My fitness challenge: the finish line

My fitness challenge: the finish line

So I’ve reached the end of my 21 day fitness challenge.  Yes!  I did it!  When I started this challenge I wasn’t sure if I would be able to stick it out.  I was certainly hopeful, but there was still that little bit of self-doubt.  I’m very happy to report that I did, in fact, see it through, and I’m satisfied with how I did.

The unfortunate part is that the last week coincided with Easter break, which meant I was enjoying a beach vacation with my family.  Family beach getaways are not exactly the most conducive to clean eating and daily workouts.  Thankfully I did not cheat too much.  Of course I indulged in too much snacking, but at least our meals were healthy.  I also didn’t complete every workout that I had programmed, but on the bright side I did do many laps in the pool every single day, sometimes even twice a day.  So I may not have done the workouts that I was meant to do, but swimming is also great exercise.  All in all the holiday was not a complete set back.  But now that I’m back to the normal day-to-day I am upping my game with the workouts, just to get back on track.

So what have I learned from doing this challenge?  Not only have a I confirmed that I can do whatever I put my mind to, but that I actually enjoy working out, even when it’s a particularly difficult one.  I’m glad that after a week at the beach I found myself missing doing my exercise routine.  This is a great sign for me because it means that I will truly keep at it.  I’m sure I will mix it up and include more variety to my workouts (just to keep it fresh and interesting), and perhaps I will even take weekends off.  But the good news is that I’m enjoying this change in lifestyle, and when you enjoy something you keep doing it.

I’m so glad that I have made this change.  Have you been thinking about making a change but keep putting it off?  If you have then let me just say that the first few days are the roughest, but afterwards you will be so happy you did it.

5 delicious ways to eat zucchini noodles

5 delicious ways to eat zucchini noodles
So it took me a little while to get onto the zucchini noodle band wagon, but when I did I quickly fell in love with it. I am a huge pasta eater, seriously I could literally eat it every single day. So to no surprise I was finding it difficult to lose the last few pounds that just kept hanging around. I decided to give zucchini noodles a try because if I could replace my pasta noodles at least 2 a week for zucchini then I was sure I could shed some pounds. And sure enough, it worked!  I won’t pretend that it tasted the same as eating regular pasta noodles, but it is a delicious option so you can at least add in some variety.

I thought I’d share with you my top 5 favourite ways to eat zucchini noodles.

Tomato pesto zucchini noodles 

This one is super fast and so easy to just throw together.  All you do is sautee some zucchini noodles with cherry tomatoes in basil pesto and then top with fresh parmesan.

Prosciutto arugula zucchini noodles

This is probably one of my favourite dishes, I just love the combination of flavours. Simply sautee the zucchini noodles, cherry tomatoes, and prosciutto in some olive oil with fresh basil and parsley. Top with arugula and some fresh parmesan cheese if you’d like.

Shrimp zucchini noodles

First cook the shrimp in some coconut oil with fresh garlic, green onion, and cayenne pepper.  Then add cherry tomato, green bell pepper, and the zucchini noodles.

Pomodoro zucchini pasta 

This one is so easy and so good. Just make your favourite tomato sauce that you normally have with pasta. Sautee the zucchini noodles in the pomodoro sauce and you’re ready to go!  Some days I add in lots of extra veggies to the sauce (spinach, green peppers, peas, arugula, etc), and usually cayenne pepper for some spice.

You can also add some chicken and serve the pomodoro zucchini as a side dish.  

Grilled chicken with zucchini noodle salad

I love grilled chicken. I keep it simple with a light barbecue sauce, it’s so easy and just feels so fresh and summery to me. (Summery is a word right? Haha). For the zucchini noodles I sautee them quickly with green onion and cherry tomatoes (enough just to take off the edge of the raw zucchini but still keeping it crunchy.  You can also leave the zucchini and tomato raw if you prefer). Then add uncooked carrot shaving, fresh cilantro and a light coating of lime juice (use lemon if you prefer).  Lastly just salt and pepper to taste.

Those are my top go to recipes for zucchini noodles, do you have a great recipe to share?


My fitness challenge: week 1 review

Week 1 review

I started my fitness challenge a week ago and so far I’m still sticking to it. (you can read my first post about it here).  It’s been a great but challenging week.  The easiest part has been the nutrition since I wasn’t doing too bad in that area beforehand.  I’ve been trying to eat more fruits and vegetables, but I can still do a bit better in that area.

The trickiest part has been getting the workouts done. I have been getting up early so that I can do my exercise before my little man gets up. You mom’s know what it’s like, once the toddler is up, not much else is getting done. So I’ve been waking up extra early, something which in itself is difficult to do.  Every morning when that alarm sounds I just want to shut it off and go back to sleep. But I force myself to get up and get that workout in. Except for Saturday, I slept in that day and skipped my workout, I just needed a sleep in day! But I doubled up on the workout on Sunday, so I paid for it that day.

Then there’s the challenge of actually getting through the workout. It’s been too long since I’ve had a consistent exercise routine so I have definitely struggled this week with just getting through each session. I haven’t done it perfectly, and I haven’t had the resistance that I would like to have. But I’ve done it, I’ve completed each workout, and I’ve improved every day. After just one week I can already feel, and see, the difference in myself.

This past week hasn’t been perfect, but it’s been an improvement. At the end of the day I’m not striving for perfection, I’m just trying to do better. I’ve completed the first week of my 21 day fitness challenge and I’m looking forward to this second week.  Each day that I get it done, and I try my best, just takes me a step closer to making a permanent change. I’m proud of myself for sticking to it, and I’m excited to see the difference that another week will make.


Delicious meals that hide vegetables from your picky eater

Delicious meals that hide veggies from your picky eater

Do you have a picky eater who refuses to eat vegetables? My son doesn’t outright refuse all vegetables, but he doesn’t like a lot of them and on some days he does indeed refuse all of them.  So I have found a few dishes where I pack them full of all kinds of “hidden” veggies and he just gobbles it up.  So if you have a veggie avoider try some of these meals and see how it goes:

Spaghetti sauce. I put everything in my sauce (peas, green and yellow peppers, spinach, celery, tomatoes, onions, etc.) and my son just eats it all up. I do it both vegetarian style or bolognese (with beef) and he loves them both. Another great thing with this option is that I can serve it with zucchini noodles rather than pasta so my son eats lots of veggies. 

Lasagna. When it’s chicken lasagna with a cream sauce I use a ton of spinach, there’s actually more spinach than chicken. When it’s a meat sauce I can use all of the same veggies that I put in my spaghetti sauce. Also if I want to avoid pasta it can be made with eggplant instead. My son loves the flavour of the sauces so he devours these meals.

Quiche or frittata. A quiche or frittata is so yummy that my son doesn’t even notice all of the veggies that I put in it. You can put pretty much any vegetable that you like into either of these dishes.

Meat balls. This is another way I add pretty much any vegetable I have on hand (carrots, celery, onion, green peppers, spinach, etc.). Just make sure they’re chopped up nice and tiny (use a food processor for ease if you have one) so that you’ll have no problem making the balls. Occasionally I even make them using turkey rather than ground beef for a leaner option, and really just to have a bit of variety. Either way my son loves them and gobbles them up.

Shepherd’s pie. My son loves the combination of meat and potatoes, what he may not realize is that the meat has tons of vegetables in it.  Again, I just make sure they’re chopped up nice and small so he doesn’t notice they’re there. I include carrots, celery, green peppers, onions, tomatoes, peas, and even spinach.

What dishes do you make that have “hidden” vegetables?

My fitness challenge: getting started

My Fitness Challenge Getting Started

I’ve finally made the decision to get fit again, for real this time. It’s something I’ve been thinking about for some time. The reason I’ve decided to include my journey in the blog is because it will be a huge motivating factor. It’s so easy to just give up because it’s so much more fun to sit on the couch. But when other people know what you’re trying to do they help keep you accountable. Sometimes just the fact that you don’t want to feel like a failure in front of other people is motivation enough. I’ve also joined up with a group to undergo a 21 day challenge. What’s great is that it’s a group of people doing the same thing and working towards a similar goal. Not only will they provide words of encouragement but they’ll also know what I’m going through when I say that days workout sucked. So I will have a group of supporters and I will also document my journey in my blog, both of these actions will keep me accountable.

So why am I doing this?

Let me start by saying that this is not about a major weight loss, truth is I don’t need to lose that much weight. Yes I could absolutely lose at least 10 lbs, but my weight is not the main point. The reality is I feel better if I’m active and healthy, and I’ve become rather inactive.

A few years ago I was diagnosed with hypoglycemia.  What this basically means is that my body doesn’t manage sugar the way it should.  I will eat a full meal and about two hours later my blood sugar level drops and my body thinks it’s hungry again. The main symptom to this is dizziness and/or fainting.  It’s something that’s easy to control through diet, you just need to eat every few hours. So if you eat right then all is great. The problem is, since you eat every few hours it’s so easy to gain weight if you don’t always eat the right thing.  So that’s the first contributing factor.

The other factor in this has been my baby journey.  We are blessed with a beautiful little boy, but in order to get here we went through fertility treatment.  Part of that treatment was hormone injections which does play with your body.  Then when I was pregnant my doctor advised me to stay away from exercise.  Perhaps this was an over-cautious recommendation but of course I followed it.  Thankfully I’m not a big junk food eater so I didn’t really gain that much weight (just a healthy pregnancy amount). But I did become accustomed to a more sedentary lifestyle.

Then there’s the infant child stage.  Having a newborn is exhausting and time-consuming. Of course all of my time and energy has been focussed on my little guy. He comes first, and always will. Taking care of a baby is not a stationary activity but it’s not exactly proper exercise either.

When I add these factors together it translates into a lifestyle that is not as active as it should be. I’ve never been particularly interested in sports so I’m far from being an athlete. However I did used to do things such as yoga and zumba. As many of you will know, once you lose the habit of being active it can be difficult to get back. But now I have no fertility treatments to undergo, no doctors orders to refrain me from exercise, I have no more excuses. So it’s time to get back at it.

My goal

My goal is simply to be healthy. I’m not about restricting everything I eat or do. I don’t believe that making yourself feel like you’re not allowed to eat anything you like is any way to live. But I do try to keep a balance. So I will continue to eat pizza and pasta, but I will do so in moderation. And I will continue to eat organic ingredients and home-made meals, because I believe that what we put in our bodies matters. But I will reduce the amount of bread and pasta I do eat, and I will seriously up my game when it comes to vegetables and exercise.  Being active is part of being healthy. And honestly, how am I supposed to teach my son the importance of good health if I don’t start with me?

So it’s time to step up my game. Today I start my 21 day challenge. It’s time to teach my son through example.

My Kid Doesn't Poop Rainbows

When is the right time to school?

When is the right time to school-

Lately I have been struggling with one, rather important, question. When is the right time for my son to start school?  My husband and I have read all of the studies, the general consensus is that early education is essential.  And we agree with that.  The question is, at what age?

Around here most schools start at age 3 (with PPK), but there are many preschool programs that commence at age 2 (and of course nursery that starts from just a few weeks).  We found a great half day program nearby that will accept our son as of August (he will be just under 2 years of age).  It’s a fantastic school where he will learn through play, and we have no doubt that they will not only educate but also take great care of our little guy.  But he won’t even be two years old yet, that just seems so young to me.  I’m fortunate enough to be a stay at home mom, so it’s not like we need to arrange care for him.  And of course I want the absolute best for him, but I want to be sure he’s ready.

After turning this decision over and over again in my mind, I came to a realization.  My hesitation is not with whether or not my son is ready, it’s with whether or not I am.  I have no doubt that my son will thrive and thoroughly enjoy the program.  I, however, will struggle as I watch my sweet baby boy growing up.  Right now I’m the one who teaches him, guides him, and gets to bear witness to every adorable moment in his life.  The truth is, I’ll never be ready.  He’s my baby, and there is no being ready for him to grow up.  I have been blessed to be a stay at home mom, taking care of his every need, and I have enjoyed every minute of it.  I also take great joy over seeing him grow and learn, but it would be great if he’d slow down a little bit.  I know he’s still only a year old, but like all mothers out there, I think it’s just going by too quickly.  I won’t enroll him for August, it’s just too soon (for me).  I’ll keep him to myself for a little while longer, and then watch him spread his wings.

So I will enroll him for next year (when he will have turned two), and take these next several months to mentally, and emotionally, prepare myself.  And I will try my best not to cry too much on his first day.