Tag Archives: health

A little motivation to move


You might say that in the last couple months I’ve really slacked on eating well and exercising. I think there’s a million reasons excuses that I could give as to why this happens. I mean, in the winter time it’s easy to just get comfortable in a routine of NOT moving around because the weather is no fun and, let’s face it, I hate winter and being part of it.

Actually, as a side note, one of my goals this year was to find a way to appreciate winter. I really tried, you guys, but realized once the snow had melted how truly relieved I was to see it all go. I came to the conclusion that the only part of winter I’ll ever appreciate is the excess amount of teas and coffees I drink, Christmas, and reading with a warm blanket.

Summer is so much prettier anyway 🙂

Back to my point, though. I get into this routine of doing-nothingness and it’s the easiest thing ever to just stay there. The worst part? I was doing a KICK ass job of eating awesome back in January. I’d actually never felt better than when I’d cut 95% of the meat out of my diet and replaced it with other various proteins. I had really taken myself out of my comfort zone & accomplished a goal I’d never even though I could do. I was proud of myself and I had SO MUCH FUN with it.

Now that I look back, I was eating all that amazing food right before I left to spend a week in Florida. And the time before that, I spent a ridiculous amount of time exercising and eating well right before my trip to Greece. I have a pattern that I’m beginning to notice as I started subconsciously eating really well these last couple days & significantly cutting the CRAP out of my every day diet.

I like to eat well when I have a goal to work towards. AKA vacation. AKA I want to feel good when I’m on a beach. The thing is, I book vacations so regularly now, a healthy lifestyle should be so much easier for me to keep up because I know I’ll always have somewhere to look forward to being. But I don’t WANT to just keep up a healthy lifestyle for as long as I travel- I want this to be a long term kind of thing. So why is it SO HARD for me to stay motivated to always eat properly and exercise regularly? Shouldn’t WANTING to FEEL GREAT be enough motivation? Why do the caramel frappucinos always beat out my willpower?

Must eat well now so I can eat pasta every day in Italy! 

I work in a really big store where there is a built-in Starbucks. This has been my ultimate downfall, although I’ve been really good at regularly ordering the ‘skinny’ version of anything I want. They all know to cut all the sugar out of my drinks, and yet I still feel extremely guilty at how often I get a coffee. Like, every day. Sometimes more than once a day.

I want to make a permanent lifestyle change without slipping back to old habits. I’m not sure how to make this a permanent thing yet, but with 2 and a half months before I’m back on the beautiful beaches of Europe, I’m willing to give this good eating & exercising thing yet another shot.

I’m going to start by cutting out a BIG part of the bad stuff I eat and replacing it once again with fruits and veggies. I want to cut down on the meat I eat again. I’d been doing really well at consciously eating LESS of it, but with school & finals that all went away too. I’m going to make healthy choices when I eat out, and try with ALL MY WILLPOWER to pretend there isn’t a Starbucks 10 feet away from where I spent 7 hours of my day.

I really want to give Jillian Michaels another try but so far she’s been my biggest downfall because I can never finish her freaking work outs. She’s too hard on me, guys. I think I may try some easier work outs at first and then kick butt in Jillian Michaels and see what happens from there.

I can do this. 

I’m even going to make myself a nice little deal. If, by July 1st, I’ve held up my personal goal of eating well, avoiding foods that are clearly not good for me & making a conscious effort to exercise regularly, I will buy myself a lovely new bathing suit for Europe & some other treat that I haven’t decided yet. I really want another bathing suit though & the ones I like aren’t CHEAP. If I’m going to spend the money, I better feel damn good wearing it. So I mean, I have to make this work!

What do you do to stay motivated in your healthy eating & exercising lifestyle? 


February Wrap-Up


To be honest, I really didn’t feel like writing this post. My 12 Changes project really didn’t follow me very well in February in ANY way. I had lots of excuses lined up to write about, here are some:

1. I was planning a vacation so I didn’t really have time to do anything fitness related

2. I was really busy with school for the first half of the month which means I couldn’t really go to the gym

3. I hate Jillian Michaels and don’t want to do her workouts anymore

4. I hate keeping a food diary so I decided not to anymore

5. I had so many other things to do, going to the gym was the least of my worries. Also, I was still eating healthy so that counts for something, right?

I mean, sure, to some extent all of these reasons/excuses/whatever you want to call them have some validity, but mostly they really don’t. I hate setting myself up with goals and not being able to accomplish them, but I can honestly say that I just WASN’T up for it this month. 

On the bright side I’ve still been doing relatively well with my eating habits, although I’ve decided not to be a full vegetarian any longer. That doesn’t mean I’m back to the kind of eating habits I had in 2011 AT ALL- I’ve cut so much out of my diet- but I like having options if I want them, and the main purpose of my healthy eating was to be more conscious of what goes into my body and I’ve been doing JUST that.

I do cheat though, and I’m sad to admit that this past week was probably my worst of 2012, but I get this *feeling* after being unsuccessful for long enough that it just doesn’t matter anymore. I’m a VERY organized person (in most areas of my life) and I require symmetry in everything that I do (this often shows in my work) so I hate *starting* something with just a few days left to the month.

That’s really another excuse, but it’s also true. I’ve decided to give myself a break for one more day, the last day of February, before kicking back up in high gear and getting back into my goals for the year. I was SO motivated just 2 months ago, I think life has been getting in the way of the things I hoped to accomplish! It’s time to start printing out my goals and facing them every single day. In February, I did a really good job of pretending they don’t exist, and admitting that to myself really sucks. But I just had to be honest here.

It’s always tough to start a new good habit when you’re in the midst of doing a million other way more exciting things (planning my trip and going on it was FAR more exciting than planning gym excursions)… I just want to learn to stop making excuses for myself. I’ve done it for SO long and I just don’t want to. I want to make time for the things that are truly important in life, and health is IMPORTANT. 

February wasn’t great and I wasn’t really expecting it to be, but next month I’m going to be taking some time to re-organize my priorities and the goals I haven’t succeeded at yet are at the top of the list.

How did your February goals go? Any tips/tricks to get into a good fitness routine and not cringe it? 

February: 2 weeks in


I wasn’t going to make these mid-way through the month posts a regular thing, but it helped me so much in January, I figure it can’t hurt to try again.

Because so far my February 12 Changes are going VERY badly. The idea for February was to continue my healthy living from January and get back into a fitness routine to compliment the healthy eating habits I developed last month. I started off February really strong by hitting the gym a few times a week… And then I got kind of sick and it all went down the drain.

I’m admitting full on failure because I promised myself that I would hold myself accountable for everything I was doing in my 12 Changes program- good or bad- so that’s what I’m trying to do, even though this is not a fun post to write at all.

After getting sick, midterms started to creep up on me, along with a million other tiny things that I had to do before this weekend when I leave for my trip. My problem when I mix school with everything else is that I become very one-track-minded, and I forget to make time for myself in a productive way. When I purposely choose to sit down for an hour I don’t WANT to work out, I want to catch up on some TV or reading.

I think that’s always been my biggest problem: I make myself feel guilty for doing things for myself when I’m in the midst of homework and work and family gatherings. I reason that if I don’t have enough time to finish studying, why should I give myself an hour to work out? I realize this is not very logical, but it’s the way I think- I just can’t help it.

No matter how much I want to be the kind of person who goes with the flow, I will always be a worrier when it comes to getting important things done. I let myself go in these more stressful times because I don’t want to have to think of all the extra little things I *wish* I was doing while I’m working on something that isn’t very interesting to me (like studying).

As of this evening, my midterms will be finished and I will have absolutely NO reason to not get ahead on my goals and put myself in a good place for whatever comes my way in March. I don’t want to give up so easily; I want this mid-month check in to be a reminder for myself. I may not be able to change who I am, but I want to change my unhealthy habits, and that has to start somewhere. 

One of the big things I’m doing differently compared to last month is that I don’t have my list of goals up on a wall to look at every day. I’m not looking at my daily reminders, and I *want* to be. I thought I would be able to hold myself accountable without seeing my  plans every morning, but I think it helped a lot more than I realized. So I’m going to find a way to do that again as of tomorrow.

Luckily I’ve still been eating really well (except a few cheats, what can I say, I’m stressed! A girl needs some M&M’s to relax once in a while!) but the exercise thing is getting the best of me for now. I’m *really* hoping that my vacation next week with two of my most health-fanatic friends will boost my motivation levels way back up. With a gym in our hotel and no more worries after today except packing, I want to get back to the gym, back to the Jillian Michaels work-out (even though I hate her while I’m doing it) and back to feeling good about myself every day. 

How are your February goals going so far? 

Lessons From a Newbie Vegetarian


Two weeks ago I wrote about my experience as a vegetarian for one week and said that I had a post about the lessons I learned on the way. Well, it’s a little bit late- but better late than never, right?!

As of today, I’ve cut meat out of my diet drastically. It was never part of my plan, to be honest, but right now I’m much happier this way! I eat fish once or twice a week & I’ve had chicken twice since January 15th. I tried beef last week and that didn’t go so well with my stomach, so for right now I’m not including it in my eating habits.

In my three weeks of vegetarianism and semi-vegetarianism I’ve learned a TON of things that I thought I’d share for people who are thinking about trying it out but aren’t sure if it’s their thing. I’d like to just say that I didn’t think it would be my thing, either (AT ALL) but I’m all about trying new lifestyles and habits, and I surprise myself all the time with what I do end up loving!

Lesson Number One

Via the web

Since going vegetarian, I’ve tried to order all-vegetarian meals when I go out for dinner or when I’m out and want to grab a bite to eat. I had NO idea how difficult this part would be until I was in my week of no meat whatsoever. I went to a restaurant with some friends that is famous for their ribs (I mean, I realize as a vegetarian this isn’t the best choice, but vegetarians have meat-eating friends who like going to nice restaurants, right?) I couldn’t believe when I opened my menu that I had only TWO choices.

My first choice was a pasta dish, and I wasn’t even in the mood for pasta. My second was a vegetable sandwich but it was pre-dressed in balsamic vinegar, which is basically my least favorite thing to eat on this entire planet. Obviously I ate the pasta but I don’t think I’ve disliked a plate of food more when I went out to eat. Had I been eating like all of my friends, it would have been the LAST thing on the menu I would have chosen. 

I’ve run into this problem many times since that first occasion. I went to a Tim Horton’s last week for a quick bite to eat while I waited in line for a concert and was surprised to see that I had no options whatsoever. I was stuck in line in a tiny cramped room and didn’t want to order egg salad. I realize that Tim Horton’s isn’t a place that’s known for having a wide selection of meals, but imagine if they offered even ONE extra vegetarian option, they’d be offering an entire category of people something worth stopping in for. I ended up ordering a chicken wrap hoping it would be loaded with tomato and salad and whatnot, but it was literally about 8 strips of chicken and one thin strip of lettuce. My satisfaction was WAY BELOW average, and this is coming from someone who goes to Tim Horton’s about 4 times a week for various other items on their menu.

Vegetarians, have you ever run into this problem while you’re at a restaurant with friends? I think that whether the place you’re at is better known for a meat dish or not, they should still offer a few non-meat selections. Just because I’m a vegetarian does NOT mean all my friends are too!

Lesson Number Two

Fresh salad made by me & my sister-in-law

Since I’m still completely new at this, I have no idea how to go about telling all my friends and family that I don’t really eat meat anymore- especially red meat. At the end of my very first week of full vegetarianism, I went to a family function and only realized the DAY OF (since I was a newbie and all) that I probably wouldn’t be able to eat anything they were going to be serving. I’m not very close to these particular people and I didn’t want to call them up hours before heading over to let them know that a) I probably couldn’t eat their food or b) offend them and bring my own… So I just sucked it up and ate a small piece of chicken and made up for it by not eating meat for a few days after that.

All this to say, it is REALLY difficult as a vegetarian to feel like you’re not inconveniencing someone. I mean, who wants to be the person who goes to a friends’ house and tells them they can’t eat most of what they made for you? It’s kind of awkward and embarrassing, or maybe that’s just me. I mean, I don’t see why I should compromise my personal eating habits just to make someone else happy, but then again I don’t want to be that person who’s heating my own personal food in a friends’ microwave. 

I’m an incredibly introverted person when it comes to speaking my mind about things like this. If it was a really good friend I’m sure they’d understand, and I know that if someone came to my house and told ME they couldn’t eat my food I wouldn’t be offended- but is that just because I understand their point of view?

How do you go out in public with an entirely different eating habit from everyone else with offending anyone? I still haven’t grasped what is considered *polite* in the vegetarian world to tell people when you can’t eat what they’ve made for you. Any tips or tricks out there?

Lesson Number Three

Vegetarian Chili, made by me & my SIL! (and still cooking in a crock pot) 

Ever since becoming a more goal oriented person, I’ve never been very vocal about them to friends and family. I mean, I write about them all the time but it always felt weirder to talk about it in real life. This year I really wanted to change that, so I’m making a conscious effort to BE VOCAL about my goals.

I think this was one of the most important things for becoming a vegetarian, but I’m obviously still learning from this one. Most of my close family and friends know that I’m a vegetarian & my Project 365 on Facebook has allowed anyone who looks at the pictures to know about it too. I feel like this has helped me keep up my new lifestyle a LOT- I’ve been overwhelmed by the number of people who ask me how it’s going, how I feel, how long I’ve been doing it, and basically just encouraging me along the way. 

I love feeling like I’m not in it alone and I can get tips from people around me. My sister-in-law has helped me enormously by cooking with me and my friends have been really supportive about it too. If I was doing this thing alone I’m not sure I would have necessarily kept going- it’s nice to know that your efforts don’t go unnoticed! 

Lesson Number Four

As the days go by, I’ve realized how important it is to do this type of thing for ME- no one else. I’ve had so many people ask me if I’m dating someone or question the motives I have behind going vegetarian and eating healthier… The answer is quite simple. I’m doing it for myself. I want to feel better, eat better and not feel guilty when I go to sleep about the kinds of food I eat. I’m not doing it because of a number on the scale or because I don’t like the way I look. 

I’m growing up and realizing that I just want to do things for myself to be happy. I want to be happy for ME, not because I’m dating someone or because I’m necessarily looking to. If those things come along because I’m taking better care of myself? Great! But the more I cut things out of my diet, the more I realize it’s important to continue to make myself happy. 

That’s also why if I’m craving something in particular (like chicken soup, for example) then I eat it. I’m not going to deny myself something for no reason at all, I just don’t want to overdo it. I’m learning to eat for my own personal happiness, and right now that includes a diet with a LOT less meat. 


I was never expecting to learn things from becoming a vegetarian, but I think that with any lifestyle change these things just naturally happen. I’m by NO means a pro at cutting something out of my diet, it’s still something I’m working to improve in my OWN life. But honestly? I 100% recommend that you give it a try. If you don’t want to try cutting meat out of your diet, try something else! But don’t forget that you make your own rules and you create your own happiness in the situation. Do it for YOU and see if you notice any changes in yourself along the way! 

If you’re a vegetarian, what are important lessons you’ve learned along the way? If you’re not, have you ever cut something big out of your diet? Why? 


12 Changes: January Wrap-Up


I can’t believe that the first month of 12 Changes is already over! It feels like just last week everything was being organized to get started, and here I am getting ready to start adding new goals to the ones I’ve already accomplished!

Here’s what January looked like for me: 

This month was all about starting the New Year with better eating habits. I was tired of going to sleep every night feeling like I had eaten too much BAD stuff for me; I just wanted to feel good about myself again and I wanted to make healthy living a part of my LIFE, not just something I worked on for a short period of time.

That’s why I chose January for health. It was really important to me to start this year off the RIGHT way, and with a healthier lifestyle from Day One, I knew the rest of my changes would be natural additions to Big Number One.

My goals for January

1. Go one month without junk food

I did pretty good on this one. I’m definitely considering it *done* because I realized that I’m not the kind of person who can cut entire things out of my diet for so long. I mean, I know it’s just one month, but junk food (or refined sugars in general) are such a HUGE part of everything I eat, I think my body would have just gone into serious withdrawal if I cut it out entirely, so suddenly. I know some people are able to do this, but that’s just not me, and I’ve accepted that.

That being said, halfway through January I re-committed myself to trying much harder at cutting it out more significantly from my diet, and I succeeded. I had a few *cheat days* which I am 100% okay with, but junk food is becoming a thing of the past for me. Now, when I treat myself, I try to do it in little amounts because too much crappy food makes me feel REALLY gross. My body no longer processes it as well as it used to, and for me that is a great thing. It means there are big changes happening!

2. Start taking vitamins

Done! I took vitamins every other day because the ones my mom bought are extra strength and I didn’t want to over-do it. I also talked to my brother about multi-vitamins and he thinks they’re useless, but I’m still not sure. I usually take his advice on health things because he is such a healthy person (and often the one to help me when I’m trying to improve my own health) so I’d like to do more research about vitamins before I make this a permanent habit. I don’t know if I’m the kind of person who NEEDS them or not, but for this month I made sure to take them often to see if I noticed a difference in myself.

I can’t say that I see a HUGE difference because of vitamin-taking; I know that other aspects of my healthy-eating have contributed to me losing weight, having better complexion and overall a healthier glow to me, but I really don’t know if vitamins helped at all. Does anyone know anything about vitamin-taking? 

3. Try vegetarianism for one week 

Success! I just completed two weeks of almost complete vegetarianism. I did one full week with no meat, cold-cuts, or fish, and at the end of my first week I had chicken (which I didn’t enjoy at all because I didn’t want to eat it, but had to at a public dinner). Since then I’ve fully incorporated fish back into my diet, but I haven’t had any other major meats in a meal. I did help make a soup with my SIL with a real chicken broth base and bits of turkey/chicken in it, which I’ve now eaten twice. It’s a little bit of extra protein in my diet which I am fully okay with.

The point wasn’t to stay vegetarian after my first week, but I honestly had SO much fun with it. It forced me to cook different meals, print out recipes, and try out vegetables I don’t normally buy. I’ve made several dates with my awesome sister-in-law who’s a great cook, and she’s shown me how to make some great veggie recipes. Now that I’ve seen how much fun it can be to make meat just an occasional meal, I’m fully prepared to continue NOT eating it. I used to eat meat 4-6 times a week and I now realize how overwhelming that was for my body.

4. Keep a food diary

I did NOT do this one. I started for my first week/week and a half, but I had no good way of keep track of what I was eating… Not to mention I cheated a lot and didn’t want to write it down, ha! The point of this goal for me wasn’t to keep track of calories because I don’t want to do that, I just wanted to see what I was eating every day. I debated starting at the halfway point in January but decided against it… So I guess I purposely didn’t complete this goal.

I’m debating whether I want to try to do this in February. I think I might- I bought a really cool food diary to help me keep track of my food AND my exercise, and that is something I’m interested in doing.


Overall, I’m really happy with how this month turned out! I’m 100% ready to get started on Month Two and start tracking my progress with new goals. I accomplished some things in January that I really didn’t know I had in me, and I’m excited to continue making healthy eating a long-term lifestyle change.

How did your resolutions go in January? If you’re taking part in 12 Changes, how was Month One for you?

Going Vegetarian


At the beginning of the month, I decided that January would finally be the time that I try out vegetarianism for a week. I was pretty motivated to do it, though I honestly had NO idea how I would go about accomplishing it. I mean, I’m a pretty decent cook when I put some effort into it but I had never cut something out of my diet ENTIRELY. Especially not meat; something I have been relying on my whole life.

But people do it all the time and I was determined to be a little bit more independent in the kitchen, so I woke up on Sunday the 15th of January and decided that would be Day One of Going Vegetarian. I think Day 1 was the toughest because I had originally wanted to meal plan for my week and have things prepared by the time that Sunday came around, but I didn’t do any of that. I was SO determined to start on that day,  though, that I managed with the things we had in the house for that whole day plus the entire next day at work until I was able to go to the grocery store.

Since then? I’ve been completely vegetarian. I only cheated *once* but it was at the very end of my first week at a family dinner, and I barely ate meat at all. Despite never having eaten completely vegetarian (or really cooking for myself) I had a surprisingly easy time doing it. My mom was incredibly supportive of this new thing I was trying & she made me two huge pots of vegetable sauce. The sauce is AMAZING and goes on just about everything. I’ve been able to use it so far with pasta and quinoa, but I’m thinking I may use it to make eggplant parmesan very soon too.

Here’s the thing I HADN’T been bargaining on; I’m actually having a lot of FUN cooking for myself. I mean, I’ve never been a cook at all, but I’ve even become one of those people who goes online and prints recipes- AND MAKES THEM.

Here are some of the meals I’ve made since going vegetarian:



From top left: vegetable sauce- 3 cheese tortellini & raspberries in soya milk– fresh cooked quinoa toped with grilled carrots/green peppers/onions and topped with veggie sauce- sliced strawberries & banana in vanilla soya milk– hummus, v8, vine leaves and gluten free crackers (a little bit of everything lunch)- leak/broccoli homemade soup & a tomato/bocconcini cheese grilled sandwich.

After my first week was over, I decided to include fish back into my diet so that I could have some concrete source of protein. Although my mom is still eating meat and everyone around me is too, I haven’t given into temptation. I mean, there are those moments where I REALLY want what other people are eating, but then I remember just how happy I am right now with all these vegetables in my diet and I’m not ready to change that. I’m realizing that meat is an easy meal to make when I’m in a hurry, but cooking something yummy and vegetarian takes a little bit more thought. You need something that’s going to sustain you, and everyone is different when it comes to figuring out exactly what foods will do that for them.

As of right now, I’m sure that being a vegetarian isn’t going to be a permanent thing in my life. I would miss meat way too much and I don’t want to fully deprive myself of that just yet. I support vegans and vegetarians 100% though, it is a REALLY tough lifestyle to maintain. I’ve learned so much already in my time as a vegetarian/semi-vegetarian, and I’m just really excited to see where I go with this next.

I’m going to write up some important things I learned pretty soon, but I’ve been really excited to share my success story. I’d like to say that I believed in myself a whole lot, but the truth is that going into this I didn’t REALLY. I was motivated to complete the goal, but wasn’t sure I’d actually make it. Now that I’ve done it, I want to continue testing myself to see what other things I can diminish in my diet. Ideally, when I eat meat again (whenever that may be) I’d like it to be on a much less regular basis than before!

Most importantly, I know that I can eat meat now if I want to. When I say ‘no’ to it, it’s not because I’m depriving myself. I genuinely prefer my other potential options. I have SO many ideas for things to make next week, and I’m heading over to my brother/sister-in-law’s this afternoon so that they can show me how to make some of their favorite all-vegetarian recipes. Who AM I right now?!

Have you ever gone vegan/vegetarian? How was your experience? Would you ever try it? What are some of your favorite vegetarian recipes?

12 Changes: January


Now that the holidays are really and truly over, it’s time to get started with my monthly goals again! It feels like all I’m writing about these days are goals, but I promise I’m done until February 🙂

My personal 12 Changes project is based around Gretchen Rubin’s book ‘The Happiness Project’. Each month I’m going to focus on one area of my life that I want to improve, setting specific goals in that month to achieve and then hopefully applying some of the things I’ve learned for the rest of the year.

First up in January is, of course, health. There is nothing more important these days with all the junk food that’s out there to be enjoyed. I’m really excited because I managed to give myself 4 goals for the month that are part of my other lists of goals. It’s like hitting three birds with one stone, ha!

I’m really trying to make my monthly goals revolve around this project so that I can get the most out of it as possible- and have fun too!! I’ve been meaning to just take some time to focus on eating healthier and feeling better about myself, and I figured that January is the best month to do it because that’s when I’m most motivated to cross off goals.

My goals are all organized out on paper for me to be able to see each and every single day. I have reminders for myself as well; I thought that by writing it all down the old fashioned way I might feel more committed to remembering what I want to do.

Why 4 goals? I have no idea. I like the number, and I like that there are usually 4 weeks to a month. It feels achievable. Especially for health month, there were a million things that I wanted to write as goals, but I’m hoping that I can be mindful enough to do the extra little things without actually writing them down.

January is a test. I’m anxious to see how I pull through by the end of it, but most of all I just want to detox from bad food this month so that I can start feeling better from here on out! I’m hoping this whole thing doesn’t sound TOO ambitious, but I’ll just have to see how it works for me for now and improve on the aspects that I don’t enjoy after month one!

What are your goals for January? Are you participating in 12 Changes?