Veggie Spring Rolls

This afternoon I got a hankering to make my own spring rolls.  Something I had never done before.  But, I said I’d do it…and I did it.  I wanted something that I could take to work for lunch, something yummy and interesting and I believe I succeeded.  It was actually really simple and cheap and they were delicious.

I picked up a package of rice paper at the grocery store – the only required necessity – and a few more vegetables to add to what I already have in my fridge and went on my merry way.

Rice paper

You dunk the rice paper rounds in warm water for about 20 seconds then spread them out on a plate or platter

I had a gorgeous repertoire of veggies – and an apple for a little bit of sweetness and added crunch and chopped everything up perfectly.

Veggies

Red and orange peppers, red and green onion, cabbage slaw (because I’m really cheap and really lazy to buy it all separately), tomato, cucumber, and apple. 

I tossed heaps of all that beautiful and healthy goodness onto my rice paper and rolled like a pro.

Veggie Rolls

Beauties.

I left most of them cold and raw but wanted to try a couple of them warm so I tossed them in the skillet and sauteed them.

Skillet Rolls

This one looks like it’s had a rough night, but I promise it was just as delicious.

There you go!  An easy meal option when you want to eat healthy and try something new.  (If you have kids you can fake like it’s Taco Tuesday and let them make their own rolls – super fun!)

I’m not a big fan of people who say eating healthy is “expensive”, “too hard”, “gross”, etc. and use that as an excuse to eat junk.  The package of rice rolls was around $3 and I think has 12 or 15 rolls in it.  I made 6 rolls in total – 2 or 3 would be enough for a meal on it’s own (1 or 2 if you’re having it as a side to something).  I have plenty left over for lunches.  AND, you can put as much fillers in as you want – as long as you’re gentle and don’t tear the paper.  Cheap and easy and healthy and decadent.

~FB

20 Minutes a Day Can Change Your Life!

20 Minutes

I’ve said this many times before.  I’ve said it over and over again and I will continue to say it over and over again.  Why?  Because I believe it.  In fact, before I began my fitness journey, someone in my life kept saying that to me.  I thought he was just being an asshole and telling me I was fat (let’s face it, y’all, I was fat!), but eventually I listened to those words and I went from there.

As I mentioned in my last post, when I first started exercising, I couldn’t make it 20 minutes.  I could barely make it 3 minutes without wanting to kill myself (or feel like I was already dying).  My goal was to make it to 20 minutes.

When I finally did make it to the 20 minute mark I was ecstatic.  And for a long time that’s where I remained.  Just at the 20 minute mark.  Eventually, I did move up and sometimes I would (and still do) work out for hours on end.  But, there are times when time is limited and 20 (or 30) minutes is all you have.  You can sit around watching TV or creeping Facebook, OR you can get up and take advantage of that little bit of time and do something that will improve your mood, your energy level, your health, and your life.

Change Your Life

This past Saturday I was pressed for time and wasn’t able to get to the gym or a class but I desperately wanted to work out.  Technically, it was supposed to be my day off, but it was rainy and gross out and I was feeling lethargic and lazy and like I needed to do something. Initially, I was supposed to do the warm up for the Relay for Life but because of the raining weather, the warm up got cancelled.  Yet, I was craving a workout.  I didn’t want to overdo it because rest days are extremely important and, I admit, I don’t always take advantage of them, but I really wanted to get in a little cardio and a little strength.  And I did.

I got my game plan ready and I had myself a sweat-inducing, heart-racing 21 minute workout right there in my boyfriend’s living room.  And it felt great.  I felt great.  I accomplished a lot in a little bit of time and carried on with the rest of my day.

So, if that’s all it takes (at the very least, to start), why not set aside 20 minutes of your day and get moving in the direction to change your life.

~FB

 

 

 

 

 

Fitness: The Only Known Cure for Anxiety (Guest Post)

The wonderful team (and in particular, Dan Chabert) at Runnerclick.com have been kind enough to provide me with the following article.

As someone who has personally been affected by depression and anxiety in the past, I can attest that regular exercise can improve your mood and, in turn, really change your life.  I truly believe that exercise “cured” my depression (thank you, endorphins).  While this may not be true for everyone, and some of you may not agree with the statements below, it is definitely an enlightening read.

~FB

FITNESS:  THE ONLY KNOWN CURE FOR ANXIETY

Psychological symptoms such as anxiety have been scientifically proven to affect multiple aspects of fitness like endurance, conditioning, and concentration. However, fitness can positively affect psychological symptoms, and reduce both anxiety and stress. Fitness does not only keep our body in shape, but it also works our minds as well. Daily exercise is powerful enough to notably reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, also improving your overall psychological and physical health.

Scientific Background

Multiple researches have been performed to study the relation between anxiety and fitness, and how they affect each other. Studies conducted by the US Department of Health and Human Services and the Harvard Medical School as well as other health organizations and private researchers have revealed that fitness maintains a solid mental state and it can reduce anxiety and stress.

Exercise is very effective at diminishing fatigue, while enhancing awareness and focus. It is also proven to increase our cognitive capacity in general. This comes in extremely handy when anxiety clouds your mind and stops you from focusing.

Sessions of yoga, running, and other dynamic activities have shown to stabilize anxiety issues that affect the brain. Some people underestimate the effects that anxiety can produce to their body, thinking it´s just a psychological issue and not realizing how taxing it can be for their physical activities.

The US Department of Health and Human Services performed an investigation in which they found that participating in multiple fitness activities and aerobic training will reduce considerable amounts of mental tension, improve self-esteem and overall mood. Exercise works as a natural cure for anxiety and other psychosomatic symptoms.

Using Fitness as Psychological Therapy

For a long time, many psychologists have included exercise and fitness activities such as running, yoga, bike riding and swimming to their therapy. In fact, regular sessions of such activities may have an effect even greater than any possible medication.

While exercising, your body produces considerable amounts of endorphins, which work as completely natural analgesics for your mind, also refining sleep. After beginning a session, some people might be able to note important changes in their mood during the first 10 minutes of exercise, stimulating effects that reduce nervousness.

If exercising has a positive impact on your mind during short training sessions, making a frequent exercise schedule can be a definitive solution to your mental stress. Fitness will help you keep a clear mind and a healthy body all at the same time, it doesn´t get any better than that.

However, each therapy has a different outcome on each patient just like in any other case. Your body may generate a positive reaction when training and perhaps even relieve your anxiety for good, just like it might not have any impact at all on your symptoms. Regardless, one thing is for sure; fitness will help you improve your physical health, and this is undeniable.

Incorporating Exercise to your Therapy

For optimal results, you should look for a physical activity that best suits your personal preferences. Some anxiety patients prefer to clear their mind with a calm and quiet activity; practicing yoga is a perfect solution for these cases.

For more active exercises, running is an awesome idea. Going out for a jog with fresh air is very likely to reduce your mental symptoms in a matter of minutes. Concentrate on the path, admire everything throughout your trip and let your mind take off from daily pressure and anxiety. Running will clear up your mind while improving important aspects of your physical form.

You can always get a running buddy to add an extra layer of distraction to your exercise therapy. Social interaction while exercising is a great way to distract your mind from anxiety, stress, depression and other symptoms that cloud your brain. Some therapists recommend running or exercising with other patients of similar cases. Group therapy allows you to measure your progress along with other people under similar circumstances to yours.

If you prefer individual therapy, a playlist of your favorite relaxing music is always a great companion. Select songs that have a positive impact in your mood, ones that help you relax and that you can feel working with your activity. Music also has a very interesting scientific background in reducing symptoms like anxiety and similar.

If your body or mind can´t get used to physical activities, it might be an indicator that you need more time to adapt yourself. Don´t quit if you don´t see immediate progress, experiment different methods of practicing each activity and let your body adapt for one to two months before giving up on exercise therapy.

Fitness & Anxiety Disorders

Everyone has been through anxiety during a point of their life. However, when it comes to anxiety disorders, over 35 million people compose the most common symptom in the United States– This is where fitness comes in.

Research suggests that when it comes to anxiety, the exercise intensity is not really relevant to the treatment. A calm 15-minute long walk can be as effective as an hour-long intense training session. It´s a matter of personal comfort, where your body and mind try to find an activity that distracts you from these disorders.

A single exercise session will produce temporary results. A simple walk across the park can provide multiple hours of mind peace and declining in negative psychological symptoms; this effect is similar to the one of an analgesic for a common pain.

Not only does fitness work as a solution, but is also works as a prevention method. Investigators point out that people who practice physical activities are less likely to suffer from anxiety. Making fitness a habit in your life can lessen the amounts of anxiety.

Writer’s Bio:

DAN CHABERT

chabert-2

Dan Chabert

Dan is an entrepreneur from Copenhagen, Denmark. He is a husband first and ultramarathon distance runner second. The websites monicashealthmag.com, nicershoes.com & runnerclick.com keep him busy, as well as being featured in many different runner blogs all over the world.

Sleep

A few years ago I wrote a post on Sleep and how it affects your health and weight.  At the time I was still battling insomnia, although not as bad as it had been several months before.  And I had discovered that my lack of shut-eye affected, not only my sanity and ability to function like a normal human being, but also my weight.  As my sleep cycle decreased, I watched my weight increase.  I was frustrated on so many levels, but eventually, sleep came easier to me and I finally got back to a semi-normal amount each night.

As I noted in that post, our sleep norm is down to an average of 6 hours per night from the norm compared of 7 hours per night 10 years ago, and 9 hours per night compared to the norm at the turn of the century.  (I’m not an expert, but I can almost guarantee that with the increase of social media, the average rate of sleep in North Americans has decreased from 6 hours per night since I wrote that post three years ago.)

Sleep deprivation has shown to 1. affect the release of cortisol (a hormone that regulates appetite), which can leave one feeling continuously hungry, and 2. increase fat storage (your sleep loss can affect the way your body metabolizes carbohydrate, leading to excess blood sugar, promoting the overproduction of insulin, leading to fat storage).

Fortunately, as indicated in my original post, there are many great ways to ensure you get a good night’s sleep and well rested (stay away from caffeine, don’t exercise right before bed, etc.).  This time around, my very first suggestion is likely, in this day and age, the most important:

  1. UNPLUG!  Social media is terrific for catching up with friends and staying in touch, but honestly, I think it’s killing us slowly.  So many people are worried about what they might miss if they disconnect from Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.  Even for just a few hours.  And therefore, are online all.night.long. If you want truly want to get a decent sleep, I suggest logging off your accounts and shutting down at least a good hour before hitting the sack.  Seriously, if you are that much of a social media junkie, then you likely need a detox anyway. Log off computer, turn off the TV, shut down your phone (or at least put it on media silent) so that your brain can unwind from all that garbage.

    plugged-in-sleep

    Turn it off!  Snapchatting your “fake” sleep look is not as important as getting the real Zzzzs.

  2. RELAX.  Have a warm bath, read a book (one of my favorite ways to wind down), meditate, have some conversation. AND FINALLY:
  3. CHECK YOUR MATTRESS Often we become so accustomed to our beds that we don’t realize how really terrible our mattresses are, and that they could verily be the reason our sleep pattern is so poor.  We wake up with aching backs, stiff necks, and zonked out, yet we continue to sleep on the same old mattress each night.

LEESA has some pretty terrific mattresses and other products out there that they call “a Universal Adaptive Feel™ that adapts to all body shapes and sizes and all sleeping styles. This is particularly useful for couples, as each side adapts differently to each partner.”  This is pretty perfect.  Think about how many times you wake up in the night because your partner is dipping the bed.

You can also check out The Sweet Home’s review on why Leesa is the best foam mattress around!

If you’ve noticed your rate or quality of sleep is suffering and your weight is changing (and not for the better), it is worth it to evaluate your sleep pattern.  If you feel you are getting enough sleep but you still wake feeling groggy and tired, perhaps it is the time to check out a new mattress or pillow.  Or, you can even look at how you are sleeping: are you facing the right direction, etc.?  I know not everyone believes in Feng shui (a Chinese philosophical system of harmonizing everyone with the surrounding environment), but it may be worth checking out.  If you’re used to your head facing north, flip yourself around so that you’re facing south.  Seriously: don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it!

In the meantime, you can also check out Leesa’s the tips below on how to become a morning person.  And may you have sweet dreams.

sleep-graphic

~Fit Bitch

Getting Strong

Getting Strong

I saw this meme the other day and instantly thought “YES!”

I can attest to its truth.

You see, for years, I wanted to get fit, healthy, strong.  But I wasn’t ready.  Yes, I wanted it, but, I was embarrassed and ashamed of who I was – on the outside.  I had struggled with my weight my entire life and my insecurities prevented me from really going for the gold with my weight loss.

Instead, I succumbed to eating disorders of many variations, to extreme diets, to weight loss supplements of all forms.  When I exercised it was in secret and privacy and for vanity, not for my health.

For several years now I have carried the mantra “If you’re not willing to do the work, you’re not ready to lose the weight“, and I cling to that.

When I finally joined a gym more than 10 years ago I would get up at the butt-crack of dawn, before the sun was up, and would sneak off for my workout while the rest of the world was still sleeping.  Even then, I was exercising for the wrong reasons.  It was still about vanity.  And I didn’t lose any weight.

It wasn’t until at least a year later when I decided to change my life.  That’s when the changes came.  That’s when I decided to put the work in.  Wrapping my head around that in this moment is so easy, but way back then, I just didn’t get it.

When I started to exercise and changed my eating habits, it was for my health.  And I was putting the work in.  And you know what?  The changes came so quickly.  My health improved and my insecurities subsided (to a point) and I finally felt good.  I fell in love with my life.  And with exercise.  I got over my fears of what people would think of me if they saw me on the treadmill or lifting weights or on the rowing machine.  I got over myself, essentially.  I didn’t look to anyone else for inspiration; I looked at myself.  I inspired me.  My life was worth more than how I had treated it before hand.

Sometimes it can be scary venturing into new or unknown territory.  But your health is more important than being afraid to ask someone for guidance.  Or fearing what others might think of you.  In all honesty, when I’m at the gym I’m not worried about what others are doing there (unless they’re hogging equipment).  I’m there to improve myself.  I’m not there to judge anyone.  And more than likely, the people at your gym aren’t concerned with what you’re doing.

I know, from personal experience, that when I feel like I look better, I actually feel better about myself (back to that vanity thing).  If that means swiping on some lipstick or revving up in cute (although durable) new workout gear, like Adore me, then so be it.  Do what you’ve gotta do to motivate yourself; to encourage yourself; to love yourself.

Don’t be afraid to go for that jog or kick the soccer ball around or try a Zumba class.  Step out of your comfort zone.  Get out of your head.  Give yourself a break.  And just do it already.  Your life is worth it.

Fit Bitch

 

Be A Warrior

Today is Monday.  Today is a new day.  It’s the start of a new week.  It could be a start to a new beginning.

Warrior

Put aside any fears you may have when it comes to yourself and starting a workout program.  Forget about any idealistic crap that may have been perpetuated by others about what you should do/be/look like.  Stop worrying about what others may think of you or if you’ll look silly.  Become your own Fit Warrior.

Become the inspiration to yourself and others.

Warrior2

He/She/We/Us/ALL!

You may struggle. You may full.  You may hurt.  (God knows you will hurt!)  You will earn it.

warrior3

Today is Monday.  Today can be the first day of your new life.

BE A WARRIOR.

~Fit Bitch

Be The Fire

On Fire

Just kidding!  It’s really not that bad.

I think, for many, there is a preconceived notion that exercise and good nutrition is hard.  And it’s not worth the struggle.  The truth:  YES, it can be hard.  There are some days when you will feel like your legs are on fire from the squats and lunges, or your abs will be burning from the planks, crunches, or cuts, or your triceps will be screeching hot from the push-ups and dips.  But think about it.  Aren’t you worth it??  With everything in the entire world to focus on, shouldn’t you make yourself the primary focus?

You don’t have to commit to working out every minute of every day, or eat clean entirely.  But make the commitment that you deserve more.  Remind yourself that your body is your temple and treat it with love and respect.  Nurture it inside and out (aka nutrition and exercise), and, certainly, indulge it here and there.

For many of us, losing the weight isn’t the struggle.  That’s not where the fire is.  No, the struggle is loving yourself and accepting yourself, and acknowledging your worth.  It takes time – and believe me, I know it is often still a constant battle – but we are all worth it.

So, dive in, head first, and start that fire burning.  And eventually, hopefully, that hell will become your haven.

~Fit Bitch

Butt and Gut 30 Day Challenge

I am really bad with posting challenges at the start of the month.  But then again, a healthy lifestyle change doesn’t (have to) wait til the start of the month so, I guess I’m letting myself off the hook.  I think any day is a good day to start a workout practice or healthy eating program (not diet!!).  In fact, I’m gearing up to start another Whole 30 on Monday – no point in waiting til the start of August when I can feel so much better sooner?

So, with that being said, below is a 30 Day Butt and Gut Challenge to get you going.  Even if you’re new to exercising, this little challenge is totally doable.  And it’s a great complement to your regular fitness practice if you already have one.

And me, I’m a little nuts and completely in love with squats and lunges and planks and crunches.  And pretty much all of it…except push-ups….I hate push-ups! (The result of a serious back injury.)

This Challenge is so great because it’s only four moves but pretty much works your entire body that you can do right in your home!  It also mixes cardio and strength and will definitely get your heart rate going.  And, you get rest days.  TAKE YOUR REST DAYS!  🙂

I love this Challenge so much I’m going to do it along with my regular workouts.  Why not?  Like I said, it can be a great complement to an established fitness regime.

Give it a try and see how you feel in a month’s time.

Cheers.

Butt and Gutt

~Fit Bitch

Positivity

Positivity

I saw this little quote today and instantly loved it.  And it’s very fitting tonight.

I taught my boot camp class tonight.  It was a small class, however, I had a newbie.  A first-timer.  She did great!  She kept the sarcasm coming (which I adored), she modified when she needed to, and she kicked butt!

At first, though, she made a few small comments about how she shouldn’t be standing by this person and shouldn’t be looking at that person because she felt she was way behind.  Maybe it was the self-consciousness talking, maybe it was fear of feeling inadequate, maybe she was just being an arse.  But I had to stop her.  I told her not to let herself take away from what she was accomplishing, she was there and she was doing a great job and she should own it.

From then on she accepted it.  She was positive and she we all had a great workout.  She hung onto that positivity and I expect to see her again at the next class.

When I got home and was getting ready to jump in the shower, I caught a glimpse of myself in the hall mirror, half clothed.  I don’t normally admire myself but tonight I was caught off-guard and what I saw was “Damn, I look pretty good!”  It felt good to own that moment and see the positive in my appearance instead of gagging over my arm skin or thighs or tummy.  I’m liking the positivity today.

I try to have a positive outlook as often as possible.  Sometimes I can be a nagging Nelly or a freakish bitch, but honestly, these days I can see what matters and what doesn’t.  I’m finding the positive in each encounter.  I’m embracing it all.  I’m owing it.  You should too.

Stay light, stay positive.

~FB

 

 

 

 

 

 

Begin

Begin

We all have to start somewhere.

Don’t be afraid.

~FB