Monday, December 31, 2012

New Years Resolutions

December 31st has rolled around again. A time where we make resolutions that usually involve our expanding waste line  This year change the focus of your resolution and don't make it about the scale but about your health and fitness. Changing your mentality and focus will help you stay on track when you don't see the scale dropping 10 pounds in the first week. Not reality. All those claims on the magazine covers aren't true. For example if you want to loose 1 pound you have to burn 3500 calories.

If you are intending to make resolutions about losing weight you should focus on how many times a week your are committing to your goal and what a typical weeks worth of meals will look like. This will help you stay focused. Please don't binge today in preparation for your goals tomorrow. It won't help and you will feel terrible. Binge in preparation for a diet tomorrow is the same thing most people do all year every Sunday night in preparation for Monday's diet.

The other night I was out with some girlfriends and one of them is "eating everything now before January 1st." She has put on a few unwanted pounds and is now starting her new years resolution of losing weight. The only issue is that her birthday is January 4th so what happens then? Do you stay on track or do you cheat because it's your birthday? This is why losing weight isn't necessarily a good short term goal but a way to measure your long term success. Your goals should be as I said eating clean and focusing on committing to time at the gym. Calories in are calories you need to burn.

For me, my goals are about maintaining my current level or fitness, finding a great career and spending more time with family and friends. Brett and I have settled into our new place and had a lot of great memories in 2012 but we are both very excited for 2013.

I hope you all have a wonderful New Years and wish you all the best with your resolutions. Write down your goals and stick to them because it's not about what you can't do but what you CAN do!



Thursday, December 27, 2012

Food Satisfaction

Christmas Dinners, grandma's baking, cocktails all add up to a lot of extra calories. Holiday's and celebrations should not be a time to throw your goals to the wind but if you did don't beat yourself up. Take a deep breath and get back on the horse.

I have been reading a lot about emotional eating and changing how we think about food. Finding satisfaction with the foods we eat is one of the biggest concepts that I have started to really practice. When we diet or restrict ourselves from foods we do enjoy when we have a moment of weakness it can turn into an epic binge that we didn't plan for. If you have ever been on a restricted diet you will understand.

One thing that I have learned is that when we restrict ourselves we tend to over eat because we are never satisfied with our food and we will continue to eat and eat and eat looking for satisfaction we never find. Instead find ourselves stuffed and very upset and depressed from binge eating. The reason I know this is because I have been there and if you have been there, I understand.

If you can relate to this lack of satisfaction with food the thing to try is slowing down and really thinking about the food you are about to eat before you even start. Put all your food on one plate and stare at it and practice thinking how eat food you have put on your plate will help your body achieve it's goals. If there is something you have put on your plate you know you shouldn't be eating, don't eat it.

Easier said then done of course but the next thing I want you to think about while looking at your food is how you will feel after eating what is on your plate. Will you feel guilty about something you're about to eat? Are you over eating (remember your stomach is the size of your fist)? Are you sticking to your plan? Your plan for your daily calories could be to only have veggies and protein with dinner so you can have a glass of wine and dessert. Yes, dessert! It's all about moderation. If you stave yourself or try to restrict everything you will fail and you will binge. I'm not saying to eat dessert all the time but once in awhile is okay.

Just remember, calories in need to equal calories burned!  I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and are continuing to practice good eating habits and hitting the gym. If you need help finding how much of certain food you should be eating, check out the Heart and Stroke Foundation or curious about vitamins and mineral, which is what Brett and I did yesterday at Body Energy Club check out Oprah's Vitamins and Supplements article. It is helpful in figuring out what we should be taking and the people at Body Energy Club are very helpful.



Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Ho-Ho-Holiday Fit-Tip No. 19 - Fitness Friends

Working out over the Holiday's seems impossible. There is a lot going on and not enough time. Christmas isn't suppose to be about presents and stressing out. It is suppose to be about spending time with friends and family's and being Thankful for everything we have.

This brings me to my Fit-tip no. 19 - Fitness Friends. Christmas is suppose to be about spending time with friends so instead of meeting them for lunch or dinner, which all add up, ask them to go for a walk or a fitness class. Look up a class or go do a few laps inside the mall. This tip is a great way to save money, spend time with your friends and stay healthy! How easy is that!

Go call a friend and ask them to go for a walk.


Life seems like a dream!

It's official. We are back in Vancouver. It was a busy weekend but I'm glad we settled in before this crazy snow storm. Brett and I moved into Fairview on 8th and Cambie. The area is amazing and we can walk everywhere which was really important to us.

Our move went a lot smoother because my dad came over to help us load the U-Haul. He arrived on Sunday and the weather didn't look promising. There was a huge storm with lots of wind and rain. We were about 80% packed and decided to take a dinner break and finish the big clean afterwards.

We were up early on Monday and finished the final bit of cleaning and packing and hit the ferry early! After a rainy forecast the sun came out while we unloaded the truck and moved all our stuff into the new place. It still feels surreal because I have been back and forth to Vancouver a lot in the last few months for interviews but this time we are both here and here to stay. 

Today Brett and I are starting our new gym routine and I can't wait! We still have lots of unpacking to do but the place is starting to come together. We got really good news yesterday that our Xmas present should be arriving today or tomorrow! Hello Vitamix! Today we are going to go and check out some local produce at Kins Farm Market because Whole Foods may be amazing but it's also expensive. We've been eating almost all our meals there so we need to do a bit of grocery shopping. 

Finding time to get workouts has been difficult but we are both committed to helping keep each other on track. Today we are training bi's and tri's in our gym downstairs. It's going to be great to get back into a new routine in a new gym. Exciting!

Glad to be back in Vancouver!



Saturday, December 15, 2012

Ho-Ho-Holiday Fit-Tip No. 15 - Get sleep!

With the holidays comes a crazy schedule. Right now I am in the middle or packing our apartment in Victoria and getting ready for the move on Monday morning. Today I took a break from packing and hit the gym and then got back to business.  I was slowly going a little nuts going through old boxes of stuff and trying to downsize and decided to go to bed.

As I was lying in bed I realized I hadn't posted my fit-tip today and it hit me. Today's fit-tip should be about rest. This brings me to my Fit-Tip No. 15 - Get Sleep. Yes, there are lots of reasons not to sleep...had to wrap, bake an extra batch of cookies, clean the house, the list goes on but sleep should be on that list.

You are not at your best when you are running on empty whether it be food or sleep. The holidays will be much more enjoyable if you are rested. This doesn't necessarily mean getting 8 solid hours but at least 6 to 7 or take a cat nap! Trust me, the extra 20 minutes will do wonders for your health!

Ho-ho-helping you stay sane over the holidays!


Friday, December 14, 2012

Ho-ho-holiday Fit-Tip No. 14 - Half and Half

First of all, I wanted to say Thank you to people who have reached out to me in regards to my post yesterday about Cervical Cancer. It's an important message to pass on and getting as much important about the HPV vaccination and what HPV is. I hope you share this message with any important females you have in your life.

Okay, time to switch gears. I was laying in bed this morning and making a list all the things I needed to get done today. One thing on my list is getting my Christmas baskets ready for friends and family. One thing in my basket is a tin of cookies. This brings me to my Advent Fit-Tip No. 14 - Half and Half. 

This tip could apply in two ways but my vision this morning was that I should practice what I preach especially when I am giving away cookies. I am going to go and buy some Christmas Oranges to put in the tins with the cookies. Hence, half and half.

If you are giving away cookies and other goodies this Holiday season try buying tins that are half the size and give them less cookies and a small bag of oranges. Or buy medium size tins and fill them with oranges and cookies. This way you can bake less and give the gift of health!

Ho-ho helping you give the gift of health.


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Holiday Fit-tip No.13 - See your Doc

Today I have decided to take a break from my holiday tips because I want to share with everyone the importance of getting pap'd. I guess we could turn this into a Fit-Tip because staying on top of yearly doctor appointments is extremely important. So go and get your pap test ladies and if your a guy reading this make sure you support any ladies you have in your life and tell them to go and have their pap done.

Over the past two years I have had "abnormal" test results and in June I was referred to have a colposcopy done which is where they check for cancerous cells on your cervix. Needless to say the not knowing part was always in the back of my mind. Working out and being healthy has definitely helped keep my mind off certain things and training is a great outlet for me. Everyones outlets are different. Plus there was nothing I could do until I got my appointment.

I waited six and a half months for my appointment at the hospital and today I got the results. My cells are pre-cancerous and I will be waiting for another appointment at the hospital to have a procedure called LEEP.  A Loop Electrosurgical Excision Procedure. This procedure is done to remove any pre-cancer cells on my cervix to ensure they don't become cancerous. I will have to wait another few months until I have this procedure done but my doctor said it is curable so now I wait.

Driving home from my appointment I felt a sadness in my heart but I know there are people who are way worse than me but I want to draw attention to this matter and say it loud and clear that getting PAP'D (pap smears) is very Very important.

If you have a mom, aunt, sister, girlfriend, wife ask them when their last pap was. If they say they don't know, give them a stern look and tell them they need to go. Going undiagnosed can be very serious. In Canada last year 400 women died of Cervical Cancer and 1300 to 1500 were diagnosed. Book an appointment today. It is 20 minutes out of your life once a year to have the reassurance that you are in the clear. Check out the Canadian Foundation for Women's Health.

When you think of the big picture, it seems silly not to be go. If you haven't gone, why the heck not?! Give yourself the assurance that your can proudly say my cells are normal!

Holiday Fit-Tip Number 13 (ladies) - Get Pap'd


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Going raw and organic!

Over the past 12 days I have been posting tips on how to stay healthy over the Holidays but haven't personally blogged and it feels so strange! I needed to give you all an update.

It has been over a month since my fitness competition and I have been eating clean and changed my workout focus to strictly weights. My goal is to put on muscle and it's working! I have been able to stay within 3 pounds of my competition weight. Even though my weight hasn't fluctuated that much I can physically see changes to my body.

Not only have my workouts changed but I have a new workout buddy! Brett (my partner) and I have been hitting the gym together. Those that train together, stay together. We are training at least 3 times a week together and our workouts are single muscle focused  When we are at the gym, we are doing low reps and heavier weights and four to five sets because we are trying to build muscle.

I have learned so much from all the books I've been reading about fitness, nutrition and the physiology between both. I've been learning about fat and how it works with our bodies, what to eat and when and much, much more. I haven't been craving foods because I understand that they don't satisfy me and they don't help me achieve the look I want for my body. I have also learned a lot from Brett who did this amazing project on Sustainable Agriculture (check out his video here. It's amazing).

He and I have both been inspired but documentaries we have been watching, books I've been reading that we have decided to go raw and organic in the New Year. Last night we watched Food Matters and then spent the hour after cleaning out our fridge, freezer and pantry. We are committed to this new lifestyle and changing for the long term. I am going to start blogging about our experiences and recipes we are trying. Last night he ordered our Christmas present, a Vitamix and I can't wait to start this new journey with him!

Stay tuned! This week is going to be crazy as we are packing up and moving back to the big City on Monday. Just in time for the holidays.

Nic out!
Xo xo

Ho-Ho-Holiday Fit-Tip 12 - Take your Vitamins!

With our busy schedules, some of you may not be getting enough nutrients and ensuring your body isn't running on empty is tres important! This will not solve all the world's problems but it is a great habit to start today. If you are unsure what to take, visit someone at the pharmacy when you are at the grocery store this week.

Here's my Fit-Tip number 12 - Take your vitamins. A great place to start is Vitamin D (because we don't get enough sunlight), Vitamin C or a Multi-vitamin. The good thing with Vitamins is your body will only absorb what it needs and you will pee out the rest! Simple. Taking vitamins will just become another habit in this healthy lifestyle you are continuing to live.

Ho-Ho-Happy Wednesday now go take your vitamins!


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Ho-Ho-Holiday Fit-Tip No 11 - Say No.

If you are a people pleaser like myself, no isn't easy. At this time of the year we are pulled in a million different directions and we tend to put ourselves last. I have been trying to give you tips to help you survive the holiday season while sticking to your convictions of living healthy.

This brings me to Fit-Tip No 11 - Just say No. This may seem like a very simple concept but that's the point. Say yes only when you have time. This will help you stay sane and prevent you from feeling guilty by over-promising. It's okay not to be a superhero and your friends won't mind if you politely decline their dinner party.

Your happiness can only be controlled by one person. We all have goals and if staying fit is your goal then commit to it year round! Don't let other people pull you away from your goals. Saying no isn't easy but it sure makes our lives a lot easier in the long run. Commit to events when you have time and you will find yourself a lot happier and enjoying the holiday's even more.

Ho-ho-Helping you say NO!


Monday, December 10, 2012

Ho-Ho-Holiday Fit-Tip No. 10 - Schedule "you" time!

Over the holidays we manage to schedule time for Christmas Parties, hair appointments, baking, gift wrapping and everything for everybody else. For those of you that are working, have a family, have people staying at your house or going away it is important to schedule your workouts.

We manage to put others first all year and Christmas is the same. We throw our diets and fitness regimes to the side because we have SO much to do and NO time. I've heard this a lot lately. "I'll get fit in the new year." or "Work is crazy right now." Obviously your fitness goals aren't defined and you will fail. This brings me to Nicole's Fit-Tip number 10 - Schedule you time! 

If you are committed to your fitness, you should easily be able to schedule in 30-45 minutes of you time in the gym at least 3 times a week. If you schedule it in at the beginning of the week you hold your self accountable. When you have your goals written down, if something does come up you can just say you are busy because you are! Treat your gym time like any other appointment you have. 

Ho-ho-helping you realize you do have time to stay fit!


Sunday, December 9, 2012

Ho-Ho-Holiday Fit-Tip No. 9 - Freeze it!

My best friend and I decided to conquer our Christmas baking together. We each choose two recipes and got all the ingredients and managed to bake 4 different recipes in 3 hours! The majority of it is done. It's out of sight and out of mind.

After we finished baking I head home where Brett was excited to text the baking. Unfortunately I only made what I needed for my Christmas gifts. This brings me to my Fit-Tip number 9 - Freeze it! 

If you are attending parties or planning or doing some baking over the holidays only make enough for what you need and freeze all of it. Don't leave out extras, try to save broken cookies or test your baking. You know you are a good cook and if you are going to test it, only have one. By freezing your baking it will prevent them from being so easily accessible. This will help you stay on track over the holidays.

Ho-ho-helping you stay away from the cookies.


Saturday, December 8, 2012

Ho-Ho-Holiday Fit-Tip No. 8 - Prep for Success

As a fitness competitor, prepping food has become a part of who I am whether I am prepping for a show or enjoying the off season. If you don't think you have enough time to prep some fruit and veggies you should really think about that. If you set aside an hour to prep a bunch of snacks it will SAVE you time in the long run.

This brings me to my Holiday Fit-tip No. 8 - Prep for success. We can complain about our crazy Christmas schedules but stop complaining and take action! Write down time in your calendar after you hit the grocery store to cut up and store all those yummy fruits and veggies.

Having healthy snacks accessible at all times or if you are running out the door leave very little room for excuses and you will feel better that you are staying committed over the Holiday season. You do have the choice whether you are going to munch on extra sugar cookies or take five minutes to cut up an apple and have it with peanut butter. This tip is something you can incorporate year round, takes very little time and will save you lots of EXTRA calories so you can have dessert.

Ho-ho-helping you make less excuses. Now go cut up some veggies :)


Friday, December 7, 2012

Ho-Ho-Holiday Fit-Tip No. 7 - Portion Sizes

December is flying by and with all these healthy tips it has been weird not writing my usual articles. I hope you are all enjoying my tips and finding them helpful.
Today my eating was all over the place. I had breakfast super early, interviewed, traveled back to Victoria, had a meeting and after a long day I am finally home. The first thing any normal person would want to do is eat a bunch of food. This brings me to my Fit-Tip No. 7 - Portion Sizes.

For this tip I want you to make a fist with your hand. Well, that is the size of your stomach. Keep this in mind when you are heading back for seconds and before you dive into dessert. Just because there is food all around us because of this time of year doesn't mean we should eat it. Be mindful when you are eating and take it easy on your stomach! You won't offend anyone if you don't go for seconds and you'll probably feel a lot better. Fill your plate with veggies and if you having having dessert, skip the potatoes or only take one small spoonful. Everything in moderation.

Ho-ho-helping you from over-eating!



Thursday, December 6, 2012

Ho-Ho-Holiday Fit-Tip No. 6 - Make Substitutions

I was out for a walk with a girlfriend, who I am baking with on Sunday and we decided it would be a lot quicker to bake together. I started talking about substitutions and how we could replace butter for margarine or unsweetened applesauce or sugar for Stevia to keep the calories down. She laughed a little and said that one thing she wouldn't be doing is substitutions. Not with Christmas baking was her response.

With goodies being exchanged in Christmas baskets or hiding in the coffee room at work and on every table when you attend a party. It makes sense to cut calories. This brings me to Fit-tip number 6 - Make Substitutions.  

Your friends may not care that you are making a conscious effort to eat better and may not agree with leaving a pound of butter out of your grandmas recipe but with all the healthy options available it makes sense. Check Pinterest! The information is there at your fingertips.

For me I am dedicated to my journey and I am sharing these tips to help you understand that you can make substitutions and not sacrifice your waistline or taste.

Enjoy your cookies and remember that they are just cookies.


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Ho-Ho-Holiday Fit-Tip No. 5 - Eat before you eat.

Yes followers that is correct. I am telling you to eat before you eat. Of course we want to enjoy ourselves over the holiday's but is enjoyment really rolling around on the floor complaining about how full you are?

To help this prevent this family embarrassment that will end up on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter I offer you Fit-Tip No. 5 - Eat before you eat.

If you know you have a Christmas function to attend, don't go on an empty stomach. If you are going straight from work, have a bar or a piece of fruit stashed in your car or purse for later. If you are going home before the party have a plate of veggies (already prepped in the fridge so there are no excuses) and a few glasses of water before you go. Even have a glass of juice with Metamucil or Fibrelean (fibre fills ours stomachs and causes us to feel full).

Going to a dinner party on a full stomach will help you from over eating. If you go with a full stomach you won't feel the need to eat whatever is on the table. You will feel good because you have stuck to your plan and given your food time to digest. By eating before you go, your brain will get the message that your full and you won't feel the urge to overeat.

I know that a lot of people decide to give up this time of year but that is the wrong idea. Picture who you want to be. After all, it is just food.

Ho-ho-helping you stay full...of tips!


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Ho-Ho-Holiday Fit-tip No. 4 - Thou shall bring offerings

When we are invited to attend Christmas Gatherings we poliety ask if we can bring something and the host will usually decline and say they have everything under control. Don't we all! If people are offering to help during this busy time, let them. This will help keep stress levels down and let everyone enjoy the point of the holidays, spending time with each other, not eating.

The next time you are talking to your dinner hostess, don't ask if you can bring something but offer you can bring an appy or dessert in a nonchalant way...ex. "I found this fun little recipe I've been dying to try and was going to make it for the dinner party." If you put it this way you won't offend your hostess with the mostest.

This brings me to Fit-tip No. 4: Thou shall bring offerings

Once you have confirmed that you are bringing an appy or dessert, it allows you to bring a healthy option to snack on in case their isn't anything. Having a healthy option will help you stay away from all the deep fried, previously frozen appy's and if you bring a dessert even better! Bringing cut up fruit (we like to mix yogurt with cool whip - delicious and low cal) will help you pile the fruit on your plate during the dessert round and leave less space for those mini dessert cheesecakes. This mini cheesecakes can pack serious calories. 

Don't be embarrassed to bring your own dessert or appy. People might just be uncomfortable with the fact that you are on your path to staying healthy and fit over the holiday's while they are counting down the days to start their NYE's resolutions. Stay healthy this Christmas so you don't have to make a get fit resolution because you are committed to it year round!

Ho-ho helping you stay on track!


Monday, December 3, 2012

Ho-Ho-Holiday Fit-tip No.3 - Put the shovel down!

Happy Monday Fitness Followers! Yes, I am working hard to give you simple tips to follow this holiday season to help you survive without the need to buy new pants or sign up for a gym membership. It isn't worth all the hard work you've invested in eating well and working out to blow it all on Christmas food.

This tip comes from my recent experience with food. Brett and I have been on a good path. We are working out together at the gym and I am cooking lots of clean recipes. One thing we have started doing is eating at the dinner table and turn the TV off. What a concept?! When we eat in front of the TV our food goes down a lot faster without any thought. This leave us shovelling down our foods and getting up for seconds before we realize that we were quite full. 

Over the holidays we are eating, a lot but it doesn't have to be this way. We are taught that Christmas is about eating, enjoying each others baking and skipping our workouts because NYE is right around the corner. I'm not saying you have to cut out everything but eat it in moderation and with thought. This brings me to Holiday Fit-Tip number three - Put down the shovel!

When you attend your next Christmas dinner, think about every bite you take. Try to figure out what ingredients and spices were used to make this delicious item. As you are naming off the ingredients you will be taking time to chew each bite and it will take you longer to consume. This will give your brain time to tell yourself you don't need seconds because you will be satisfied. So put down the shovel and take each bite one at a time and enjoy! 

Ho-Ho-Helping you stay out of your stretchy pants!

Stay tuned tomorrow for Fit-tip No. 4.


Sunday, December 2, 2012

Ho Ho Ho-liday Tip No. 2 - Don't serve at the table

Nicole's Christmas Advent: Fit-tip number 2:

With work parties and family get-togethers over the next few weeks you are going to be surrounded by a lot of food. The tip today is if you are hosting or know someone hosting Christmas dinner. Do not serve dinner at the table.

Dinner served at the table is also know as family style. By having the food within an arms reach we are more inclined to help ourselves to seconds and sometimes thirds. These second and third helpings usually come after a very full plated first helping and leads to severally over eating.

That second or third plate will not only make you extremely full but it could take you days or weeks to work off those extra calories. You are not eating healthier to "save" those calories for Christmas dinner you are eating healthier to be healthier! Don't over think it. Food is FOOD.

Give your guests the gift of a great meal but this time set up a buffet line in the kitchen because it will save you the extra calories by not wanting to get up and go back to kitchen for more. You will enjoy what's on your plate, have room for dessert and go home happy and not complain that you wish you'd worn your stretchy pants.

Ho-ho-helping you survive the holidays one day at a time.


Saturday, December 1, 2012

Ho Ho Ho-liday Tip No. 1 - Don't drink your calories

Happy Holidays Fitness followers! As promised today is the first day of Nicole's Fit-tip Advent Calendar. No chocolate here just tips to help you stay healthy this holiday season. With Christmas parties, recitals and baking to do, finding the time to prep food or hit the gym can be hard but I'm here to offer you ideas every day.

This lovely tip actually comes from my dad. When he retired two years ago, he had a health revolution. After working at a desk for 38 years, taking care of a family (3 women), a house (he's a handy man), his parents and fixing people's cars and computers his health hit the back burner. I would constantly nag him to change his eating his habits, but it was something he needed to do on his own.

Since his revolution, he has lost over 8 inches and 30 plus pounds but most importantly he and my mom are living a healthier lifestyle. They eat better and love going to yoga classes together. He has even started his personal training program and is thinking of applying for a spin instructor job at his local community centre. This brings me to...

Fit-tip 1: Thou shall not drink my calories.

Over the holidays we are constantly at parties drinking wine and cocktails or meeting a friend for a "Red Cup" egg-nog. These add up to hundreds and hundreds of extra calories that could take days or weeks to work off. We are busy enough over the holiday's that we don't have an extra hour to hit the gym a day on top of our regular workouts. Lets get real.

When you are at a party, always have a glass in your hand, preferably water. This doesn't mean you have to drink it but it will look like you have a beverage which will prevent people from constantly asking you if you'd like another drink. Have water through out the evening and then enjoy one drink with dinner. If you are going to have an extra glass of wine, cut out dessert or appy's. If you are eating more calories you have to cut something out.

If you love Egg-nog lattes, only have one a week and a small one. If you know you are going for coffee with a friend, keep your meals small and clean through out the day and only have the latte and forget the doughy stuff in the pastry section. This will only tac on an extra 400+ calories. Do you really want to have to do an extra hour on the treadmill to burn it off?!

Be mindful of your eating and drinking because each calorie counts!