actually a factor at the cellular level. My basic understanding is that when we gain weight, our fat cells multiply and get bigger. When we lose weight, the fat cells shrink in size, but we are left with the same number of fat cells. Thanks, biology.

So what does it take to be part of “results not typical” group? In my experience there has been so much more to losing weight and keeping it off than eating right and exercise; it has come down to attitude, habits and behaviour.

When it comes to weight loss, it seems that many people go into it thinking that they will change their eating habits temporarily, lose the weight and then go back to the way they used to eat/live. Or sometimes in order to lose weight they will deprive themselves of all their favourite things and restrict themselves so much that they get frustrated and binge and/or quit. Neither of these approaches are a formula for longevity and I think both can attribute to people gaining weight back after they’ve lost it.

I think the moment you try to lose weight and you think of it as a “diet” or something temporary, it is going to be just that. In order for things you to stick, I really believe that you need to embrace the changes as embarking on a new lifestyle. In that paradigm it seems much more permanent and solid; a resolution or way of living rather than just a band aid on the problem or quick fix. Quick fixes don’t address the issues at hand, nor do they last.

I’ve been known in my meetings to say “there is no save button at goal” and quote Leslie Beck by saying that everything you need to do in order to lose weight is everything you need to do to keep it off. To maintain your weight you need to keep up with the way you’re eating and you need to be exercising but you also need to be maintaining your habits, continually setting goals and maintaining an overall positive attitude about the changes you’ve made in your life. Your habits, behaviour and attitude are going to be the glue that holds everything together and are going to be integral in your weight maintenance success.

It takes a lot of guts to make the decision to lose weight. It’s not an easy task, but definitely a rewarding one. When you find your groove, it’s really exciting and reaching the place you want to be is ridiculously fulfilling. It’s at this point that you need to make the conscious decision to continue forward by giving yourself permission to embrace your new lifestyle as part of your identity.

In 2006 when I joined WW, I never would have dreamed of the places this path has taken me. It’s been a long and winding road, but I’m really proud of how far I have come and I continue to look forward to the next leg of the journey. I have learned so much about myself since 2006 and I know that this learning will just continue in the days to come. My motivation for keeping the weight off has changed, but it is something that I am determined to do. Every day I am reminded that I am not perfect and that this is something I’m going to have to work at (even just a little bit) for the rest of my life and you know what? I’m okay with that. I want to go back to Europe and take new pictures, because I no longer cringe when I see photos of myself like I did back in 2006.   19034_454473675603_559840603_11176015_3206072_nIs maintenance hard? Sometimes, yes.

But is it better than going back to 30+ lbs ago and feeling the way I did then? Absolutely.

I want to open this up to you now because I know this can be a fairly hot topic and one that a lot of people want guidance on… 

If you’ve lost weight or changed your lifestyle in the past, what has helped you to keep it up? What habits, behaviours or shifts in attitude have helped you to be successful? Have you been able to maintain your weight loss/lifestyle changes? If not, what changed? What do you think it takes to keep weight off in the long term?

 

The Words That Dominated My Weekend

No, not absolutely, brilliant, incredible, amazing, fantastic and awesome because I use those way too much every weekend. I’m talkin’ superfoods, smoothies, raw, and cherry blossoms.

Last week I had the pleasure of taking part in Meghan’s 5 Days Superfoods and then following it up with the 3 Day Green Smoothie challenge. Maybe you’re asking yourself why I participated in these two events (aside from my adoration for all thing Meghan) Well to be honest, I’ve been struggling lately. Ever since January, I’ve been at odds with my weight, my body and eating. My weight has fluctuated (it went down significantly and then went back up again) and lately I’ve been trying to come to terms with how I feel in my skin. I try not to be ruled by the number on the scale, but often that is easier said than done. I’ve been falling into old habits and felt that participating in the two events would rejuvenate my relationship with food, give my system a bit of a break and fill my tummy up with lots of goodness.

Mission accomplished. SANY3598Summer museli with a sliced banana, applesauce and lots of cinnamon
SANY3608 Kale pesto with brown rice pasta and a mixed salad with sprouts & beets 
SANY3636 Spinach salad with tamari & cider vinegar marinated mushrooms and sunflower seed pate

SANY3641And lots of smoothies…

Meghan’s smoothie recipes are pretty awesome and the tutorial is chock full of amazing information. I think my favourite was the green mojito – so delicious! I will definitely be enjoying smoothies as a part of my regular breakfast and/or lunch routine going forward as they left me feeling satisfied and energized without weighing me down. SANY3704I guess haircut could have been one of the words too… My new bangs make me happy! And the money I paid for the cut went to the Parkinson’s Society as a part of the 2010 Cut-a-thon.

Rather than consume solely smoothies all weekend, I decided that I would just go raw with a smoothie focus. This led to a lovely excursion on Friday with Ashley. We started off by heading to High Park to see the cherry blossoms SANY3658SANY3660 SANY3661Why didn’t I know that this happens every year in High Park? We had such a nice walk and enjoyed the absolute beauty of the cherry blossoms in bloom. After a long walk, we made our way to RawliciousSANY3662 Rawlicious is a raw, vegan cafe located in the heart of the Junction, which is a neighbourhood that I lived in from 2001-2006. When I lived there there was nothing like this! I loved the beautiful artwork, SANY3664 laid-back vibe (including super cozy chairs), SANY3667and amazing food! Ash and I shared the taco wrap SANY3665(Nut-loaf, guacamole, chopped tomatoes, red onion, shredded romaine, salsa and nut cheese in a collard wrap) and raw Pad Thai SANY3666(Raw kelp noodles, shredded romaine, carrots, peppers, zucchini noodles mixed in a tangy cashew sesame Thai sauce topped with crumbled cashews & green onions) The wrap was great and really solidified my love for collards as a wrapping device. I also discovered that I have nothing to fear of kelp noodles! They were really nice mixed with the zucchini spirals and the Pad Thai as a whole was light and delicious. I can’t wait to head back to Rawlicious again!

Because clearly one raw restaurant in a weekend is not enough, I took a trip to Live on Saturday night. It was jam-packed! 

Unfortunately my pictures came out pretty dark, but I can assure you that everything was delicious including my absolute favourite kale salad, hemp bruschetta and a few bites of delicious raw cacao cake for dessert.

So how do I feel now?

I feel great. Lindsay and I did some emailing over the weekend and helped to keep one another on track. It was great to have a supportive buddy who was facing similar challenges and to have someone to stay accountable to. I will be transitioning back to cooked food later today but plan to incorporate more smoothies and superfoods into my usual eating routine. I feel more in touch with good portion sizes and my body is thanking me for all the goodness I consumed over the last 8 days. SANY3639 I feel healthy, strong and comfortable in my body and I want to keep rocking this good good feeling going forward!

Coming up later this week – my thoughts on long term weight maintenance and another FIT CHICK Friday!

Did anyone else participate in the Superfood or Smoothie Challenge? Did anyone get to High Park to see the Cherry Blossoms? How was YOUR weekend?

 

FIT CHICKS FRIDAY – Lovely Lower Body

I’m having such a blast at boot camp, that I wanted you guys to share in the fun!  Over the next couple of weeks, I’m going to be posting some tips and workouts from the fabulous Laura from FIT CHICKS.

With summer fast approaching (and the gorgeous weather here to stay hopefully!) we are talking legs!  We did some of these last night and I was definitely feeling the burn as I walked up the stairs to my apartment!! This workout will take you 10 minutes and can be done easily in the comfort of your own home without any fancy equipment. Now over to Laura

Summer is just around the corner and we know what that means - shorts season! Here are my top 4 exercise to get luscious lovely legs.. without ever hitting the gym!

What you need: a kitchen chair, a ledge or bottom stair, some pumping tunes and your fabulousness

1. BOOTY TAPS (aka Chair Squats)
SANY3614This exercise is awesome for your tightening your toosh!  Simply grab a dining room chair and stand in front with your feet shoulder width apart.  Now squat back low enough so your booty touches the chair and immediately come back up to standing. Set your timer and repeat for 2min.

Make sure your weight is in your heels, your knees are not coming over the toes and your bum taps the seat on every squat. This will ensure you are working your backside to the max 
For even better results, add weights and give your booty an extra squeeze at the top for good luck.

2. HIGH HEELED SQUATS
Even if you don't wear high heels, this squat will give killer quads (the 
SANY3615front of your thigh) to rock your shorts all summer long! Prop your heels up either using weights or a ledge. All the weight is in your toes.  Sit back like you are trying to sit in the chair (like the Booty Taps), bringing your hips down so they are in line with you knees and come back to standing. Set timer and repeat for 2min

Make sure you are balance before you begin, your knees are not coming over the toes and you are getting low.  You should be feeling this pretty quickly in the front of the thigh

3. LONG LEGS (aka 1 legged Dead Lifts
Not only is this exercise great for toning the hamstring (muscles that runs up the back of thigh) but prevents booty saggage, increases balance and mobility - how fab is that? SANY3617Shift your weight into your left leg. Stand holding hands (or weights) in front of thighs and place right leg out behind you with the toe lightly touching the floor (or lift it completely off the floor for more of a challenge). Keeping the shoulders back, tummy tight and the back straight, tip from the hips and lower the weights towards the floor.

Just lower as far as your flexibility allows (and don't worry, you will get better the more you do!). You can bend the knee slightly if you need to. Push into the heel to go back to starting position. Set timer and repeat for 1:30min of the left and then complete 1:30min on the right.

4. STEP UPS
One of our total faves to get your booty burning and your heart pumping is the simple step up. Why they work is that you are lifting your entire body weight as you step.

Using the stairs in your house, step up with your full foot on the stair leading with the left foot.  More advanced? Step up with the left and drive your right knee up and you step up.  Set you timer and lead with the left foot for 1:30min.  Switch to the right and complete another 1:30min.

Add this little FIT CHICKS - 10 min for a Lovely Lower Body workout to your workout routine 2x per week and you'll be rockin the short shorts in no time!

The Joys of Being the Honorary Chair

Many months ago I was asked to the be Honorary Chair for the 2010 Toronto Heel ‘n’ Wheel-a-thon in support of the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of Canada to which I happily accepted. With the event coming up on June 13, things are really starting to heat up and over the last couple weeks I’ve really started to enjoy my role as Honorary Chair!

Two weeks ago I was an attendee at the brunch held for the TPE’s (Top Pledge Earners) from last year’s event. The brunch was held at the lovely Miller Tavern in North York. SANY3504 SANY3505SANY3506 The set menu wasn’t particularly Ashley-friendly (boo), so after starting off with a mimosa…SANY3507 the server was sweet enough to hook me up with some carrot ginger soup and a delightful green saladSANY3511 It was splendid! The soup blew me away, especially considering I love the carrot-ginger combination. I had a lot of fun speaking to the group about fundraising!SANY3514 TPE’s raise a huge portion of the money at the Heel ‘n’ Wheel-a-thon, so it was great to generate some fresh ideas for the rest of us to implement for this year.

Yesterday my duties as Honorary Chair led me to a visit with the boys at The Biz Media to shoot a PSA for the event. SANY3599SANY3606 It was my first experience with a green screen – fun times! SANY3604I have yet to see the final product (obviously, as we only shot it yesterday afternoon!), but everyone reassured me that I did a good job. Whenever I’ve worked on camera in the past it’s always taken me a few takes to get warmed up and yesterday was no exception. It’s a lot harder to be “yourself” on camera than it is in real life, but I think by the end I was finally coming off as ‘me’ on camera. We’ll see very soon!
SANY3601I will definitely be posting the PSA on my blog when it’s ready to go and hope that you will pass it along so that we can spread the word about the event. I’m excited (and nervous!!) to watch it.

Wanna get involved in the Heel ‘n’ Wheel-a-thon?

Sponsor me!After raising more than $1,700 last year I’m setting my goal at $3,000 this year and I need your help to get me there! Every little bit counts. Does anyone have any good ideas for alternative fundraising? I’m thinking about organizing a silent auction on the blog – please email me (wwleaderashley@gmail.com) if you’re interested in assisting in any way!

Join my team! – The walk takes place on June 13 in Sunnybrook Park and I would love to have a big group of friends to do the walk with me on my team Dancing Through Life. There is no minimum you need to raise in order to do the walk, and it’s a great opportunity to do a low-key 5km in a gorgeous setting for a good cause! Not in Toronto? There are HNW events all across Canada!

Join our Facebook group and follow me and Toronto Heel ‘n’ Wheel on Twitter for the latest news and updates

Superfoods, Super Weekend, supercalifragilisticexpialidocious

Thinking about all the super stuff in my weekend made me want to sing the song…

I had a fantastic weekend and some pretty amazing eats… SANY3574Whole Foods lunch including chickpeas, bean medley, quinoa, peas and a mixed salad SANY3576SANY3575SANY3578Green-tea tofu fingers, mango-avocado salad and protein soup at Magic Oven. The soup was definitely the highlight with lots of chickpeas and delightful warming spices. I was disappointed that they forgot the walnuts in my salad, and the waitress forgot to retrieve them before I had finished my salad. I really want to like that restaurant, but I feel that I leave disappointed every time…SANY3582Unpictured gelato for dessert from Ed’s– so delicious!
SANY3571Cauliflower – cabbage - cauliflower curry over millet – This is such a simple recipe and it makes so much. I love it!!
SANY3583In the Superfood spirit, a snack of goji berries, cacao nibs and almonds SANY3573 SANY3584 Shopping and prepping for 5 Days with Superfoods
SANY3588
Broccoli soup and garden salad at Butler’s Pantry in my favourite window booth for Sunday brunch. I discovered that their soups are always vegan – score!! SANY3591 SANY3595 Incredible Hulk bread!!! I used Ener-G egg replacer in place of the two eggs which worked great. The spirulina (a blue-green algae that is a complete protein and contains lots of vitamins, minerals and superfoody goodness!) made it smell like the ocean, but it tasted great once cooked. Even the roommates liked it – success!! SANY3596 Delicious kichade made with mung beans, brown rice, zucchini, carrot and kale paired with a slice of my Hulk-tastic bread. I’m loving my Superfoods thus far and looking forward to a delicious week ahead!

How do you like to incorporate “Superfoods” into your meals?

Random Thoughts on a Thursday

I’m loving the month of April, and not just because it’s my birth month. (Okay, well maybe that’s part of it) I’m still on a high from the weekend festivities and I’m having a lot of fun reaping the benefits of my birthday with various excursions and time with friends. SANY3568SANY3569I had a conversation with an old friend yesterday who said I seemed like myself for the first time in a long time. It was such a good thing to hear and I’m absolutely feeling it. I’m in a great headspace and I’m surrounded by a lot of positivity, wonderful people and fun things, like lunches in the park.  SANY3566 SANY3565~~~
In totally unrelated news… I saw this at someone’s apartment a few weeks ago and just about died laughing.

SANY3425

It’s been nearly a year since I went off the pill and I don’t miss it. In short, the pill made me crazy. Like really crazy. And for a long time I just thought the crazy was “normal” (do you see a theme here??) It was amazing to come off the pill and return to a much more normal state. I haven’t looked back since. If you’re anything like me and the pill made you crazy, check out the book Taking Charge of Your Fertility, the Justisse website or the amazing workshops run by the lovely ladies at Red Tent Sisters.
~~~
Coming up in the next couple weeks I’ve got some at-home workout suggestions with the beautiful Laura from
Fit Chicks, details on my experience going 5 days with Superfoods and 3 days with smoothies as well as some thoughts on moderation and the idea of “enough”. Is there anything you would like to see/talk about?

Have you had any random thoughts today?
How is your month of April so far?
How are you doing for activity? So far I’ve got 9 stickers on my calendar and adding a 10th tonight!! I will be making a
new activity chart for May because I miss them!!

Last but not least… a quote that accompanied the my birthday page in my planner: Use what talents you possess: the woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best. (Henry Van Dyke)